Kick Off: Battle of the Boroughs begins between the Bronx and Queens for New York City FC

Here are the top 15 stories we're looking at on Friday.

1. BRONX OR QUEENS FOR NEW YORK CITY FC?

Is it as simple as that? Perhaps. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. certainly thinks his community is the best option for NYCFC. “It would appear there is little enthusiasm for world class soccer in Queens,” Diaz said in an open letter sent to MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “My office is ready to assist you in this matter. Please reach out to me directly to discuss the bright professional soccer could have right here in the Bronx.” So, the Bronx or Queens? Your thoughts, please.

2. QUEENS CONFIDENT, DESPITE BRONX’S BELIEVERS

Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Corona) responded to Diaz's claims. "I don't fault him for trying. Who wouldn't want a major soccer team in their borough?" Moya said. "Given the way the latest Subway Series went down [with the Mets besting the Yankees], I am extremely confident the team will wind up in Queens." Those are fighting words. Moya also wagered a friendly bet of empanadas on New York City FC ending up in Queens. The battle for MLS’ 20th franchise will only intensify, it seems.

3. PORTLAND HOPE TO OUST DALLAS AT THE TOP

The Portland Timbers host Western conference leaders FC Dallas on Saturday (4 pm ET, ESPN, live chat on MLSsoccer.com) in a huge nationally televised clash. The two sides will also do battle in the US Open Cup quarterfinals, so this prelude should be edgy and full of fight. Dallas have never won at JELD-WEN Field.

4. BATTLE OF THE DESPERATE AT RFK

D.C. United and Toronto FC will meet on Saturday (7 pm ET, watch on MLS Live) with both riding huge winless streaks. United are on a franchise worst 12-game winless run, while TFC are 11 without victory. D.C. will be boosted by their midweek Open Cup win, but Chris Pontius is out with a reported concussion. Ryan Nelsen waived Terry Dunfield this week and discussed Toronto’s transfer policy heading forward: “We’ve lined up the guys we want and if we can get 3-4, then we will be very close to where we want to be.”

5. IMPACT HEAD TO COLUMBUS ON A ROLL

With Montreal hoping to seal yet another win in Columbus on Saturday, (7:30 pm ET, watch on MLS live) they will have to do so with a reshuffled backline. Alessandro Nesta is out after suspension, but Montreal have options. “It’s the coach’s decision, he has several options,” said Hassoun Camara, who could play centrally or out wide. “It’s up to him, and I’m ready to meet his expectations.” Meanwhile, the Quebec Soccer Federation's decision to ban turbans could affect some of the Impact's academy players. On the other side of the ball, the Crew have plenty of injury concerns, especially after Brazilian defender Gláuber was carried off against Chicago on Thursday.

6. QUAKES SET FOR NEW ERA

San Jose play their first game since Frank Yallop left last week, as Mark Watson takes charge against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday (9 pm ET, watch on MLS Live) Watson is certain he doesn’t have to tweak much: “This team is not a broken team. This is a good team that’s had a difficult start to the season.” Colorado’s Martín Rivero could return this weekend, but further forward. Speaking of former coaches, onetime Rapids head man Gary Smith reflected on Steve Zakuani’s injury, calling it the hardest moment of his tenure.

7. CAN REVS GO CROSS COUNTRY AND WIN AT BC PLACE?

A rejuvenated New England side travels to Vancouver on Saturday (10 pm ET, watch on MLS Live) hoping to carry on their playoff chasing form. This article reveals why the Revs have a 83.2 percent chance of making the postseason. The ‘Caps are making plans to participate in their second straight playoffs, as head coach Martin Rennie revealed new arrivals are on the way. But it’s proving tricky. “Signing the right players is – I think – a very difficult thing to do in Major League Soccer.”

8. US NATIONAL TEAM TO BRAZIL IS A DONE DEAL?

So we all agree on this, right? OK, maybe not all of us. But with the USMNT sitting pretty atop the Hex, what could go wrong? Not much, according to Jonah Freedman in this week’s edition of "The Throw-In." He lists three reasons why Jurgen Klinsmann can sleep easy in the coming weeks and months during World Cup qualifiers knowing the job seems about done.

9. CHICAGO DEFEAT COLUMBUS IN AFTERNOON OPEN CUP ACTION

Patrick Nyarko sent the Fire into the last eight of the US Open Cup after Chicago bounced back from an early deficit to beat Columbus 2-1 yesterday. Severe storms rolled through the Windy City on Wednesday night, and the rescheduled match was played at 1 pm ET on Thursday at Toyota Park. Konrad Warzycha gave the Crew an early lead, but Mike Magee made it four goals in four games since joining the Fire with his equalizer.

10. DOWN TO LAST EIGHT, WHO IS OPEN CUP FAVE?

Now that the Open Cup quarterfinals are set, who is the favorite to lift the trophy? Vote here and see who are the people’s favorites. Check out Three for Thursday, too, as we take a look at the three teams who are built to succeed in Open Cup action.

11. CAN ORLANDO CITY GO ALL THE WAY?

The guys on ExtraTime Radio had fun discussing this one yesterday. So what do you think? Cann USL PRO outfit Orlando City win the Open Cup? OCSC president Phil Rawlins joins the guys to talk about their Cup run and MLS expansion.

12. TRANSFER RUMORS HEATING UP

Over the past few days, the transfer speculation has been rife in MLS and abroad. Reports from France have Le Mans goalkeeper Jeremie Janot heading our way. Americans are going the other way as well: Find out who Norwegian side Molde signed to play alongside Josh Gatt. And remember the reports in Spain saying Marcos Senna was heading to MLS? Well, they were slightly off the mark. The former Spanish international signed for the New York Cosmos in the NASL.

13. SCHÜRRLE TO BECOME MOURINHO’S FIRST SIGNING

The first signing of the José Mourinho era has arrived at Chelsea, with a deal agreed for Schalke and Germany midfielder André Schürrle. The 22-year-old is set to join the Blues after a medical and agreeing personal terms. But who is Chelsea target Edinson Cavani off to? His Mom says Manchester City ... his Dad says Real Madrid. Make your mind up, Edinson.

14. MLS FANTASY: WHO DOMINATES THE MIDFIELD?

This week is an interesting weekend in MLS Fantasy: Soccer Manager, as Portland, Colorado, Vancouver and Montreal all have two upcoming games. But which midfielders should be selected? Diego Valeri, Russel Teibert and Patrice Bernier are the men in question. Make sure to reshuffle your side ahead of the weekend's action.

15. CONFEDERATIONS CUP BEGINS SATURDAY

The Confederations Cup begins in Brazil this weekend, with Group A kicking off the action with Brazil vs. Japan on Saturday (2:30 pm ET, ESPN). Then on Sunday Mexico face Italy (2:30 pm ET, ESPN) and Spain take on Uruguay straight after (5:45 pm ET, ESPN). This comprehensive preview will whet your appetite for the weekend’s action. Plus, why is Greg Lalas rooting for El Tri?

MLSsoccer.com Musts

New Chivas USA coach José Luis Real: "This is the biggest challenge of my career"

Donovan admits missing the US national team setup, focusing on LA

All Star: Which midfielder should get your vote?


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