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Around The Forest: End of an era, Andres Iniesta to leave Barcelona

Also: Timbers get extra day off, LAFC sign a midfielder, President Trump tweets World Cup bid and more!


Momentum versus rest | Portland Timbers balance the yin and yang of their bye week | Portland Timbers
The team’s normal schedule has them back on the field each Tuesday in preparation for the coming game, but with a bye week ahead and a 3-0 win over New York City FC in the books, head coach Giovanni Savarese gave his troops an extra day’s rest. Before fully focusing on the San Jose Earthquakes on May 5 (7:30pm PT, FOX 12 Plus), Savarese gave his players some time for themselves.

Major League Soccer

San Jose Earthquakes use extended road trip to find focus | Pro Soccer USA
While most Major League Soccer teams travel home between road games, especially when those games fall a week apart on the calendar, the San Jose Earthquakes decided to extend their stay away from the Bay Area in between road games against Orlando City and the Columbus Crew.

Tenorio: How Claudio Reyna, NYCFC recast the roster to join the MLS elite |
The shift in direction at New York City FC was stark. After starting the club’s history by chasing older, established players with lengthy resumes but higher prices, NYCFC hit the reset button and looked to focus on building a more well-rounded squad.

Asked to mind his defense, Real Salt Lake's Joao Plata takes the offensive |
Joao Plata played 89 minutes on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids for Real Salt Lake, after missing three of the previous four games. He also scored against the Rapids, this time from the penalty spot.

LAFC sign Argentine midfielder Nico Czornomaz, loan him to Orange County SC |
The 22-year-old signs after trialing with the expansion team in the preseason and playing 143 minutes in preseason games. The Argentina native most recently played for the reserves of Buenos Aires-based club Defensa y Justicia.

Respect, but no quarter: DC United on unique Philadelphia Union rivalry |
“They’re always going to be a team that is fighting to get into the playoffs every year,” Olsen said. “It’s not a sure thing that Philly’s in the playoffs. That seems to be the case with us. Anytime you play these teams, there’s a little bit more of, you want to keep them down.”

Federico Higuain signs one-year contract extension with Columbus Crew SC |
Higuain, the longest-tenured player on the Crew SC roster, is currently in his seventh season with Columbus. The 33-year-old has 157 MLS regular-season appearances with the club to date, and reached the MLS "50-50 club" this year in notching at least 50 goals and 50 assists in his career. In 2015, he helped lead the team to the MLS Cup final.

New York Red Bulls sign Daniel Royer to new multi-year contract |
"We are pleased to reach an agreement with Danny to extend his time in New York," said Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett in a team statement. "Danny fits both our style of play and club culture, and we look forward to him contributing to our continued success."

Atlanta United wary of Piatti's game-changing ability for Montreal Impact |
“Nacho,” as Piatti has come to be known, may be one of MLS’s most under-appreciated star players -- especially in an era where more and more foreign talent from South America, and Piatti’s native Argentina, enters the league. The manager Piatti will face off against Saturday, compatriot Tata Martino, said the league has players like Piatti to thank for helping expand the MLS’s appeal in Argentina.

Five food items to try at LAFC's new Banc of California Stadium |
“We wanted to offer the ultimate fan experience when it comes down to technology with [wireless internet], getting people into the gates quickly, and fast lines at the concession stands,” said Benny Tran, senior vice president of development and strategy at LAFC on Wednesday morning during a culinary media day for Banc of California Stadium.

Top 5 late Primary Transfer Window signings in MLS history |
With just a handful of shopping days left for MLS sides to procure impact players from other pro clubs before the primary transfer window closes at 11:59 pm ET on May 1, let's take a stroll down memory lane to weigh up five of the best best moves ever made during the window's final week.

United States

Report: USMNT to play Brazil, Mexico in September - Stars and Stripes FC
The United States appear to be finalizing a monster schedule for the first post-World Cup set of friendlies. According to a report yesterday by ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle, the USMNT is set to host Brazil and Mexico in huge friendlies in September. The two matches will take place sometime during the FIFA international window, which runs September 3-11.

FIFA emphasizes bid rules as US president tweets about World Cup bid - Stars and Stripes FC
With just over a month and a half until the June 13 vote that will decide the host of the 2026 World Cup, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to encourage support for the bid. The president also seemed to suggest that countries that did not support the bid would not get further support from the US in the future if they did not vote to give the tournament to the US, Mexico, and Canada.


Barcelona's Andres Iniesta confirms plan to leave at end of season
Andres Iniesta has confirmed his plans to leave Barcelona at the end of the season after 22 years with the club, though the midfielder said he will not be joining another European club.

Liverpool to use Lazio training ground for Roma match thanks to 'intermediary' Lucas Leiva | Football News | Sky Sports
Liverpool will use Lazio's training ground before and after their Champions League game against Roma thanks to an intervention from Lucas Leiva, according to Sky in Italy.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery confirms exit at end of season
Unai Emery has confirmed he will leave his job as Paris Saint-Germain head coach at the end of the season. Emery has led PSG to Ligue 1 and Coupe de la Ligue success this season, but his long-term future has been the subject of scrutiny since the Champions League round-of-16 exit to Real Madrid -- the second successive year in which they had gone out at that stage.