Kick Off: Carlos Bocanegra returns to MLS; Jozy Altidore to return to England?
Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. BOCA IS BACK
After 10 years with five different clubs in four different countries, Carlos Bocanegra is back in MLS. Yesterday the USMNT veteran signed with Chivas USA, as Boca returns to the league where it all started. Watch him in action with Chicago back in the day. Classic.
2. SO WHAT DOES BOCA'S RETURN MEAN?
Bocanegra's signing sparked a flurry of analysis, of course. MLSsoccer.com's Matthew Doyle believes Boca can help Chivas out not only in back, but also going forward. NBC Sports' Steve Davis mused on the move's potential to get Boca back into the US national team picture. The Los Angeles Times' Kevin Baxter says playing for the Goats will give Boca "a chance to prove" he deserves a recall from US coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
3. LAST DAY FOR ALL-STAR VOTING
You can't vote for Carlos Bocanegra, obviously, to play in the 2013 AT&T All-Star Game, but you can still vote for your favorite players to be part of the match against AS Roma on July 31 at Sporting Park in Kansas City. But do it quickly: Fan voting ends at 3 pm ET today. Vote now!
4. ALTIDORE ATTRACTING EPL, SERIE A, BUNDESLIGA SIDES
Jozy Alitdore is a man in demand. And it is now understood that clubs in the EPL, Serie A and Bundesliga have tabled bids for the AZ Alkmaar striker. His sizzling form for the USMNT over the summer certainly helped his stock rise further. Where will Jozy end up? Or will he stay in the Netherlands?
4. SUPPORTERS WEEK BEGINS ON MLSSOCCER.COM
With Canada Day on Monday and July 4th on Thursday, MLSsoccer.com is celebrating the supporters around the North American scene. Check out an open letter from MLSsoccer.com editor in chief Greg Lalas and watch this video which celebrates how great you are. See what fans are talking about with the MLS social avatar wall. And later today, join new media editor Andrew Wiebe at 5:30 pm ET for a Supporters Week special Google+ Hangout.
6. MLS BREAKAWAY SET TO RETURN ON NBC
It got rave reviews last time, and now it is returning as MLS continues to make a strong impression on the guys at NBC Sports. The second MLS Breakaway show will air on NBC Sports Network on August 3 from 9 pm ET.
7. CALDWELL STAYING ON AT TFC
Scottish defender Steven Caldwell looks set to extend his stay in MLS. Initially joining Toronto FC on a short-term loan, Caldwell, 32, has impressed manager Ryan Nelsen: “He was fantastic again on Saturday, wasn’t he? He’s been what this team has needed for a number of years, to tell you the truth." And now he appears to be in line for a new contract.
8. TIMBERS SIGN FOUR TO EXTENSIONS
The Portland Timbers have lost only one game all season in league action. So, yeah, they’re doing pretty well. As a reward, a few of the players were handed contract extensions. Find out who got them. By the way, apparently there are more to come.
9. CAN THE GOONIES MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?
MLSsoccer.com contributor John Bolster posed this intriguing question: Can the San Jose Earthquakes still make the playoffs? Last year’s Supporters’ Shield champions have certainly struggled through the first half of the season. But could the acquisition of USMNT defender Clarence Goodson and last weekend's dramatic comeback win against LA turn their campaign around?
10. CCL GROUP MATCHES SET
San Jose will have CONCACAF Champions League commitments to juggle from next month, and the CCL schedule has been announced for the group stages. See where and when the Quakes, Montreal, Houston, Sporting KC and LA will be in action.
11. VOTE NOW FOR AT&T GOTW
Hassoun Camara’s cheeky volley while on the ground, Yordany Álvarez’s stunner or Kei Kamara’s controlled finish? Decide which you prefer along with some others in Week 18 AT&T Goal of the Week. Vote now for your favorite.
12. OKLAHAOMA CITY IN LINE FOR NASL
The North American Soccer League announced via Twitter last night that Oklahoma City is set to get a NASL franchise for the 2015 season. An ownership group for OKC will make their final presentation at the Board of Governors meeting on July 25. “We look forward to their admission to NASL,” announced the league in the tweet. Taft Stadium could be the club's new home.
13. US SQUAD ARRIVES IN SAN DIEGO, GATT QUESTIONABLE
The US national team arrived in San Diego ahead of their pre-Gold Cup friendly with Guatemala on Friday. Tickets are selling well, with more than 15,000 sold. But will young attacker Josh Gatt be out of the Gold Cup picture? An anxious wait will now ensue.
14. WOODS TO STAY ON AS US 'KEEPER COACH
US national team goalkeeping coach Chris Woods will stay on with the USA, despite leaving Everton for Manchester United. The former England international will now become the goalkeeping coach at United, leaving behind US No. 1 Tim Howard at the Toffees.
15. FIFA CANCELS TICKET PRICE ANNOUNCEMENT, MEXICO FACE SPAIN AT U-20 WORLD CUP
FIFA have backtracked on releasing ticket details for next summer's World Cup. After all the recent unrest in Brazil, it is rumored that FIFA may adjust its ticket prices. Speaking of World Cups, today the knockout stages begin at the U-20 World Cup, where CONCACAF's last hopes, Mexico, take on Spain. Watch it on ESPNU, ESPN3.com and ESPN Deportes at 10:45 am ET.
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