Kick Off: Lineup questions for NY, Seattle & TFC as World Cup hopefuls return to action
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. CAHILL’S "A GOOD PROBLEM"
The return of Tim Cahill can only be a good thing for the New York Red Bulls, but with the club in good form, coach Mike Petke has to decide who makes way for the Australian international. “That’s a good problem to have, to be honest with you,” Petke says.
2. STRONGER IN SEATTLE
Fact: Clint Dempsey is on fire right now. So are the Seattle Sounders, sitting atop the Supporters' Shield standings. Yet, are they about to get even stronger? Apparently so, as Brad Evans is fully fit again and ready to cause head coach Sigi Schmid a few selection problems.
3. DEFOE’S WORLD CUP CHANCES
Jermain Defoe could make his return to the Toronto FC first team this weekend when his side host the New England Revolution. For Defoe, who notched three goals in his first two matches for TFC before picking up a hamstring injury, the match could represent his last chance to impress England boss Roy Hodgson.
4. EJ FEELING GOOD
D.C. United's Eddie Johnson left Saturday's match against FC Dallas with a hamstring injury. But fear not, United supporters. Johnson said on Tuesday: “I feel good. I just need another day.” Like players around the world, the US international also weighed in on the Dani Alves banana incident.
5. IN SUPPORT OF WONDO
One of the most debated possible US World Cup team selections will be San Jose Earthquakes goal machine Chris Wondolowski. Should he go or not? According to Bleacher Report, Wondo "has proved in recent months that he deserves a place on the roster."
6. DONOVAN BULLISH ON USMNT IN BRAZIL
Providing they play well in all three games, US national team star Landon Donovan believes that the Yanks are capable of beating Ghana, Portugal and, yes, Germany in their "Group of Death" at the World Cup. However, the LA Galaxy attacker is also wary of Cristiano Ronaldo: "We could play an amazing game against Portugal, and he could pull off two plays that only he can pull off, and we could end up losing."
7. JJ OR BECKERMAN?
One of the biggest questions for Jurgen Klinsmann -- and USMNT fans around the globe -- is: Who should pair with Michael Bradley in the middle? Should it be Besiktas anchorman Jermaine Jones or Real Salt Lake stalwart Kyle Beckerman?
8. NYCFC HEADING DOWN UNDER
New York City FC are not due to begin life in MLS until next season, but the club has suggested they want to start signing players this summer. So what would any new signings do in the meantime? It seems one option is to spend some time in Australia with Manchester City’s other club, the Melbourne Heart, a move that would benefit both teams in the short term.
9. SOUNDERS INDEPENDENCE
The Seattle Sounders today become independent of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, business-wise, at least. It looks to be an interesting time ahead for the club, according to GM Adrian Hanauer, who provided updates on the need to create cap space for a potential summer signing and the formation of their own USL PRO club.
10. WHITECAPS LEGEND REFLECTS
As part of the Vancouver Whitecaps' 40th-anniversary celebration this year, current club president Bob Lenarduzzi became one of the first ex-players inducted into the Caps' Ring of Honor, Lenarduzzi reflects on how things have changed over the years. Meanwhile, the club's future also looks promising, as young Canadian Russell Teibert continues to make his mark.
11. NAJAR WANTS TO HELP HONDURAS
Honduras may not be in the Group of Death, but they have a tough road ahead in Brazil, going against Switzerland, Ecuador, and France. If they hope to advance, they will need a good performance from former D.C. United player Andy Najar, who signed a contract extension with Belgian club Anderlecht on Tuesday.
12. PRESSURE ON COLLEGE PAIR
Following the completion of the first US Under-21 camp, the majority of the players returned to their teams. However, for Kendall McIntosh and Jordan Morris, the only two players selected from college teams, they return to a slightly different environment and the pressure is now building for them to go pro.
13. WHERE TO CHICAGO?
The Chicago Fire have not formed an affiliation with a USL PRO team yet, but they are taking a unique approach to doing so, asking their fans which team or location they would like to see the Fire partnered with.
14. PPL PARK TO HOST IRELAND SIDE
Add another game to the list of pre-World Cup friendlies taking place here in the United States. The latest addition will see Robbie Keane's Republic of Ireland side take on World Cup qualifiers Costa Rica on June 6 at the Philadelphia Union's PPL Park.
15. DYNAMO’S GOOD LUCK
Andrew Luck: “Houston is my team, always and forever.”
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