Kick Off: With Mike Petke's contract sorted, New York Red Bulls target third Designated Player
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today. Check out the latest local and national TV listings to make sure you don't miss any MLS action this weekend!
Oh, and make sure your MLS Fantasy Manager team is set as well.
1. RED BULLS EYEING THIRD DP THIS SUMMER
New York Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh wouldn’t reveal the details of Mike Petke's new contract, but he did confirm it was “an extension and an improvement on what he had.” Now that Petke is sorted, the club can turn its attention to other important issues, such as an extension for Thierry Henry and a third Designated Player.
2. EXPANDED STADIUM A MUST FOR TFC
“We want our atmosphere to be the best in MLS, in order to do that, we need an expanded stadium.” Those are the words of Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko, who has been discussing exactly what it will take for BMO Field expansion to happen. In other TFC news, it seems Gilberto won’t be available for the team's opening game this weekend in Seattle.
3. FAMILIAR FACE READY FOR TORONTO
When Toronto FC take on the Seattle Sounders on Saturday (4:30 pm ET, NBCSN, TSN/RDS2 in Canada), they’ll be lining up against a familiar face, with Sigi Schmid confirming Stefan Frei as the club's No.1. It seems the 'keeper still has a soft spot for his former team. Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer has no problems with CenturyLink Field's turf, although he would ideally have liked a new surface installed this year. Hanauer also shared his thoughts on what to expect in 2014 and the prospect of a USL PRO team in 2015.
4. RSL II?
Real Salt Lake look set to follow in the footsteps of the LA Galaxy and launch their own USL PRO team. Yet the club doesn’t believe it'll be ready to do so before 2016, so what will be the temporary solution? RSL general manager Garth Lagerwey discussed just that at the club’s recent media luncheon.
5. BRUIN'S BELIEF
Following his star performance last Saturday, Will Bruin will be looking to repeat his heroics again this Saturday against the Montreal Impact (8:30 pm ET, MLS Live) and indeed for the rest of the season as well. However, Bruin believes his game has evolved to the point where he provides a lot more than just goals. He’s not the only one with renewed confidence in his game either, as the MLS Fantasy "Starting Lineup" boys believe you need Bruin as your captain in this week.
6. REMEMBER ME
Gastón Fernández announced his arrival in Portland last Saturday with a goal in the dying seconds to help salvage a point and the Timbers' new forward will be looking to score plenty more this season, with the Argentine insisting: “I want to leave a mark. I came here for a reason. I want to be remembered. I don’t want to pass by unnoticed in this league.”
7. MISSING MAGEE
Fernández’s quest to be remembered will continue this Sunday when Portland take on the Chicago Fire (3 pm ET, UniMas), but it seems one player who won’t play any part in that game is Fire forward Mike Magee, with Frank Yallop confirming his star is "still nursing an injury at the moment,” later adding that, while he might make an appearance if needed, “If he’s not 100 percent, we can’t risk him getting reinjured or making it worse.”
8. REVOLUTION RHINOS
The New England Revolution announced two of the players they'll be loaning to the Rochester Rhinos to start the year, with goalkeeper Luis Soffner and midfielder Alec Sundly revealed as the first of the four players the club must loan to their USL PRO affiliate. A former New England player has also found a new USL club, with Zak Boggs returning to the game with the Charlotte Eagles.
9. READY TO RUMBLE
The San Jose Earthquakes' MLS season gets underway this weekend when they take on Real Salt Lake on Saturday (10:30 pm ET, MLS Live) as Quakes head coach Mark Watson looks to continue the good work he began last year. Could SuperDraft pick J.J Koval have a big role to play in the clubs new campaign? According to Watson, Koval "looked really good in preseason and I think he’s got a bright future.”
10. INTERNATIONAL VISION
New York City FC’s parent club, Manchester City FC, have appointed Rodolfo Borrell as international technical director. Borell was the former head of Liverpool FC’s academy and before that worked for FC Barcelona as well. As part of his new duties, Borrell will also be in charge of overseeing the development of both NYCFC and Melbourne Heart.
11. ORLANDO STADIUM SCHEDULE
If you’re wondering when we might get to see some designs for the new Orlando City SC stadium, don’t hold your breath. According to one city spokesperson, the city has still to vote on a project construction agreement and “design is still in the infancy stages.”
12. FIFA RANKINGS
The latest FIFA rankings were released on Thursday and the US national team has dropped back down one place to 14th. Mexico, on the other hand, have risen one place to 20th, as have Canada who now sit at 112th. In terms of the USMNT’s World Cup opponents, though, it still makes for grim reading, for while Ghana have risen two places to 35th, Portugal still sit fourth in the World while Germany still occupy the second spot.
13. KLINSMANN’S VIEW
So where do the players vying for a place in Jurgen Klinsmann’s US national team squad this summer currently stand with the German coach? Klinsmann has been offering updates on where some of the players are in terms of their progress and, despite recent club troubles, the coach sees promising signs from both Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore.
14. RETURN OF THE DIS-CO
The MLS season is underway again and with it returns the Disciplinary Committee, which got straight to work on Thursday, handing out an undisclosed fine to D.C. United’s Luis Silva for simulation during his side’s 3-0 loss to the Columbus Crew.
15. BALLS FOR ALL
Part of soccer’s charm is that is that it’s cheap and easy to play, all you need is a ball and two things to mark a goal. Yet what about places where people genuinely can’t afford soccer balls and have to create their own? Hopefully their will be fewer such places thanks to one US teen who made it his mission to deliver balls to those who need them.
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