Kick Off: Ex-Union player says Philly's going down
It’s rarely seen in soccer these days: A player giving a real prediction accompanied by a score line ahead of a match.
Vancouver winger Shea Salinas sees a 3-1 Whitecaps victory over his former club, the Philadelphia Union, on Saturday night. And he’s not concerned in the least that it can serve as bulletin-board material.
The prediction comes from a team in Vancouver that has one win all season. And they face a Philadelphia Union side sitting atop the Eastern Conference and hoping to put some distance between them and the New York Red Bulls. In a separate article, Salinas explains the reasons he was really upset at his former club.
In Vancouver, they’re trying to take the lessons learned from the Stanley Cup performance of the NHL Canucks and apply them to Tom Soehn’s first home game at the helm of the Whitecaps.
Another player going up against his former club this weekend is the Portland Timbers’ Jeremy Hall, who will do battle against the New York Red Bulls at JELD-WEN Field (10 p.m. ET, Galavisión). He says he misses the players, coaches and staff at RBNY, but he does not miss New York.
Colorado Rapids veteran defender Drew Moor, who gets set to host the LA Galaxy on Saturday night (9 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live), explains how scoring goals makes you feel young again, like "seven years old."
One of the tougher places to play in MLS is Rio Tinto Stadium. That’s where D.C. United are heading on Saturday (9 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live) to take on an RSL squad that is still trying to figure out how it lost its way from the side that looked like the MLS version of Barcelona. Ned Grabavoy’s theory is that the lack of ability to create scoring chances without the injured Javier Morales causes the team to lose its drive and, “We turn off just a bit.”
As far as D.C. United are concerned, they are still licking their wounds from the 4-2 home defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes. Winger Chris Pontius points out how “Everyone’s a little angry at practice, which is good.”
One thing to keep an eye out during the match: set pieces from DC's Andy Najar. The Honduran native and reigning Rookie of the Year has been permanently assigned all dead ball duties and manager Ben Olsen likes what he sees.
After taking the full three points in DC last weekend, the San Jose Earthquakes are gunning for their third “W” in a row, when they visit Sporting Kansas City and LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Friday night (8:30 p.m. ET, FOX Soccer). One thing going for the Quakes: They have forward and reigning Player of the Week Steven Lenhart, who “puts people off.”
The task of containing Lenhart will fall to “Ali G” — aka Sporting defender Aurélien Collin. Find out the reason his teammates have given him the nickname and why the Frenchman admits he spends “too much money on clothes.”
As the Columbus Crew prepare to visit the Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium (8:30 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live), Crew forward Jeff Cunningham is working especially hard to get his first goal of the season. He conducts post-practice workouts, which even rookies attend to work with the “old master.” Here are words of wisdom from the master: “If you do the right thing when nobody is watching, it's going to pay off.”
The Chicago Fire will be at Gillette Stadium on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live) hoping to continue to show the progress being made under new manager Frank Klopas. With speculation regarding potential reinforcements hovering around the club, Klopas looked to set the record straight on a few of the names tossed around.
The Revolution are also tossing around three names of forwards who they believe can finally help the Revs snap out of their scoring doldrums. In the meantime, captain Shalrie Joseph is focused on getting “a huge monkey off our back” with a home victory.
The league’s top tackler will be taking his skills to BMO Field on Saturday as the Seattle Sounders pay a visit to Toronto FC, which has put together a string of decent results (7 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live). Osvaldo Alonso has won considerably more tackles than any other player in MLS and now is focused on refining his attacking game.
Ahead of the massive USA vs. Jamaica Gold Cup quarterfinal on Sunday at RFK Stadium, here’s some info from the Reggae Boyz camp: RBNY’s Dane Richards missed the bus to practice, Toronto FC’s Dicoy Williams has concerns about his injured knee and LA Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts is also experiencing pain.
For the first time on Thursday, US national team manager Bob Bradley addressed the absences of Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey due to sibling weddings, which is the major talking point among US fans leading up to the Gold Cup quarterfinal against Jamaica: “As a coach, you sometimes have to make difficult decisions. … We’re not concerned. … Much of our preparation work has been done.”
The US national team has gone as far as arranging private flights for the duo to make as timely return as possible.
Here’s an article that will get you set for all four Gold Cup quarterfinals this weekend, beginning with the New Meadowlands Stadium doubleheader on Saturday featuring Mexico vs. Guatemala and Costa Rica vs. Honduras.
Fans of New York Red Bulls defender Tim Ream: Fear not. Although he was not in the starting lineup after the clumsy PK he conceded to Panama in the Gold Cup, veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard promises “there are a lot of good days to come” for the RBNY center back.
It may be a tad premature but we can get set to welcome another Canadian city to the soccer fold as Ottawa prepares to launch a new NASL expansion team as early as Monday.
Legendary Greek player Giorgos Karagounis is reportedly considering a move to MLS, adding his name to the summer rumor mill. (GREEK)
It may be also premature for fans to be judging Aston Villa’s hiring of Alex McLeish from rivals Birmingham City after the latter club’s relegation during the past EPL season. The Scot’s appointment in the face of fan protests, is the first real test for American owner Randy Lerner since his takeover of the club.
Staying in England, the fixture list of for the EPL has been released. Here’s a team-by-team breakdown.
Lastly, here’s a story to warm your heart on Father’s Day this weekend. While No. 2 overall SuperDraft selection Darlington Nagbe looks to help the Portland Timbers get back to winning ways in the USA, his father Joe Nagbe has the Liberian national team on the doorstep of the African Cup of Nations at the age of 43. “I would be so happy to be the oldest player to ever play there,” he says.
Shea Salinas on Vancouver riots and Pablo Mastroeni on missing his brother’s wedding on the latest edition of ExtraTime Radio
The Throw-In: Bob Bradley is doing something extraordinary with the US national team
New England Revolution are still in search of their first Designated Player
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