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The Daily Dirt, February 14: Charleston awaits

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Atlanta United heads to the preseason Carolina Challenge Cup later this week

Dave Williamson Photography

Next on the agenda for Atlanta United is the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston. Atlanta will face the Columbus Crew, Seattle Sounders, and Charleston Battery over the span of a week as their final preparation for the upcoming MLS season. After a one-year hiatus, the tournament is returning for its 13th edition.

The event will be the first time that United faces MLS competition, albeit in a preseason friendly. Columbus has been training in Brazil so far this preseason and Seattle took part in two friendlies with MLS clubs in Arizona. Charleston’s season starts later than MLS and they have just launched their preseason.

Yesterday, the Crew announced the acquisition of Sao Paulo midfielder Artur on a one-year loan. The club is currently training in Ohio ahead of their arrival in Charleston for the CCC.

Seattle comes into the CCC as the defending MLS Cup champions and will be a true measuring stick for Atlanta United’s competitive hopes. They drew with Portland and lost to San Jose in preseason matches in Arizona, but match fitness was the primary concern of manager Brian Schmetzer and his coaching staff. The big story in Seattle’s camp is the return of Clint Dempsey. He played in both games in Arizona and his recovery seems to be on schedule.

Charleston re-signed two key contributors from last season in Taylor Mueller and Dante Marini. They scrimmaged the College of Charleston over the weekend and will be facing the South Carolina Gamecocks tomorrow night ahead of the CCC.


Domestic

Orlando City’s PC explains his unusual name (MLS)

Ali Curtis “isn’t really working” for the New York Red Bulls now (Once a Metro)

DC United could get their final stadium approvals on Thursday (Washington Post)

Orlando City going paperless for tickets in 2017 (Orlando Sentinel)

With two Division 2 leagues, will we see one D2 champion? (Empire of Soccer)

Strong bid in the works to bring the USL to Baltimore (Washington Post)

A possible update on the MLS expansion timeline:

International

Bob Bradley tries to learn from his Swansea experience (Guardian)

In the Chinese Super League, teams are now required to field at least one U23 player or forfeit (China Daily)

Local