Kick Off: Schmid says Seattle aware it's "Portland Week"
That’s what this week is being called in Seattle Sounders camp ahead of the first-ever MLS showdown against historic rivals Portland Timbers on Saturday night (11 pm ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes). Seattle veteran Roger Levesque says that he thinks it’s a rivalry that could "get a little bit nasty.”
Just days before this first Seattle vs. Portland match in MLS, the question is still being asked. How come no more than 500 tickets sold to visiting fans? Sounders co-owner and GM Adrian Hanauer has a clear answer: “We each want these games to be home games. We don't want a bunch of traveling supporters.”
It’s a big enough occasion that the Portland Timbers will be donning their alternate jersey for the matchup.
What the Seattle-Portland rivalry lacks to this point? Trash-talking. But there was plenty of it in MLS on Monday. From the Luke Rodgers-Landon Donovan spat to Philadelphia’s Carlos Ruiz saying Bruce Arena’s LA Galaxy “is in trouble” and they “have a lot of mistakes.” He goes as far as claiming that the Union are “in a better position than them.”
Philly host the LA Galaxy in one of four Wednesday night matchups featuring MLS clubs. FC Dallas also host Toronto FC (9 pm ET, Direct Kick and MatchDay Live) and there is speculation that FCD could be making a permanent move to a new 4-4-2 formation.
A little less than 72 hours since the Marcos Mondaini tackle left Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales with a broken leg, there is a positive development to report on the Argentine’s recovery. There is a chance he could be back this season.
The surgeon who performed surgery on Morales, said the playmaker’s left ankle “was fairly gruesome to see.”
New York Red Bulls manager Hans Backe says that he “would probably throw up” if he watches the video of the Morales tackle but the Swede believes that despite recent graphic injuries, MLS’ reputation for being a physical league “is a myth.”
New England manager Steve Nicol was also outspoken after his team’s match against Colorado, stating that his team needs a spark of creativity and that the club will be shopping for it in the summer. Reports indicate that Nicol’s eyes are on a player based in Turkey who is among the all-time leading scorers for his country’s national team.
If the Revs or any other MLS team is interested, one American playing and scoring goals in the Peruvian first division is raising his hand as a player who wants to come back home to play in MLS.
Remember Adelaide United playmaker Marcos Flores, who was a reported target of the Portland Timbers during preseason? He still hasn’t made a decision on whether to accept a three-year deal from the Australian club or try his luck in a new country.
Just as the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids are expecting to get starting forward Conor Casey back from injury, another two strikers are hurt. And it could be several weeks before we see one of them return.
Some significant news in Reserve League play on Monday. The Columbus Crew saw a starter make his return from injury in a 1-0 win over New England, while Chivas USA also saw another injured regular return in a 3-2 defeat in Seattle, where trialist Chris Cortez netted another two goals.
Chivas USA may be looking past their next game at the New York Red Bulls on Sunday judging by their recent promotional campaign. Ahead of the LA SuperClásico, the Goats take a clear dig at their intra-city rivals with a slogan of “Real Passion vs. Artificial Passion.”
A major statement has been made by a Las Vegas developer, who is serious enough about a Las Vegas National Sports Center that he has already acquired his first piece of the puzzle. His plans include an MLS club to play in a semi-enclosed stadium that will open in 2014. See the pictures here.
There's an update on D.C. United's stadium situation provided by the club's chief executive, Kevin Payne. He says there will be a decision made on next steps by the end of this year.
Another Giuseppe Rossi-like case is likely to become a story in American soccer circles this summer. This one involves the women’s game and it very well may involve a head-to-head confrontation at the FIFA World Cup.
Have you heard about the major match-fixing scandal being investigated by German courts? Well, one report says that among the matches being looked at is one from the Canadian third division. Read the reaction of the Toronto Croatia president and the Canadian Soccer Association.
They say that few can compete with the financial muscle of Chelsea billionaire owner Roman Abramovich. Except for one MLS owner who owns the bigger boat.
Another EPL billionaire club is on the verge of a magical week that starts this afternoon. With an FA Cup final on the horizon this weekend, Manchester City first want to clinch a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League with a win over Tottenham Hotspur (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer).
Meanwhile, AC Milan will continue their chase for a domestic double with an Italian Cup semifinal match in Palermo (2:45 pm ET, GolTV). There’s also a La Liga match between Real Madrid and Getafe (4 pm ET, ESPN Deportes) which could give Barcelona the league title if los merengues fail to win.
The worst fears of American soccer fans may have been realized. Reports indicate that England’s Sunday Times has evidence that FIFA executive committee members requested and received bribes for their World Cup vote.
No international controversy here: The New York Police Department’s soccer team working with the New York Red Bulls to visit Colombia carrying hope and help.
Lastly, RBNY’s Thierry Henry and Bouna Coundoul were also sharing words of advice to a Reading, Pa., youth player handling an incident of racism he experienced during a recent soccer match in which he was told, “Go back to Africa.”
American Exports: Clint Dempsey can’t prevent Liverpool rout
Several MLS players among call-ups to USA Under-20 national team
Get the The Kick-Off delivered to you!
Enter your email address below to sign up for The Kick-Off mailing list and get it delivered to your inbox every morning.