Kick Off: AT&T MLS All-Star Game takes centerstage in Kansas City
Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. BEST OF MLS TAKE ON ITALIAN GIANTS: After all the hype, game day is finally here. AS Roma will be the first Italian team to participate in the AT&T MLS All-Star Game when they take the field against MLS' stars tonight at 9 pm ET (ESPN2, UniMas, TSN/RDS and LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com). What do you think the MLS lineup should look like? Catch up on all the news, videos and preview material leading up to tonight's match and don't miss the hour-long All-Star Game preview show live from Sporting Park on MLSsoccer.com (8 pm ET).
2. ALL-STAR GAME A CORONATION FOR KANSAS CITY: MLS Commissioner Don Garber calls it one of the greatest turnarounds in sports. Just a few years ago, "a majority of Kansas City didn't even know we existed" and now "the entire city has bought into us." USA Today tells this fairytale story once more and the colorful personalities of Sporting Kansas City that have made them so beloved.
3. MAGICAL MOMENT FOR USMNT'S MATT BESLER: The AT&T MLS All-Star Game will be particularly special for KC's own Matt Besler, who's experiencing a magical moment. A new fixture on the US national team in 2013, Besler grew up not too far from Sporting Park and he admits that despite the growing international interest: "I'd be happy to stay here my whole career."
4. COLLIN'S FASHION SHOW HIGHLIGHTS ALL-STAR DAY 3: Kansas City was jam-packed with All-Star events on Tuesday, from players taking to the Kansas Speedway racecourse, to the debut of Aurélien Collin's new clothing line at a fashion show, and Thierry Henry inaugurating the construction of new futsal courts by MLS WORKS. If you weren't part of it, you can re-live the best moments in this video.
5. SPOTLIGHT ON ROMA'S AMERICAN MIDFIELD STAR: There is an opponent in this game, and for the first time it's Italian. AS Roma have American owners and an American midfielder who has become a star on the US national team. Even the stoic Michael Bradley admits the emotions will be flowing at Sporting Park.
6. COULD IT BE DONOVAN'S LAST ALL-STAR GAME? LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan was a late replacement for his fellow teammate Robbie Keane to keep his consecutive All-Star streak alive at 13 and counting. But could the match vs. AS Roma be his last? With his MLS contract expiring at the end of this year, he revealed on Tuesday that "if there are offers, I will analyze them."
7. ALL-STARS WILL PREVAIL AGAINST ROMA: It will come on a game-winner in the 88th minute. That's according to the EA Sports FIFA 14 simulation of the match. Find out who scores it and what the final score is here.
8. SHEA SUFFERS "NASTY" KNEE INJURY VS. UNION: And the Philadelphia Union's Matt Kassel is feeling the heat for the tackle that may have caused it. Stoke City manager Mark Hughes was fuming and Shea himself was "pretty upset." Find out what they said and the derails of the tackle in this report.
9. CAHILL'S INJURY FINALLY REVEALED: The tackle by Real Salt Lake's Yordany Álvarez did more than just force Red Bulls Designated Player Tim Cahill to miss the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game. It also caused a ligament tear in his right knee, specifically his PCL. Find out how long he'll be out and what RBNY manager Mike Petke had to say about the challenge in a Tuesday conference call.
10. NEW OWNER FOR COLUMBUS CREW: In a surprise announcement on Tuesday, long-time soccer fan and energy investor Anthony Precourt acquired the Columbus Crew from Hunt Sports Group to become new majority owner of the club. He outlined his early vision for the team at his formal introduction and admitted: "I love the name. I love the colors. The badge ... we might have to take a look at the badge.”
11. SACRAMENTO MAYOR HAS VISION FOR MLS EXPANSION: Expansion will surely be a topic of discussion among MLS owners in the latest Board of Governors meeting taking place before the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday. Sacramento is one of the US cities that is keen on being next on the list and the mayor is keen on it as well, but he's encouraging two potential ownership groups to join forces to secure the franchise.
12. COLORADO EYE FORMER MEXICAN LEAGUE STAR: Vicente Sánchez is arguably one of the most talented players to ever step foot in the Mexican league in the last decade and it looks like he may have a home in MLS. Reports from Uruguay say that the playmaker is already in flight to Colorado to sign a deal with the Rapids.
13. JOHANSSON SAGA TAKES NEW TWIST: Icelandic-American forward Aron Johannsson of AZ Alkmaar said he wants to make a one-time switch to play for the USMNT and the US federation is already undertaking the process. Nothing out of the ordinary there, right? But the Icelandic federation didn't take too well to the news and issued this rarely seen reaction to the story.
14. KICKTV AT THE ALL-STAR GAME: With Kansas City being his long-time home, KICKTV personality Jimmy Conrad returned for the All-Star Game to give us the tour of the town like only he can. After all, he's the King of Kansas City. But AS Roma wouldn't allow him to wear his crown to talk to their players.
15. MLS VERSION OF THE "SUPERBOWL SHUFFLE": If you're too young to know what the "Super Bowl Shuffle" is, then you'll want to take a peek at this video before checking out the MLS-themed one that everyone will be watching today. Watch it now on the front page on FunnyorDie.com.
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