Kick Off: With search underway, are Real Salt Lake closing in on Jason Kreis' replacement?

Robin Fraser kick off

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USA TODAY Sports

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

1. CARRYING KREIS’ TORCH

With Jason Kreis on his way to New York City FC, the search is on for Real Salt Lake to find a replacement and the club already seem to have narrowed down their search to two main candidates. Kreis himself sat down with RSL’s website one last time to talk about, among other things, his decision to leave and the legacy he leaves behind.

2. NEW YORK TRASH TALK

New York City FC are still a year away from making their MLS debut, but that hasn’t stopped New York Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh from stoking the flames of their future rivalry. Roxburgh thinks the friendly rivalry will be a good thing for both teams, but has tells his future neighbors that the Red Bulls "have history they don’t have, and you can’t buy history.” Yet, when it comes to buying things, the Red Bulls themselves can’t buy much at the moment considering just how tight their salary cap situation is this offseason.

3. REIS RETIRES

Matt Reis formally announced his retirement on Wednesday. It was an emotional press conference, with Reis reflecting fondly on his career and just how far the league has come in that time. The good news, however, is that Reis isn’t done with soccer just yet, as shortly after the press conference ended, the LA Galaxy named him as their new goalkeeper coach. It seems the 2013 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year wasn’t short on offers either. The Revs also offered Reis a front-office position.

4. REVOLUTION REPLACEMENT

With Reis’ retirement, the New England Revolution were in need of a new goalkeeper and it seems they’ve acquired a good one as well, trading the Vancouver Whitecaps a conditional draft pick in 2015 for Brad Knighton. Sticking with the Whitecaps, Tommy Heinemann has opted out of the Re-Entry Process, meaning the player is free to negotiate a contract with the Whitecaps as his rights will be retained by the club. However, it seems the 'Caps are set to miss out on Bob Bradley as their new head coach after reports suggested the former USMNT boss has turned down the clubs offer.

5. SOUNDERS LOSE DP BUT TRADE UP THE ORDER

Mauro Rosales tweeted out a message on Wednesday thanking the Seattle fans for their support and saying goodbye. While many thought this simply confirming he would be entering the Re-Entry Draft, Rosales' rights were traded to Chivas USA hours later in exchange for Tristen Bowen and the No. 2 spot in the allocation order. Speaking on the decision to let Rosales go, Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer was pragmatic: “It will be difficult to see him leave, but our salary cap situation made this decision necessary.”

6. NEW FACE FOR TFC

Toronto FC made another offseason move on Wednesday, but this time the change is a front office one. The Canadian club has hired former MLS player and US international Greg Vanney, not only as the club's assistant general manager but also academy director, replacing Thomas Rongen.

7. MASTROENI LOOKS TO THE FUTURE

Now that Pablo Mastroeni has announced his retirement, what does he plan to do next? Mastroeni sat down with Jeff Bradley to talk about his next step as well as a number of other topics, including his infamous red card in the 2006 World Cup.

8. VALDES BACK IN PHILLY… FOR NOW

Carlos Valdes is on his way back to the Philadelphia Union. It was just one month ago that John Hackworth said the Colombian was unlikely to return to the club having spent the year on loan at Independiente Santa Fe with an option to purchase. However, the Colombian club decided not to keep him, meaning he is once again part of the Union's squad. Whether he’ll be sticking around for long is still unclear.

9. ASSET SWAP

While the Montreal Impact may have just lost their captain, the trade that took Davy Arnaud to D.C. United seems to have been to everyone's benefit. Speaking about the deal, Impact sporting director Nick De Santis explained, “Given his salary, renegotiating would have been required … I don’t think Davy would have signed for just one year. He wanted a bit more stability.” Meanwhile, United could be making some more moves, this time off the field, as the club's new partnership with Inter Milan looks to be taking effect.

10. BECKHAM UNITED STADIUM ONE STEP CLOSER

David Beckham’s plans for a Miami-based MLS team might move one step closer to reality next Tuesday, as the Miami-Dade commissioners are set to vote on legislation related to a soccer-specific stadium. Also, for anyone worrying, fear not, the team won't actually be called Miami Beckham United.

11. TUNE-UP TOURNAMENTS TAKE SHAPE

Preseason plans are starting to take shape for a number of clubs, with MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City joining the Columbus Crew, Montreal Impact, Philadelphia Union and Orlando City in the Disney Soccer Classic. On the other side of the country, the Portland Timbers will be joined by the San Jose Earthquakes, Vancouver Whitecaps and Jamaican side Portmore United in the Rose City Invitational. It’s worth noting that Portmore are the club Alvas Powell is currently on loan from as well as being Darren Mattocks' hometown

12. US PLAYERS ON THE FRINGE

With the World Cup fast approaching, there may still be time for players to try and impress Jurgen Klinsmann. Can Oguchi Onyewu work his way into the team? As the player himself says, his first priority is to “find a place where I am going to get games.” As well as Onyewu, what does the US need to do with Alejandro Bedoya? Then one last question, does Timmy Chandler deserve another chance?

13. HIGH FIVE FOR U-17S

After losing to Portugal in their opening game of the Nike international friendlies, the US Under-17 national team turned it around against England in their second match, strolling to a 5-1 victory with LA Galaxy Academy prospect Haji Wright scoring two of the goals on the day.

14. ALL GO IN HOUSTON

After NWSL owners approved the plan, an announcement is expected on Thursday to officially reveal that the Houston Dynamo will be launching a NWSL expansion franchise in 2014. It will mark a great few days for the Dynamo, with BBVA Compass stadium announced as host for the 2016 College Cup and Brian Ching’s testimonial set for Friday. Ahead of that match, Ching took part in a Google+ hangout and revealed, along with plenty of other interesting things, that Dominic Kinnear would be playing in the big game.

15. PETER VERMES' MAGIC BALL

With a number of players looking to stay sharp this January ahead of a big World Cup year, West Ham United of the EPL are apparently interested in taking Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins on loan. Meanwhile, could a couple of English Premier League stars be coming the opposite way? According to Peter Vermes, odds are good that both Jermain Defoe and Frank Lampard will be arriving in MLS at some point.

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