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Kick Off: Will Canadian Championship help Toronto FC stop the slide?

Jackson in action for Toronto FC against DC United

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports

Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:

1. TORONTO LOOK TO CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP

Coming off the back of three straight defeats, Toronto FC are looking to Wednesday's "fight" with Vancouver in the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal to right the ship.The Whitecaps are planning to play plenty of their young Canadians, while the Reds could be without one of their own, and maybe one of their biggest stars

2. FOR MONTREAL, A NEW YEAR

Defending Canadian champions Montreal Impact head to lower-division side FC Edmonton for the first leg of their Canadian Championship semifinal, and Marco Di Vaio says "it's not an easy game ... I know I have to score." Head coach Frank Klopas plans to decide his lineup based on "who is in the best form," which means that young defender Karl Ouimette is likely to feature.

3. MIAMI STADIUM ALTERNATIVES?

Amid the increasing tension over David Beckham’s proposed stadium in PortMiami, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has stepped in with a potential solution: While he remains in favor of a waterfront venue, he also has a suggestion for a different site.

4. SOUNDERS' LEFT-BACK SITUATION

As the Seattle Sounders prepare for Wednesday's visit from FC Dallas, they will have to deal with question at the left-back position, where injuries to Leo Gonzalez and now Dylan Remick might for US World Cup hopeful Brad Evans to fill in again. That is, provided he gets "nine to 20 hours of sleep each night," as determined by his so-called sleep watch.

5. PLAUDITS FOR PLATA

With his two goals on Saturday, Real Salt Lake's Joao Plata was voted MLS’ Player of the Week. The 22-year-old Ecuadoran's performance was worthy of the award, but was he offside on his game-winning strike?

6. RELAX, EVERYONE: CAHILL IS FINE

Good news New York Red Bulls and Australia fans: Tim Cahill is OK. Despite a pretty horrendous challenge from Je-Vaughn Watson in the Red Bulls' game against Dallas, Cahill says, “I’ve had it checked out and there’s no serious damage. It’s just painful.” Meanwhile head coach Mike Petke was pained by the midday, 90-degree heat in Texas.

7. DOING IT THE WRIGHT-PHILLIPS WAY

Following his goal in the New York Red Bulls' 1-0 win over FC Dallas, Bradley Wright-Phillips now has five goals in three games. What exactly has driving the Englishman’s success? “I'm just trying to get in the same spots and concentrate on hitting the target,” he says. Sounds like a good plan.

8. MILLER WILL MISS VANCOUVER

With his time in Vancouver coming to an end, Kenny Miller has nothing but good things to say about his spell with the Whitecaps. Miller has also suggested that talks of him reaching an agreement with Glasgow Rangers are premature. Does Miller’s departure highlight the evolving role of DPs in MLS?

9. MASTROENI: SOCCER ATHEIST

Do you believe in "the soccer gods"? Colorado Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni doesn't: “You earn what you get in life. You earn what you get in games There’s no gods.

10. NEW YORK CITY YOUTH

New York City FC recently announced affiliations with eight local youth clubs, and the director of one of those clubs explained what went into NYCFC’s decision-making process and what both sides stand to gain from the partnership.

11. PUTTING THE PRO IN PROFESSIONAL

Who would be a referee? As Paul Rejer, a manager with PRO, puts it: “You can ask any fan in the world and they’ll say they have the worst referees.” However, as Rejer goes on to explain, refereeing standards here in North America are actually relatively good.

12.  HONDURAN HEROES SELECTED

The World Cup rosters are starting to be revealed. Honduras have included four MLS players in their squad, including Marvin Chavez, Victor Bernardez, Jerry Bengtson and Boniek Garcia. Bosnia & Herzegovina's roster includes a former St. Louis University star.  

13. SACRAMENTO DREAMING

In the wake of two impressive home crowds, new USL PRO side Sacramento Republic seem poised for great things. Do they have a strong case for becoming an MLS franchise someday?

14.  RING ME

What did Sporting Kansas City CEO Robb Heineman say to his players as they were presented with their MLS Cup rings? “You have nine more fingers on your hands.” It’s a powerful message, though the players were probably a little by the rings themselves.

15. EXCITED FOR THE WORLD CUP

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