Kick Off: With Gold Cup in books, MLS All-Star festivities ramp up in Kansas City on Monday
Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. USMNT CAPTURE 5TH GOLD CUP: Is there a hotter national team in the world than the USMNT? Jurgen Klinsmann's men racked up their record 11th straight win with a 1-0 blanking of Panama to claim their fifth-ever CONCACAF Gold Cup on Sunday. Brek Shea scored the winning goal and Real Salt Lake's Kyle Beckerman was the man of the match. Watch all the highlights, the reaction and the analysis here.
2. HOLDEN'S INJURY PUTS DAMPER ON TRIUMPH: The anguish on Holden's face was gut-wrenching to witness for any USMNT fan who knows what he went through to get back on the international stage. And Klinsmann was not trying to sugarcoat things after the match: "We are very concerned about his situation," he said. "It looks like a very serious knee injury." But it didn't prevent him from celebrating, although he needed Omar Gonzalez's help to do it (photo).
3. UP IN A SUITE, KLINSMANN STEALS THE SHOW: He may have been suspended from the match for his sideline tirade against Honduras, but Klinsmann was still the focal point of the Gold Cup final with Fox's "Klinsi Cam" keyed in on all his reactions behind the glass. And his disappearing act after a miss by US forward Eddie Johnson (watch the GIF here) may be the most memorable snapshot of his day.
4. LANDON DONOVAN IS GOLD CUP MVP: Many didn't know what to expect after the LA Galaxy star rejoined the USMNT for the first time in a long time during the Gold Cup. But he answered all the questions and then some, capturing the Gold Cup Golden Ball award as the best player of the tournament (SEE THE PHOTO HERE) and he also had a share in the Golden Boot. So he's officially back, right Klinsmann? Read what the US manager had to say about the future.
5. MORE GOOD NEWS FOR USMNT: Perhaps Jozy Altidore had a part in it or maybe he was mesmerized by the magical Gold Cup run. Either way, Icelandic-American forward Aron Johansson of AZ Alkmaar has formally stated that he will seek to represent the USMNT on the international level. Maybe a call-up vs. Bosnia in a couple weeks?
6. BEST MLS GAME OF THE YEAR?: Many have already slotted the SJ-LA match as the runaway winner after a breathtaking finale a Stanford Stadium a few weeks back. But NY-RSL is going to give it a run for its money. A hat trick, a couple of lead changes, a golazo and two late strikes made for a stunning 4-3 classic at Red Bull Arena. Catch the highlights here. Deadspin.com thought it was the Game of the Year.
7. LATE, LATE SHOW IN CANADA: Want more goosebumps? Just watch how Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact captured last-minute victories over the weekend. TFC needed goals in the 87th and 94th minute to stun Columbus, while rookie Blake Smith proved the hero for the Impact with a dramatic finish in the 96th minute against East rivals Sporting KC.
8. ARE COLORADO RAPIDS FOR REAL?: Don't look now, but Oscar Pareja's men are up to 2nd place in the Western Conference just three points behind Real Salt Lake and in the thick of the Supporters' Shield race. Their latest statement win was a 2-0 weekend whitewashing of the defending champions LA Galaxy who conceded that they were "physically manhandled" by the Rapids. Up next? A Rocky Mountain Cup clash for first place against Real Salt Lake on Aug. 3 and a potential new star forward coming this week.
9. MUST WATCH - LENHART CHANNELS HIS INNER-SHAKIRA: It's the post-game dance celebration that everyone is talking about coming out of the Week 22 action. The reaction from the fans has run the gamut, including some who believe his moment of fun was perhaps disrespectful to Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. Where do you stand? Watch it here. Oh, by the way San Jose beat the Timbers 2-1.
10. CHIVAS WILL BE CHAMPIONS: Seattle had to overcome a scare from Chivas USA, who took a shock lead through the second goal by Erick "Cubo" Torres, but goals by Brad Evans and Lamar Neagle secured an important 2-1 win in the Week 22 finale on Sunday. The Goats, meanwhile, still take heart from the defeat, and from the words of their owner, Jorge Vergara, who made a promise on national television that: Chivas USA will be champion.
11. A CLOSER LOOK AT D.C. UNITED'S BUZZARD POINT STADIUM SITE: They may have lost again over the weekend -- a 2-1 setback at home to the New England Revolution -- but with a new stadium on the horizon, things are looking up for D.C. United. The Washington Post has a colorful, in-depth look at the stadium location that many MLS fans around the country will hope to be visiting regularly as early as 2016.
12. WALL-TO-WALL ALL-STAR COVERAGE FROM KC: MLSsoccer.com will have complete coverage of all the All-Star events taking place in Kansas City on Monday from team practices, to press conferences, a Commissioner twitter takeover and the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis concert. Meanwhile, here's what you missed on Sunday: kits galore at the 5k Jersey Run and a memorable watch party and trick show at Power & Light.
13. MCINERNEY A SNUB NO MORE: In a late change announced on Sunday night, Philadelphia Union top scorer Jack McInerney will join the MLS All-Star team in Kansas City, replacing New York Red Bulls DP Tim Cahill, who was forced to withdraw via injury.
14. SOCCER HAS ARRIVED IN KANSAS CITY: The national attention that comes with the AT&T MLS All-Star Game will serve to showcase just how far soccer has come in Kansas City. The sport has come a long way from the days of the paltry crowds in cavernous Arrowhead Stadium. The Kansas City Star takes a retrospective look at soccer's evolution in KC, which was previously Chiefs and Royals country. Not any more.
15. HOW THE SUPPORTERS' SHIELD WAS BORN: Kansas City is also the birthplace of the MLS Supporters' Shield awarded to the best team in the regular season. Here's the story of the designer who came up with the trophy's look between finals projects at school and the man who was on the mission to make it a reality.
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