Kick Off: Major League Soccer reveals 2014 schedule, with a break for World Cup in Brazil
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. RIGHT ON SCHEDULE
On Monday, MLS released the schedule for the 2014 season. It’s the earliest the schedule has ever been made available and contained some interesting information, especially in regards to the international schedule. The season kicks off with the Seattle Sounders hosting Sporting Kansas City on March 8 and will include a two-week break for the World Cup. Now that we have the schedule, here are 10 games you won’t want to miss.
2. GOT THE POWERS
Congratulations are due to Dillon Powers, the winner of 2013 MLS Rookie of the Year. Powers saw off competition from the Seattle Sounders' DeAndre Yedlin and his own Colorado Rapids teammate Deshorn Brown to pick up the prize. Darlington Nagbe and the LA Galaxy also picked up the individual and team Fair Play awards.
3. DECLINED IN DALLAS
FC Dallas have parted ways with three players, including 2010 MVP David Ferreira, after declining their options on Monday. The other two were Erick and Ramon Nuñez, the first cuts of what could be a large turnover this offseason as the club look to rebuild under a new head coach. The Philadelphia Union also declined the options on four players, including World Cup winner Kléberson.
4. FIRING LINE
The Chicago Fire also had a big announcement on Monday with the news that, after a considerable amount of effort to acquire the player in the first place, the club has declined the option on Designated Player Arévalo Ríos. New Fire boss Frank Yallop has explained his first major decision, citing that “he doesn’t fit into what we’re doing financially and positionally,” adding “it frees up a little bit of cap room.”
5. LEAVING NEW YORK
The news out of New York on Monday was that the Red Bulls have declined their options on both David Carney and Brandon Barklage. Carney was eligible for the Waiver Draft but was not picked up by any sides. In other New York Red Bulls news, it seems goalkeeper Ryan Meara is the latest to head overseas this offseason.
6. MONTREAL MOVES
The Montreal Impact also declined options on two midfielders, in the form of Paulo DelPiccolo and Maximiliano Rodriguez. However, the day quickly turned around for DelPiccolo, as he was selected by the New England Revolution in the Waiver Draft, one of only two players to be picked up. The New England Revolution apparently got some inside information on DelPiccolo from his old friend and teammate Andrew Farrell.
7. CHIVAS IN LIMBO
Chivas USA are once again in search of a head coach, having lost José Luis Real to sister club Chivas Guadalajara. Monday's headlines also included the news that Juan Carlos Ortega will become director of sports development and oversee scouting and the youth system at both Chivas clubs.
8. BUILDING BRIDGES
With the 2015 deadline just over a year away, the two MLS clubs in Texas seem to be taking different approaches to building their USL PRO link. For FC Dallas, while the club themselves are staying quiet, could the pieces be falling into place for their own USL PRO team? While in Houston, it appears that the Dynamo will be announcing an affiliation with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Tuesday.
9. IN RESERVE
With five professional teams now in Canada, it seems that Quebec wants to get in on the action. According to a report on Monday, Quebec City mayor Regis Labeaume believes his city can support a pro soccer team, and the best way to do that is either through joining the NASL or becoming home to the Montreal Impact’s reserve team.
10. THE MOST INTERESTING RIVALRY?
On Dec. 7, Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake line up against each other in this year’s MLS Cup final. With what RSL general manager Garth Lagerway calls “diametrically opposed styles of soccer,” is there an argument to be made that this could be the most interesting rivalry in MLS? In picking up the Western Conference trophy, Real Salt Lake were happy to end their trophy drought, but they know there is still work to do. If RSL should win MLS Cup though, would that make Jason Kreis more or less likely to leave?
11. NO CHANGES FOR TIMBERS
The season may be over for the Portland Timbers and, while it was by no means a failure, it did stop just short of where they would have liked it to. So, what will head coach Caleb Porter look to change this offseason? According to the man himself, not one thing, but the experience itself will help improve the team. Timbers owner Merritt Paulson was also full of praise for his team, pointing to the selflessness of players fighting through injury, such as Diego Valeri and Donovan Ricketts.
12. CAMERON ENJOYING TIME IN STOKE
Of the three Americans at Stoke City, there is no doubt that Geoff Cameron is having the best experience so far. Now in his second year there, the US national team defender has consolidated his position in the team, and NBC’s Pro Soccer Talk caught up with Cameron during the recent international fixtures.
13. MEXICO AND THE US ECONOMY
If you’re not happy that Mexico qualified for the World Cup then perhaps this will change your mind. It seems that Mexico’s qualification will actually help boost the US economy as well as Mexico's. Perhaps Graham Zusi knew that all along.
14. TWO BECOMES THREE?
With the two new teams entering MLS in 2015, there is some discussion about how that will affect the conferences. Here’s two ways the league could be restructured. How would you do it?
15. EARLY PIONEER PASSES AWAY
Some sad news from Monday, as it emerged that Bill Foulkes has passed away. The 81-year-old spent 18 years as a Manchester United player, surviving the Munich air disaster, and recorded 688 appearances for the side. He came to America in the 7190s and had brief spells in charge of the Chicago Sting, Tulsa Roughnecks and the San Jose Earthquakes in the NASL.
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