Kick Off: D.C. United discover forward combination, LA Galaxy re-discover that winning feeling

MLS Fantasy, Robbie Keane, Chris Rolfe

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USA Today Sports

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

1. GALAXY GRAB A WIN, GET BACK TO .500

The LA Galaxy grabbed a much-needed 2-1 win over FC Dallas (watch highlights here) on Wednesday night, their first victory since April 12, with Gyasi Zardes proving the catalyst for a strong attacking performance. For FC Dallas, though, their winless streak reached six games (0-5-1), and yet another injury appears to be adding to their problems.

2. D.C. DOMINATE DYNAMO

D.C. United’s best combination up front? It could well be Chris Rolfe and Fabian Espindola, after the two looked in sync in their side's 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo (watch highlights here). Houston were hoping for big things from forward Mark Sherrod, who had been earning comparisons to Brian Ching, but when the rookie went down injured in the 12th minute, his side never recovered.

3. DOMAIN GAME

Could a D.C. United stadium deal be announced this week? Following recent reports about progress concerning the project, Mayor Vincent Gray and Administrator Allen Lew addressed some of the issues still standing in their way, mainly two properties located on the land set aside for the venue, with Mayor Gray suggesting, “The prospect is always available to us … of using eminent domain.”

4. THE GROUP OF DEATH

Can the US escape from what many are calling the World Cup's “Group of Death”? US assistant coach Andreas Herzog weighs in with his verdict, while Kick TV offer their first preview of just what US soccer brings to the table. It’s fair to say they’re both a lot more positive about the US’ chances than Four Four Two magazine.

5. SUFFERING FOR SUCCESS

Jurgen Klinsmann hasn’t yet set a date for making his roster cuts, so US players are expected to go all-out almost every day. Do the intense sessions also serve another purpose? As Michael Bradley explains, “This will be a World Cup where the teams that do well will suffer. We want to be the team that can suffer the most.”

6. MAKING THE CUT

World Cup roster cuts will be coming at some point, however, and while Klinsmann continues to tweak certain players' positions, former US international Taylor Twellman has some words for those who don’t make the final squad, a pain he experienced himself back in 2006.

7. NO PARTY FOR MEXICO

If the US players think they have it tough, they might want to try being in Mexican camp during the World Cup, as head coach Miguel Herrera has instituted a blanket ban on sex and alcohol, stating, “Let’s play a World Cup; we’re not going to a party.”

8. CHANGING THE RULES

Would the US bid to host the 2026 World Cup? According to US Soccer President Sunil Gulati, the answer is … maybe. However, with memories of the 2022 bid still fresh in the mind, Gulati is adamant that “We’re not going to bid unless the rules are changed.

9. CCL GROUP DRAW

Having earned their places in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League, Sporting Kansas City, the Portland Timbers, D.C United and the New York Red Bulls will all soon learn who their group stage opponents will be. With the draw set for May 28, it takes place more than a week before the Canadian Championship winner will be decided.

10. MULHOLLAND’S DRIVE

While many young soccer players dream of a big move to Europe, Real Salt Lake midfielder Luke Mulholland went the opposite way when he decided to leave England and try to make it in the US. So far it seems to have been the right decision as, after working his way up through NCAA Division II, USL PRO and the NASL, Mulholland finally got his break in MLS. 

11. CHANGE OF PLANS FOR TORRES

The Colorado Rapids were expecting to be without Designated Player Gabriel Torres for the next three weeks as he worked on muscle strengthening but, following a call up from the Panamanian national team, it looks like Torres's rest will have to wait. How do the Rapids feel about that? According to head coach Pablo Mastroeni, “there's a balance to be had. So if Gaby feels like (joining Panama) is something he wants to do for his career, then we as an organization support that."

12. THE LOAN GUNMAN

With the Seattle Sounders forward combination of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins proving almost untameable this season, it’s been hard for other players like David Estrada to get playing time. Yet that may have proven to be a blessing in disguise, as Estrada found himself going on loan to the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks, a move which seems to have benefitted everyone involved.

13. HAPPY BIRTHDAY

On Wednesday, New York City FC officially turned one year old. While the most exciting stuff is still to come in year two, including player signings and their first MLS match, what has the team accomplished in that first year?

14. BRAZILIAN STYLE

While New York City FC talk about soon unveiling their first players, Orlando City have already started that process and, while the Florida club has assembled some key players for next season, could they be on the verge of securing their biggest names yet?

15. REMEMBER HIM?

Remember Matt Eliason? The Northwestern alumnus who hit a spectacular bicycle kick in the Messi and Friends game? Who was going on trial with the New York Red Bulls? What ever happened to him? Turns out he’s tearing it up in the Icelandic second division.

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