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The Daily Dirt: FC Cincinnati is the latest club to announce MLS dreams

It seems like every American club under the sun is planning a top-tier future.

How FC Cincinnati plans to utilize Nippert Stadium in the city's downtown.
How FC Cincinnati plans to utilize Nippert Stadium in the city's downtown.
FC Cincinnati/Facebook

With MLS looking at future expansion beyond the 24-team goal, clubs in the second and third levels of American soccer are coming out of the woodwork to get in on the action. Charlotte Independence and Carolina RailHawks have already made their interest known, and joining those two is FC Cincinnati, which hasn't even played a game yet. Club president Jeff Berding told Soapbox Media the soon-to-debut USL side, "every aspect of building the organization" has been done to achieve the goal of eventually joining MLS.

"We'd love the opportunity to some day be invited into the MLS as the top league," Berding said. "We need to have strong attendance at our games, and if we get to 10,000 per game that will send a strong message. The MLS commissioner has stated that the MLS wants to continue to expand, and we believe Cincinnati is a great market and that we have every opportunity to be successful. We have work to do to put Cincinnati in that conversation about potential expansion cities, and we aim to achieve that outcome this year."

3 things we learned from Paris Saint-Germain's 2-1 win over Chelsea [SBN]

Champions League action is back with the knockout Round of 16. Tuesday's biggest game saw PSG hand Chelsea its first loss under caretaker Guus Hiddink. But, the Blues managed to pick up an away goal, which could prove vital in the second leg of the tie.

Real Madrid vs. Roma 2016: Time, TV schedule and news for Champions League [SBN]

Wednesday's biggest matchup is Zinedine Zidane's first Champions League game as manager of Real Madrid. Conor Dowley notes Zidane is the biggest question mark:

Since Zidane took over as manager, Real Madrid have been more impressive than not under his guidance, but they've been far from the dominant force their fans hope to see in most of their matches. Now they face their greatest test since Zidane took over, and it's not clear at all how ready he is for the challenge just yet. Zidane has plenty of experience in high-pressure matches of great magnitude as a player, but he has no experience managing those matches. If he's not ready, then his team won't be ready — and this match won't go well at all for Real Madrid.

Tony Meola rebuilding Armada as coach and technical director [SBI]

Goalkeeper Tony Meola, with his ponytail and neon kits, was exactly what young American soccer fans needed in the '90s. Now, he's proving to be valuable as a club leader as well.

Nigel de Jong: LA Galaxy move inspired by love of American sports culture [ESPN FC]

Apparently de Jong is a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

Referee shot dead after showing red card in amateur match [SI]

This is terrible.

What's happening in The A?

NBA Trade Rumors: Kings showing interest in Hawks' Thabo Sefolosha [Peachtree Hoops]

The smart thinking says this deal will happen only if the Hawks trade Al Horford and enter a blow-it-up scenario.

Tiago Splitter to miss remainder of 2015-2016 season after hip surgery [Peachtree Hoops]

Well, this isn't good. Atlanta fans were hoping Splitter would be an underrated addition to put the Hawks over the top, but this season has been a bust for the backup big man.

Five Falcons facing make or break seasons in 2016 [The Falcoholic]

If these guys don't have good years, they may be on their way out of Atlanta.