Kick Off: Union land ex-Best XI back Soumare

Luis Silva

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Getty Images

Looks like the Philadelphia Union have found the center back they were looking for.

After a tumultuous season on the backline that saw former captain Danny Califf shipped out of town last month, it appears the Union have found a replacement in former MLSer Bakary Soumare.

The 26-year-old Malian international is expected to be introduced as the newest member of the Union on Tuesday, thanks to a deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps to move into the top spot in the MLS Allocation order to bring the former MLS Best XI selection to town. The club announced the deal on Tuesday after Fox Soccer broke the news.

Soumare isn't eligible to play with the club until Wednesday, which means he’ll miss the team’s US Open Cup quarterfinal matchup on Tuesday night against the Harrisburg City Islanders (7:30 pm ET). The Union are riding high into the matchup after a cathartic win over Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.

There’s less love on the other side of the USOC matchup, however, especially from former Union player and current City Islander Morgan Langley. No, he’s not out for vengeance, but pretty close.

“At the Union, there was a cooler filled with every type of Gatorade and protein shake I could ever imagine,” Langley said. “We don’t have any of that. We don’t have anyone doing our own laundry. We’re taking buses everywhere. There’s no glamour.”

Staying on the USOC schedule, Sporting Kansas City are also in action at home, pitted against the Dayton Dutch Lions at Livestrong Sporting Park (8:30 pm ET). They should get a boost in the return of defender Matt Besler, who appears healthy enough to contribute.

SKC head coach Peter Vermes, meanwhile, isn’t overlooking the stakes for his foes on Tuesday night, especially considering how far they’ve come to get here. Said Vermes: “This is their European Cup final, if you will.”

Chivas USA are at home against the Charlotte Eagles (10:30 pm ET). The Eagles’ best win in the tournament so far is a 2-0 victory over FC Dallas, which has given Chivas USA players plenty of pause headed into a do-or-die matchup at The Home Depot Center. “In some respect, these games are harder than MLS games because you're playing guys who are salivating at the mouth, and that's always difficult,” says Chivas midfielder Peter Vagenas. “You're playing teams that are desperate and have nothing to lose, and that's always difficult.”

The only all-MLS matchup of the night pits the three-time defending champion Seattle Sounders against the host San Jose Earthquakes at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco (10:30 pm ET). It’s not often that gameday news revolves around team trainers, but all eyes over the last 24 hours have been on how the Sounders staff can help players recover after their loss at Portland less than 48 hours ago. Striker Fredy Montero is expected to play as he prepares to sit out his next league match following a red card on Sunday against Portland, but who else will we see? Said head coach Sigi Schmid: “We'll have to see what we can put out there for that game."

The big news in Toronto is the events surrounding Luis Silva, Miguel Aceval and Nick Soolsma, the three players arrested last week for public intoxication outside of a Houston night club. Silva spoke to the media on Monday and apologized for his actions in the incident but also revealed there’s some backstory to his own personal turmoil surrounding the night’s events: His father had just passed away. “The bad thing was that it was Father’s Day on Sunday and I’m like, ‘I can’t believe this just happened,’” he said. “Obviously, I just made a stupid mistake. I regret it.”

Toronto FC return to action on Wednesday against the Montreal Impact, and head coach Jesse Marsch’s team could have some help from their newest star. This report says Designated Player Marco Di Vaio is not only ready to go on Wednesday, but could be a starter in the Impact’s lineup [FRENCH].

And here’s some more potential DP news from D.C., where the rumor mill was churning on Monday about the possibility of Andriy Shevchenko coming to the nation’s capital. Here’s the tweet that set it off, and here’s the report from The Washington Post’s Steven Goff saying it clearly: no chance.

There does appear to be some truth, however, to talk that Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear has his eyes on Nigerian striker Sone Aluko, who is currently with embattled Scottish side Rangers. Turns out former MLS mainstay Mo Johnston tipped Kinnear off to the possibility of landing Aluko. “I’m pretty good friends with Mo Johnston and he brought up Sone’s name to me,” Kinnear said. “I had a close look at Sone and was impressed. If he is free and available, we’d really like to bring him to Houston."

Speaking of Rangers, the crisis at one of Scotland’s most storied clubs deepened on Monday when news broke that the club is now expected to be demoted to the bottom division, ending a 140-year stay in the top flight. Charles Green, who bought Rangers earlier this month, was informed that he would have to form a new company following forced liquidation.

What does that mean for Bocanegra, cited earlier for a potential move to MLS? It’s unclear, but players are expected to reject the chance to transfer their contracts to the new company, and the US captain could become a free agent soon. And how about Maurice Edu? The USMNT midfielder has his suitors, including Turkish side Bursapor.

Rumors claim Houston's Geoff Cameron could be headed the other way: to Europe. His former Dynamo teammate, Stuart Holden, offers up some insight.

In LA, the Galaxy have been on a three-game tear this month, and looking like they could round into form just in time for summer. The key to their struggles this season? “At the beginning of last year, we did sit down and had a conversation with the team about here’s what we need to do this year, let’s all get on the same page, this is what we expect,” AEG president Tim Leiweke says. “We didn’t have that conversation this year, maybe we should have.”

Landon Donovan certainly seems to be back in form after a tough start to 2012. He was named the MLS Player of the Week on Monday.

Where do the Galaxy fall in the latest MLS Power Rankings? MLSsoccer.com’s latest poll comes out on Tuesday, but here’s a look at the tables from Goal.com and Soccer America.

And last but not least, a look at a proud moment for defenders everywhere. Check out the slow-motion replay of New York’s Heath Pearce with his Chris Paul-esque move to shake D.C. United defender Danny Cruz in the Red Bulls’ win on Sunday.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

ExtraTime Radio: Heath Pearce talks Red Bulls, bow ties

Vote: The AT&T Goal of the Week

Are Communicaciones after more US players?


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