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Around The Forest: Manchester United To Tour United States This Summer

Also: Toronto FC beat Club America in CCL, everything you need to know about the eMLS Cup, Zlatan, Zlatan, Zlatan and more!

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Year-over-year: How Thorns FC have changed the way they pressure their opponents | Portland Timbers
To the extent answers in NWSL mixed zones qualify as letting cats out of bags, Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons did as much after his team’s opening-weekend game against in North Carolina.

eMLS Cup 101 | Everything you need to know ahead of this week's eMLS Cup | Portland Timbers
The first-ever eMLS Cup is is set to kick off this week at the PAX East event in Boston, Mass. from April 5-8. Here's everything you need to know heading into the tournament and the Portland Timbers competitor Edgar Guerrero.

Major League Soccer

CONCACAF Champions League: Toronto FC can shake off MLS history and head to Azteca with confidence |
For one, it's not appropriate to celebrate after a first leg when there are still 90 more minutes to play. The history, though, also has to play a part. For MLS teams, team getting a result then heading to Mexico for a second leg has been reason for panic, not celebration. Sure, you got a win, but good luck now.

They Ditched Columbus, and They’ll Ditch You Too – TOWERS
First of all, Americans love sports — probably too much — and as a politician, who wants to be the guy resisting something that brings your constituents joy? Second, sports often means big business. Even the worst teams attract hundreds of thousands of fans to their games, where they pour even more money into the local economy by buying overpriced refreshments and memorabilia.

D.C. United Coach Ben Olsen sees light ahead despite club’s dreary start to MLS season - The Washington Post
D.C. United players arrived at the RFK Stadium training grounds Tuesday to unseasonably cool and gray conditions, an appropriate backdrop for a team that has started the MLS season without a victory through five matches and gone winless in nine straight dating from last fall.

ExtraTime Radio: Zlatan steals the show, R-E-S-P-E-C-T in Minny & #CCLFever |
Zlatan? Zlatan. Zlatan, Zlatan and Zlatan. One man stole the show this weekend in MLS, and everybody knows who is he and what he did to win "El Trafico" for the LA Galaxy the very first time he pulled on the jersey. With David and Bobby back from GA Cup, Andrew has company to break down Ibrahimovic's heroics in the first-ever rivalry match between the incumbents and LAFC. Plus, Ashley Cole joins the guys to give his perspective on a historic day.

Seltzer: Besides Zlatan, there were a lot more memorable moments in Week 5 |
When the mighty Zlatan brings forth a hello thunderbolt as a warmup act to his late winner in the first-ever El Trafico derby, it can cast a large shadow over the rest of the happenings around the league. But we flew under the radar to find the developing stories you might have missed from this past weekend's MLS action.

Warshaw: The most-watched and must-watch MLS highlights on YouTube |
In wake of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s "El Trafico" and MLS debut shaking the social media universe, I got curious about the most-watched MLS highlights of all time, and spent Sunday afternoon binging old videos. Apparently Zlatan’s strike is only the fourth-most-viewed highlight (thus far). What could possibly compare to a 50-yard side volley, you ask? Well, for your viewing pleasure, here are the Top 5 most-watched MLS highlights on YouTube, as of April 4, 2018 – along with a few others you should probably see.

Zlatan turned down $100M from China; Real Madrid wants Lewandowski |
According to Jovan Kirovski, the LA Galaxy technical director who did the most work to sign Ibrahimovic, the big Swede had a multiyear offer from China even after his knee injury that would have paid him $100 million total. Instead Ibra chose the Galaxy, which can only pay him $3 million over two years since he’s a TAM player on a team whose Designated Player slots are all filled.

Asian referee to work TFC-America 2nd-leg CCL game in Concacaf-AFC exchange |
One of the Asian Football Confederation’s top referees will oversee the Concacaf Champions League second-leg semifinal match between Club América and Toronto FC in Mexico City next week, Concacaf announced on Tuesday, as part of a new referee exchange between North America’s regional confederation and its Asian counterpart.

Toronto FC let their play do the talking in heated CCL win over America |
On a rain-soaked and blustery pitch at BMO Field on Tuesday night, Toronto FC took a 3-1 advantage from the first leg of their Concacaf Champions League semifinal series against Club América.

Accusations fly after Toronto FC, Club América clash in BMO Field tunnel |
Almost exactly five months after Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls scuffled in the tunnel at halftime of their Eastern Conference Semifinal clash, another “Brouhaha at BMO” erupted on Tuesday night in similar circumstances, this time between TFC and Club América, at the midpoint of their Concacaf Champions League semifinal first-leg clash.

Marsch: Chivas present "bigger task" than Tijuana for New York Red Bulls |
The New York Red Bulls turned in one of the most impressive performances so far in this year’s Concacaf Champions League when they put Club Tijuana to the sword in the quarterfinal stage. But they view semifinal opponents Chivas Guadalajara as a markedly more difficult challenge.

Ashtone Morgan keeps his cool and finally earns acclaim in wild night at BMO Field – The Athletic
In a small room at BMO Field, there is a photo of the Canadian men’s national team from a 2012 friendly at the lakeside stadium. Tucked in the top right corner of the team photo is then 21-year-old Ashtone Morgan, smiling politely, unaware of what the future holds.

United States

Bruce Arena’s new book reveals Jurgen Klinsmann’s firing nearly happened six months earlier - The Washington Post
The U.S. Soccer Federation was preparing to fire Jurgen Klinsmann and replace him with Bruce Arena in May 2016, six months before the governing body made that coaching change in an effort to revive the damaged World Cup qualifying campaign.

The Elusive Advanced Defensive Metric — American Soccer Analysis
At the conclusion of the 2017 MLS season, I sifted through the wreckage of the Colorado Rapids awful season, player by player, to see what could be learned. Who, among these players was actually a high-quality soccer player? Who should the team retain for next year? Who should be jettisoned? Why? How can I know the difference? And, most importantly for readers of a data-obsessive website like American Soccer Analysis, can I find a credible way of answering those questions using advanced metrics?


Ray Wilkins dead: Chelsea and Manchester United legend dies days after suffering heart attack, aged 61 - Mirror Online
Ray Wilkins died on Wednesday, one week on from a heart attack and fall at his home. The ex-England captain, 61, had been in a medically induced coma but son Ross, 36, told the Mirror: "Dad has unfortunately passed away.” He leaves behind wife Jackie and two children, Ross and his sister Jade.

Leverkusen fends off interest in Germany midfielder Brandt – ProSoccerTalk
“With this step we have managed to convince one of the most sought-after German players to continue on the same path as us,” Leverkusen managing director Michael Schade said Wednesday. “To have beaten off absolute top competition for Julian from home and abroad is a huge success for us.”

Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri : You have to applaud 'best forward in the world' Cristiano Ronaldo |
Massimiliano Allegri said Juventus fans were right to applaud Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo for his stunning overhead goal in the Champions League on Tuesday. Ronaldo earned a standing ovation from the home supporters after his wondergoal in Madrid's 3-0 quarter-final first-leg win at 10-man Juve.

Manchester United announce two games for 2018 summer tour in U.S.
Manchester United have announced details of their summer tour in the United States, with games against the San Jose Earthquakes and Mexico's Club America.