Kick Off: Only one MLS team will survive CCL showdown

Kick Off - FC Dallas vs. Toronto FC

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So who will you be rooting for?

FC Dallas and Toronto FC face off at Pizza Hut Park tonight in an all-MLS showdown for a berth into the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals out of Group C (8 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer). Only one will survive. According to CONCACAF’s official scenarios, FCD have more leeway while Toronto have just one option: victory.

Dallas have the edge going into the match, having defeated TFC three times this year, all by the score of 1-0. But they will be without starting left back Jair Benitez and winger/forward Fabián Castillo after they were ejected in the last CCL outing.

Meanwhile, European clubs are reportedly lining up to dance with FCD’s MVP candidate, Brek Shea. This report identifies 15 potential suitors, including clubs in the EPL and Dutch Eredivisie, and this one says French club Lyon have watched him on several occasions and will soon be formalizing a bid. (FRENCH)

Toronto haven’t defeated FC Dallas in any competition since 2007 but they rested Dutch DP Danny Koevermans in last week’s 1-1 draw in Philadelphia and feel confident heading into the decider: “We’re in a good position going into this game ... and we’ve played well over the last couple of months,” says Terry Dunfield.

Having long been eliminated from the playoff chase, tonight’s match represents “the most important game of the season” for Toronto, and forward Ryan Johnson is feeling confident: “I don’t think there’s much difference between us and them,” despite the 20 points in the MLS standings.

In another intriguing matchup, the Seattle Sounders host defending Champions League title holders Monterrey at CenturyLink Field (10 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer). They can help eliminate Monterrey with a victory over the Mexican side, coupled with a Comunicaciones win against Herediano.

But will the Sounders play their best players with a quarterfinal berth already secure? Likely not, says manager Sigi Schmid: "At the end of the day, our ultimate goal at this point now is to make a deep run into the playoffs and win MLS Cup ... our lineup selections are going to be predicated upon that a little bit. ... We've got to put some guys on the field with yellows ... and maybe there are some guys we're going to hold off because of that."

The match will likely be the final one for the Sounders in their “electricity yellow” kits after GM Adrian Hanauer indicates that the club has already settled on a new third kit for next year: “Some people will love it. Some people will hate it. It is not going to be gray. Other than that, people have to wait until it leaks.”

Andy Najar, nicknamed “el Fenomenono” in the Honduran press, is speaking to outlets in his native country to explain the recent downturn for D.C. United: “Each player has to do his work and concentrate for the 90 minutes. We’re always suffering from concentration issues and our opponents are taking advantage to beat us.” (SPANISH)

Columbus Crew leading goal scorer Andrés “El Cóndor” Mendoza is using his agent and the Peruvian press to advance his candidature for a return to the Peruvian national team. “He’s anxiously waiting for a call-up,” his representative told one media outlet. (SPANISH)

Staying with the foreign press, it’s not every day that a college goalkeeper at Iona is being featured by Spain’s Marca. Get to know Borja Barbero, one member of a colony of Spanish players at Iona. (SPANISH)

There was a massive upset in the men’s college ranks yesterday as No. 2 North Carolina were stunned by tiny Davidson. Watch the winner here.

When NBA star and Whitecaps part-owner Steve Nash trained with his MLS team again on Monday, he saw a reenergized Davide Chiumiento. “He came to work today,” his manager Tom Soehn said. Chiumiento isn’t talking to media this week.

The first we’re seeing this in the media: A report from Long Island, N.Y., that indicates that the county of Nassau “has received interest from a serious developer to establish a soccer stadium, complemented by mixed-use development, which would enhance the current [Belmont] raceway.”

There’s news from Asia that the LA Galaxy are “80 percent” set to make a stop in Southeast Asia en route to Australia, where they will play a friendly in December.

While the rumors continue to spread that David Beckham is close to a move to Ligue 1 side Paris St. Germain, this report cites sources as saying that Beckham is close to agreeing to stay in LA for one more year. The key deal point? Apparently the Galaxy will be flexible when it comes to Olympic duty.

Still, PSG's Qatari owners reportedly want Beckham to help promote their new Al-Jazeera Sports network, which will broadcast the French league beginning next year.

Beckham’s former boss, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, has spoken out about the recent talk of eliminating promotion and relegation in the English leagues. He called it “suicide” and “unwise.”

One homeless man in Tulsa, Okla. – a refugee from Sri Lanka – actually attempted suicide but his life is back on track thanks to soccer. And he’s now aiming for a World Cup.

It will be a World Cup rematch when the USA play Slovenia in the November FIFA fixture window. It will mark the Americans' first trip to Slovenia after they first visit Paris for an international exhibition against the 1998 World Cup champs.

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klinsmann's son, Jonathan, has been called up to the US national team's Under-15 camp at The Home Depot Center. He's a goalkeeper.

In other international news, Trinidad’s Guardian newspaper publishes a letter by ex-CONCACAF president Jack Warner, in which he hints at a larger story he will tell about FIFA and the saga that has rocked the regional governing body.

Televised UEFA Champions League action this afternoon features Otelul Galati vs. Manchester United (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer), Manchester City vs. Villarreal (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Plus) and Real Madrid vs. Olympique Lyon (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Deportes).

And lastly, in case you missed it, check out US women’s soccer star Hope Solo and her latest Dancing with the Stars performance to the tunes of Bon Jovi. (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Kasey Keller and Frank Klopas address their futures on the latest edition of ExtraTime Radio

MLS Cup Top 50: The rookie dreadlock that kept the LA Galaxy alive in MLS Cup 2005

Goal of the Week: The authors of the best goals in MLS vie for your votes


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