Kick Off: GK coach in spotlight, Mullan's defense

Kick Off: Pat Onstad

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The return of veteran goalkeeper Pat Onstad to Houston is the primary theme of the Fox Soccer Friday night Game of the Week although he likely won’t see the field. The former Canadian international will be honored in a post-game ceremony as D.C. United travel to face the Houston Dynamo, who are undefeated in five (8:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer).

D.C. manager Ben Olsen praises Onstad for his “Canadian honesty” which exhibits itself in this statement: “The only time I’ve been in there [visitor’s locker room at Robertson Stadium] was for the league’s drug-testing.”

While fans might get their first look at the Dynamo’s newest star acquisition, Koke, they will not see D.C. United designated player Branko Boskovic, who did not travel with the squad after picking up an injury in the midweek U.S. Open Cup match.

United head into tonight’s matching hoping to address a back line that has allowed seven goals in its last two matches between MLS and the U.S. Open Cup. Center back Perry Kitchen admits they are “working some kinks out.”

The additional suspension for Colorado midfielder Brian Mullan was handed down on Thursday. A league executive provided a window into the rationale behind the length of the suspension in this article.

A U.S. national team player came out in support of Mullan, one of several who want the world to know that the Colorado native is not a dirty player.

One of the most interesting matches of the upcoming weekend is the match between the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake at JELD-WEN Field. How will RSL come back from their CONCACAF Champions League final defeat? Goalkeeper Nick Rimando says that matches like Wednesday can “either break a team or make it stronger”.

Veteran soccer writer Grant Wahl compares RSL’s experience in the CONCACAF Champions League final to other near misses on the biggest stages for American soccer and says the US “can’t afford another missed opportunity.”

In Toronto they’re curious to see whether attacker Joao Plata and right back Richard Eckersley will be in the starting lineup after strong showings in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship victory in midweek.

There’s a new air blowing in New England Revolution camp these days with the arrival of several new faces and the return to victory. Heading into Saturday’s match against Chivas USA, manager Steve Nicol says that his experienced bunch won’t be “chasing [the ball] all over the field” against a team that likes to keep possession.

In Philadelphia it’s all about the defense. The Union’s four-man back line and veteran goalkeeper are assuming a larger-than-life persona with every stingy performance. They’re not only posing together for a group shot in this article but they’re also earning new nicknames. Guess who’s “Senior Garantia.”

We haven’t seen him involved much in MLS play thus far this season, but how is New York Red Bulls midfielder John Rooney, brother of Manchester United star Wayne Rooney, getting along with life in MLS? If you thought he’s living in a midtown apartment because of his brother’s status, you’re mistaken.

Rooney’s fellow Englishman, David Beckham, will be in the news this weekend for his trip to England to attend the royal wedding. He is the headliner among the other sports celebrities who will be there. Beckham will make it back in time for the LA Galaxy’s match at FC Dallas on Sunday.

One headliner among potential summer transfer was the rumored impending arrival of Chelsea forward star Didier Drogba. His agent quashed those rumors by saying that he’s actually negotiating to extend his stay at the English club. (FRENCH)

The epic soccer rivalry between Mexico and the United States takes center stage again today. This time it’s the beach soccer version (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer).

One player who has been in those USA vs. Mexico wars is goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who is reportedly the target of UEFA Champions League semifinalists Schalke 04, who are expected to be seeking a replacement for goalkeeping sensation Manuel Neuer.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Colorado Rapids disagree with severity of Brian Mullan suspension

Rafael Márquez feels NYRB can take advantage of Sporting Kansas City’s Achilles heel

Columbus forward Emilio Renteria: Critics need to back off Crew attack


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