Kick Off: Impact steady at summit, Timbers still streaking, plus AT&T MLS All-Star Twitter vote begins
Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. IMPACT EXTEND LEAD AT TOP AS HOUSTON IMPLODE
The Montreal Impact solidified their position at the top of the Eastern conference after defeating Houston 2-0 at Stade Saputo. First-half goals from Felipe and Marco Di Vaio did the job, as the Dynamo’s defense collapsed. “We started the game like fireworks,” Impact head coach Marco Schällibaum said. “We broke them down in the first half, and even though we respect them, we tried to get four, five, even six.”
2. TIMBERS' STREAK CONTINUES AFTER STALEMATE WITH GALAXY
Now it's 14 games and counting. Caleb Porter officially owns the longest unbeaten streak for any first-year MLS manager. After Wednesday’s 0-0 tie at StubHub Center against LA, Portland were pleased with the shutout. “The center backs and the whole backline played good, and also we have a tremendous goalkeeper,” Pa Modou Kah said. “The whole backline today played fantastic.” Meanwhile, owner Merritt Paulson cranked up the heat on Colorado in this tweet, as the Timbers aim to grab their 100th MLS goal on Saturday.
3. 'CAPS AND CAMILO ON A ROLL
Over the border in Cascadia, Vancouver are marching on after yet another victory. This time they put Chivas USA to the sword with a 3-1 win punctuated by stunning displays from Camilo Sanvezzo and Russell Teibert. The Brazilian attacker now has eight goals in 10 starts this season, while Teibert has added six assists in his last four games. “[Teibert] has recently been playing fantastically well,” said Martin Rennie.
4. FIRE REVIVAL CONTINUES, MAGEE SCORES AGAIN
The Chicago Fire are back in business, but not after a scare. Early in Wednesday's match vs. Colorado, reigning MLS Rookie of the Year Austin Berry gave the ball away and the Rapids were 1-0 up. But Berry scored the game-winner to set things right and secure a narrow 2-1 win for Chicago. “It was stupid and frustrating, but the whole team had my back and got me back in the game,” Berry said. Oh yeah, Mike Magee scored his fifth goal in five games since joining the Fire.
5. NEW DOWNTOWN SOCCER STADIUM IN LA?
Rumors continue to persist about a new soccer stadium in downtown LA, and this recent community draft report looks at the possibility of bringing a stadium downtown. Who would play there? The LA Galaxy? Chivas USA? Or somebody else? Discuss who would be best suited.
6. MLS ALL-STAR GAME TWITTER VOTE BEGINS TODAY
Today, Twitter voting begins for the AT&T 2013 MLS All-Star Game in Kansas City. All the details can be found here, as voting begins at 12 pm ET. Who do you want to see line up against Michael Bradley and AS Roma on July 31?
7. US U-20 SIDE STARTS WORLD CUP DREAM ON FRIDAY
Tab Ramos' Under-20 national team is making the final preparations for its World Cup opener on Friday in Istanbul. Luis Gil should be fit, as the USA face a daunting task against Spain in their Group A opener (Friday, 2 pm ET, ESPN2). Over at Soccer America, they’re getting geared up for the tournament by speculating which players can elevate themselves to the full national team in the coming years. Certainly the youngsters will be hoping to impress Jurgen Klinsmann with their displays against Spain, France and Ghana.
8. YEDLIN SHINES, PLUS SOME OTHERS TO WATCH
Staying on that note, US U-20 head coach Ramos has singled out one MLS youngster for particular praise ahead of the tournament, Seattle Sounders star DeAndre Yedlin: "His speed, his ability to go forward, which is what we like, his ability to get back on defense quickly and to play the game with urgency,” Ramos raved. While over at ESPN, they take a look at which stars from other countries you should watch out for.
9. BRADLEY THE BEST PLAYER IN CONCACAF?
Bold statement alert. This is a big one coming from the March to the Match guys. Do you agree that USMNT midfielder Michael Bradley is now the best player across the continent? Discuss, disagree or nod your head appreciatively. Those are the options.
10. ALTIDORE RACKING UP THE PLAUDITS
After his game-winner against Honduras on Tuesday, Jozy Altidore has elevated himself to one of the USMNT key men following the recent friendlies and World Cup qualifiers. Soccer By Ives has been left salivating by Jozy’s displays. So is Altidore’s mini-breakout a surprise to anyone? Apparently it shouldn’t be.
11. WHICH US PLAYERS ARE ON THE WAY OUT?
Altidore has shined in recent games and so have plenty of other national teamers. But which players are slipping out of the picture for Klinsmann? Over at NBC Pro Soccer Talk, Richard Farley looks at some players who are on their last legs for the USMNT.
12. “IF ORLANDO JOINS MLS IN 2015, KAKÁ WILL BE IN PURPLE”
Call this what you will, but it is rather exciting. Speaking to a local television station, Orlando City manager Adrian Heath stated that if Orlando are admitted to MLS, then Brazilian legend Kaká will join them. Another bold statement, but given Kaká’s friendship with their majority owner and that he was in Orlando watching training last week, stranger things have happened. Check out this timeline which maps out Orlando City's schedule for getting a stadium up and running.
13. MLS FANTASY: INSIDER TRICK TO GET POINTS
Want to get the most out of your squad? Of course you do. This little trick can help to get points off the bench and into your total, try it this weekend in MLS Fantasy: Soccer Manager… you won’t regret it.
14. LICHAJ TO FOREST, UNION SIGN ‘KEEPER
Rounding up the transfers and trades happening in MLS and involving US players abroad, former Aston Villa right back Eric Lichaj has signed a two-year deal with Championship side Nottingham Forest and Jonathan Spector re-signed with Birmingham City. Back in MLS, Philadelphia signed Bundesliga veteran Oka Nikolov to provide cover for Zac MacMath. Elsewhere, the Columbus Crew's Ethan Finlay is apparently keen on scouting his opponents.
15. MEXICO, JAPAN CRASH OUT OF CONFEDERATIONS CUP
With a 2-0 loss to hosts Brazil yesterday, Mexico crashed out of the Confederations Cup after just two games. El Tri have scored just once, a penalty kick, as their struggles continue. The goals were flowing in Wednesday’s other game, with Italy booking a semifinal slot after a stunning comeback to defeat Japan, 4-3. What a game. Today Spain play Tahiti at 2:20 pm ET on ESPN, while Nigeria take on Uruguay at 5:45 pm ET on ESPN2. Elsewhere, the US women's national team plays South Korea in a friendly at 7:30 pm ET on NBSCN. Plenty of soccer on the telly to keep you going.
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