Kick Off: Seattle Sounders hold top spot as Real Salt Lake's Nick Rimando sets MLS shutout record

Seattle Sounders celebrate win vs. Houston Dynamo

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports

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

1. SOUNDERS ROLL UP SLEEVES, RE-TAKE TOP SPOT

Facing as much pressure as they have all season, the Seattle Sounders had lost three of their last four league fixtures, so another defeat could have sent the Sounders into a tailspin. But Sunday-night goals from Marco Pappa (on a deflection) and Gonzalo Pineda (on a penalty kick hit straight at the goalkeeper) put Sigi Schmid’s side back in the win column against the Houston Dynamo (watch highlights here), although they had to work hard to do so.

2. RIMANDO REACHES MILESTONE

With the win, Seattle re-took the Supporters' Shield lead from Real Salt Lake, who had cruised to a 3-0 win over D.C. United on Saturday behind a goal from Joao Plata and two from Chris Schuler (watch highlights here). The bigger individual achievent came from the league's unquestioned top current goalkeeper, Nick Rimando, who took sole possession of the MLS record with his 113th career regular-season shutout.

3. SKC STAND STILL DESPITE STERLING DEBUT FROM KEMPIN

The other Supporters' Shield contender, Sporting Kansas City, dropped a 2-0 decision to the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place on Sunday (watch highlights here). Homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin did provide a moment to remember for KC fans with the goalkeeping equivalent of scoring a hat trick on your debut: saving a penalty kick (VIDEO).

4. CHICAGO FINALLY LIGHT THE FIRE

As it turned out, all it took was a penalty-kick rebound from Mike Magee. Having gone winless in their last five league games, Frank Yallop's Chicago Fire finally got things right with a narrow 1-0 home win against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday (watch highlights here), and 2013 MVP Magee has now scored in back-to-back games.

5. TFC TAKE TRILLIUM TITLE IN STYLE

Since entering the league in 2007, Toronto FC had only won the Trillium Cup rivalry series against the Columbus Crew one time, back in 2011. This year they took it in decisive fashion, sweeping the series for the first time with a thrilling 3-2 win at Crew Stadium (watch highlights here).

6. CALI CLASICO DOESN'T DISAPPOINT

The California Clasico has a reputation to uphold. The fixture is one of the most predictably unpredictable and consistently entertaining in Major League Soccer, and that continued with the 2-2 draw between the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes on Friday night (watch highlights here). The Quakes apparently didn't read the script of the Landon Donovan farewell tour, producing two dazzling goals of their own in the tie.

7. AT LEAST THIS TIME, THE LOSING COACH SHOOK PORTER'S HAND

As far as distractions go, hosting the AT&T MLS All-Star Game against Bayern Munich is about as big as it gets. But Caleb Porter's mind was back on league matters by Saturday, and his Portland Timbers turned in a complete performance to down Chivas USA 2-0. Diego Valeri provided a classy goal in the finish; does he do any other kind of goal? (watch highlights here)

8. POSSESSION? PHILLY DON'T NEED NO STINKING POSSESSION

Whatever Jim Curtin's doing, it's working. Boosted by the return of Carlos Valdes and despite conceding roughly 70 percent of the possession, the Philadelphia Union extended their unbeaten streak to five consecutive games with a 2-1 win over the struggling Montreal Impact on Saturday at PPL Park (watch highlights here). Goalscorer extraordinaire Sebastien Le Toux netted twice (check out his numbers since Curtin took over) but took a late knock that could limit his availability for Philadelphia's Lamar Hunt US Open Cup semifinal at FC Dallas on Tuesday.

9. DALLAS, COLORADO GOING STREAKING

The hotter the temperature, the better FC Dallas play. So it seems, at least. Oscar Pareja's club ran its unbeaten streak to 11 games in all competitions with a 3-1 win over his old club, the Colorado Rapids, on Saturday night in Frisco, Texas (watch highlights here). That makes three straight losses for the Rapids, which did not make for a fun trip home for Dallas product Drew Moor.

10. TRANSFER RUMORS EVERYWHERE, BUT WHICH WILL PROVE TO BE TRUE?

The transfer talk continues for DeAndre Yedlin and Jermaine Jones. Yedlin's transfer to Tottenham Hotspur appears to be close, with the World Cup veteran sitting out the Sounders' Sunday-night win after traveling overseas. When he actually makes the move, however, is another story.

The other talking point is the Jones sweepstakes, with the ESPN duo of Taylor Twellman and Alexi Lalas reporting that the New England Revolution have joined the Chicago Fire in their pursuit of the US international, but Lalas said there is still a $1 million gap in negotiations between Jones and MLS.

11. NOT SCHELLAS, HIS GRANDSON

The weekend brought disappointment for Fulham, as they opened their English Championship campaign with a 2-1 defeat at Ipswich Town over the weekend, but 18-year-old Emerson Hyndman, the grandson of former SMU and FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman, might have been forgiven for some sort of celebration. The US youth international, who has been with Fulham since 2011, made his competitive senior debut at Portman Road, starting in central midfield.

12. NEED A COACH? THIS ONE KNOWS HOW TO WIN IN MLS

One of the most successful coaches in MLS history would like to return to the league if the chance arises. Octavio Zambrano, last seen on these shores as an assistant with Sporting Kansas City durign the 2012 season, told Big Apple Soccer that he believes his resume makes him an attractive option for MLS teams.

13. BAHA(MAS) MEN

Getting an early start on preparations for the qualifying campaign for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the US U-23 national team needed a big second half to take down the Bahamas senior national team 5-1 in a friendly last week (watch highlights here), with MLSers Luis Gil and Omar Salgado and Sounders Academy prospect Jordan Morris all finding the net.

14. RIGHT TO DREAM ABOUT MOVE TO NYCFC?

The relationship between Premier League giants Manchester City and expansion club New York City FC has already seen player movement between the two teams, with NYCFC signing Frank Lampard set to play at the Etihad Stadium until January, when he will move to the Big Apple. But could Jason Kreis further exploit that link with the loan signing of U-20 striker Kelechi Iheanacho?

15. DON'T MESS WITH BOB BRADLEY (DUH)

American soccer fans are familiar with Bob Bradley and the pride he takes in his work. Maybe somebody ought to have told the Norwegian television team that interviewed the now Stabaek coach after his team needed to rally for a tie on Saturday. “That’s just a stupid comment,” Bradley angrily responded (VIDEO) after being told that his side had been "tactically a disaster" in the first half against Molde. Prepare to squirm awkwardly as Bradley then takes a page out of Caleb Porter's book and offers to watch the game film with the interviewer, because, "You and I don't see the same game."

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