Kick Off: MLS Commissioner Don Garber kicks off new season with comprehensive Q&A session
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. COMMISSIONER'S KICKOFF Q&A
Tuesday marked MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s 2014 MLS Season Kickoff Q&A, with the Commissioner answering questions from both journalists and fans ahead of this weekend’s big games. As expected, there were a lot of questions about expansion, but Garber also addressed several other issues, such as the chances of a single table structure with promotion and relegation and a home for New York City FC in 2015. Watch the complete Q&A session in the video above or right here.
2. OFFICIAL TALK
One of the topics discussed during Garber's Q&A session Tuesday was the threat of a possible referees strike, and the Commissioner asserted that there are plans in place to ensure matches will proceed as scheduled: "We have so many things that we're gearing up for with our 2014 season," Garber said. "Nothing is going to stop us from having a strong opening and to continue to grow this league."
3. STAGE SET IN CYPRUS
The US national team is in Cyprus for its international friendly against Ukraine on Wednesday, and it’s an opportunity which head coach Jurgen Klinsmann may use to take a look at some of his options out on the wings. However, for Ukraine, the game comes at a difficult time in the country’s history, and plenty of things off the field are racing through the minds of the players as they prepare for the match. The game will be still live on ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas (2 pm ET) despite the new venue, and here’s a great look at what the broadcast team went through once they learned the contest had been moved.
4. STATE YOUR CASE
Ahead of the game against Ukraine, several members of the US team have been talking about their chances of making the World Cup squad. Former MLSer Juan Agudelo, for one, is planning to “make it hard for [Klinsmann] to not pick me to go to the World Cup.” Terrence Boyd, meanwhile, hopes his current form in Austria can help win him a place, although, “If not, I’ll just have to work harder.” With this current squad drawing heavily from players based in Europe there are quite a few dual nationals with the team, but is there an argument that Klinsmann should try and recruit even more?
5. DEMPSEY’S DREAM
Clint Dempsey has spent the past two months with Fulham, and while the US captain appreciated his time back in London and remains focused on the US’ World Cup campaign, he also has his eyes set on another target: “I have three years [on my contract] and, in that time, I want to have won an MLS Cup." Back in Seattle, it may take Brad Evans sometime to adjust to the national team spotlight, Obafemi Martins feels he’s learned a lot about MLS and Dylan Remick has seized his chance to impress.
6. LANDON’S LEGACY
When the new season begins on Saturday, Landon Donovan needs just one goal to become MLS’ all-time top goalscorer. It’s a record that will most likely come sooner rather than later, and the Galaxy star told SI.com about what we can expect from both the LA Galaxy and the US national team this year. And in honor of the man's 32nd birthday on Tuesday, here's a profile from ESPNFC.com insisting that Donovan’s legacy is secure.
7. CAPTAIN BESLER
There were a few MLS player signings to note on Tuesday, perhaps most notably the Colorado Rapids signing midfielder José Mari, with the midfielder expected to try and fill the void left by Hendry Thomas’ departure. The Vancouver Whitecaps added 17-year-old residency goalkeeper Marco Carducci to their first-team roster, while Sporting Kansas City not only signed SuperDraft pick Alex Martinez, they also named Matt Besler as their new captain and unveiled their new away kits.
8. BOSWELL’S ALL GROWN UP
Bobby Boswell is back for his second spell with D.C. United, and it seems he’s learned a lot both on and off the field. “It took me going somewhere else to realise what I was doing maybe wasn’t the smartest in terms of getting the product right on the field," Boswell tells The Washington Post. D.C. United, meanwhile, have acquired Alex Caskey from the Seattle Sounders in exchange for a third-round 2016 SuperDraft pick, while a Hall-of-Fame legend has come to the aid of the team’s proposed new stadium.
9. QUAKES AND GALAXY GET DEFENSIVE
The San Jose Earthquakes made their own move on Tuesday, completing the signing of former Bayern Munich defender Andreas Görlitz. The 32-year-old has been training with the Quakes for the past month and impressed enough to earn a contract after 12 years spent in Germany. Down in Southern California, there's also some finality for James Riley, who officially joined the LA Galaxy.
10. NO DRAMA FOR RSL
Real Salt Lake made just a few changes to their group during the offseason, aside from one dramatic change at the top. New boss Jeff Cassar is now the man in charge at RSL, but as FoxSports.com's Kyle McCarhy explains, the club's clear identity has helped through an emotional offseason transition.
11. PUYOL ON THE MOVE
The big news from Europe on Tuesday was the announcement from Spanish veteran Carlos Puyol that this will indeed be his final season with La Liga giants Barcelona. While the World Cup winner won’t be short of offers this summer, could this mean a move to MLS is very much a real possibility? New York City FC are the club that has been most readily linked with the star, but it appears they have an issue with their logo to work out before they can make any player personnel moves.
12. TOO GOOD TO TURN DOWN?
When Tyler Turner turned 18 on Tuesday, he was already signed to a contract with Orlando City SC, and only the fourth player with a guaranteed option for their debut MLS season. While Turner had planned to go to UCLA, the option of turning pro early was too much to resist, and with MLS teams turning seemingly turning down the opportunity to take him, could their loss could be Orlando’s gain?
13. HOLDEN REURNS TO US
Stuart Holden's return to Bolton was a brief one on Monday, and now it appears he might be facing even more serious injury woes on his road to recovery. The former Houston Dynamo star is expected to fly back to the United States to see a Los Angeles-based specialist after feeling discomfort in his surgically repaired knee during a match with Bolton's Under-21 team. In other American Exports news, former Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens has signed for former US head coach Bob Bradley and Norwegian side Stabaek.
14. BABY BOOM
Congratulations to Álvaro Saborío, who announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he is soon to be a father. It seems like there have been a lot of MLS babies lately, including Darlington Nagbe’s, and the Portland Timbers sensation believes becoming a father will help to make him an even better player, driven by the knowledge that, “It’s your own kid that’s going to look up to you some day and see what you did in the past.”
15. A PHOTO IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
Saturday will see several MLS stadiums come alive again after laying dormant since the end of last season. As such, it seems like a good time to go on a photographic tour of all 19 teams home venues and check out the fans that bring them to life. Which ones will you be visiting this year?
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