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Kaka leads MLS All-Stars to win over Tottenham

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Kaka leads MLS All-Stars to win over Tottenham

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Kaka scored on a penalty kick and set up David Villa's goal minutes later in the first half to help the best players in Major League Soccer beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on a blustery Wednesday night.

The MLS improved to 9-3-1 against international competition in its All-Star Game.

Orlando City's Kaka and Villa of New York City FC are the new "kids" in the league and did all right. Both made their MLS debuts this season and showed their skills in the first half before taking a seat on the bench.

Harry Kane scored for the Spurs, who open the English Premier League against Manchester United on Aug. 8.

Keeper Nick Rimando of Real Salt Lake had a sensational opening 45 minutes before turning things over to David Ousted.

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Ousted, who plays for Vancouver, preserved the lead in the 73rd minute when he made a sprawling save on a point-blank attempt by Josh Onomah.

U.S. national team member DeAndre Yedlin entered the game for Tottenham early in the second half and had a good chance at a goal in the 83rd minute, but sent the ball flying over the crossbar.

The 22-year-old Yedlin was acquired by Tottenham from Seattle and MLS in January. He's trying to make the Hotspur club and a good showing over the next few days may go a long way to securing a spot this season. He could also be moved to another team on loan.

Kaka, the captain of the All-Star squad, converted a penalty kick in the 20th minute after a hand ball in the box. Although Spurs keeper Michel Vorm guessed right on Kaka's kick, he couldn't stop the shot from the Brazilian midfielder.

Three minutes later, Kaka set up another goal when he delivered a pass that Villa tapped in with his left foot. Villa is Spain's all-time leading scorer. U.S. national standout Clint Dempsey, a former player at Tottenham before going to Seattle, also was given an assist.

Early on, it was a frustrating first half for Kane as he was stopped three times by Rimando. But Kane wouldn't be denied in the 37th minute, when he juked defender Omar Gonzalez to create just enough space to unleash a line shot into the corner of the net.

Kane had 31 goals in all competitions last season, becoming the first Spurs striker to eclipse the 30-goal mark since Gary Lineker in 1991-92. He was removed for a sub in the 77th minute and received an ovation from the boisterous crowd of 18,671.

While this was technically a friendly, Tottenham couldn't really afford to treat the game like that because it's trying to get match-sharp with Manchester United looming. The Spurs have an exhibition match against Real Madrid next week.

The MLS All Stars were without quite a few big names as Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Steven Gerrard (LA Galaxy), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Frank Lampard (New York City FC) and Chris Tierney (New England Revolution) all sat out due to injuries.

Landon Donovan attended the game as a spectator. The U.S. soccer icon retired last season after winning the MLS title.

Donovan may have found his next calling, though. He stepped into the role of head coach in the MLS Homegrown Game on Tuesday, his side losing in a shootout to Club America under-20s.

Manchester City brings Premier League trophy to Chicago ahead of preseason game in Soldier Field

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NBC Sports Chicago

Manchester City brings Premier League trophy to Chicago ahead of preseason game in Soldier Field

Manchester City is coming off a season in which it dominated the English Premier League to the tune of a record 100-point season.

City is kicking off the preseason of its title defense in Chicago. City takes on Borussia Dortmund at Soldier Field on Friday night.

The last time the reigning Premier League champions were in Chicago was when rivals Manchester United came to Soldier to take on the Chicago Fire in 2011.

The Citizens won’t have the full arsenal of stacked stars for its U.S. tour, which also includes stops in New York and Miami as part of the International Champions Cup. Many of the team’s best players are getting a break after playing in the World Cup. Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne, one of the stars of the tournament, is one of six Man City players to reach the semifinals.

Paul Dickov, who played for City for nearly 10 years between 1996 and 2008, is on tour with the team and talked about City’s preparations.

“The reason the clubs want to come to the States and play in International Champions Cup is the facilities are fantastic, the training facilities, the hotels, the treatment they get and just give them the best preparation going into what’s going to be a hard season,” Dickov said. “Nobody has won the Premier League back-to-back titles for nearly 10 years now so it’s going to be tough. Coming here and being able to prepare the way they can in the United States is going to put them on a long way to regain the title again.”

City brought the Premier League trophy to Wrigley Field on Thursday for the Cubs-Cardinals game. Dickov got to throw out the first pitch. The Scotsman threw a strike, much to his relief.

“I was quite calm beforehand, but I must admit when I got out there and I had to walk out there both hands started getting a bit sweaty,” he said. “I managed to make it and I got a fantastic reception off the Chicago Cubs fans so thank you to everybody at Chicago Cubs for having me there. It was great. Something I’ll never forget.”


Dickov compared Cubs fans to City fans in the way both teams struggled for a long time before finding success.

“They stuck by us through thick and thin when things weren’t as great,” Dickov said of Man City fans. “I suppose it’s a little bit like the Chicago Cubs here in Chicago. The fans turn out, they get 30-40 thousand, great atmosphere, back their team.”

While promoting the game, the Premier League trophy made multiple stops in Chicago, including with the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on an off day.

City also took the trophy and new signing Riyad Mahrez, who just joined Man City from 2016 champions Leicester City, to Haas Park in Logan Square. Haas Park includes a soccer field donated by Manchester City and the American embassy of the United Arab Emirates in 2012.

“The outcome of it has been great,” Dickov said. “Thousands of children and families benefiting, not just from the soccer part of it, but the education program as well. To be down there the other day for the full day and seeing the joy in the kids face seeing soccer here and the other activities that are on is great because, yeah, football is fantastic, soccer is fantastic and when you’re out there and you play you want to win, but it’s important, especially from Manchester City’s point of view, the city and the community. The stuff that they do off the field is second to none and it’s giving something back.”

Chicago Fire permanently sign midfielder Aleksandar Katai

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USA TODAY

Chicago Fire permanently sign midfielder Aleksandar Katai

The Fire have secured the transfer of midfielder Aleksandar Katai from Deportivo Alavés of the Spanish La Liga, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

This season’s breakout playmaker has been signed with Chicago through 2019, with a 2020 club option. Before the transfer, Katai was on loan from Alavés, which was set to expire after July.

The Serbian player has emerged as one of the most important pieces of the Fire’s offense this season. Since joining the club on Feb. 6, Katai has scored eight goals in 18 league matches, tying forward Nemanja Nikolić for the most on the team. Katai also has three assists in 2018.

The 27-year-old’s biggest game of the year came against New York City FC last month when he scored two goals to lead the Fire to 3-2 victory. His production this season in the MLS has been much more significant than it was in 23 matches with Alavés, where Katai only tallied three goals and four assists.

His transfer fee is unknown but, according to Sam Stejskal of MLSsoccer.com, he will be a “Targeted Allocation Money player” for the rest of this season and will not be a Designated Player until 2019. Whatever the official price was, acquiring Katai for a lengthier amount of time seemed like a must.

Throughout this season, the Fire were rumored to be in talks with legendary Spanish striker Fernando Torres. On Tuesday, he signed with Sagan Tosu, a Japanese club. The Fire signed Katai the next day, showing that the team was possibly waiting for Torres to leave the market.

Chicago will face the Philadelphia Union Wednesday night at Toyota Park, where Katai will look to continue his impressive season.