Kick Off: Is 2013 the end of the line for Houston Dynamo legend, ex-USMNT forward Brian Ching?

Brian Ching KO

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports

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

1. BRIAN CHING CALLING IT A DAY?

After 12 years in MLS, could Brian Ching be set to call time on his illustrious career? That’s the report from the Houston Chronicle. The Houston Dynamo have scheduled an announcement for today and, after an increasingly diminished role for the club this season, it seems Ching has decided this year will be his last, although the forward isn’t done with the Dynamo yet: “I’m ready to move onto the next stage of my career and that entails finding a way to help the Dynamo be successful.”

2. MONTREAL READY TO GIVE IT THEIR ALL

Another round of CONCACAF Champions League fixtures begin tonight with the Montreal Impact set to host CD Heredia knowing nothing less than a win will do if they want to stand any chance of progressing out of the group. “The message is clear: we are going to win this game,” said head coach Marco Schällibaum, who knows that chances are slim with his side needing to score at least six goals. However, the Swiss coach joked that he has a plan: “We’re going to widen the goal."  It seems that, no matter which competition we’re talking about with Montreal right now, things are complicated.

3. LIMITED CHANCES FOR KYLE BEKKER

On-loan defender Mark Bloom has enjoyed his two recent starts for Toronto FC in the absence of Richard Eckersley. Meanwhile, Kyle Bekker is currently unable to work his way back into Ryan Nelsen’s plans. Is Bekker happy about this? “Of course not, I want to play.” Can TFC find a way to utilize the promising young star?

4. CANADIAN CLUBS SCOURING SERIE A

With big changes planned at Toronto FC for next season and the Montreal Impact perhaps needing to replace impressive goalscorer Marco Di Vaio, both clubs could be looking to the Italian top division for new talent. Red Nation Online breaks down what each team needs and five players both teams could find useful. Of course, Montreal might need one less if on-loan midfielder Callum Mallace can return with the form he’s currently showing at Minnesota United FC.

5. WHERE DOES MARC BURCH FIT IN?

The Seattle Sounders' Marc Burch has gone from left back to influential midfielder this season, contributing to the team wherever he lines up. But with a fully fit squad to choose from for Sigi Schmid, will he be a first-choice player?

6. ROBLES SAVES THE DAY

Sunday night’s victory against FC Dallas marked the New York Red Bulls' fourth consecutive win. It was also Luis Robles' 10th clean sheet of the season with the ‘keeper once again coming up big to deny FC Dallas on a handful of clear chances. Robles is now one shutout away from tying the Red Bulls' season record. Not bad for a shot stopper who was only supposed to be a temporary replacement for Ryan Meara. Does Robles make a good case for team MVP? Staying with the Red Bulls, a game at Red Bull Arena on Sunday may be the only time you ever want to hear about the NYPD being involved in a shootout.

7. MORE RED BULL RECOGNITION

With the Red Bulls on top of the Eastern Conference, their players' efforts haven't gone unnoticed. Australians Tim Cahill and David Carney have both received call-ups for upcoming friendlies against France and Canada. While you’d expect Cahill to walk into any Australian team if he’s fit (and even some he isn’t), this is the first time in more than a year Carney has received a call as he settles into life at his new club. In other international news, Egypt have revealed their preliminary squad for next month’s crucial playoff series against Ghana.

8. LUIS GIL HAS HIS HEART SET ON USA

With the recent reports that Mexico were looking to try and steal Luis Gil, American Soccer Now caught up with Real Salt Lake’s young star to discuss his international future as well as RSL’s current Open Cup run and MLS Cup chances. Gil finished second in MLSsoccer.com's 24 Under 24 list last week.

9. CHALLENGING FIFA

Could Joe Yoffe, a largely unknown Englishman who once spent time playing in Canada for the Ottawa Fury, be in line to shake up FIFA’s rules and regulations regarding player transfers? He could well be, but then again, this is FIFA we’re talking about.

10. NO RESOLUTION FOR PARKHURST

It’s a troubling situation for Michael Parkhurst. With a World Cup fast approaching and increasing competition for places on the team, Parkhurst seems unable to force his way into contention at his German club FC Augsburg. Parkhurst played well when he was on the field against Mexico, but with no playing time at the domestic level, could the former New England defender be in danger of losing his place to young up-and-comers such as John Brooks or DeAndre Yedlin? Not in October if the latest injury report is correct.

11. DC TRAVELING THE WORLD?

Could D.C. United be taking a postseason trip to Indonesia? Owner Erick Thohir wants the team to play overseas every season in order to help strength the brand and, given that Thohir himself is from Indonesia, it seems to be a logical destination. Meanwhile, it seems some D.C. United fans have turned to a very different league race in order to find positives as the season winds down.

12. MUSIC CITY MAKING A PLAY FOR SOCCER

Don't worry, you’ll find no talk of Major League Soccer expansion here today. Instead, let’s just enjoy grassroots soccer at its finest with Nashville FC, whose aim, for now, is simply to make it to the NPSL.

13. ACADEMY OR HIGH SCHOOL

It’s easy to understand the appeal of playing for an academy side, but is it necessarily the best thing for the young players involved? The Los Angeles Times has this short piece from a father of two former academy players. Soccer America has an interview with U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer Hugo Perez, the man tasked with finding the next generation of US talent.

14.  NFL LONDON?

We’ve already seen some crossover between MLS and England with Manchester City the owners of an MLS franchise, but could the NFL be set to take it one step further and actually base a team in London? That’s one heck of a travel expense. Also, while we're on this vague subject area, which EPL team is the most popular in America? Well, if choices made in FIFA are anything to go by, it looks like Manchester United have it in the bag.

15. CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES … AND BAD TIMES

Did you see Dominic Oduro’s unique celebration from the weekend? Not sure what his fitness coach would have to say about that. Also, not content with having just one Internet craze, Thierry Henry inspired another when he busted out this little number following a foul over the weekend.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

MLS Goal of the week: Vote now!

ExtraTime Radio: Dax McCarty and Giles Barnes

Instant Replay: Should Eddie Johnson's goal have counted?