Kick Off: With 11 days until start of MLS season, when will Colorado Rapids name a coach?
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. COLORADO COACHING STATUS?
The new season is almost upon us and the Colorado Rapids still haven’t appointed a new head coach. While Pablo Mastroeni runs the show for now, The Denver Post takes us through the club's offseason coaching search. Meanwhile, Rapids defender Marvell Wynne is now entering his ninth season in MLS, his fifth with the Rapids, and despite the coaching uncertainty, he believes his side is heading in the right direction.
2. PICKING BERRY
If there were still questions over the Philadelphia Union's defense, they were addressed in a big way on Monday with the acquisition of 2012 Rookie of the Year Austin Berry from the Chicago Fire in exchange for allocation money. The Fire also offloaded Federico Puppo in moves many see as paving the way to give Mike Magee a rumored pay rise as he prepares to attempt an MVP encore.
3. WHAT WENT WRONG WITH CHIVAS USA?
On Monday, Chivas USA confirmed that English forward Luke Moore has indeed joined the club. What will that mean for the coming season? The Goat Parade provides some insight by taking a good long look at the striker. The site also takes a big picture look at former owner Jorge Vergara’s legacy with the team. For another interesting perspective of where things may have gone wrong, there's this piece from a former club employee.
4. ZAKUANI GETTING READY TO WORK
With Steve Zakuani edging ever closer to a return to fitness, the new Portland Timbers winger has been participating in some of the clubs lighter training sessions but, according to the Timbers head coach Caleb Porter, Zakuani is “still probably a week or so away. He’s probably not quite ready.” Though everyone can probably agree with Porter when he says, “It’s good to see him back in there.”
5. THE REAL DIEGO FAGUNDEZ
Diego Fagundez is one of the most promising youngsters in MLS right now but, at the heart of it, he’s also just a regular 19-year-old kid. Here’s the story of how Fagundez arrived at this point in his young career and how the New England Revolution are doing everything they can to ensure he doesn’t become the next Freddy Adu.
6. MATURING MATTOCKS
After a subpar 2013, filled with limited playing opportunities and a controversial TV appearance, Vancouver forward Darren Mattocks knows he needs to do better this year. And if the Whitecaps' most recent preseason game is any indication, both Mattocks performance and his demeanor are already looking much improved.
7. DOOR IS ALWAYS OPEN AT RED BULL ARENA
Amando Moreno may have chosen to abandon the New York Red Bulls in favor of Club Tijuana but, according to his former head coach Mike Petke, the player will be welcome back at Red Bull Arena if he ever chooses to return. Meanwhile, with less than three weeks until the home opener for the Red Bulls, work continues in order to prepare their stadium, including removing more than a foot of snow from the pitch.
8. HALL OF FAME
The U.S. Soccer Federation has announced which of the latest nominees have been inducted into the US National Soccer Hall of Fame and congratulations are due to Brian McBride and Kristine Lilly, as the two player representatives, along with former national team coach Bob Bradley, who enters under the builder category.
9. CALL YOUR SPONSOR
D.C. United have officially announced a new shirt sponsorship deal with Leidos, a government contractor based in Virginia. The deal is believed to run between three to five years and, for those who have already bought their club shirts without a sponsor, United are willing to add the logo for free, if that’s your thing. Regardless of what’s on the shirt, head coach Ben Olsen is pleased with his remade squad’s progress this preseason.
10. EXPECTATIONS IN TORONTO
After making a splash this offseason with the high-profile signings of Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe, how far can Toronto FC go this year? Well, according to one player who has come through the TFC sytem and knows the club well, he thinks the team has enough to make a run for MLS Cup.
11. WINNERS AND LOSERS
With less than two weeks to go until the start of the season and following the latest trades and acquisitions, which teams can lay claim to having, on paper, the best offseason? It’s also time to start looking ahead at the 2014 campaign with these season previews for the Chicago Fire and Chivas USA from FoxSoccer.com’s Inside MLS, along with our very own for D.C. United, Toronto FC and Chivas USA.
12. WAITING IN RESERVE
The schedule is out for this year’s Reserve League. It’s slightly diminished this season, due to the number of MLS teams that have formed USL PRO affiliations over the offseason. The LA Galaxy will have their new USL PRO side in the mix as well, while the main squad has also added a preseason scrimmage against NASL side Minnesota United to their own calendar.
13. TRAVEL IN NUMBERS
When the US national team takes to the field in Brazil this summer, it should be able to count on a vocal support from the majority of fans in attendance, as numbers released by FIFA show that US fans have been allocated 125,465 tickets for the World Cup this summer, more than twice as many as Group G opponents Germany, who received 55,666. Unfortunately, FIFA does not reveal which games those tickets are for. If you’re not one of those travelling to Brazil this summer, at least you now know where you can watch the games.
14. AMERICANS ABROAD BUSY MAKING MOVES
Fabian Johnson always appeared likely to remain in Germany but, for anyone who was still holding onto hope he might move to MLS, it’s now official. The US international has agreed to a four-year deal with fellow Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach, joining the side on a free transfer this summer. Another US player who might be starting to consider a move is Herculez Gomez, as the striker is less than pleased with his latest benching at Club Tijuana.
15. STING IN THE TAIL
In a move not dissimilar to one used by Orlando City SC. A San Antonio Scorpions supporters group has started an online petition designed so fans can show support for an MLS expansion bid. There’s an even better chance for Scorpions fans to show they’re ready to step up, though, as this weekend the team host’s FC Dallas in a preseason friendly.
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