Kick Off: MLS is must-see TV for EPL club captain

Kick Off - Phil Neville

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When D.C. United host Everton on Saturday night in one of three weekend exhibitions that will see MLS clubs take on English Premier League sides (7:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer), they will not be catching Toffees captain Phil Neville by surprise.

In fact, Neville says that he takes in plenty of MLS action back home: “I love watching MLS football. It’s on every Sunday morning in England so it’s almost as popular in our house as Spanish football.” Could he be positioning himself for a future in MLS?

Never one to hold back, LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena warns fans and media not to place too much emphasis on these midseason friendlies: “The purpose of these exhibitions are exhibiting these great teams and players. … The result is not that critical.”

Arena and his LA Galaxy play their second match of the 2011 Herbalife World Football Challenge match against Manchester City at the Home Depot Center on Sunday afternoon (4 p.m. ET, ESPN and ESPN Deportes).

The Galaxy’s David Beckham quashed rumors that he would play for Tottenham Hotspur or any other EPL side after his MLS contract is up: “The Tottenham thing didn't happen for a reason. I only want to be known as a Manchester United player and that's the way it will stay.”

The Chicago Fire hope not to suffer the same fate as the New England Revolution and Seattle Sounders, who succumbed to heavy defeats to Manchester United. They welcome the Red Devils at Soldier Field on Saturday (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes) in front of what will be the largest crowd ever to watch a Fire match.

Fire interim manager Frank Klopas promised Sir Alex Ferguson two things when they meet this weekend: “I assured Sir Alex that they're going to play hard, and I promised him a nice bottle of Greek wine.”

Two Manchester United players, Ji-Sung Park and Patrice Evra, will get a taste of something different when they learn to make a Chicago-style pizza at Gino’s East later this afternoon.

In addition to the anticipation for the matchup, the rumors are also heating up about the possibility of Pável Pardo joining the Fire. Here’s the latest on all the talk.

After their 1-0 win over Everton in midweek, the Philadelphia Union look to continue their solid record against international opponents when they play host to Real Madrid at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday (9 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes). In case you missed them, here are the highlights of that victory against the Toffees from Wednesday. (VIDEO)

There is a reduced league schedule featuring six matches mainly due to the three MLS teams involved in international exhibitions this weekend.

The Houston Dynamo are set to travel to Los Angeles to meet Chivas USA on Saturday night (10:30 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live) and they expect new acquisition Adam Moffat to be on the team sheet. But manager Dominic Kinnear says Thursday’s deal to land the central midfielder was also about freeing up cash and roster space for other acquisitions.

Perhaps the Dynamo were comfortable dealing midfielder Lovel Palmer for Moffatt because they are on the hunt for Honduran international Oscar Boniek García, a do-it-all midfielder who Honduran reports have heading to the Dynamo. (SPANISH)

Moffat arrives from the Portland Timbers, who acquired Palmer and Mike Chabala in the trade. Although Palmer was used as a defensive midfielder in Houston, don’t be surprised if John Spencer opts to employ him at right back when the Timbers visit the Columbus Crew on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live).

Many around the league will be curious to see how the New York Red Bulls react to their 4-1 loss at Colorado. It doesn’t get any easier, however, with FC Dallas visiting Red Bull Arena (6 p.m. ET, Galavision). Meanwhile, RBNYwill likely be without the important trio of veteran players who were sorely missed in midweek.

The Colorado Rapids will look to make it two straight wins at home when they host the New England Revolution (9:30 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live). Will hat trick hero Sanny Nyassi get a chance at an encore performance?

A healthier and well-rested Real Salt Lake side will welcome the San Jose Earthquakes to Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night (10 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live). Despite the fact that RSL are nearly invincible at Rio Tinto Stadium, manager Jason Kreis is very wary of the Quakes: “San Jose is one of the very few teams that over the past couple of years has come in and almost every year gotten a result on our field.”

With Sporting Kansas City getting set for a long stretch of home matches beginning with the visit from Toronto FC (8:30 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live), the big question is what will their starting lineup look like with the addition of Brazilian Jéferson, who had a promising debut vs. Newcastle in midweek?

The Vancouver Whitecaps will be idle this weekend but they still are in the news with reports of the club asking traveling supporters for their jerseys given the kit crisis that the club faced in San Jose. The break will be good for manager Tom Soehn to figure out what his tactical set-up will be with Davide Chiumiento coming back alongside his two DP forwards.

Tonight marks the kickoff of the new Mexican league season and American Herculez Gomez can be expected to play a key role when his Estudiantes Tecos side host perennial powers Toluca (9 p.m. ET, Galavision).

It didn’t take long for the USWNT stars to land an endorsement deal following the World Cup. See what Bank of America is formally announcing today.

For an understanding of the impact that the Women’s World Cup had on Americans, take this story: A diehard American gridiron fan warms up to soccer in a way his son, the newspaper columnist, could never have imagined.

Lastly, you may have heard about how Manchester United invited a group of fans on board their bus to take photos and autographs with the players and the entire experience is caught on camera right here. (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Why USMNT forward Jozy Altidore will finally thrive at AZ Alkmaar in Holland

Seattle’s Álvaro Fernández anxious about Copa América final involving Uruguay

As he kicks off new Mexican season, Herculez Gomez desperate for a piece of El Tri in August


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