Kick Off: Are you ready for the first look at revamped USMNT World Cup squad in action?
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. USMNT READY FOR ACTION
The US national team's preparation for Brazil takes its next step forward Tuesday with the first game of the pre-World Cup camp (10 pm ET, ESPN2). The opposition is Azerbaijan, who could present a tougher test than you might think, and ahead of the game head coach Jurgen Klinsmann dropped some hints as to what the starting lineup might look like.
2. FAMILIAR SETTING
As US training wraps up at Stanford, the venue offers a familiar feel to members of the squad who grew up in the American system. Check out how many of those same players reacted when they learned they were part of the final 23-man roster.
3. WORLDLY VIEW
What does the rest of the world think of the US national team? As a goalkeeper who’s spent the past two decades playing in Europe, Brad Friedel offers his own answer to that question, while KICKTV once again highlights how the game is growing at home -- this time in Portland.
4. GERMAN ENGINEERING
There’s a clear German-American influence with the current US national team, but there’s also a distinct lack of Mexican-Americans. What’s brought about this changing trend? Berti Vogts is one of the latest Germans to have penetrated the setup, and the “special advisor” to Klinsmann has finally explained exactly what that role entails.
5. POTENTIAL RETURNS AHEAD OF BIG CLASH
Sporting Kansas City host the New York Red Bulls tonight in the lead-up to #USAvAZE (8 pm ET, ESPN2) with both teams looking to turn things around following disappointing weekend results. To help out in that quest, they'll be welcoming back a few key players. For the Red Bulls, it's Peguy Luyindula. With Chance Myers out for the rest of the season, SKC wait on Aurelien Collin.
6. MANAGING EXPECTATIONS AND A BUSY WORKLOAD
So, what about SKC’s season? Despite the growing number of injuries and absences, expectations remain high with the current MLS champions. The Red Bulls, meanwhile, hope to avoid such injury problems by having a lighter week in training. There could be some more competition at right back for Mike Petke after rookie Chris Duvall impressed in his first start.
7. CANADA’S BIG GOAL
After scored their first goal in over a year, Canada will look to keep their momentum going when they take on Moldova on Tuesday (11:30 am ET). It’s all part of the learning experience for the Canadian side, but they’ll have to learn quickly as head coach Benito Floro has promised a semifinal performance at next summer’s Gold Cup.
8. CAHILL KEEPS ON GOING
Tim Cahill has continued his fine form as he prepares for the World Cup, scoring the equalizer in Australia’s warm-up game against South Africa. The Red Bulls star is also the subject of a feature on the Aussie version of 60 Minutes.
9. REGGAE BOYZ OF SUMMER
Cahill wasn’t the only MLS international who bagged himself a goal on Monday, as Michael Seaton, playing alongside a host of fellow MLS names, notched his second international goal for Jamaica in their 2-1 loss to Serbia.
10. TREASURE MAPP
Whatever the Montreal Impact’s problems may be, it’s fair to say that, despite another tough loss at the weekend, Justin Mapp has been a shining light. What is it exactly that Mapp brings to the team?
11. PLENTY OF PROMISE
While a draw may not have been the exact result the Vancouver Whitecaps wanted on Saturday,there were still plenty of positives for the Canadian side to take away from the game. Plus, following a ponderous penalty call, Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit is calling for replays to help the officials.
12. ESPN TO SHOW MLS ONLINE
Many fans have wondered what ESPN plans to do with the online streaming package for MLS games ever since the league's new TV rights deals were announced. According to ESPN president John Skipper, MLS’ digital rights open up some interesting new possibilities.
13. KAKÁ. ORLANDO. DISCUSS.
Has Brazilian star Kaká been having secret meetings with Orlando City SC? He already paid the team a very public visit last year, but new rumors suggest that the former FIFA World Player of the Year has met with club representatives at home in Brazil.
14. TO THE VICTOR…
Shane O’Neill scored his first MLS goal over the weekend as the Rapids romped to a 4-1 victory over the Montreal Impact. To many players that would be special enough, but the goal had extra significance thanks to a bet O’Neill had with teammate Chris Klute.
15. MIKE MAGEE BREAKS TWITTER
This tweet, parodying a now-infamous (and deleted) tweet from USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann's son.
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