Kick Off: Beckerman challenges champs, Zé Roberto a Goat?

Kick Off: Kyle Beckerman

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If you thought the Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake rivalry has slowly become the best in MLS, the flames were fanned a bit more ahead of tonight’s showdown at Rio Tinto Stadium (9 pm ET, MatchDay Live).

Real Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman, who is a former Colorado player, says that he’s not ready to rank the MLS Cup champion Rapids among the league’s elite just yet. He says they had a good run in 2010 but he wants to “see them do it over a season.”

It’s only the fourth match of the season for CONCACAF Champions League finalists Real Salt Lake but they have already mapped out a plan of how to claim this year’s Supporters’ Shield.

Veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando shares details of that plan and it involves wrapping up the regular-season trophy by July.

The rivalry between RSL and the Rapids is arguably one of the most compelling heading into 2011. For an explanation of what has fueled the fire over the years, some fans share their most memorable moments.

LA Galaxy star David Beckham hopes to have his first magic moment in Toronto as his team takes on TFC tonight in the Englishman’s first regular-season appearance at BMO Field (8 pm ET, MatchDay Live). In the lead-up to the match, Becks indicated that there is a chance he could return to the Galaxy next year.

Ahead of their first-ever MLS home match on Thursday night on ESPN2, the Portland Timbers took their first steps in the newly renovated JELD-WEN Field. (VIDEO)

Why would anyone feel sorry about a Designated Player in MLS? New York Red Bulls manager Hans Backe does when it comes to Thierry Henry, who’s on a “tendon management program.”

For Fantasy League managers, there’s more injury news to keep in mind involving a central defender and forward for the Houston Dynamo.

Seattle Sounders players got to live out a fantasy of sorts on Tuesday at practice. With a real umpire on hand, it was time for softball at Sounders practice. Watch all the highlights here including an inside-the-park home run. Kasey Keller even takes a shot at Caribbean base-running. (VIDEO)

Aside from soccer, what do you imagine was the sport that Sounders manager Sigi Schmid was best at? It involved jumping … really far.

It’s not fun and games when it comes to the turf at Qwest Field which Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer calls “an issue.” So much so, that the club has commissioned a study to look into whether grass can be an option.

MLS is an option for former Brazil international Zé Roberto, and specifically Chivas USA, according to his agent in this French MLS report. (FRENCH)

Sergio Koke would love to leave Greek club Aris to head to MLS but he’s not been given the all-clear just yet. (GREEK)

They say the arrival of Colombian forward Diego Chará is being reported as if it’s a done deal by Colombian outlets and the president of Deportes Tolima, but the name of his destination is still unknown. (SPANISH)

Everyone expects Schalke and Real Madrid to join Barcelona and Manchester United in the final four of the UEFA Champions League. Schalke have five road goals in their favor going into their second leg against Italian side Inter Milan (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus), while Tottenham have to make up four goals at White Hart Lane against José Mourinho’s Real Madrid (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer).

Herculez Gomez celebrated his two-goal performance for Pachuca by holding a Q&A on his Facebook page, during which he revealed the song he gets pumped up to before a game.

Fans in the USA may get to see a lot more of Gomez and Pachuca with the birth of another soccer channel on the US television landscape.

You don’t see this too often overseas. An American quits on his club in England. Was it an acrimonious departure? Well, the manager says his team will be better off without him.

The takeover of Arsenal FC by Colorado Rapids owner Stan Kroenke is limited to a majority stake for now. Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov is not parting with his 27 percent in the club. He says he loves Arsenal too much.

Lastly, here’s one thing you don’t see too often. A Romanian first-division club coach makes a joke about his player’s wife and then turns around and calls him a punk chainsmoker.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Jason Kreis says the Rocky Mountain Cup is big for RSL fans

Guillermo Barros Schelotto is set to open a soccer academy in Columbus

Portland Timbers get an important piece back ahead of historic home opener


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