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Sources: Gianluca Busio’s relegation release clause & what awaits Venezia’s USMNT midfielder




US men’s national team midfielder Gianluca Busio has a relegation release clause in his contract with Venezia FC in which he can leave on a free loan this summer, sources tell

Venezia finished bottom of Italy’s Serie A in the 2021-22 season, four points from safety, and will spend next season in Serie B. While the major European leagues only just ended last weekend, Busio is already getting plenty of interest from clubs across Serie A, the Bundesliga, La Liga and elsewhere, sources say.

With the clause being a free loan, sources expect Busio to move this summer, but nothing is definite just yet. The new club would have to cover 100% of his salary. Busio, a Sporting Kansas City homegrown product, signed a three-year contract with Venezia as part of his club-record transfer to the Italian club last summer.

Busio, who turns 20 this week, made 29 Serie A appearances, including 23 starts in his first European campaign. Before heading to Europe, Busio broke through Sporting KC’s academy and into their first team in August 2017, putting up eight goals and nine assists in 70 appearances across all competitions by his 19th birthday.

This time last year, a number of European clubs hoped to sign Busio, including the likes of Club Brugge (Belgium), Sassuolo (Italy), Sporting CP (Portugal) and others before Venezia sealed a deal worth $6 million up front with incentives to take the deal to $10.5 million.

He’s been capped nine times by the USMNT, playing a key role on their Gold Cup 2021-winning side. He also featured in two World Cup qualifiers and is contending to make manager Gregg Berhalter’s Qatar 2022 squad later this fall.

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Match Preview: OL Reign host Kansas City Current at Lumen Field




OL Reign continues their three-game homestand with a Wednesday evening match against the Kansas City Current. The game kicks off at 7 PM PT at Lumen Field and will stream on Paramount+ (U.S.) and Twitch (Canada/international).

With a match last Sunday and another again this Sunday, expect to see plenty of rotation for OL Reign. The same goes for Kansas City, but for different reasons.

The Current are 0-3-1 to start the season and are about to play their fourth road game. After finishing at the top of the Central Division standings in the Challenge Cup, it’s been a rough start to the regular season for the club. In addition to some disappointing results, they’ve had a small outbreak of COVID-19 in the last week on top of injuries to key players. They’ll again deal with these challenges against the Reign, as the Current have six players out and three questionable.

Don’t let the early results or hurdles fool you. Like the Reign, Kansas City has competed in every match. “Even though they may not have got the results that they wanted so far, I think they’ve been in every game. They’ve made it really, really difficult for the opponent to break them down,” OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey said in a pre-match press conference.

Here are five things to know ahead of Wednesday night’s match at Lumen Field.

Both teams won their divisions in the NWSL Challenge Cup, with the Current going 4-1-1 and OL Reign going 4-0-2 in group-stage play. Now, just like the other two Challenge Cup semi-finalists, the Reign and Current sit toward the bottom of the table in regular-season play after four games. Having to push through the Challenge Cup semi-finals clearly hurt both sides at the start of the season, but they still have plenty of time to right the ship.

The Current have deployed a range of formations and tactics throughout the Challenge Cup tournament and regular season. They’ve used a 3-4-3 and 4-2-3-1. Sometimes, they shoot a lot from distance (they had the highest percentage of shots outside the box in the Challenge Cup). Sometimes, they have more intentional possession (they had 59.6% against Houston). Simply put, good luck scouting this team. That, according to Harvey, is the club’s biggest threat heading into the midweek battle.

“It’s a new team for us this season, and I think they’re probably the most unpredictable team we’ve faced in regards to scouting them,” Harvey said. “They play slightly different in all of their games, so I think just not knowing what we’re going to face is one of the big threats for us. We just have to be prepared for everything really and see what the game gives us at certain times and moments.”

Through five matches, OL Reign are undefeated at their new home, Lumen Field. As hometown hero Nikki Stanton said in a pre-match press conference, “I’m still so pumped because Lumen Field, that’s where the Seahawks, the Sounders play, so it’s still pretty surreal every time we go into the parking garage. The fans have been so great.”

Harvey takes it a step further, comparing the experience so far at Lumen Field to a place with plenty of memories for Reign fans.

“Honestly, I’ve said this a few times, I just feel like we’re in an upgraded Memorial. And I am the most biased person ever to Memorial. The atmosphere is so similar to me. Obviously, it’s just a very, very updated, modern, bigger version of it. I think the club’s done a good job of creating where people sit, microphones everywhere, etc. All those little things, I think, have made it a really fantastic environment.”

At the same time, to make Lumen a true fortress for opponents, Harvey is eager to fill the stands even more. “I say all the time, it will only stay home if people come watch us play, so we need to get more bums on seats and make sure people keep coming out to watch us.”

Kristen Hamilton, who joined KC last July in a trade with North Carolina, had a standout performance in the Challenge Cup. Hamilton led the team in shots (15) and goals (4) in the tournament and was named to the Team of the Tournament. The forward is speedy and has a knack for getting herself into the best positions in the box. She also can turn quickly to get a shot off in the box — making her also pretty unpredictable in tight spaces.

Rookie forward Elyse Bennett, a WSU graduate, is another threat up top who is making a real statement at the start of her career. Bennett led the Challenge Cup with four assists, and she’s already notched a goal and assist in regular-season play — despite playing limited minutes and dealing with a slight knock. She’s also fast, good in 1-v-1 situations, a strong passer, and can punish you in the air.

