Kick Off: Is Barcelona's Victor Valdes on his way to MLS? Plus, US U-20s snatch late draw vs. France
Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. BARÇA’S VÍCTOR VALDÉS HINTS AT FUTURE MLS MOVE
Voted La Liga’s best goalkeeper five times during his Barcelona career, Víctor Valdés could be heading to MLS soon. Speaking at the Confederations Cup, the 31-year-old Spanish international reeled off a host of possible future destinations, including the US. Which MLS team could use a three-time Champions League winner between the sticks?
2. US U-20s SNATCH LATE TIE, KEEP WORLD CUP DREAM ALIVE
The US Under-20 national team never give up. Tab Ramos' men looked down and out going into the last 10 minutes against France on Monday at the U-20 World Cup, but sub Daniel Cuevas pounced to grab a 1-1 tie and the US now have a winner-takes-all match with Ghana on Thursday. With a missed PK stuck in his craw, Ramos was disappointed the US didn’t beat the French: “Obviously the result is what it is. We could have won the game, but we certainly want to play a lot better than we did today."
3. IS JACK MAC STRUGGLING TO MAKE GOLD CUP SQUAD?
Jack McInerney revealed that Philadelphia’s game against the New York Red Bulls last Sunday was watched closely by US national team coaches. So with MLS’ joint-leading goalscorer firing a blank, have his chances of making the Gold Cup roster taken a hit?
4. CANADA’S GOLD CUP SQUAD LEAKED
There’s been no formal announcement from the Canadian Soccer Association about their Gold Cup roster, but plenty of names have been leaking out in the press North of the border. The Toronto Sun is reporting that four TFC players have made the Canucks' Gold Cup squad, with Doneil Henry, Jonathan Osorio, Kyle Bekker and Ashtone Morgan all included. Toronto could be affected more than any other MLS club when the full Gold Cup rosters are announced.
5. TORONTO TO HOST AS ROMA IN FRIENDLY?
Staying up in Canada, reports are suggesting that Toronto FC will make an announcement later today regarding a friendly against Serie A giants AS Roma at BMO Field on August 7. Roma and USMNT midfielder Michael Bradley will play the MLS All-Stars on July 31 in Kansas City, so slotting in another game would make sense.
6. VOTE FOR GOAL OF THE WEEK
This week's AT&T Goal of the Week race is a cracker, with some amazing goals scored in Week 17. Will Johnson’s chip and volley was immaculate, while Tristan Bowen and Kyle Beckerman came up with superb finishes. Make sure you vote for your favorite.
7. AVILA PUTS USMNT PLANS ON BACKBURNER
Eric Avila hasn’t just left behind Chivas USA by hoping to join Liga MX side Chivas Guadalajara, his hopes of playing for the US national team are also on hold. CD Guadalajara manager Benjamín Galindo claims Avila has given up any future US calls: “Being in Guadalajara, he’s not going to be called up to the national team; what he really wants to do is play for Guadalajara.”
8. NEW STADIUM SPONSOR FOR FC DALLAS?
Speculation is rife in Dallas this morning, as FCD may be close to securing a new sponsorship deal for their stadium. Formerly known as Pizza Hut Park, Dallas’ home is now simply named “FC Dallas Stadium.” But all that could change soon.
9. BREK SHEA CAUSES INSTAGRAM STORM
Former FC Dallas star and current USMNT and Stoke City winger Break Shea may have some explaining to do about this latest picture he posted on Instagram. Shea posted a picture of himself holding two shotguns into the air, but has since removed the image from his account.
10. “PORTERBALL” BETTER THAN WE EXPECTED
After the Portland Timbers extended their unbeaten streak to 15 games with a 3-0 win over Colorado on Saturday, Caleb Porter’s stock has continued to rise. The Timbers are now joint-top of the Western conference. Can “Porterball” bring MLS Cup to the Rose City? SB Nation discusses.
11. COULD MLS SPLIT INTO FOUR DIVISIONS?
The guys over at Bleacher Report discuss whether or not this would be a good idea from 2015 onwards. Northwest, Southwest, Central and Atlantic divisions have been proposed — any objections on the traveling from a fan perspective?
12. SOCCER CHALLENGING BASEBALL IN CUBA
How exactly this story popped up in the Alaska Dispatch is a mystery. However, it is still some great insight into how soccer is growing in Cuba. With baseball the national obsession for many years, Cuban youngsters are now turning to soccer as the world's game threatens to overtake the popularity of baseball in Cuba.
13. WIGAN ANNOUNCE US TOUR
New Wigan Athletic manager Owen Coyle is an admirer of soccer in North America, we all know that after he signed Tim Ream and Stuart Holden at Bolton Wanderers. And now he has rehashed Wigan’s preseason plans to include a trip stateside. Wigan will now play the Columbus Crew on July 13 and then the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on July 19 at the gorgeous Highmark Stadium. Make sure you don’t miss seeing the FA Cup holders in action.
14. ANCELOTTI IN AT REAL MADRID, PSG HIRE BLANC
It has been a busy morning over in Europe, as Real Madrid announced Carlo Ancelotti as their new manager. The Italian coach left PSG, with former French national team manager Laurent Blanc jumping straight in to take that spot. Two huge clubs get two new managers just like that. Easy peezy.
15. U-20 WORLD CUP CONTINUES
If you’re bored around the office today, don’t despair. There is plenty of international soccer to keep you occupied. Mexico vs. Paraguay starts at 10:45 am ET on ESPN2. Check out the rest of the U-20 World Cup action here.
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