Kick Off: USMNT gear up for huge World Cup qualifier vs. Mexico

Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:

1. USA VS MEXICO: GAME ON

Tuesday night is the night. Despite some potentially costly injuries and suspensions, the US take on Mexico tonight in Columbus hoping to secure qualification for the 2014 World Cup (8 pm ET; ESPN/UniMas). The US have never lost at Crew Stadium and can secure their berth in Brazil with a win and some help in other matches, but there are still some major lineup issues for the USMNT. One thing is for sure, however: The US fans are already out in force and local hero Frankie Hejduk is predicting a "raging" night in Columbus.

2. KLINSMANN CULTURE

We want to punch our ticket,” head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said ahead of Tuesday night’s game against Mexico. The US head coach also made clear that he will make changes as necessary and that he has ultimate faith in the ability and understanding of his players. Meanwhile, despite the blip on Friday night, the work Klinsmann has done so far is starting to get attention across the pond.

3. BESLER AND THE PHANTOM FOUL

One of the players missing Tuesday will be Matt Besler who, as this video shows, was busted for a questionable yellow card in the Costa Rica game. FIFA rules do not allow cards to be revoked except in the case of mistaken identity, but should Campbell be in line for some sort of discipline of his own?

4. US 'KEEPERS PAST AND PRESENT

For Tim Howard, games don’t come much bigger that the US vs Mexico. It’s been more than 10 years since the US goalkeeper played in his first clash between the two but, with the emergence of Brad Guzan, is he worried he might not see many more? Speaking to Grant Wahl from SI.com, Howard feels he’ll be fine as long as he keeps performing. Another keeper who knows a thing or two about these games is Tony Meola, who talked to RantSports.com about a variety of topics.

5. BRADLEY FACES A DIFFERENT CHALLENGE

While the US can potentially seal a place in the World Cup tonight, Egypt face far more interesting challenges, such as actually being able to host a match. That’s just one of the many unique obstacles that face American coach Bob Bradley while living in a country going through such political turmoil. Bradley spoke to Roger Bennett from ESPNFC.com about those experiences, his time with the USMNT and where his next move might take him.

6. CANADA VS. MAURITANIA, ROUND 2

The Canadian men's national team gear up for the second part of its double-header against Mauritania on Tuesday, though they’ll be doing so without a number of their MLS-based players. This second game will likely feature more of the experienced squad members, with Benito Floro wanting a closer look at several of his European-based players, as Canada continue on their new quest for improvement. One such player who could feature is Kenny Stamatopoulos, the GK who has found success following tragedy.

7. CANADIAN ACADEMIES LOOKING FORWARD

The Canadian squad that drew with Mauritania on Sunday featured a number of rookies and a couple of teenagers. Yet one area in which the country seems to struggle to produce players is striker. Nick Sabetti at Goal.com spoke to all three Canadian MLS academies to see what can be done about this.

8. URRUTI ON THE MOVE

You may remember that Toronto FC went to a lot of trouble to acquire Maximilliano Urruti recently. So it may have come as quite a surprise when the news broke on Monday that he had been traded to Portland in exchange for Bright Dike, allocation money and a draft pick. And there were some questions about Urruti's status as a Designated Player, which were cleared up on Monday night.

9. SABORIO RETURNS TO RSL

Worrying news for Real Salt Lake fans, as Alvaro Saborio has been sent home from the Costa Rica camp with a left calf injury. The big striker, who has scored 10 goals in 13 league games for RSL this year, will be examined by his clubs doctors on Tuesday to learn the extent of his injury and play no part in the Ticos' qualifier against Jamaica.

10. NYCFC GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS

Nnew York City FC have confirmed that Tim Pernetti will be their new chief business officer. Pernetti arrives following a successful four year spell with Rutgers as athletics director, during which the 42-year-old played a crucial role in his teams move into the Big Ten conference. Can he help establish NYCFC at the top of MLS?

11. LABOR OF LOVE FOR NEW DC STADIUM

It may perhaps be the least glamorous stadium news of all time, but D.C. United look set to take another step on the path towards a new home with the signing of a project labor agreement on Tuesday. What does that mean? Read on.

12. NEW DALLAS STADIUM NAME COMING AT FULL SPEED

Could Toyota be the new sponsor of FC Dallas Stadium? A local news station claims to have learned that the stadium will soon become Toyota Stadium. Not to be confused with Toyota Park in Chicago or, closer to home, Toyota Field in San Antonio. Here’s why the deal would be a winner for FC Dallas.

13. BUZZ ABOUT SEATTLE

Montreal, Kansas City, New York, LA and Real Salt Lake. These are the teams that immediately come up when you start talking about the Supporters' Shield. Yet if they win just one of their two games in hand then Seattle will move to the top of that table, so where’s the hype?  The Sounders will no doubt be happy to continue flying under the radar and equally pleased by DP Obafemi Martins going deep on his return against Chicago at the weekend.

14. CAN THE WHITECAPS MAKE IT TO THE FINISH LINE?

It’s a familiar story for the Whitecaps, starting strong but beginning to wobble towards the end of the season. Last year they managed to turn things around enough to make the playoffs, can they do the same this season?

15. DERO’s BEDTIME STORIES

What type of stories would you imagine Dwayne De Rosario reads to his kids? Classic De Ro.

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