Because their opponent is unpredictable, Harvey is making sure the club focuses on themselves on Wednesday night. A big part of that internal battle will be finishing the many chances they are creating. The Reign lead the league in possession won in the final third and shots per match, and they are second in shots on target per match.

They are also third in the league in expected goals per game (1.58), but the Reign are ninth in the league in goals scored. We will keep repeating it until something changes: They are creating plenty of chances. Now the team needs to convert.

“We’re creating more chances than I think any of my teams have ever created since I’ve coached in this league, so that’s a positive,” Harvey said. “I think now we’ve just got to turn that into goals, and we believe that we can do that. Tomorrow is just another opportunity for us to put that right.”

KC Current

OUT: Chardonnay Curran (Covid Protocol), Chloe Logarzo (right leg), Hailie Mace (Covid protocol), Sam Mewis (right leg), Mallory Weber (SEI – right leg), Lynn Williams (SEI – right leg)

QUESTIONABLE: Izzy Rodriguez (illness), Lo’eau LaBonta (illness), Maddie Nolf (right leg)

OL Reign

OUT: None

OL Reign’s home match against the Kansas City Current kicks off Wednesday, May 25, at 7 PM PT. The game will stream on Paramount+ for fans in the U.S. and Twitch for international viewers.

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Klopp named LMA manager of the year




A five match unbeaten run sees Defiance vault up the MLS NEXT Pro leaderboard. Tacoma Defiance rise to No. 2 in Week 9 MLS NEXT Pro Power Rankings | Tacoma Defiance

Welcome to another week of MLS Power Rankings, where the numbers are made up and the rationale doesn’t matter. Power Rankings: Austin FC, Real Salt Lake ascend after Weeks 12 & 13 |

There’s intrigue aplenty as the US Open Cup enters its Round of 16 on Wednesday night, with 13 MLS teams left standing, including derby showdowns, potential Cupsets, rematches and more across the eight games. US Open Cup: What awaits MLS teams in the Round of 16? |

The video review system in MLS moved to a centralized Video Operations Room last weekend. Centralized VAR system implemented in Week 10 – Professional Referee Organization

Aaronson is still drawing looks from the likes of Red Bull Salzburg. Paxten Aaronson reportedly drawing more interest abroad – Brotherly Game

Coming to The Banc this summer. Angel City FC announce friendly vs. Tigres Feminil on August 10 – Angels on Parade

Two years ago, WSU’s Elyse Bennett wasn’t even thinking about a future in professional soccer. Now, she’s quickly lighting up the league. Elyse Bennett wasn’t going to turn pro. Now, she looks like she’s been here all along – Equalizer Soccer

NWSL coaches and players have hammered the league for failing to protect its players from bad refereeing, but fixing it will take time and money. ‘Absolute madness’: NWSL’s poor refereeing and dangerous play criticized, but no quick fixes in sight | ESPN

A FIFA-appointed expert in women’s football has been cleared of charges of sexual harassment directed at players as young as 14. FIFA judges clear women’s coach of sexual harassment charges | ESPN

The Frenchman is accused of unprofessional behaviour towards players after complaint was made — club say they take the situation very seriously. PSG suspend women’s coach Didier Olle-Nicolle after accusations of inappropriate behaviour | The Telegraph

Leeds are wasting no time. Leeds United close in on £24m deal for Brenden Aaronson – Through It All Together

The message “Manchester United are rubbish” appeared on screen during a news broadcast on Tuesday. BBC apologises after ‘Manchester United are rubbish’ appears on screen – BBC News

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been named the League Managers Association’s manager of the year. Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool boss named LMA manager of the year – BBC Sport

Fan disorder seen at recent football matches is a “reflection of where we are as a country at the moment”, says England manager Gareth Southgate. Pitch invasions & violence: England boss Gareth Southgate says issue a “reflection” of the country – BBC Sport

Tottenham’s majority shareholders ENIC Sports Inc announced they will be putting an extra £150m into the club. Tottenham to get £150m boost after Champions League qualification – BBC Sport

Carlo Ancelotti said he “respects the decision” of Kylian Mbappe to turn down Real Madrid in favour of staying at Paris Saint-Germain. Carlo Ancelotti on Kylian Mbappe rejecting Real Madrid: I respect the decision | ESPN

Mbappe said Liverpool were one of the clubs he spoke to before deciding to extend his stay at Paris Saint-Germain. Kylian Mbappe reveals Liverpool talks before PSG extension | ESPN

The Premier League has approved the £4.25bn takeover of Chelsea with the consortium, led by US businessman Todd Boehly, passing its owners’ and directors’ test. Chelsea: Premier League approves takeover deal from Todd Boehly consortium – BBC Sport

12:00 PM: FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid (Copa de la Reina) — ESPN+

12:00 PM: Roma vs. Feyenoord (Europa Conference League) — Paramount+ / TUDN

4:00 PM: Orlando City vs. Inter Miami (US Open Cup) — ESPN+

4:00 PM: Louisville City vs. Nashville SC (US Open Cup) — ESPN+

4:30 PM: NYCFC vs. New England Revolution (US Open Cup) — ESPN+

5:00 PM: New York Red Bulls vs. Charlotte FC (US Open Cup) — ESPN+

5:00 PM: Minnesota United vs. Union Omaha (US Open Cup) — ESPN+

5:30 PM: Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo (US Open Cup) — ESPN+

7:00 PM: OL Reign vs. KC Current (NWSL) — Paramount+

7:30 PM: LA Galaxy vs. LAFC (US Open Cup) — ESPN+

7:30 PM: Sacramento Republic vs. San Jose Earthquakes (US Open Cup) — ESPN+

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