Kick Off: Vancouver DP ready to work for his place in side

Kick Off: Barry Robson

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Vancouver Whitecaps

June 27 can’t come soon enough in Vancouver.

Having already accumulated more wins (seven) through 14 games than they did through all of their 2011 expansion season, the Whitecaps introduced Designated Player Barry Robson on Monday, adding yet another talented attacker to what they hope will be a playoff, or even championship, team in 2012.

The Scotsman will become available for selection eight days from now, but he won’t be able to make his competitive debut until July 4 when the ‘Caps head to Colorado to take on the Rapids.

And while most would assume Robson’s debut will come on what will be a festive day in the Rockies, the midfielder is staying humble, emphasizing he must break into the team first: "I don't expect to play,” Robson said, “you can say what you like."

Vancouver manager Martin Rennie said he won’t rush his newest player onto the field, but it will surely be hard for him to leave Robson on the bench after overcoming what many said were long odds to sign him.

He’ll get his first taste of MLS action on Wednesday when the New York Red Bulls arrive in town sans Thierry Henry and Rafa Márquez, both of whom are recovering from injury. Surely that’s fine from the ‘Caps perspective, especially since the club has yet to host a full-strength opponent this month.

Luckily for Robson, who said his wife and children were driving forces behind coming to MLS, he didn’t arrive in town in time for the club to stick him on the fashion runway. (VIDEO)

Speaking of Henry, the legendary striker said Monday that coaching is not in his future. The Frenchman remains dedicated to staying a part of the game, but added he's rethought previous statements concerning his interest in managing down the line. "The more I think about it, it's pretty difficult," Henry told Goal.com. "You don't think about it but you need to be a teacher [as a head coach]. Teaching isn't easy."

Staying in New York, the Red Bulls won't offer up a tribute to Dwayne De Rosario should the D.C. United attacker score his 100th career goal next weekend at Red Bull Arena. There's no chance those in attendance will see a Juan Pablo Ángel-style celebration of career accomplishments, according to BigAppleSoccer.com.

Down in Houston, they are patiently awaiting the arrival of their summer DP. Oscar Boniek García was originally expected to join the Dynamo this week, but that's been pushed out because of visa issues. Fortunately, it seems the club has a timeline to work from. “We’re still working on the completion of him getting his visa and we’re hoping that can occur this week,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti told MLSsoccer.com on Monday.

Toronto FC's arrival in Houston after a weekend defeat in Kansas City was rough, to say the least. Luis Silva, Miguel Aceval and Nick Soolsma were arrested early Monday morning after an incident at a Midtown club, and details from the night's events trickled out throughout the day.

Ahead of a midweek clash with Sporting, Seattle manager Sigi Schmid hasn't ruled Steve Zakuani out of the team's 18-man roster: "He's taken another step forward," Schmid said.

Although unlikely, that could be the kind of spark the slumping Sounders need. Fortunately, Seattle will get Osvaldo Alonso back against Kansas City. The same can't be said for Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, who will miss the match with a red-card suspension that the team declined to appeal.

Meanwhile, their opponent on Wednesday, Sporting KC, seems to be back on track after a mini slump following what was one of the best starts in league history. They're doing it with a roster full of guys hungry to contribute. Guys like forward Jacob Peterson, who impressed in his first start for KC against Toronto on Saturday.

Perhaps the biggest game on Wednesday will be between the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake. LA pulled themselves out of the Western Conference gutter this weekend with a home win vs. Portland, but RSL present a much stiffer test. Still, according to left back Todd Dunivant, the Galaxy have plenty of hope:  “You look at it now, we're five points out of the playoffs with 20 games left. For as poorly as we started, you look at it that way, and there's a lot of optimism in this locker room.”

Hope seems to be contagious in LA's locker room, as David Beckham expressed belief in the England squad's ability to make a run in the 2012 European Championship. They'll have to earn an all-important result this afternoon to have a chance of doing so. (VIDEO)

In today's Group D finales, England take on Ukraine on ESPN and France face Sweden on ESPN2 simultaneously at 2:30 pm ET.

Wayne Rooney is expected to make his return against the hosts after serving a two-ban to open the tournament. Will he be able to lead the English to the quarterfinals?

In the other match, Sweden are already out, but the French will be gunning for three points to ensure they move onto the knockout stages. If they manage to collect the victory, Samir Nasri will almost certainly play a key role.

Jimmy Conrad will be on hand to see if Nasri can produce the goods. Check out his latest KICKTV installment from Kiev ahead of the match. (VIDEO)

Ireland and Robbie Keane don't have the quarterfinals to look forward to, but the veteran forward wasn't making any excuses after the nation's third straight loss to Italy on Monday. Keane also came out in defense of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni, backing the Italian to stay on to help lead the World Cup qualifying campaign.

He was also questioned about his international future, but didn't have much to say on the topic after such a disappointing tournament for the Irish: "I'm not even really thinking about it to be honest with you," Keane said.

Meanwhile, in San Jose, some are wondering when exactly the Earthquakes will be able to open their new stadium. Details are a little scarce at the moment.

In what is surely just the start of rumors linking Houston center back Geoff Cameron overseas, Dynamo insider Glenn Davis said that Everton, Schalke and Stoke City were at BBVA Compass Stadium to watch the center back take on FC Dallas.

The US women took a little bit of revenge for last summer's World Cup final defeat on Monday, knocking off Japan 4-1. Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan both scored twice for the Americans. Watch the highlights here, or check out reactions from US players and coaches. (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Musts

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NYRB Notebook: Conde, Backe to miss midweek vs. 'Caps


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