The U.S. men's soccer team will open its 2021 schedule with an exhibition against Trinidad and Tobago on Jan. 31 at Orlando, Florida. A roster missing all Europe-based regulars has been working out in preparation for the match, which is not on a FIFA international match date. Fans will be required to wear face coverings to attend the game, the U.S. Soccer Federation said Wednesday, and there will be at least 6 feet of space between each group of fans in the stands.
ATLANTA — Paul McDonough has returned to Atlanta United as vice-president of soccer operations. The MLS team announced the rehiring of McDonough on Tuesday after he spent two years as Inter Miami's sporting director. McDonough returns to the role he held in Atlanta from 2016-18, becoming a key player in the club's dynamic entry into MLS. United set numerous attendance records and captured the MLS Cup championship in just its second season in 2018. McDonough left after the championship to lead Inter Miami's entry into MLS as an expansion team this past year. The club went 7-13-3 and made the MLS playoffs in its pandemic-affected debut season. Atlanta United, meanwhile, fell on hard times in 2020. The club fired coach Frank de Boer and missed the playoffs for the first time. “Paul was a key part of our team as we built Atlanta United and we’re delighted to have him back in the organization,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said in a statement. “Paul brings a vast knowledge of the game, but more importantly he is a great cultural fit who complements our front office." McDonough will report to technical director Carlos Bocanegra and take a leading role in managing the salary cap. McDonough previously worked with Orlando City, helping the club transition to its inaugural season in MLS. He began his career in college coaching, serving as an assistant at Wake Forest, South Carolina and UConn. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
A look at what’s happening around European soccer on Wednesday: ENGLAND Manchester rivals United and City are vying for first place in the Premier League when they play games back-to-back. City can go above Leicester and United to take top spot for the first time this season by winning at home to Aston Villa, whose senior players are playing their first match since Jan. 1 — after which there was a coronavirus outbreak in the squad that led to the training ground being closed. City is the form team in the league, having won its last five matches. United plays later at Fulham, which is in third-to-last place but is proving hard to beat in recent weeks. As is United, which hasn't lost in the league since Nov. 1 and can take a two-point lead at the top with a win. SPAIN Real Madrid plays in the round of 32 of the Copa del Rey against third-division club Alcoyano, which eliminated top-flight Huesca in the previous round. Madrid is winless in its last two matches in all competitions. In another round-of-32 game, Real Sociedad visits third-division club Córdoba. In the Spanish league, Villarreal hosts Granada, Celta Vigo visits Real Betis and last-place Huesca plays at Getafe. GERMANY Bayern Munich has been able to preserve and even extend its lead after mixed recent form when other title contenders slipped up too. A visit to Augsburg should be a straightforward opportunity to get another win to follow Sunday's shaky 2-1 victory over Freiburg. After two winless games, Leipzig's title challenge has been dented, making a win over Union Berlin even more important. Luka Jovic scored twice on his return to the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt on loan from Real Madrid and now faces Freiburg away. Schalke hosts Cologne and Stuttgart visits Arminia Bielefeld. ITALY Anything but a convincing win for Juventus over Napoli in the Italian Super Cup could spell the beginning of the end of Andrea Pirlo’s brief time in charge. Pirlo is under pressure just a few months into his first senior coaching job, with Juventus faltering in the league. The nine-time defending champion lost 2-0 at title rival Inter Milan to leave it fifth in Serie A, 10 points behind league leader AC Milan. Napoli beat Fiorentina 6-0 to move third. Atalanta can move into third place if it wins at relegation-threatened Udinese earlier in its rearranged league match. The match was originally set to take place on Dec. 6 but was postponed because of a flooded field. Udinese is just three points above the relegation zone. FRANCE After an abject performance last weekend, Marseille must bounce back with a home win against Lens as it plays one of its two games in hand. The 2-1 home loss to a struggling Nimes side was arguably Marseille’s worst showing of the season. It led to some stinging post-match comments from Marseille’s central defender Alvaro Gonzalez about not fighting for the jersey enough, and from its coach Andre Villas-Boas. A much-needed win at Stade Velodrome would put Marseille one point behind fourth-place Monaco and restore some pride. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press