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Around the Forest: Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez on record pace

Also: One on one with Liam Ridgewell, TFC fall again, Falcao blames ref had England bias, Cristiano Ronaldo to Juve? And more!

MLS: Portland Timbers at Atlanta United FC Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports


One on one with: Liam Ridgewell | Back Of The Net
To play the role of captain, you need to have confidence, determination and a natural ability to lead. Liam Ridgewell has all three. He may have started his career back in England with Aston Villa, Birmingham and West Brom., but it’s in Portland, USA where he now leads by example. As captain of the Portland Timbers, Ridgewell has established himself as one of the most reliable defenders in the MLS and has fast become a vital cog in Portland’s machine, leading them to the MLS Cup.

Inside PTFC | The midfield challenge that awaits Guzmán's and Polo's returns from the World Cup | Portland Timbers
Ahead of Saturday afternoon’s kickoff in Seattle, Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese would have had a good idea of what to expect from Seattle Sounders FC's midfield. U.S. international Cristian Roldan has been ever-present for Brain Schmetzer’s side, and especially with Sweden’s Gustav Svensson on duty in Russia, a healthy Osvaldo Alonso was always destined to start. Like most teams, the Sounders have a clear hierarchy, not only in midfield but at other places on the field.

Major League Soccer

Josef Martinez on track for record-breaking season at Atlanta United |
Atlanta United forward Josef Martínez added two more goals to his growing MLS Golden Boot lead Saturday against FC Dallas, bringing his total to 17 goals this season. Now that most teams have crossed the midpoint of their schedule, it’s fair to note Martínez has matched or outdone the pace of the three players who share the all-time single-season scoring record.

Fernando Clavijo: Mauro Diaz asked FC Dallas for transfer |
"We love that [Diaz] is going and pursuing his future. We respect that," coach Oscar Pareja told FC Dallas Extra Time's Gina Miller prior to the club's Wednesday match against Atlanta United. "It is our responsibility to see that with this group we can keep pushing the team higher."

Toronto FC face steep climb as they cross midpoint of MLS regular season |
In Minnesota on Wednesday, Toronto FC dropped points. Again. The team that less than a year ago could legitimately stake claim to status as the best in MLS history, current holders of a domestic treble, now sit on 15 points -- 10th in the Eastern Conference, just four points up on cellar-dwelling D.C. United.

Montreal Impact extends defender Rod Fanni's contract through end of 2018 |
The Montreal Impact announced on Wednesday that the club extended the contract of French center back Rod Fanni to the end of the 2018 season with a club option for 2019. The veteran defender was originally signed on March 5 through June 30 after Zakaria Diallo suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon just before the start of the season and was scheduled to be sidelined for 5-6 months.

Minnesota United supporters give Collin Martin emotional standing ovation |
Wednesday night, Minnesota United FC midfielder Collin Martin returned to the field after being an unused sub last week. And the crowd was right there with him.

Report: Top European clubs lining up for Vancouver teen sensation Davies |
Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Alphonso Davies is drawing interest from a handful of the top clubs in Europe, according to a report in the Toronto Sun. Kurt Larson reports from Moscow that Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Liverpool, PSV Eindhoven and Manchester United are all lining up for the 17-year-old Canadian International’s signature.

Sporting KC on deflating loss to Real Salt Lake: "It's embarrassing" |
After dropping a tricky road fixture, 2-0, against the Montreal Impact over the weekend, Sporting lost a 4th of July clash, also on the road, to Real Salt Lake by a 4-2 scoreline. While SKC took the lead through Daniel Salloi and pulled to within a goal after going down 3-1, RSL's offensive output and Kansas City's defensive frailties were laid bare in the loss.

Quintero goes down in Minnesota United lore with best hat trick of career |
Darwin Quintero provided the pre-fireworks show on the 4th of July at TCF Bank Stadium, putting in three master class goals and helping to right the ship for a Minnesota United team that had only won once in the previous seven league matches.

World Cup

8 players, matchups and tactics that will decide the World Cup quarterfinals
The 2018 World Cup quarterfinals kick off on Friday. The matchups – France vs. Uruguay, Brazil vs. Belgium, England vs. Sweden, Croatia vs. Uruguay – range from mouthwatering to intriguing to meh.

England manager Gareth Southgate delivers one of World Cup's best moments with post-match embrace of Colombia
As England cast aside years of penalty kick anguish at the World Cup on Tuesday, no person on the pitch likely felt better than England manager Gareth Southgate. Why? Because he was once directly on the receiving end of those so-painful moments.

FIFA 'strongly rebukes' Maradona after soccer legend accuses World Cup officials of match fixing
Diego Maradona showed some continental pride on Tuesday, sporting a Colombia jersey during the team’s World Cup elimination match with England.

Colombia player accuses controversial U.S. referee of bias toward England after World Cup loss
Colombia forward Radamel Falcao was furious after his side was eliminated from the World Cup Tuesday and blunt in handing out accusations of officiating bias in the loss to England.


Barcelona interest can wait until after World Cup - Chelsea's Willian
Willian does not know if Barcelona want to sign him this summer but says now is not the time to talk about his future as he prepares for Brazil's World Cup quarterfinal against Belgium on Friday.

Cristiano Ronaldo transfer talk shrugged off by Juventus chief Giuseppe Marotta
Juventus general manager Giuseppe Marotta has refused to comment on burgeoning reports that the Serie A club have agreed personal terms on a contact with Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.