Kick Off: Man United manager has big idea for US soccer

Kick Off - Sir Alex Ferguson

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Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson has a great appreciation for soccer in the United States. He is very familiar with its growth but is also very aware of the logistical challenges posed by the size of the country.

Here’s his solution that is sure to spark debate among MLS fans: “In Brazil, they have two leagues. They could easily do that in the United States. … In fact, you could have four leagues because of the size of the country and the population base. There are unbelievable possibilities for the United States.”

Those comments by Ferguson were made after his team touched down in New England (PHOTOS) on Monday ahead of their first World Football Challenge match against the Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes). In yesterday's press conference, Ferguson also shared his lasting memory of the 2010 visit to the USA: a 2-1 loss to 10-man Kansas City.

Revs manager Steve Nicol goes way back with Ferguson. The Man. United boss explains how he attempted to bring Nicol to Scottish club Aberdeen but, “for some reason, he chose another small club,” Ferguson said in a dig at Liverpool.

So how does a rookie like Revolution defender A.J. Soares experience this upcoming match? In his own words: “This is the experience of a lifetime. As a defender, my marking Rooney will be the equivalent of getting on the mound to pitch to Ortiz at Fenway.”

Before we get to Wednesday, however, there are three US Open Cup single-elimination quarterfinal matches to be played on Tuesday night. New York Red Bulls manager Hans Backe has promised to field a reserve side for tonight’s match in Chicago (8:30 p.m. ET live stream on chicago-fire.com) with only Mehdi Ballouchy making the trip. He says he might sprinkle in starters for a potential semifinal.

Fire manager Frank Klopas will be doing the opposite of Backe. He will field his regular starting lineup: “There's not going to be many changes [from Saturday] unless there are some injuries.”

Sporting Kansas City host their quarterfinal match against the last USL side in the competition, the Richmond Kickers (8:30 p.m. ET). It’s still unclear as to what manager Peter Vermes will do with his lineup but the Sporting manager knows that for Richmond “it’s like their championship game.”

As FC Dallas get ready to host Real Salt Lake in a US Open Cup grudge match (9 p.m. ET live stream on fcdallas.com) after their 2-0 league defeat at Rio Tinto over the weekend, FCD manager Schellas Hyndman has a thought reserved for the LA Galaxy and whether there’s something “askew” that LA has four All-Stars compared to one for his team: “Well, I think yeah.”

Hyndman has vowed to field any regulars who are available to play: “You can’t develop a culture of winning when you don’t give the players the tools to win.”

Real Salt Lake will be without starting goalkeeper Nick Rimando and regular forward Álvaro Saborío for a trip to Pizza Hut Park which has to be their least favorite on the calendar. RSL are 0-9-1 all-time on the road in all competitions against FC Dallas.

The fourth quarterfinal will take place on Wednesday as the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders — No. 1 and No. 2 in the Western Conference — meet at Starfire Complex in Tukwila, Wash. (10 p.m. ET)

Galaxy center back A.J. DeLaGarza will be available for selection on Wednesday, even though he admits that he has yet to head a ball since coming out of the July 4 match against Seattle after taking a boot to the face.

So who’s the big name? Speculation is running rampant over the “major player announcement” that is set to be made by the Vancouver Whitecaps at 12:30 p.m. ET. Most of the rumors revolve around African players — here’s why.

The other 2011 expansion side, the Portland Timbers, would prefer to employ trades with other MLS teams than hunt for reinforcements on the international transfer market, according to a report.

Here’s a transfer rumor that comes out of the blue: Turkish forward Nihat Kahveci to the LA Galaxy? (SPANISH)

On the international scene, AS Roma’s new American owner Tom DiBenedetto is expected to have a press conference on Thursday which will make his takeover official. The new manager, Luis Enrique, would then be officially presented on Friday. (ITALIAN)

Manchester United rivals Manchester City are on the opposite coast in LA, preparing for their participation in the World Football Challenge with stops in San Francisco (vs. Club América on July 16), Vancouver (vs. Whitecaps FC on July 18) and at the Home Depot Center (vs. LA Galaxy on July 24). To pass the time, they took in a Dodgers baseball game. (PHOTOS)

Did you know that one of the Costa Rican national team defenders, who valiantly attempted to stop Lionel Messi and Co. on Monday in Argentina’s eventual 3-0 Copa América victory, hails from San Jacinto College in Houston? (ITALIAN)

Tonight the final group matches in Group C of the Copa América will be played. Chile and Peru play at 6 p.m. ET (TeleFutura), while the big match is Uruguay and Mexico (8:30 p.m. ET, Univisión). El Tri, with two losses thus far in group play, could still advance to the quarters as a third-place team.

So how big was that dramatic USWNT World Cup quarterfinal win vs. Brazil? Big enough that celebrities Tom Hanks, LeBron James, Seth Meyers, Aaron Rodgers and rapper Lil Wayne were among those who watched and tweeted their congratulations.

The fight against corruption and match-fixing in South Korea has led to an “innovative” approach. In addition to increasing the minimum wage scale, officials are also instituting lie detector tests.

Lastly, the captain of the Swiss national team was just signed by Italian Serie A club Napoli and chose to pose with his new owner by wearing a lion’s mask. (PHOTO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Kristine Lilly and Allen A. Hopkins talk Women’s World Cup and MLS All-Stars on ExtraTime Radio

How Mexico’s investment in youth continues to pay off with Under-17 world title

Colorado’s Brian Mullan unlikely to make the trip to Seattle this weekend


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