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15 May 4:57 pm

Dan Gargan usually paints to find an escape from his day job, but the Chicago Fire defender mixed his two passions in a piece he painted for Wednesday’s “Art of Futbol” Gallery showing in Chicago, which takes place on Wednesday and benefits the Chicago Fire Foundation.

Gargan’s piece is called “The Beautiful Game,” and is an abstract vision of what Gargan believes soccer embodies.

“It’s pretty simple,” Gargan told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s got a bunch of flowers in it. When I think of the game, there’s just a bunch of different ways you can express yourself through the game.

"I feel like no one person’s expression or interpretation of the game is the same, and that’s reminiscent of how flowers are. They’re all unique, and they’re all beautiful in their own way.”

Gargan has loved painting since he was a kid, and he minored in studio art at Georgetown University.

Most of his painting nowadays comes in the offseason. His paintings usually end up somewhere in his apartment or in a family member’s home, but a few players around MLS have asked him to paint for them.

This offseason, Colorado forward Conor Casey, Gargan’s former teammate, gave him a wall in his home to use as his canvas.

“He’s always been a big fan of my art,” Gargan said. “He gave me a wall and said, ‘Go for it.’”

Gargan is working on a web site to promote his art work, which he said should be up in the next few weeks.

The Fire defender is hoping people will be interested in his work, and is excited about Wednesday’s showing, which takes place from 7 to 9 pm CT at Society Art Gallery in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood.

But he’s perfectly fine if painting remains just a hobby.

“What I’m getting out of it right now is exactly what I’m looking for,” Gargan said. “That’s the ability to step away from soccer and just have fun with it. It gives me a lot of joy and a lot of happiness to me and my friends and my family. If it was to get bigger, or people were interested in it, that’s great. But it’s more of just an outlet for me.”

11 May 12:55 pm

This week, US internationals pose all over Europe for photos, a soccer journalist examines a bizzarre photo of Arshavin, and Charlie Davies takes FIFA 12 to a whole new level.

Don't forget to follow our two official Twitter handles to find out the latest from inside MLS   

US International Kljestan won his first trophy, as Anderlecht clinched the Belgian League title. This photo is very, well, euro. We like it. Congrats Sacha.

Former D.C. United striker Davies is back in France with Sochaux. He is causing all kinds of damage with his brother, over a video game.

Soccer journalist and presenter of the Best Soccer show, Davis gave three alternatives for photo captions which should have been used in this photo of Arshavin celebrating. Hilarious!

Gooch is looking suave in this magazine shoot for the latest edition of Men's Health in Portugal. Usually that kind of glance strikes fear into the opposition, but don't worry he's not angry, the US center back is in the zone for his close-up.

Martino is a thoughtful husband and a wonderful color commentator on NBC Sports Network. (P.S. check out his Twitter avatar, was this the result of his shaving mishap?!)

If you see a soccer tweet that should be included in our top five, be sure to send it to the @MLS_Insider!

10 May 5:50 pm

Ok, so I don't actually know where to start with this. Other than to say, this is amazingly awkward and I loved every single second of it.

Hermes, a former capo for the Portland Timbers, will have you in tears with his deadpan wit in this great new series “Off Pitch with Hermes.”

Above is Episode 3, but you can watch all the episodes on the Timbers website by clicking here.

I think Hermes says it best, when he states “do not be afraid of your own greatness!” Well, Hermes, we think your pretty great, so ummm....don’t be afraid.

09 May 1:43 pm

Take a few minutes of your time to watch New York Red Bulls and US national team star Juan Agudelo talk about his childhood memories playing the game he loves – badminton.

Just kidding.

No offense to badminton, but Agudelo has grown up with soccer on the brain since, apparently, birth. 

His first word was one you'd expect from a soccer obsessed child, instead of uttering "Mom" or "Dad" Agudelo screamed "Goooooaaal!"

As a youngster, the lightning-quick winger also scribbled a note on the back wall of his closet, a reminder to help make his dream become a reality:

"John pro soccer player. If God lets me or if he wants me to. Or maybe a pro basketball player. It's all up to me and God."

The video is part of Team Kellogg's new series "Start Stories," which looks at how young US athletes got started in the sport they now get paid to play.

08 May 4:22 pm

You can't help but respect Montreal Impact head coach Jesse Marsch for immersing himself in the local culture of Quebec, an effort that centers on the French lessons the former US national team assistant is currently taking.

Montreal’s man in charge is keen to speak the natives; language and the Impact’s video staff followed him along to his latest French lesson to spy on his progress.

The title of the video roughly translates to “Jesse Marsch’s French is getting better, week by week.” So just like his team then, which is coming off impressive back-to-back victories against Portland and Sporting Kansas City.

