Kick Off: Are FC Dallas closing in on Colorado Rapids manager Oscar Pareja?

Kick Off Oscar Pareja

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USA TODAY Sports

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

1. THE HUNT IS BACK ON FOR PAREJA

Are FC Dallas close to hiring a new head coach? According to the latest news, talks have once again resumed with Colorado Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja and, if all goes according to plan, FCD could unveil their new man as early as next week. Whoever does end up taking over could be facing a massive challenge: finding a replacement for goalkeeper Raúl Fernández.

2. NEWEST PORTLAND STAR?

According to reports that emerged last night, Argentine forward Gastón Fernández has signed a one-year deal with the MLS side. The 30-year-old forward has won trophies in both Mexico and Argentina and will now hope to bring more of the same to Portland, along with his fellow countrymen Diego Valeri and Max Urruti.

3. LIGUE 1 CAPTAIN HEADING TO MLS

It seems an unnamed MLS club is close to securing a deal to bring over a 28-year-old midfielder from Ligue 1 club AC Ajaccio, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi. The French side confirmed that the player was in talks with an MLS team who they initially identified as the Chicago Fire. However, they have since retracted this and other sources are stating that it is definitely not the Fire.

4. IN AND OUT AT CHICAGO

It seems that Federico Puppo may be returning to the Chicago Fire for the 2014 season after the club has requested he return for preseason training. However, one former player who won’t be returning is Arévalo Ríos, and the Fire’s former Designated Player seems to have found a new club.

5. JACK MAC ON THE ATTACK

It was a breakout year for young Philadelphia Union forward Jack McInerney and while the 21-year-old may have struggled a little bit in the second half of the season, he has still seen his stock rise considerably. McInerney has been talking about the type of player he expects the Philadelphia Union to sign this winter, who he would have liked them to sign and what he plans to do when his contract expires with the Union.

6. DEFOE DEAL DONE?

Is the Jermain Defoe to Toronto FC deal still happening? With the managerial shake-up at Tottenham Hotspur, things were starting to look a little uncertain, but now an English tabloid is suggesting the deal could be concluded by the end of the week.

7. SPURS SET FOR DEMPSEY REUNION ON US TOUR

For the third time in five years, Tottenham Hotspur will be taking part in a summer tour of the United States, announcing games against the Seattle Sounders and Chicago Fire. With the game against Seattle scheduled for July 19, it could see Clint Dempsey face off against his former club as the US captain will most likely be back from World Cup duty by then. If whoever is organizing this tour doesn’t get Ted Lasso involved somehow, they’re missing a trick.

8. SKC’S NEWEST INTERNATIONAL

Oriol Rosell topped off a great 2013 by making his (semi) international debut yesterday. Rosell came on as a 68th minute substitute in Catalonia’s 4-1 victory over Cape Verde. Catalonia are not recognized by FIFA but regularly play a game around this time of year featuring some of the best players from the region. This year's game saw Rosell playing alongside the likes of Cesc Fàbregas, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Piqué.

9. RAMOS BUILDING THE BRIDGES

In part two of his interview with Soccer America, U.S. Soccer youth technical director Tab Ramos talks about how his work with Jurgen Klinsmann helps connect the US national team across its various levels as well as what he makes of the next generation coming through.

10. BOCANEGRA LOOKING FOR CHIVAS CONSISTENCY

2013 saw former USMNT captain Carlos Bocanegra return to MLS, a league he notes had changed dramatically since the last time he played in it. He landed at Chivas USA, who certainly didn’t have the best season, but Bocanegra believes that can change next year: “I think the biggest thing will be some consistency … I think that’s when the club is going to start turning it around.”

11. THE NEW HOLLYWOOD UNITED?

Is David Beckham recruiting famous friends to help finance his MLS club? According to a story in an English tabloid, Jay-Z and Beyonce have joined Hollywood A-listers Will Smith, Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in saying they all want to be part of the venture. Of course, the same story also says Miami could begin playing in 2014, so make of it what you will.

12. THE BATTLE FOR MINNEAPOLIS

It seems the Minnesota Vikings are stepping up their interest in bringing an MLS team to the city. The NFL team released an update this week on the plans for their stadium which will include a soccer suitable configuration, with the team stating that the decision was made because “securing an MLS franchise for Minneapolis-St Paul was an important issue for the Vikings…” However, the Vikings aren’t the only team in the area looking to break into MLS.

13. FIGHTING TALK FROM GHANA

Of the USA’s three group-stage opponents at next summer’s World Cup, Ghana are arguably the weakest. However, according to the Columbus Crew’s Ghanaian striker Dominic Oduro, Ghana will still come out victorious in that match “We have beaten them twice already … and so I don’t think nothing is going to stop us from doing it the third time.”

14. FIXING FOX

It seems as if there could be a winner in the battle of the daily soccer TV programs. Fox Soccer Daily has been temporarily taken off the air as executive’s look at ways to improve the show. It currently averages 50,000 fewer viewers than ESPNFC, but let’s hope they can turn it around as the more shows dedicated to soccer the better.

15. R.I.P. AKEEM ADAMS

The soccer world lost one of its own yesterday, as Akeem Adams passed away following complications from a heart attack he suffered back in September. The 22-year-old was a former trialist for the Seattle Sounders who clocked 45 minutes of action for the MLS side in an international friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

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