Kick Off: Abby Wambach snags goal record, Sunderland in for USMNT forward Jozy Altidore?
Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1) IS SUNDERLAND THE NEXT STOP FOR JOZY ALTIDORE?
Could be. At least, that's what Tyneside evening newspaper the Shields Gazette "can reveal" this morning. Take it for what it is, though: an unsourced rumor, the likes of which you better get used to as the summer transfer window nears. Still, a return to the Premier League might sound mighty nice to Altidore, who's a completely different player now than he was when the goals failed to flow at Hull City a few years back.
2) WAMBACH BECOMES INTERNATIONAL SOCCER'S ALL-TIME LEADING SCORER
Not bad, huh? Abby Wambach was shooting for goal No. 158, Mia Hamm's previous record, against South Korea on Thursday night at Red Bull Arena. There was a lot of "will she" or "won't she" talk leading up to the match, but Wambach was clearly having none of that. She scored four times in the first half to establish the new record of 160 goals. Now there is only one question left: How many more can she score? You can watch the record-setting goal here.
3) US U-20s KICK OFF WORLD CUP AGAINST SPAIN TODAY
It doesn't get much tougher than this for Tab Ramos' side in Turkey, as the young Nats face La Furia Roja in the first of their group matches at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Here are 13 reasons for you to care about tournament, which is often the launching pad for the next generation of stars. Plus, hear what Luis Gil has to say about all of it on the latest edition of ExtraTime Radio.
4) INJURIES COULD AFFECT U-20 LINEUP, BUT US STARS READY TO SHINE
Some players couldn't make it to Turkey, but that's par for the course, according to Ramos, who remains confident that this team can make an impact despite being drawn into the proverbial Group of Death. Who should you watch out for? Seattle Sounders right back DeAndre Yedlin and Monterrey forward Alonso Hernandez are just two of many.
5) ORLANDO MAYOR SAYS MLS FRANCHISE COULD ARRIVE BY LATE SUMMER
If you're Orlando City SC, you've got to love having Buddy Dyer in your corner. Everything may not have gone to plan on the club's stadium initiative the first time around, but Dyer doesn't seem to be fazed. In fact, he says funding issues could be resolved in a couple weeks, leading to an official announcement. "It's going to happen," Dyer said in a radio interview on Thursday. "We'll add a second major league sport to our city's offerings."
6) BRONX REASSERTS DESIRE TO SEE NYCFC CALL THEIR BOROUGH HOME
Speaking of public servants all-in on soccer, Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. hasn't backed off from his assertion that New York City FC should call his neck of the woods home. There has still been no official meeting, apparently, but Diaz told a local TV station there had been positive feedback. "We still want them in New York City, that we want them to come to the borough of the Bronx, and we should start preliminary conversations," he said.
7) USMNT WON'T HAVE TO GO SPELUNKING IN COSTA RICA AFTER ALL
It wouldn't have been literally spelunking, of course, but surviving the Monster's Cave (a.k.a. Saprissa Stadium) requires some sturdy equipment and a resolute mental makeup. Turns out the USMNT don't have to worry about that, though. Costa Rica couldn't get Saprissa up to FIFA requirements in time for September's Hex visit from the US, meaning the game will be played at the National Stadium instead. Nice break for Jurgen Klinsmann & Co.
8) DON'T FORGET TO TWEET YOUR 2013 AT&T MLS ALL-STAR VOTE
Keep voting online and via text, obviously, but time is running out to cast a Twitter ballot for the big game on July 31 at Sporting Park. Here's how to do it. Some players are even leading their own campaigns on the social-media platform.
9) SHOULD ZAC MACMATH BE WORRIED ABOUT HIS JOB IN PHILLY?
Not really, according to Union boss John Hackworth, but maybe. Confused? Well, here's the deal. Hackworth said the club brought in Bundesliga veteran Oka Nikolev to push MacMath in training, but he also said he "wouldn't bring a guy in to be a practice player" in the same breath. Guess we'll just have to wait and see. It looks like more moves are coming in Philly, too.
10) JACK MCINERNEY ISN'T WORRIED ABOUT MUCH THESE DAYS
The nice thing about Jack McInerney is that he lets his play speak for itself. And, boy, are the goals making his point heard this season. Check out this feature out of Philly that details the pressure McInerney feels to keep this up, his desire to show off his shot from distance and hopes for the future. This quote pretty much sums up his current situation: "It feels like everything is kind of going my way."
11) IS TORONTO FC STARTING TO TAKE SHAPE AHEAD OF SUMMER WINDOW?
Everything has most definitely not been going Toronto's way this season, but perhaps there is reason for hope. Matías Laba is starting to find his feet after a bit of a slow start to his MLS career, and it appears striker Robert Earnshaw will be sticking around past the completion of his loan.
12) DREAM TURNS REALITY AS QUEBEC FIELDS NATIONAL SIDE
You probably haven't heard about this unless you live in the land of Poutine, but Quebec is taking a page out of Catalonia's book, among many others. They're fielding a national team, which will play it's first match in Marseille, France, at the 2013 International Peoples, Cultures and Tribes Tournament.
13) US OPEN CUP SEMIFINAL PAIRING SET
We already know who's playing who in the quarterfinals, but now the path to the final is outlined as well. Check out the pairings here. The most interesting tidbit? If Orlando City and Carolina win, they'll each host an MLS side with a spot in the championship game on the line.
14) MLS REORGANIZES ON BUSINESS FRONT
Here's the news: Gary Stevenson has been hired as president and managing director of the League’s new business unit, MLS Business Ventures. Plus, MLS President Mark Abbott will assume expanded responsibilities in his new role as president and deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer. Read about all the changes here.
15) DAVID BECKHAM CAUSES STAMPEDE IN CHINA
Say what? OK, if you are like me, you just acted surprised when you read that headline. Clearly, David Beckham is something else entirely, a man who turns instantly people into autograph hounds and amateur papparatzi with no regard for each other's safety. That's what happened at a recent appearance in Shanghai in which a handful of people were injured. Read all about it here.
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