Marsch also had this to say about the great job his squad is doing with settling down in French-Canadian surroundings:

“As a group, we have a lot of people who have come up here to Montreal and now they understand that being here is different and that it’s unique. They are attaching themselves to everything that this club is, that this city is. There are a bunch of guys here who are committed to doing this thing wholly.”

05 May 6:57 pm

On Saturday evening chanting and beating drums could be heard through the streets of midtown Manhattan. New York Red Bulls fans took over.

33rd street from Greeley Square to Fifth avenue was shut down to accommodate a large gathering of fans from supporters groups —including the Empire Supporters Club, Garden State Ultras, and Viking Army— who showed their support for the Red Bulls, ahead of their nationally televised (ESPN, 8pm ET) clash with rivals LA Galaxy.

The scenes were colorful, lively and loud as fans marched down the street before entering Legends Bar, to watch New York's trip to the Home Depot Center.

Eric Rios, a board member of the Empire Supporters Club, was pleased with the turnout at the first event of its kind this season. "We got a lot of people, we made some noise. That's what's it's all about."

INTERVIEW WITH ERIC RIOS

04 May 11:15 am

This week, US internationals playing in Scotland pine for US shores, a New York Red Bull encounters strange things in Manhattan, and an American pundit defends the honor of the Wigan manager's nomenclature.

Don't forget to follow our two official Twitter handles to find out the latest from inside MLS   

Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty has a slightly bizarre experience when hunting for an apartment in Manhattan.

Is this a hint that US national team midfielder Maurice Edu would like to return from Scotland to America? Better question: Can Mo do the Carlton Banks dance?

One of Edu's Glasgow Rangers Yankee teammates also gets nostalgic about the USA -- video-game style!

ESPN's Alexi Lalas begs English wordsmiths to give Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez some credit for his managerial prowess, oh, and to get his name right too.

Fox Socer pundit Costigan takes a tour around Boston for the first time, on route to met Red Sox and Liverpool FC chairman Tom Werner. Safe to say he is impressed.

If you see a soccer tweet that should be included in our top five, be sure to send it to the @MLS_Insider!

26 April 1:51 pm

Liverpool FC are going to open their doors to the public, Hard Knocks style, during their preseason tour of the US and Canada this summer.

Cameras will be following the players and coaching staff’s every move in the up close and personal documentary, which will be aired on FOX Soccer in a six-episode series entitled, "Our Liverpool: Never Walk Alone."

The Reds are taking on Toronto FC as part of the World Football Challenge on July 21 at the Rogers Centre.

Emmy award-winning producer Scott Boggin — mastermind behind the 24/7 HBO series, which has showcased the lead-up to the Ricky Hatton vs. Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz  boxing matches as well as the NHL's Winter Classis between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals — will follow Liverpool on their North American tour as they prepare for the 2012-13 Premier League season.

FOX Soccer had this to say about the award winning producer:

"Scott's body of work is remarkable, giving fans a true peek behind the curtain into the lives of sport's biggest teams, athletes and coaches. Scott has proven his ability to capture these inner workings in a truly organic manner, and now he has the opportunity to tell Liverpool FC's rich story to a global audience."

The big question is, will the crew be able to understand conversations between Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher in their heavy Scouse accents? Let alone pick up manager Kenny Daglish’s Scottish brogue when he’s off-duty?

Only time will tell, but the show is sure to raise the Reds profile in North America and beyond.

25 April 1:10 pm

As Real Madrid and Brazil star Kaka ticks over the 10 million followers mark on Twitter — a quite remarkable feat — which other athletes generate the most interest from fans, journalists and other professionals worldwide?

Four out of the top five followed athletes are soccer players, once again proving soccer's global appeal. This is what Kaka had to say:

Here are the top five followed athletes on Twitter on the planet:

1. Kaka – 10,014,735 million

2. Cristiano Ronaldo - 9,015,170 million

3. LeBron James - 4,340,534 million

4. Neymar - 4,102,275 million

5. Wayne Rooney - 3,942,544 million

24 April 4:34 pm

Washington Wizards star point guard John Wall showed MLS some love the other day, but not the kind D.C. sports fans want to see. Wall wasn't sporting a D.C. United jersey, but the shirt of fierce rivals, the New York Red Bulls. Ouch.

The first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft was recently spotted showing off his Red Bulls jersey at Club Play in Miami Beach.

After a stellar career at the University of Kentucky, Wall has carved out a name for himself in the NBA, finishing runner-up for Rookie of the Year honors in 2011.

Wall grew up in North Carolina, so why the Red Bulls jersey, United fans might be asking?

Beats me.

Also, one last lingering thought. Did he bust out the cult “John Wall dance” which gave him so much popularity during his college days, while in the club? Did he do so with New York colors on his back?

Answers on a postcard, please.

(Photo via Urban Party Life