Kick Off: Will De Rosario's return spark DC United?
Is there anything more Dwayne De Rosario can do to cement his legacy as one of the all-time greats of Major League Soccer?
Probably not, but it appears he’s going to get his chance. Word out of D.C. United camp is that De Rosario, who went down with a knee injury more than two months ago, could return in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday.
“I feel good, but there are a lot more days leading up to the game,” De Rosario told the media on Tuesday. “If it feels good on that day, we’ll see. I am there for the team. It doesn’t matter if it’s the second half, overtime, starting or not playing at all.”
Assistant coach Chad Ashton’s diagnosis is even better for D.C., who face a two-goal deficit in the series: “We are very optimistic he can play.”
What exactly would it mean to have DeRo back in the mix at RFK Stadium on Sunday? Goal.com’s Kyle McCarthy takes a look at what it will take for D.C. to overcome the deficit in the series and how De Rosario’s return off the bench in the second half could be the spark.
Of course, nothing DeRo does will matter much if D.C. can’t cut down on the defensive mistakes they made during a frustrating 3-1 loss in the opener last weekend.
The Dynamo, meanwhile, carried a litany of injuries into the opener and could so once again in the finale. Hardy midfielder Adam Moffat is a no-go on Sunday after a shuddering collision with D.C. defender Robbie Russell left him with a concussion.
One player who is game for Sunday’s matchup is midfielder Boniek García, who was called up by the Honduran national team this week but told the media Tuesday that he’d rather suit up for club than country.
“It means a lot to be in my home stadium, seeing and feeling the support of all the Honduran fans that live in Houston,” Garcia said. “I am, however, more excited and yearning to play during Sunday’s game, which is much more important for me.”
One last thought on the D.C.-Houston series comes from Soccer America’s Ridge Mahoney, who insists that perhaps an additional official is the solution to controversial no-calls like the one that soured Houston’s win last Sunday. Check out Mahoney’s explanation here.
On to the Western Conference, where the Seattle Sounders face the daunting task of making up a three-goal deficit against the LA Galaxy on Sunday with an eye on making some unique league history. Defender Jeff Parke, for one, thinks his club is more than capable.
“We could do something special here, and they could be talking about us for a while if we can come back and pull this off,” Parke said. “We all believe in each other and believe we can get it done.”
The Sounders actually hung a 4-0 win on the Galaxy earlier this season, but what does that mean now? Here’s a look at what the Seattle players and coaches said on Tuesday about how much that result might influence the game on Sunday.
The latest injury update is out for the Sounders, and it looks exactly like it did before the first leg: Mauro Rosales is still the one to watch.
All appears well these days for the Galaxy, who aren’t getting ahead of themselves despite sitting just 90 minutes from a return appearance in MLS Cup.
And for all those wondering about the future of the MLS playoff structure, here’s some news: Brian Straus of the Sporting News reports that while changes to the current structure are unlikely in 2013, future changes could alter the playoff landscape to favor the higher seeds far more than they do now.
Perhaps the biggest news in MLS on Tuesday revolved around one of its most confounding teams: Chivas USA. Team owner Jorge Vergara addressed the media in Los Angeles with some striking words for the future of a club mired in mediocrity, insisting that the club will return to its Mexican roots in the future.
"This is the return of the prodigal son," Vergara said in Spanish. "From the start the plan was to make Chivas USA the son of Chivas de Guadalajara. Along the way it got away from that, and the clubs suffered a divorce in philosophy and structure. We are going to re-create Chivas USA as an extension of Chivas."
Here’s the report from MLSsoccer.com’s Luis Bueno, who spotted this not-so-subtle nod to some potentially big changes for the club. “Who doesn’t speak Spanish?” Vergara asked the assembled reporters. “It’s time to learn.”
Vergara didn’t shy away from big statements on Tuesday, first insisting that Chivas USA “forgot to use the technical advantage and the speed of the Mexican or Hispanic players,” and, more strikingly, that he once offered rising star Javier “Chicharito” Hernández to former Chivas USA head coach Preki but the MLS legend declined the offer.
And one last point about the Chivas overhaul involves Dutch great Johann Cruyff, who will serve as a consultant as the club looks to find its footing. That news reached all the way back to Cruyff’s native Netherlands.
On to some other league news, starting in Kansas City. That’s where we find midfielder Jacob Peterson about to go under the knife and miss four months of action with a shoulder injury.
The fallout in New York surrounding the Red Bulls’ playoff exit and head coach Hans Backe’s sacking is still big news, and here’s some proof: Big Apple Soccer’s Michael Lewis takes his frustrations out on the club's the underperforming Designated Players, while another report says that letting Backe go was the best solution for the club.
How about some news from Canada? Here’s the latest from the Montreal Impact’s trip to Italy, a look at the wild coaching carousel up north, and a report that indicates Vancouver Whitecaps forward Kenny Miller is interested in returning to his native Scotland for an offseason loan.
One last bit of news involving MLS finds the top football clubs from 90 countries invited to a conference in Qatar to assess preparations for the 2022 World Cup. Find out which two MLS clubs received the invite.
Depending on when you read this, you’re either loving Jozy Altidore right now or hating him. Yes, that’s an obvious oversimplification of the US national team’s matchup against Russia on Wednesday (10 am ET, ESPN2), but Altidore’s return to the lineup and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s motivation for bringing him in are two of the biggest focal points of the final match of 2012.
And what about that US-Russia rivalry? There’s not a ton of history to go around in this one, but here’s a look from the guys at ESPN and MLSsoccer.com’s Simon Borg shares a unique anecdote from when the US played Russia at the Kingdome in Seattle (RIP).
One of the most intriguing games on the international docket today features FC Dallas players Blas Pérez and Carlos Rodríguez, who take on Spain in Panama City.
A couple news and notes to wrap today’s Kick Off include some hot water for an American abroad, and a huge honor for US women’s national team star Megan Rapinoe.
And last but not least, Hope Solo was supposed to get married on Tuesday to a former University of Washington football player, but then this happened. (UPDATE: They did, in fact, get married on Tuesday night, after the court appearance.)
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