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Final

Kick Off: US Soccer celebrates Centennial, weekend begins with Friday night lights in Kansas City

Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.

1. 100 YEARS AND COUNTING

That birthday cake has a ton of candles on it ... anyway, Happy 100th birthday, U.S. Soccer Federation. Across New York City today, a whole host of events will mark the USSF centennial. A press conference at City Hall (across the street from Astor House, the birthplace of the federation on this day back in 1913), the Empire State Building lighting up in red, white and blue and plenty more. This handy timeline lets you scroll back through the past 100 years and relive the memorable moments in U.S. Soccer.

2. TIMES SQUARE CELEBRATES U.S. SOCCER

Yesterday, a huge U.S. Soccer party took place in Times Square, and several US national team legends including Tab Ramos, Cobi Jones and Alexi Lalas were there. “It is important to be here in New York City where the first charter was signed,” Lalas said. “There is a rich and vibrant history when it comes to U.S. Soccer and I’m very proud to be a small part of that.” The New York Times believes that U.S. Soccer is now at the crossroads of the global game.

3. MARTINS OUT, DESTINATION UNKNOWN

This week just keeps getting worse for the Seattle Sounders. A disappointing loss to Santos Laguna has been compounded with an injury to DP forward Obafemi Martins. The Sounders confirmed the Nigerian forward has left Seattle to receive treatment on a lingering knee injury. “He’s had this injury before and been treated by a doctor so we’ve let him go back to see that doctor and hopefully he’ll be back early next week,” Sigi Schmid said. Where Martins has gone is a mystery.

4. D.C. STRUGGLING WITH INJURIES, SPORTING WARY

United will be missing Dwayne De Rosario tonight at Sporting Park (8:30 pm ET, MLS Live) after their captain got injured in a scrimmage against the Richmond Kickers. De Rosario will join John Thorrington, Nick DeLeon and Lewis Neal on the sidelines as Ben Olsen’s midfield options have been ravaged by injury. Meanwhile, Sporting have an embarrassment of riches in that area, though Peter Vermes is wary of D.C. in the huge clash under the Friday night lights in KC: “Pontius is a very, very dangerous player going forward. If you give teams space and time on the ball, they’re going to hurt you. This team [D.C. United] brings that same impact to the game if we give them that. We have to make sure that we don’t.”

5. CAHILL FIT FOR RBNY

Tim Cahill has announced himself ready to go as the injury plagued New York Red Bulls take on Chicago on Sunday (5 pm ET, ESPN2, live chat on MLSsoccer.com). Cahill could once again play up top if needed after admitting he struggled through last weeks win against Philadelphia. “I feel pretty good. It’s been a good week for me,” Cahill said. “We’ve got a really big game coming this weekend, the momentum feels good with the team.”

6. COME BACK TO MLS, HERCULEZ GOMEZ. WE DARE YOU...

As jeers and chants such as “Sounders reject” reigned down on Herculez Gomez on Tuesday night in Seattle, the Santos Laguna forward did what he does best against MLS sides. Score goals. Nine goals against MLS teams in CCL is impressive, but with many lambasting the time he spent playing in MLS, would Gomez return North of the border to prove his doubters wrong? Jonah Freedman takes a look at Gomez's options in this week’s edition of "The Throw-In."

7. SAN JOSE BLENDING YOUNG AND OLD

One man has seen it all. The other has just begun his journey. Last weekend, Ramiro Corrales played in his 300th MLS game, while new Quakes signing Alexandre Gonzalez Emerson has all that to look forward to. The Bay Area native was part of Necaxa's academy set up, but now he’s returned home to help San Jose as they cope with an injury crisis ahead of their game with Vancouver (Saturday, 10:30 pm ET, MLS Live).

8. IS SABORÍO UNDERRATED?

With Real Salt Lake facing Colorado (Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, NBCSN, live chat on MLSsoccer.com) in the Rocky Mountain Cup this weekend, our very own Simon Borg asks this question: Is Álvaro Saborío the most underrated star in MLS?

9. PAPONI: “I ENJOY CANADA AND I WANT TO STAY HERE.”

Just a few days into his trial with the Montreal Impact, Bologna’s Daniele Paponi is already singing the league’s praises. “MLS has a good reputation in Italy, especially after so many important players, including members of this team here, came to North America over the past few years,” Paponi said. We’ll have to wait and see whether Paponi joins the Italian influx in Montreal.

10. USWNT FACES GERMANY

A huge game for the world No. 1 USWNT today, as they square off against old foes Germany at 12:15 pm ET on ESPNW.com and ESPN3.com. There will be a viewing party at Nevada Smith’s in Manhattan to coincide with U.S. Soccer’s Centennial celebrations. Here are the guys over at Soccer By Ives, who breakdown the job Tom Sermanni has done so far and what lies ahead.

11. DARTMOUTH COACH JOINS UNION ACADEMY

The Philadelphia Union have appointed highly regarded Dartmouth men’s soccer head coach Jeff Cook to their academy setup. Cook took the Big Green to seven of the last nine NCAA tourneys, and is excited about the new challenge in MLS: "This coaching position with the Philadelphia Union Youth Academy is very exciting and I look forward to working with the club in their efforts to develop an outstanding youth development academy.”

12. TULSA HAS MLS ASPIRATIONS

Back in 1983, the Tulsa Roughnecks of the NASL lifted the Soccer Bowl in Vancouver (great archive footage) reaching the pinnacle of US soccer. Yesterday, an ownership group announced that soccer is coming to the vacant Oil Drillers Stadium in Tulsa, as the Tulsa Athletics will compete in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). Co-owners Sonny Dalesandro and Dr. Tommy Kern believe they can bring Major League Soccer to Tulsa, as the Roughnecks were one of the best supported teams during their NASL heyday, averaging more than 15,000 fans per game.

13. USL PRO RAMPING UP, VSI TAMPA GET NEW HOME

This weekend sees more USL Pro teams starting their season, with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds travelling to Richmond on Saturday, while VSI Tampa travel to JELD-WEN Field to face the Portland Timbers Reserves and Orlando City host the Phoenix Wolves on Sunday. You can watch all the games live here. VSI Tampa also announced their home for the 2013 season, and spoke of their plans to build a new 28,000-plus seat stadium in the Tampa Bay area.

14. NEW “AMERICAN SOCCER MORNING” SHOW TO LAUNCH

Many of you will be aware of the great job the lads over at North American Soccer Network do. And starting next Monday, you can listen to their new live soccer show, hosted by Jason Davis, from 9-11 am ET Monday to Friday. You can phone in and chat about MLS, USL, NASL, the US national team and more. All the details are here.

15. EPL ACTION HEATS UP, SPURS SUFFER

The EPL relegation battle continues this weekend, as Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan and Eric Lichaj square off against Geoff Cameron and Brek Shea of Stoke City (delayed airing on Fox Soccer, Saturday at noon ET). Elsewhere, Arsenal vs. West Brom is live on Fox Soccer at 10 am ET on Saturday, while Reading vs. Southampton kicks off the weekends action tomorrow morning at 7:45 am ET on ESPN2. Yesterday, Clint Dempsey came off the bench and Brad Friedel started in goal as Tottenham tied 2-2 with FC Basel in their Europa League quarterfinal after being 2-0 down. Bad news for Spurs and fans of soccer in general, Gareth Bale went down with a bad ankle injury.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

ExtraTime Radio: Carlo Cudicini on LA's loss to Monterrey

Stream of the Week: Portland Timbers vs. Houston Dynamo (Saturday, 10:30 pm ET)

Starting Lineup: Who should you pick on your MLS Fantasy: Soccer Manager team this weekend?


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