Kick Off: Opara predicts winning goal, Mullan speaks

The Portland Timbers’ 100 percent record at JELD-WEN Field is no more thanks to Ike Opara’s 120th minute goal in extra time that gave the visit San Jose Earthquakes a 1-0 win in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match last night.

Opara said he predicted he would score on a set piece in extratime and his teammates are witnesses. Video of Opara’s goal follows two links down.

Talk about seeing the game differently. While San Jose manager Frank Yallop talks about his team dominating the match, his Portland counterpart, John Spencer, claims “there wasn’t one minute where … I thought we could be in trouble here.” (VIDEO)

When Spencer was asked by media to comment on starting 10 reserve players in the USOC match, the Scotsman quipped: “If you had a half a brain in your head, you’d know we have a game on Friday.” Friday’s league match vs. Philly on Fox Soccer is more important, according to the Timbers boss. (VIDEO)

NBA star Channing Frye, who is not involved in the current basketball postseason, made it a point to catch the U.S. Open Cup match. (PHOTO)

Despite the early season struggles, Seattle Sounders manager Sigi Schmid says that his club is as good as any in the league and they aim to prove it tonight vs. D.C. United (7:30 p.m. ET, Direct Kick and MatchDay Live). He also gave an update on O’Brian White’s health status, which is baffling experts.

The Houston Dynamo also feel like they’re a team to be reckoned with after going undefeated in April. They’re on a six-match unbeaten streak and the club’s star midfielder Brad Davis says they want to keep it going against the defending champion Colorado Rapids tonight (8:30 p.m. ET, Direct Kick and MatchDay Live).

Former Houston Dynamo and current Bolton Wanderers midfielder Stuart Holden believes the Houston Dynamo will make the playoffs and can go far this season.

Holden’s former teammate in Houston, Dwayne De Rosario, has contradicted his manager's comments regarding his participation in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The NYRB midfielder says he wants to be there for his country.

Amidst the De Rosario controversy, NY Red Bulls goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul says he’s also made a decision which he’s not making public yet and it sounds like it has to do with his national team status.

The Nutrilite Canadian Championship second legs also take place tonight with the finalists to be determined. The Montreal Impact have a 1-0 deficit to make up in Vancouver and their head coach says that comparing his squad to the MLS’ Whitecaps is like putting a FIAT next to a Ferrari. But he reminds everyone that flat tires are a real possibility.

Few are giving FC Edmonton any shot to overcome a 3-0 first leg deficit at BMO Field against Toronto FC tonight. Especially since the lower division club has lost its last three games by a total score of 10-0.

New England manager Steve Nicol gives more than a fighting chance of success to 16-year-old Revolution academy product Diego Fagundez. The Scotsman says “we like what we’ve seen.”

From a young prospect to a league veteran. Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan, who was involved in the incident that led to the Steve Zakuani leg break, has returned to practice but he is not the same player on the field. He also took back the statement he made immediately following the match in Seattle.

Not one to shy away from calling it as it is – Real Salt Lake manager Jason Kreis admits that his team is experiencing a difficult stretch. (VIDEO)

The Chicago Fire may also be winless in recent matches but the formation they trotted out against the Colorado Rapids seems to have worked well enough to deserve an encore – with two creative midfielders once again manning the defensive midfield roles.

In yanks abroad news, U.S. World Cup players Jose Francisco Torres and Herculez Gomez are available to all MLS teams after their Mexican club team, Pachuca, transfer listed their entire squad following their failure to qualify to the Mexican league playoffs.

As the Mexican liguilla gets underway today, in other international soccer action there are UEFA Champions League and Copa Libertadores matches. Manchester United are expected to ride their 2-0 first-leg road victory to the UEFA Champions League final when they host Schalke04 (2:30 p.m. ET, FX). Wayne Rooney has been ruled out for ManUtd.

The theme emerging from yesterday’s semifinal, which saw Barcelona advance on aggregate after a 1-1 draw vs. Real Madrid: refereeing. With Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho nowhere to be seen, his compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo was there to fan the flames.

Following the goal-line controversy over the weekend in the Chelsea vs. Tottenham EPL match, FIFA has stated that goal line technology is a real possibility for the 2014 World Cup.

Finally, did you know that Philadelphia Union midfielder Kyle Nakazawa can play the ukulele and sing? Here’s the YouTube evidence. (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

After a tough week on the field, Real Salt Lake starting to sober up

News of Nana Attakora’s release from TFC was an apparent hoax

Chivas USA aim to go from good to great in MLS


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