Kick Off: Optimism for Chivas USA with new president & unbeaten preseason run
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. NEW GOAT IN CHARGE
Chivas USA have their new leader. MLS named former league executive Nelson Rodriguez as the club's new president. Rodriguez was to watch the Goats remain unbeaten in preseason action thanks to a scoreless draw with the Colorado Rapids (HIGHLIGHTS). Seeing as this will more than likely be the last year that Chivas USA operate as such, what can they do to go out on a high?
2. FOR YOUR (FUTURE) CONSIDERATION
While Matías Laba’s reported move from Toronto FC to the Vancouver Whitecaps was originally thought to be a loan, the deal was announced on Wednesday evening as an outright trade with the 22-year-old Argentine midfielder joining the 'Caps in exchange for future considerations. Laba could be a vital piece for a Whitecaps side finding its form this preseason: Kenny Miller and Darren Mattocks scored in a 2-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday night (HIGHLIGHTS).
3. REV THE ENGINE
The Whitecaps were in a dealing mood on Wednesday. Before moving for Laba, they traded Japanese playmaker Daigo Kobayashi to the New England Revolution in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick. The Revolution also signed Jossimar Sanchez, a player they picked up in last year’s Supplemental Draft. It capped a good Wednesday for the Revolution, in which they also grabbed a preseason win over the Chicago Fire, although Kelyn Rowe left it very late to score this winner.
4. EARTHQUAKES IN TURLOCK
The San Jose Earthquakes have announced a new partnership to secure a home venue for their new U-23 PDL side. Partnering with the city of Turlock, situated just south of Modesto, the new team will play their games at the CSU Stanislaus Warrior Field and practice at the Turlock Regional Sports Complex. To mark the occasion, the Earthquakes will play their final preseason game in Turlock against USL PRO affiliates Sacramento Republic FC.
5. PRESSURE? BRING IT ON
There will be plenty of pressure on Eddie Johnson to score goals for D.C. United this year, but as the striker himself explains, that’s nothing new to him. United could certainly have done with some more goals as they drew 1-1 with the Charleston Battery on Wednesday, but the result was still enough to earn them a berth in Saturday's Carolina Challenge Cup final against the Seattle Sounders.
6. ALONSO LEADS THE WAY
The Sounders secured their place in the Carolina final by earning a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo behind Obafemi Martins's third preseason goal. Osvaldo Alonso played 45 minutes, and was greeted as a hero by the fans of his former club in Charleston. He is proving to be a role model for other young Cubans hoping to play soccer.
7. TFC SEARCH FOR THE NET
Both Toronto FC and the Philadelphia Union looked promising in their goalless draw on Wednesday (full game available here), but without Gilberto or Jermain Defoe, TFC were definitely lacking that finishing touch. More worryingly, Defoe looks set to arrive in Toronto for the season nursing an injury.
8. MORE PRESEASON ACTION
Sporting Kansas City came out victorious in an entertaining 4-2 win over new NASL side Indy Eleven (HIGHLIGHTS). Real Salt Lake beat host side FC Tucson 3-1 in the Desert Diamond Cup thanks to this set-piece goal from Álvaro Saborío. The Portland Timbers gave up a late penalty to Portmore United to see their second game of the Rose City Invitational finish 1-1 (watch match replay). Meanwhile, in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic, Sporting Kansas City (again) beat the Montreal Impact, 3-2, to set up a final against the Columbus Crew, who played out a great 4-4 draw with Orlando City. The New York Red Bulls beat Fluminense U-23s, 1-0.
9. GONZALEZ THE GREAT
Having become a stalwart of the US national team, Omar Gonzalez has become one of Major League Soccer’s elite. However, while the player himself never imagined reaching such heights, his reputation continues to grow as his club side, the LA Galaxy prepare for next month's CONCACAF Champions League knockout stage. Elsewhere, the LA Galaxy II beat Minnesota United 2-1 in a closed-door scrimmage in which Jack McBean scored both goals for Los Dos (HIGHLIGHTS).
10. HAPPY TO BE A GOAT
Back to Chivas USA. Mauro Rosales is settling in nicely with his new team and believes they can compete this year. “A new season brings a new chapter and we’ve constructed a team we believe can have a good year.”
11. HAPPY TO BE A COACH
Up in Montreal, Alessndro Nesta has rejoined the Impact, being named a consultant to the technical staff on Thursday. The Italian legend spent one season playing for the Impact and has always said he has bigger ambitions for the future. “We hope that this experience will be beneficial for him, knowing that he wants to become a head coach one day,” said sporting director Nick De Santis.
12. DEFINING THE TEAM IN DALLAS
Having spent part of last season on loan in Sweden, Bobby Warshaw will return to Scandinavia on a permanent deal. The onetime FC Dallas midfielder has joined GAIS in the Swedish second division. Meanwhile, FCD also cut two other players as the club attempts to become roster-compliant by Friday.
13. INTERNATIONAL CALL-UPS
With an international calendar date coming up next week, the MLSers called up are starting to come in. We already knew Tim Cahill would join Australia for their friendly in London, but SKC's Soony Saad has been called up by Lebanon, four MLS players have been called into the Honduras squad, and Jamaica have tabbed six MLSers, including new Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.
14. FINDING FREDDY
Poor old Freddy Adu, while his stint at Blackpool was always classed as just training, it seems any faint hope of a contract has gone, with Tangerines manager Barry Ferguson stating, “I’m more than happy with what I’ve got.” However, it seems there could be more opportunities for Freddy back home, not in MLS but in the NASL, as Cosmos COO Erik Stover revealed that he considered taking Adu last year whilse Eric Wynalda apparently wants the forward for the Atlanta Silverbacks.
15. ROUGH RIDING
The new USL PRO side in Tulsa is set to debut in 2015 and the team now has a name. After letting fans vote on what they wanted their side to be called, supporters in the city voted overwhelmingly to recognise their soccer history and name the new side the Tulsa Roughnecks. This was the same name as the side that competed in the original NASL between 1978 and 1984, even capturing the title in 1983. In other franchise news, could the Austin Aztex be getting ready to take a step up the league ladder?
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