Kick Off: Life has never been better for US national team after record 8th straight victory in Gold Cup
Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. CHANGE OF FORTUNE FOR MALIGNED US STARS: Life has never been better for the US national team. Last night they earned their eighth straight victory, a 1-0 win over Costa Rica in the Group C finale. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson and goalscorer Brek Shea were the heroes and their story is one of redemption. Up next for the USA? A meeting against El Salvador in the quarterfinals.
2. WHO WILL KLINSMANN CALL UP NEXT? The US manager confirmed that before the end of today he will make changes to his Gold Cup roster for the knockout rounds. There are four allowable moves available for each of the Gold Cup quarterfinalists. Here's the list of players he could bring in from the initial 35-man provisional roster.
3. USMNT PLAYER RATINGS: With so many players drawing positive criticism, it's an interesting exercise to compare the grades they received from the various experts. We start with the MLSsoccer.com report card by our own Greg Seltzer. Then there's the one by Jeff Carlisle at ESPNFC.com, Zac Lee Rigg at Goal.com was not so high on Chris Wondolowski's performance and this central defender was the man of the match for The New York Times.
4. CUBA EARN QF BERTH IN DRAMATIC FASHION: Cuba and Belize entered the final matchday without a single point, but still with plenty of hope to earn a quarterfinal berth … if they could only win by a four-goal difference. They needed stoppage time and a favorable offside call to do it, but Cuba got it done (WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS HERE). They meet Panama in the next round.
5. WEEK 21 ACTION KICKS OFF WITH RAPIDS VS. REVS: Tonight at 9 pm ET (MLS LIVE), the Colorado Rapids and New England Revolution will get Week 21 action underway in a battle that means a lot for both clubs: Both clubs are in sixth place in their respective conferences and a win could go a long way in furthering their playoff hopes. Get the match preview here. But this game goes beyond points: the Revs' Kevin Alston, who is battling a form of leukemia, is on the gameday roster.
6. TWO MAJOR SIGNINGS SET TO DEBUT FOR CHIVAS USA TONIGHT: The other league match on tap for tonight will see Chivas USA hosting Toronto FC (10:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE and TSN in Canada) and it will be an important occasion for the home team at StubHub Center. The Goats' two biggest signings – defender Carlos Bocanegra and attacker Erick "Cubo" Torres – are eligible to take the field for Chivas USA for the first time.
7. FANTASY DEADLINE LOOMS: The midweek kickoff to MLS Week 21 means the deadline to set your MLS Fantasy: Manager lineups is just hours away. Find out what you need to know from fantasy experts Jason Saghini, Ben Jata and the Starting Lineup and then make your adjustments here.
8. RBNY GO TOE-TO-TOE WITH FRENCH POWERS LYON: While the USMNT were registering their record eighth win in a row over Costa Rica, the New York Red Bulls were in action against Olympique Lyonnais in a high-profile friendly. The match finished 2-2 and the Red Bulls had the lead late. It was Andre Akpan who gave Red Bulls the momentary lead (WATCH IT HERE) and he confesses he was "just trying to get my ass in the box."
9. EXPANSION NEWS – TWO CITIES WANT MLS: In the same week we learn of Oklahoma City's long-term interest to have their USL club join MLS, the city of Sacramento may be experiencing a turning point in its quest for MLS. Check out this sports columns in the Sacramento Bee: "The time has come for an MLS team in Sacramento." They want it bad.
10. TIMBERS' CALEB PORTER CHIMES IN THE ALL-STAR DEBATE: The roster selected by MLS All-Star manager Peter Vermes is still being discussed in many parts (see comments by RSL's Jason Kreis) and it definitely raised an eyebrow or two in Portland, where they thought Donovan Ricketts should have been a goalkeeper selection. "I'm a little bit surprised by that," Portland Timbers manager Caleb Porter confessed. "I thought we could've had 3-4 guys based on what guys have done individually and but also, more importantly, what our team's done."
11. TRANSFER SEASON SPECULATION: Here's another name that's making the rounds in South America. Central midfielder Sebastián Prediger of Argentine club Colón de Santa Fe. Apparently the team has turned down an offer from an MLS counterpart for a loan move through the end of the year. (SPANISH)
12. NAVARRO WAITING ON ANOTHER SEATTLE OFFER? While the Seattle Sounders are grappling with a goalkeeping injury crisis which is of particular concern to the club's goalkeeper coach – "It’s one that has kept me up the last couple nights," says Tom Dutra – there is also news about the Levante central defender they've reportedly been chasing. According to Spanish radio station Cadena SER David Navarro is hoping for an increased offer from Seattle to finalize the move.
13. GLASGOW RANGERS STEPPING UP BID FOR KENNY MILLER: Although the Whitecaps captain made it clear to ExtraTime Radio that he'd like to extend his stay in Vancouver by another year the rumors from Scotland and a potential return to Rangers just won't stop. Yet another Scottish report says a move to land Miller "is now firmly on the cards." Wait, isn't the saying "in the cards?"
14. AN AMERICAN ATTACKING MIDFIELDER IN THE ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE? American attacking midfielders are a rare commodity as is. USMNT fans will salivate at the prospect of an attacking midfielder plying his trade in the Premier League. Well, after a "virtuoso display" yesterday in a West Ham preseason friendly, 20-year-old American Sebastian Lletget says he feels "like my first-team opportunities are within arm's length, or even closer than that."
15. COMMERCIAL SPOT STARRING … LUIS SUÁREZ: You can understand why this video was making the rounds yesterday. Even if you don't speak or understand Spanish, you can get this spot (even if it's not clear what this company really does). Luis Suárez has joined up with a company as their newest employee, but his competitive side and short fuse get the best of him in the workplace. (VIDEO)
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