Kick Off: Orlando fans celebrate another step toward MLS expansion

Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.

1. COLORADO GET THEIR MAN

It’s official. Gabriel Torres is a Colorado Rapid. As the MLS international transfer window drew to a close the Panamanian striker finally put pen to paper Thursday night on a deal that will make him the Rapids’ first-ever Designated Player. The joint top scorer at the recent Gold Cup joins fellow new signing Vincente Sanchez as the Rapids look to stay in the playoff race.

2. THE RETURN OF CHARLIE DAVIES?

Could Charlie Davies be on his way back to MLS? The breaking news Thursday has him linked with a move to the New England Revolution. While D.C. United currently hold Davies’ rights they are apparently willing to trade them, with one source saying “This will get done.” Davies would then be loaned to the Rev’s from Danish club Randers for the rest of the season with an option to buy.

3. REVS’ REVOLVING DOOR

If Davies is about to join the Revs, does that hasten the departure of Juan Agudelo? Stoke City Manager Mark Hughes had admitted the two clubs are negotiating for a January transfer. If Agudelo should join Stoke’s growing American contingent, one player he may not see much of is Maurice Edu.

4. RED BULLS ADD DEPTH

The New York Red Bulls’ Australian fan base grew even larger Thursday, as the club announced the signing of Socceroo David Carney. Carney has played 46 times for the Australian national team, scoring six goals. While not the DP signing many might have expected from the Red Bulls, it does further emphasises the teams new mentality, choosing instead to add depth to the squad with a versatile left sided player.

5. TORONTO LOOK TO FUTURE

Although a huge international deadline day transfer may have failed to materialize for Toronto FC, the club did reveal that academy product Manuel Aparicio has signed to the first team as a Homegrown player. If Aparicio should need any guidance on this next step of his career, he can always look to Doniel Henry, another former TFC Academy graduate.

6. ORLANDO STADIUM NEARING REALITY

Maybe it was the solid plan Phil Rawlins laid out, maybe it was talk of the "Brazilian Beckham." What we do know is that Florida’s top officials have pledged to finance $20 million of the new $85 million downtown soccer stadium. With Orlando City SC paying $30 million, that still leaves $35 million to find, but before anyone gets too excited the plans still have to go through review, public hearing and final votes. ESPNFC.com’s Jeffrey Carlisle also had word of a potential lawsuit on the way.

7. FIFA RANKINGS

The new FIFA World Cup rankings are out and it’s good news for the US national team. Thanks to their recent Gold Cup success, the US have risen three places to 19th in the world and are now above Mexico (20th) for the first time in 26 months. After reaching the Gold Cup final, Panama have risen eleven places to 40th, while Costa Rica, the USA’s next World Cup qualifying opponents, have dropped three places to 42nd. Canada have also dropped three places to 91st and with the next competitive game just under two years away that’s likely to get worse before it gets better.

8. DEMPSEY OMITTED FROM USMNT

While we‘re still waiting on the official roster for the US-Bosnia friendly, SI.com broke the story that Clint Dempsey will be left out of the squad. For those worried this might have something to do with his move to Seattle it seems that his new teammates Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans are both set to be included, along with Hertha Berlin defender John Anthony Brooks. The full US roster will be released Monday but Bosnia and Herzegovina have already released their 20-man roster for the game and it includes some familiar names.

9. ALTIDORE VITAL FOR WORLD CUP

One other player vital to that squad is Jozy Altidore, who USMNT goalkeeper Tim Howard calls the national team’s “moneymaker.” The comments came while Howard was delivering a media conference call on Thursday, and he also shared his hope to see Landon Donovan return to the team ASAP and his thoughts on Dempsey’s move to Seattle.

10. BRADLEY STAYING PUT

Another player who spoke about Dempsey’s decision was Michael Bradley, who himself is being linked with moves away from his club, perhaps even to join Tim Howard at Everton. However, while Bradley fully understands and supports Clint’s decision, he has stated very clearly that he is happy in Italy and focused on the work ahead. While Roma’s head coach Rudi Garcia has made it clear that he expects Bradley to play a large part in the upcoming season.

 11. THE FUTURE IN LA

What should Galaxy fans expect in 2014? That's still unclear, considering that both Donovan and Omar Gonzalez are out of contract at the end of the year, and neither one is tipping his hat to what the future holds.

12. REALITY OF A SOCCER STAR

At some point in life we’ve all wanted to be a soccer player, imagining a high flying lifestyle similar to that of David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo. But have you ever wondered what life is like for the rest of them? Drawing on his own experiences, Colorado Rapids 'keeper Clint Irwin has written a piece about what life is like for those still trying to make it.

13. LAMAR’S LEGACY

While Real Salt Lake fans are still busy celebrating their club reaching its first Lamar Hunt US Open Cup final, Brad Rock at the Deseret News stopped to examine the legacy of the man whose name adorns the tournament and whether or not this moment could ever have happened without him.

14. ROBBIE KEANE: GOAL SCORING MAGICIAN.

Ever wondered how Robbie Keane scores so many goals? Simple: The guy knows magic!

15. ENGLAND GOES DIGITAL

Over in England this weekend sees the annual Community Shield take place at Wembley, with Roger Espinoza’s Wigan Athletic taking on Manchester United. The match itself is relatively meaningless but it does mark the introduction of goal line technology to the domestic game. Accurate to within 4 mm but costing more than £2 million, will we one day see the system in MLS?

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