Kick Off: Make or break time for USMNT as all eyes switch to Group G

Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:

1. TIME TO SHINE

This is it folks, it’s time for the USA’s all-important World Cup clash against Germany (noon ET, ESPN, match preview), a country that’s more than familiar to a number of players and staff on this squad. What can the US expect from the European powerhouse and, more importantly, what can they do to beat them?

2. NO FRIENDS HERE

With Portugal taking on Ghana at the same time (noon ET, ESPN2, match preview) a draw in either Group G game will be enough to take both the US and Germany through, but Germany coach Joachim Löw has joined Jurgen Klinsmann in denying that there will be any sort of collusion between the two sides.

3. ON FOUR MORE YEARS

With the US on the verge of reaching the last 16, the US Soccer Federation’s decision to give Jurgen Klinsmann a four-year contract extension is looking more and more justified. As such, US Soccer president Sunil Gulati has been talking about the federation's expectations at this tournament, as well as what fans can expect in the next cycle.

4. HONDURAS MAKE THEIR EXIT

Honduras became the first CONCACAF nation to bow out of the World Cup following a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Switzerland. It means they exit the tournament with just one goal, and not surprisingly Honduras boss Luis Fernando Suárez tendered his resignation.

5. NO MINUTES FOR BEITASHOUR

Iran’s World Cup also came to an end, unfortunately without Vancouver Whitecaps right back Steven Beitashour playing a single minute at the tournament. While the 'Caps will no doubt be glad to have him back, the defender talks through how he stayed positive throughout the tournament. Beitashour did capture the attention of ABC News.

6. MLS RETURNS

Major League Soccer made its return last night after the World Cup break, but it wasn’t exactly a Canadian classic, as the Vancouver Whitecaps and Montreal Impact played out a 0-0 draw (watch highlights here). Still, while Carl Robinson was disappointed with the whole affair, Montreal manager Frank Klopas was more than pleased with a well-earned point on the road.

7. REVOLUTION ADVANCE

The New England Revolution ensured there will be no USL PRO teams in the US Open Cup quarterfinals after beating their own affiliate, the Rochester Rhinos, 2-1 thanks to goals from Saer Sene and Kelyn Rowe, with the former putting in a star performance.

8. FIRE SEE OFF CREW

In an all-MLS encounter in the US Open Cup, the Chicago Fire beat the Columbus Crew 4-2 in overtime to move on to a quarterfinal tie against the Atlanta Silverbacks. The Fire looked in trouble at one point, thanks in part to Jairo Arrieta's spectacular bicycle kick, but having done enough to take the game to extra time, they were able to turn the tables on the Crew, something that drew considerable praise from Fire coach Frank Yallop.

9. SETTING IT STRAIGHT IN SEATTLE

There have been plenty of things for Adrian Hanauer to talk about over the past few days, and on Wednesday the Seattle Sounders general manager and part owner did just that, addressing the Monday night game against the Galaxy, taking on the Timbers at Starfire and Obafemi Martins' contract situation.

10. PUTTING THE 'D' IN DP

Having traded away Futty Danso to the Montreal Impact a few weeks ago, the Portland Timbers were looking to add a center back, and they did so by signing Liam Ridgewell as a Designated Player. Wonder what the Englishman will bring to the club? Check out a highlight reel right here.

11. GOT YOUR GOAT

It may have been lost in all the excitement on Tuesday, but Chivas USA have signed a new defender. Here’s everything you need to know about former Japanese international Akira Kaji.

12. CAHILL DRAWING INTEREST

Tim Cahill has already said he’s heading back to the US now that his World Cup is over, but rumors persist that he could be set to join Sydney FC back in Australia. What does his current boss Mike Petke think about that? “As far as I’m concerned, it’s just speculation right now … of course there are going to be teams that are interested.”

13. SEARCHING FOR A PRESIDENT

With the return of the MLS season upon us, Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt has provided an update on the club's search for a new president, a quest that is still on track according to the Crew head honcho.

14. REDDING BETWEEN THE LINES

Orlando City are currently playing their final season in the USL PRO, and the Lions are looking to go out on a high, unbeaten in league play this season. One of the recent defensive stars is 17-year-old Tommy Redding, the club's first Homegrown player signing, who some are already tipping as a future US national team star.

15. THE OSCAR GOES TO…

One of the worst parts of the modern game is the amount of time players spend pretending they’re hurt. Who are the worst culprits at the World Cup? Check out the list that names and shames them.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

March to the Match: Is DeAndre Yedlin the US’ secret weapon?

From Conneticut to Iran: The journey of Dan Gaspar, Part 1

Throw-In: Top 10 in the World? US can prove they belong

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