Kick Off: David Beckham lobbies in Tallahassee, Daniele De Rossi contemplates American future
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. THE MAN FROM TALLAHASSEE
David Beckham spent Tuesday in the Florida capital of Tallahassee, lobbying the state’s lawmakers to support his proposed new stadium in Miami. Beckham hopes they will back a piece of legislature that offers sales-tax subsidies to sports franchises for construction work and, according to the former LA Galaxy star, while nothing is guaranteed in terms of the proposal, “They promised me that they support having the team in Miami and are excited about that.”
2. ROMA STADIUM TO KEEP DE ROSSI FROM MLS MOVE?
Another international player about whom Major League Soccer fans may have conflicted feelings is Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi, who famously bloodied Brian McBride and was sent off at the 2006 World Cup. But in a New York Times article about Roma's American president, James Pallotta, and the club's proposed new stadium, De Rossi reveals that it could be Roma's American owners who prevent him making a long-hoped-for move to MLS: “I love the United States culture and I have always wanted to live there, maybe in a big city. But it is funny: Now, I will probably never live in America, and it is because of an American.”
3. WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING
The latest in a string of bizarre, off-field injuries to Vancouver Whitecaps happened to influential midfielder Nigel Re-Coker this week, as he apparently lost a fight with a bike rack and is being evaluated. On the field, the Whitecaps remain undefeated despite falling off the pace from their opening-day win against the New York Red Bulls. The coaching staff is not worried, with one Whitecaps assistant suggesting, “If we’re going to go out and play an attractive style and play through teams – if people think it’s going to be done within like a week or two, then you’re living in cloud cuckoo land.”
4. GARBER: FEBRUARY GAMES NOT AN OPTION
For any fans out there still worrying about whether or not MLS might one day switch to a winter schedule, MLS Commissioner Don Garber certainly understands the challenges, saying, “It is a virtual impossibility to play games in this country and in Canada in February,” when asked about solutions to the problem of MLS teams failing to advance in the CONCACAF Champions League. The commissioner's comments were made during the first part of an interview with Soccerly.com in which Garber also discussed TV ratings and the Camilo Sanvezzo saga.
5. ENERGY BOOST
One of Sporting Kansas City’s two USL PRO affiliates, the Oklahoma City Energy, have taken another positive step toward a bright future with the news that local businessman Tim McLaughlin has joined the club as an equal partner in the management team alongside Bob Funk Jr. According to Funk, the move “brings us another step closer to our shared vision of bringing a Major League Soccer team to Oklahoma City in the future.”
6. LET THE KIDS ENJOY THEMSELVES
Most fans love a promising young talent: It provides a sense of optimism about the future Just like US fans are going gaga over Julian Green, Chicago Fire supporters are doing the same for rookie Harry Shipp. One Chicago writer is all about the hype and argues fans should go over-the-top to celebrate newcomers, but restrain themselves from unrealistic expectations.
7. NELSEN CALLS FOR SUSPENSION
It seems Toronto FC midfielder Jackson could be in line for a one-game suspension following an incident in which the Brazilian retaliated for a light bump by elbowing D.C. United’s Davy Arnaud in the chest. TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said he understands that Jackson may be suspended but was also quick to add that Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborío should receive a ban as well, suggesting, “if Jackson gets suspended, then you’d like to think that a guy who’s nearly broken a guy's leg is going to get suspended, too.” A comment that surely has nothing to do with the fact that Real Salt Lake are Toronto FC’s next opponents (Saturday at 9:30 pm ET, TSN2 in Canada, MLS Live in US).
8. ROGERS REHAB
Robbie Rogers has yet to feature for the LA Galaxy this season after the midfielder suffered another injury setback. As Rogers works his way back once again, his first appearance of the year could come for a slightly different Galaxy team, with the player himself stating, “I just need to get fit and hopefully play some games with Galaxy II in about three weeks from today.”
9. NEW BLOOD IN NEW ENGLAND?
With the New England Revolution yet to score in three games this season, it might be fair to say that the club's strikers aren’t performing as well as expected. To address the matter, general manager Michael Burns revealed the club hopes to add a forward and a midfielder to help strengthen the squad, with two roster spots available and an international scouting trip on the horizon.
10. PETKE SEES PROMISE
With all MLS teams knocked out of the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League, fans now have to wait until August to start the whole process over again. As Supporters' Shield winners, the New York Red Bulls will be one of at least four MLS teams (possibly five) competing in the next campaign, and Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke sees reasons to be optimistic in the progress the league is making.
11. SOUNDERS IMPRESS
The Seattle Sounders put in a confident display against the Montreal Impact on Sunday, and with Clint Dempsey suspended and Brad Evans injured, it fell to Andy Rose to pick up the slack in midfield. Rose certainly put in a strong performance, as did late substitute Michael Azira, a positive sign for both players moving forward. Another young Sounder, on-loan defender Eriq Zavaleta, did not fare quite as well in his first MLS start for Chivas USA, all part of the learning experience for the young defender.
12. PITCH PERFECT
D.C. United were outdone by Toronto FC at the weekend, but for United, the biggest problem with the game was the condition of the pitch at BMO Field. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment officials are well aware of the field’s issues and have suggested that their planned stadium upgrade will help remedy the problem. Yet spare a thought for Toronto FC’s groundskeeper, as this interview reveals exactly what the poor guy’s been up against.
13. TIMBERS GO TO THE POOL
With Donovan Ricketts suspended, and also possibly injured, ahead of this weekend’s game against FC Dallas, the Portland Timbers have called upon MLS pool goalkeeper Daniel Withrow to serve as a backup during Saturday's game. Andrew Weber will get the start, but the Timbers were still short on netminders, as Jake Gleeson is currently on loan with the club's USL PRO affiliate, Sacramento Republic. Set to open their season on Saturday, when the Republic will face LA Galaxy II, Sacramento head coach Preki announced the signing of four players on Tuesday, including his second player signed from an MLS academy.
14. USL PRO LOAN PIPELINE BEING PUT TO GOOD USE
D.C. United have settled on which players they will be sending to USL PRO affiliate Richmond kickers to start the season, with Joe Willis and Michael Seaton joined by Jalen Robinson and Christiano François, all of which could help spell another positive year for the Kickers. It also seems the Philadelphia Union have sent two more players to the Harrisburg City Islanders.
15. HACKWORTH HAPPY WITH PROGRESS
While John Hackworth acknowledged that defensive errors cost his side against the Columbus Crew on Saturday, the Philadelphia Union head coach does not see any reason to change his defenders heading into Saturday's game against the Montreal Impact. A bigger concern might be the low number of goals they’ve scored so far but Hackworth has been pleased by the development of Leo Fernandes and defender Amobi Okugo.
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