Kick Off: Can Agudelo's return lift the Red Bulls past LA?

Juan Agudelo

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Just when the New York Red Bulls need him the most, Juan Agudelo seems ready to answer the call.

The young striker worked out with the first team during a practice session on Thursday as he inches closer to full health following his recent knee surgery, and head coach Hans Backe had some encouraging words about Agudelo's status for the team’s matchup against the LA Galaxy on Saturday (8 pm ET, ESPN).

There’s also good news for the club on the defensive front, thanks to the potential return of Jan Gunnar Solli.

The clock is starting to tick for the LA Galaxy, meanwhile, who enter Saturday’s nationally televised matchup on short rest after a midweek loss in Seattle. Galaxy captain Landon Donovan made his stance on the club’s early start clear, saying the club needs to get in gear soon.

The Galaxy-Red Bulls game might make the biggest headlines this weekend, but don’t tell that to the Seattle Sounders. They’re on national television as well against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday (4:30 pm ET, NBC Sports Network), but they might be without a key component. Check out the latest on what could be an interesting situation in goal at CenturyLink Field.

Still can’t get enough of that Fredy Montero wonder-goal from Wednesday night? Neither could the folks at deadspin.com, who dubbed it a "you can only do that in a video game" highlight.

Sounders manager Sigi Schmid is no play-by-play man in the booth, but he did have an up-close look at the goal from the Seattle bench. He joined ExtraTime Radio on Thursday to talk about, among other things, perhaps the best goal he’s ever seen as an MLS head coach.

There are certainly a few storylines in play for the Seattle-Philadelphia matchup, but here’s an interesting one: the long and winding roads of Eddie and Freddy.

The MLS weekend slate kicks off tonight with another game under the Friday night lights, as the Chicago Fire head west to face Chivas USA (11 pm ET, ESPN Deportes). And while the Fire know they’ll play without suspended defender Jalil Anibaba and head coach Frank Klopas, they’ll also play without Chris Rolfe, who is still working his way back from an ankle injury.

Sean Johnson will certainly start in net for Chicago, but here’s an article that wonders whether or not the supposed future US star (or his counterpart Bill Hamid with D.C. United) is actually living up to expectations.

Chivas USA, meanwhile, will have their freshly minted teenage star José Erik Correa in the mix, and the Colombian striker says that he’s hopeful a career in MLS will help him stay on the radar for the Colombian national team.

Let’s look at another great matchup on Saturday, this one serving as Round 2 in a provocative series between the host Vancouver Whitecaps and the red-hot San Jose Earthquakes (7 pm ET, MLS Live). The Quakes won the first go-round already this season, and that game left what at least one ‘Caps player says is “a bitter taste” in his mouth.

The Quakes’ solid play to open the season, meanwhile, hasn’t gone unnoticed in the Bay Area. Check out this report involving the world of ticket sales, which reveals how the Quakes are starting to make some real rumblings at the turnstiles.

Another Canadian side, the Montreal Impact, are back in action after a short week. They play at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday (8:30 pm ET, MLS Live). But the biggest news is that longtime Serie A stalwart Marco Di Vaio is reportedly on the club's radar.

And look who else is finally in the picture for the Impact: it’s Nelson Rivas, who is expected to make his debut against SKC.

How about a debut of a different kind? That honor belongs to Mike Fucito, the Hernando de Soto of the Seattle-Portland MLS rivalry. He could make his Timbers debut on Satuday against the Columbus Crew (10:30 pm ET, MLS Live), making him the first player to jump the Columbia River, if you will, in the MLS era.

FC Dallas have been hammered by injuries this season, and they learned of yet another one on Thursday, this one involving youngster Bobby Warshaw.

But it’s not all that bad for Schellas Hyndman’s group. Look who could be back when the team takes on the Colorado Rapids on Sunday (7 pm ET, Galavision).

Speaking of great goalkeepers, this post from Noah Davis at NBC Sports.com's ProSoccerTalk wonders which is the tougher accomplishment: 100 wins, or 100 goals?

Across the pond, there’s  good news surrounding the health of US striker Jozy Altidore. While most feared that the AZ Alkmaar star had suffered a concussion during a league match in the Netherlands earlier this week, it turns out the prognosis isn’t as bad as first expected.

Despite the injury, there’s optimism that Altidore will be called into the upcoming US camp in Orlando for a matchups against Scotland and Brazil later this month. Check out the video of Altidore’s scary fall here [VIDEO].

And last but not least, the apparent suicide of former NFL star Junior Seau took the sports world by storm this week, and left more than a few fans wondering about the long-term effects of concussions for athletes.

Enter former MLSer and current ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman, who’s been a frequent commenter regarding Seau. As you listen to this interview with Twellman with a Boston radio station (AUDIO), you can't help but marvel at Twellman's transition from being one of MLS' best-ever goal scorers to one of the leading public figures in the conversation surrounding concussion awareness. It’s been an impressive and incredibly fast transition, and proof that Twellman’s new role of educating fans, media members, and players on the subject has become perhaps his most important goal ever.

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