Kick Off: What does Red Bulls general manager Jerome de Bontin think of NYCFC? There's room for both

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

1. RBNY'S JEROME DE BONTIN SPEAKS OUT ON NYCFC AND ATTENDANCE

It's been mostly radio silence from the Red Bulls since the announcement that NYCFC would become New York City's second MLS franchise. But on Thursday de Bontin went on the Seeing Red podcast to discuss a variety of issues. Central among them was the club's new market competition, which was perhaps a premature development but no big deal according to the New York general manager. Lots of good stuff here, so give it a listen.

2. RED BULLS FANS HOPING FOR KAKÁ OR ABIDAL ... DON'T GET YOUR HOPES UP

It seems like the Brazilian has been linked with New York forever, and it seemed even more likely when his brother joined the Red Bulls. Does that mean he's headed to Red Bull Arena soon, especially since the club is looking around for a third Designated Player? Ehhhh, not right now, according to sporting director Andy Roxburgh. See what Roxburgh has to say about those Eric Abidal as well.

3. COULD GARETH BARRY BE THE FIRST MANCHESTER CITY PLAYER HEADED STATESIDE?

Maybe. Either way, it's not going to happen anytime soon, but the rumor mill is already in full swing. What does that mean for the next two-plus years? It means get used to anyone and everyone wearing sky blue to be linked with their sister club across the pond.

4. SPEAKING OF MANCHESTER CITY RUMORS, CARLOS TÉVEZ TO TORONTO FC?

Not. Gonna. Happen. A Brazilian publication reported the TFC were willing to break the bank to the tune of $10 million per season to land the Argentine star, but the club poured an ocean of cold water on that Thursday.

5. ROMA BECOME FIRST-EVER MLS ALL-STAR OPPONENT TO HAIL FROM SERIE A

It was practically an open secret, but the official announcement dropped Thursday that AS Roma will take the field opposite the league's best for the AT&T MLS All-Star Game on July 31 in Kansas City. They may not have quite the same international cache as Chelsea or Manchester United, but that's not a bad thing, according to Jeff Bradley. He says it's about time the American fan acquainted itself with Italian soccer. Of course, another Bradley also plays for the capital club and will make his MLS return at Sporting Park.

6. WHO HAS THE EARLY LEAD ON AN ALL-STAR SPOT OPPOSITE THE GIALLOROSSI?

MLS has been pretty darn successful against foreign competition in the All-Star Game, but who might carry the banner this time around? Well, we know who's leading the race in our minds. You may well disagree. Either way, you won't want to miss these goals of ASG's past. Here are five of the best. Plus, bone up on your Italian soccer vocab.

7. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AFFILIATES MEET MLS PARTNERS IN US OPEN CUP? WELL, IT DEPENDS

It's a conundrum we've only begun to see this season with the implementation of a partnership between MLS and USL PRO: What happens when loanees face the prospect of playing against, and perhaps knocking out, their parent club in US Open Cup play? In the case of Sporting KC and Orlando City, guys like Dom Dwyer simply don't play. Meanwhile, the New England Revolution did it a bit different, calling Gabe Latigue and Tyler Polak over to their side of the locker room for a match against their Rochester affiliate.

8. DEMPSEY HEADED NOWHERE, ALTIDORE INTEREST RAMPS UP

Clint Dempsey moved to Tottenham for a shot at the Champions League. That didn't happen in Year 1, and rumors began flying that the Texan could be sold to provide funds to bolster the squad. Poppycock, according the Dempsey's agent. Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, interest in Jozy Altidore is building. That's no surprise after a massive season for AZ Alkmaar. Check out the list of interested parties here.

9. BELGIUM WALTZED, NOW WHAT FOR US NATIONAL TEAM?

Nobody was happy with the USMNT's 4-2 loss in Cleveland on Wednesday night, but what did we learn? Start here with the Armchair Analyst Matthew Doyle's take, then give ExtraTime Radio a listen to see what Taylor Twellman has to say about the US' ability to stand toe-to-toe with top sides. They'll get another chance to prove themselves on Sunday, and Germany will surely push the Americans to their limit once again.

10. CHELÍS IS OUT, BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR CHIVAS USA?

First things first, youth academy director of soccer Sacha van der Most will take the reins this weekend against the Seattle Sounders, keeping the seat warm for Chelís' replacement José Luis Real. Then the club will try to dig itself out of the hole that developed under the highly quotable tactician after a seven-game skid without a win. Don't blame all that on Chelís, though, says goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. Perhaps Jonathan Bornstein will be around to help turn Chivas USA's fortunes around.

11. HEARTBREAK FOR TIJUANA AS COPA LIBERTADORES RUN PETERS OUT

Until the clock ticked past 90 minutes, Club Tijuana were done for in Brazil on Thursday night. The quarterfinal series with Atlético Mineiro was tied on aggregate, 3-3, but away goals meant the Brazilian powers were slated to move on. Then the referee blew his whistle and pointed to the spot in extra time, a turn of events that put Americans Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona and Greg Garza on the brink of the semis. Alas, it was not to be.  Duvier Riascos sent his attempt down the middle and Atlético Mineiro 'keeper Victor reached out a foot to kick away the ball and end TJ's Copa dreams.(VIDEO)

12. BECKHAM SITS COURTSIDE IN MIAMI, BUT PASSES ON FAN WELCOME

The rumors are starting to ramp up to fever pitch, and David Beckham isn't exactly tamping them down these days. With the concept of a Beckham-fronted MLS expansion side in Miami fresh in fans' minds, the coiffed one arrived in South Florida on Thursday and hobnobbed courtside with a Bolivian billionaire at the Miami Heat's Eastern Conference Finals matchup against the Indiana Pacers. Beckham didn't, however, meet with the 75 or so fans and media that gathered to welcome him in support of any potential expansion bid. Perhaps next time.

13. SWEDE'S APPARENTLY WANT SOME MLS INSIGHT, AND DAN KEAT DELIVERS

Dan Keat didn't play much for the LA Galaxy during two seasons in Southern California, but he landed on his feet at Superettan side Falkenberg FF and is now dispensing all sorts of MLS-related knowledge to the locals. You'll need the help of Google translate (unless Swedish is your second language) to read what Keat had to say about fellow All White Ryan Nelsen, David Beckham and the level between the two leagues.

14. SPAIN'S BEST AND BRIGHTEST HEADED TO THE BIG APPLE

Don't expect La Roja manager Vicente del Bosque to bring a watered down side to New York City for June 11's friendly vs. Robbie Keane and Ireland. Far from it, in fact. Spain announced their preliminary roster for the trip on Thursday, and, well, it can only be described as stacked. Check it out here.

15. AMERICAN BUSINESSMEN HOPE TO REVAMP DUNDEE UNITED

This sounds good: We want to turn a £1 million business into a £10 million business. It's much harder to pull off, though, and that's what a group of Americans hoping to return Dundee United to the Scottish Premier League are facing. Read about the dilemma facing them here.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

AS Roma, MLS, Sporting Kansas City all looking to increase global visibility

Glass half-full: Seattle Sounders take stock, ready to focus on MLS campaign

Union confirm trial of Ivory Coast int'l, two-time World Cup veteran Abdul Kader Keita


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