MLS Preseason Tracker: Khari Stephenson on trial with San Jose, Chicago Fire cut Federico Puppo (Feb. 24)

The intensity is gradually ratcheting up as MLS preseason training continues at a variety of locations around the world. Catch all the other news and updates from MLS training camps below. And for the entire February preseason schedule, click here.


STEPHENSON ON TRIAL WITH QUAKES: Former San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Khari Stephenson is on trial with his former club and featured in the Quakes' 1-0 win over the Portland Timbers at the Rose City Invitational preseason tournament Sunday. Coming off the bench, the veteran played the final 27 minutes of the game and picked up a yellow card.

The 33-year-old played most recently for Real Salt Lake, but was released after last season. With San Jose from 2010-12, the Jamaican scored eight goals in 69 appearances. Earthquakes head coach Mark Watson said Stephenson was among the players the team was evaluating during the preseason tournament hosted by the Timbers.


REVS BRING LA LIGA VETERAN LARREA IN ON TRIAL: Could the New England Revolution be looking to add a Spanish presence to their midfield? By the looks of it, it's possible:


FIRE PART WAYS WITH PUPPO: So long, Federico Puppo.

The Chicago Fire announced Monday that they and Puppo have mutually agreed to terminate his contract. The 27-year-old Uruguayan forward made just 11 appearances for Chicago since signing with the club in January 2012, and spent much of the past two seasons on loan at Defensor Sporting and LDU Quito.

The move was done to help improve the FIre's salary cap situation.

“Parting ways with Puppo allows us to get closer to cap compliance,” said Fire head coach and director of soccer Frank Yallop in a statement. “We wish Federico well.

“I want to express my thanks to ownership for this significant undertaking. It’s part of a number of difficult moves which help our team going forward.”


HURTADO READY TO TURN THE PAGE: Vancouver Whitecaps striker Erik Hurtado tells the team's website he enters his second season with a fresh start under new head coach Carl Robinson, and he's making the most of the opportunity.

“He’s been great,” Robinson told reporters after the team's 5-1 win over Portmore United in Portland Sunday. “Since the start of preseason and since I took the job, he’s come in with a renewed attitude. I think he has a hunger back in him.”

In the article, Hurtado also discusses growing up in Portland and going back there for the preseason Rose City Invitational tournament.


BEWARE OF GATORS, DYNAMO: MLS preseason locations tend to be away from the cold-weather climates, but that does not mean that those destinations come without challenges of their own. The Houston Dynamo were made well aware of that fact this weekend, as they continued their preparatations in Charleston, S.C.

That message was apparently ignored later in the day. That, or a determined alligator just wanted a close-up of his favorite MLS team.


YALLOP, SOUMARE TALK TUCSON TRIUMPH: The Chicago Fire continued their winning ways this preseason with a 2-0 win vs. FC Tucson over the weekend. The victory was the latest for the Fire, who are looking to find chemistry and develop under new head coach Frank Yallop, and continued to show the progress the club is making in advance of the upcoming campaign.

Here are Yallop and Bakary Soumare talking about the Desert Diamond Cup win:


PAINTBALL TIME: The Seattle Sounders' players received a bit of down time on Monday, and some of them figured there was no better way to use it than by going to a paintball range and firing away. No word yet as to who is the best marksman on the squad, but DeAndre Yedlin could be an early favorite.


RELIVE THE FIVE-GOAL THRILLER: Preseason games are usually about as forgettable as a 15th date between two people, but Chivas USA's comeback win over the New England Revolution this past weekend might be as memorable as they get. At least, if you're a Chivas USA fan.
 
The Goats continued their strong preseason by rallying to pick up a 3-2 victory over the Revolution in the Desert Diamond Cup, scoring three unanswered goals courtesy of Erick "Cubo" Torres, Carlos Alvarez and Mauro Rosales after initially going down 2-0 in the opening 20 minutes.
 
You can watch video highlights of the entertaining match here:
 

RED BULLS DISCUSS ROMP OF IMPACT: The New York Red Bulls had one of the highest-scoring offense in all of MLS in 2013, and that could once again be the case this upcoming season.
 
The Red Bulls' talented attack put up three goals in a shutout win against the Montreal Impact in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic this past weekend despite being outplayed for large stretches. Afterwards, Tim Cahill, Ryan Meara and Bradley Wright-Phillips all touched on the victory and the team's development this preseason.

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