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World Cup countdown continues for MLS hopefuls
by Paul Kennedy, April 13th, 2014 6:30PM

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TAGS:  concacaf champions league, england, mls, television

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[THIS WEEK IN SOCCER: April 14-20] Only four weeks remain before MLS players learn whether they've been invited to the U.S. World Cup camp that begins May 14 at Stanford.

TUESDAY, April 15:
-- ESPN Films’ 30 for 30: Soccer Stories begins with “Hillsborough” (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET) on the 25th anniversary of the tragedy that kills 96 fans during an FA Cup semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. The powerful documentary explores what happened leading up to disaster and features first-hand accounts of fans in attendance as well as police officers, many speaking on camera for the first time. The film also explores the tragedy through the experiences of families who lost their loved ones and sought justice that is still ongoing.
 
-- For the fifth time in six years, the Concacaf Champions League final is an all-Mexican affair. Toluca visits Cruz Azul at the Estadio Azul in the first leg (live on Fox Sports 2 at 8 p.m. ET)

WEDNESDAY, April 16:
-- The announcement that Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank will be awarded an MLS expansion franchise in Atlanta is schedules for 5 p.m. ET at Ventanas on Baker Street in downtown Atlanta. The invitations in red with white letters and orange trim give a clue to the new club's colors. The team won’t begin play until 2017 when the new $1.2 billion downtown stadium is scheduled to open.

-- Spain's Clasico series moves to Valencia as Real Madrid plays Barcelona in the final of the Copa del Rey (kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET). Real Madrid, which trails Atletico Madrid by three points in La Liga and must prepare for a semifinal date against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, is likely to be without Cristiano Ronaldo. For Barca, third in La Liga and already eliminated from the Champions League, the Copa del Rey is its best hope for a major title this year.

SATURDAY, April 19:
-- Real Salt Lake hosts Portland in a rematch of the 2013 MLS Western Conference finalists. RSL comes into the game unbeaten at 2-0-4, while the Timbers are winless (0-2-4) in their first six games. Following its first loss of the season, FC Dallas, which leads Colorado, Seattle and RSL by three points, looks to get back on the winning track against Toronto FC, which is second in the Eastern Conference.

-- Americans Christen Press, Whitney Engen and Megan Klingenberg continue their quest for a trip to Lisbon and the UEFA Women's Champions League final on May 22 as their Swedish club, Tyreso, travels to Birmingham City Ladies in the first leg of the semifinals. In the other semifinal, Turbine Potsdam opens at home against defending champion Wolfsburg.

SUNDAY, April 20:
-- David Moyes returns to Goodison Park on Easter for the first time since his move to Manchester United as Everton hosts United. Everton begins the week in fourth place in the EPL while United is seventh with little hope of playing in the UEFA Champions League next season.


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