Kick Off: Dominant Sporting Kansas City rise to the top but ranks of winless remain after Week 7
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. SPORTING KC STORM TO THE TOP
Oh, hello, reigning MLS Cup champions! Sporting KC have been relatively quiet so far this season, but they exploded on Saturday for a 4-0 win over the Montreal Impact (HIGHLIGHTS), their third win in four games. Dom Dwyer scored twice and was described as a "pain in the a–" by his coach. Montreal, meanwhile, remain winless through seven matches, which has star striker Marco Di Vaio livid: “What we’re doing isn’t enough.”
2. WHITECAPS BATTLE TO A DRAW WITH GALAXY
Vancouver and LA locked horns for the second time in a week, and they both came away with a point. The 2-2 draw in front of a sold out BC Place (HIGHLIGHTS) saw the Galaxy twice take the lead and twice Darren Mattocks get the Caps back into it. The Jamaican scored the first equalizer and set up the second. While LA's Robbie Keane was furious his side let two leads slip away, 'Caps head coach Carl Robinson was overjoyed with his side's "character."
3. SEATTLE LEAVE HAPPY
How real are the Seattle Sounders? A second straight road win, this time 2-1 over 10-man Chivas USA (HIGHLIGHTS), definitely has them in the discussion for best team in MLS, especially if the strong team mentality they are talking up has staying power. The Goats, now winless in six, felt so aggrieved by Marco Delgado's red card that head coach Wilmer Cabrera declared that his players “don’t receive fair consideration from the refereeing.” And there was more bad news for Chivas USA: Promising youngster Thomas McNamara is out for the rest of the year with an ACL tear.
4. TORONTO DOWNED IN DALLAS
As many predicted at the start of the season, a few key injuries could derail Toronto FC’s promising season. To wit: Saturday's 2-1 loss to FC Dallas (HIGHLIGHTS), TFC's second consecutive defeat, which head coach Ryan Nelsen chalked up to the side's “running on fumes in terms of what we have available for options.” For Dallas, head coach Oscar Pareja was delighted with the way his side rebounded from last week's home loss.
5. RSL TOP PORTLAND AGAIN
Following a 1-0 win on Saturday (HIGHLIGHTS), Real Salt Lake have now not lost to the Portland Timbers in 11 straight matches. Sometimes, RSL's firepower has been too much, but this time, it was down to the "amazing ... incredible ... world-class goalkeeper Nick Rimando." The Timbers, however, remain winless, and while there were plenty of positives to take from the match, captain Will Johnson is “a little bit sick and tired of hearing that: It’s about results.” One bit of good news for the Timbers: Rodney Wallace could be back in training within a month.
6. CHICAGO DRAW AGAIN
Following a 1-1 draw with the New England Revolution (HIGHLIGHTS), the Chicago Fire have now tied their last six games – tying the MLS record for consecutive draws. While coach Frank Yallop has been critical of some of the refereeing this season, the officials were on his side late in this one, but Juan Luis Anagonó's stoppage-time penalty was saved by Bobby Shuttleworth. That's the second time this season the Fire have failed to convert late potential match-winning penalties. Remember this one against Philly?
7. LATE GOAL DENIES UNITED
Up a man and a goal with scant time left to play, D.C. United must have thought their third win of the season was in the offing, especially with Fabián Espíndola putting in a strong performance. It wasn’t to be, though, as “a real play by a real player” – that is, Wil Trapp – led to a 90th-minute goal from Hector Jimenez, earning the the Crew a 1-1 draw (HIGHLIGHTS).
8. RAPIDS KEEP CLEAN SHEET
The Colorado Rapids not beaten the San Jose Earthquakes the past two seasons and that streak continued on Saturday with a 0-0 draw (HIGHLIGHTS). The result was a particularly frustrating one for the Rapids, while the Quakes reveled in an important point on the road, and the knowledge that the team is still improving.
9. UNION SEE OUT A DRAW
Playing their third game in eight days, the Philadelphia Union hoped to end a five-game winless streak on Saturday. But an inability to finish saw them draw 0-0 draw with the Houston Dynamo (HIGHLIGHTS). For the Dynamo, the result ended a three-game losing slide, which was good enough, especially after Kofi Sarkodie was handed a second yellow card for time wasting, decision deemed "unfair" by Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear.
10. CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR FOR RSL & US U-20s
As the Generation adidas Cup drew to a close, Real Salt Lake fell just short, losing the final to Stoke City on penalties. FC Dallas, on the other hand, did what no other MLS teams had managed in the tournament: They beat Flamengo and finished in third place. Nearby, in the Dallas Cup, the US U-20s made it all the way to the final but fell 2-0 to Argentine side River Plate.
11. BECKHAM SET ON PORTMIAMI
Despite the fact that it could cost up to $50 million more than other potential locations, David Beckham’s Miami group has its heart set on building in PortMiami, and they have the backing of Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Grimenez. In other stadium news, be sure to check out New York City FC’s website at 11 am ET to watch a live special announcement.
12. FIXING CANADA?
While the signs are promising it remains to be seen whether the Benito Floro era for the Canadian national team really will mark a turnaround. Whatever happens, the newest pro club in Canada is eager to help out. However, Martin Rennie, former head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps, has his own suggestion on how to revitalise Canadian soccer. And retired Canadian international Ante Jazic has his perspective.
13. ALTIDORE’S IMPORTANCE
Jozy Altidore came off the bench on Saturday and secured a penalty that helped Sunderland earn an historic victory over Chelsea. Does that bode well for his prospects at the World Cup? According to USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann, it does: “I’m so convinced he is going to do well [in Brazil].” Before for anyone gets too bullish about the Yanks' chances, US Soccer president Sunil Gulati offered this message.
14. THE FUTURE
On Friday, US Soccer announced the first roster for its U-21 camp, with 13 of the 21 players named coming from MLS clubs. Wil Trapp and Luis Gil highlight the squad, as Jurgen Klinsmann takes the first steps at ensuring the US never again fail to qualify for the Olympics. Many of the players in this week's camp could become hallmarks of the US team for years to come, but which ones will be stars at the 2018 World Cup?
15. GSPURNING IN RING OF FIRE IN GREECE
Former Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning is now the backup for Greek club PAOK, based in Thessalonika, who took on Athenian club Olympiakos in a a Greek Cup match this weekend. The kickoff was delayed by a "ring of fire" – flares all around the stadium – that Gspurning talked about with SI.com.
Get the Kick-Off delivered to you!
Enter your email address and favorite team below to sign up for The Kick-Off mailing list and get it delivered to your inbox every morning.