Kick Off: Real Salt Lake, Costa Rica star Alvaro Saborio's World Cup dreams dashed by broken foot
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. SABORIO DEALT WORLD CUP BLOW
With Real Salt Lake already light on strikers, they were hit by some more bad news on Thursday. The news was even worse for Costa Rica, as Alvaro Saborio was ruled out for 3-4 months with a foot fracture. It’ll be most devastating for Saborio himself, though, as the injury rules him out of Costa Rica’s World Cup campaign.
2. US READY FOR TURKEY
As the US national team continue their World Cup preparations, attention now turns to Sunday’s game against Turkey (2 pm ET, ESPN2), who beat fellow CONCACAF qualifiers Honduras 2-0 on Thursday. Klinsmann will likely be counting on Jermaine Jones again, but is Chris Wondolowski the USMNT’s secret weapon?
3. GHANA NOT SWEATING USMNT
“If my country had been beaten as much as we’ve beaten them, I would feel the same, too!” Well, that doesn't make you feel better, now does it? That quote is from Ghana midfielder Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, and it's just the tip of the iceberg as The New York Times checks in with the Black Stars ahead of what might be the biggest match in Group G.
4. THE ROAD TO BRAZIL
The Road to Brazil series is really starting to heat up, and while Turkey have already downed Honduras 2-0, tonight sees Bosnia & Herzegovina take on the Ivory Coast in St. Louis (8:30 pm ET, BeIN Sports, UDN). Honduras are back in action on Sunday against Israel, and Mexico have a friendly against Ecuador in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday.
5. CASCADIA CUP CONTINUES
The Vancouver Whitecaps go straight from one Cascadia clash into another with a Sunday match in the Portland (9 pm ET, MLS Free Stream of the Week, TSN2 in Canada) on the docket. And while the Timbers are starting to put some wins together, the Whitecaps are also enjoying a good run of form, with head coach Carl Robinson creating an environment that Gershon Koffie suggests “makes the players confident on and off the pitch.”
6. BATTLE ATOP THE WEST
The Seattle Sounders take on Real Salt Lake on Saturday (4 pm ET, MLS LIVE) in a clash between the top two teams in the Western Conference -- and some might say MLS. The Sounders escaped with a warning and Chad Barrett received a fine for his part in the mass confrontation with the Vancouver Whitecaps players last weekend. RSL, on the other hand, may be light up front right now (and perhaps long term based on Sabo's injury), but they can at least count on a consistent Tony Beltran.
7. PARKHURST FOCUSED ON THE CREW
After falling short of inclusion in the US World Cup squad, Michael Parkhurst is re-focusing his commitment on the Columbus Crew, and he’ll get another chance to help the team when they take on Toronto FC on Saturday in the Trillium Cup (5 pm ET, MLS LIVE, TSN in Canada). Toronto FC, meanwhile, are moving forward with plans for stadium expansion, and that could still one day involve the Argos, according to Tim Leiweke.
8. SPORTING KC LOOK TO END SLIDE
With their winless streak now at four games, Sporting Kansas City get another chance to set things right when they take on D.C. United on Saturday (7 pm ET, MLS LIVE). Yet United are not the pushovers they were last year and currently sit just one point behind SKC with a game in hand. Speaking of D.C., a former star set for the World Cup hasn't forgotten his roots.
9. FAGUNDEZ A SENSATION AGAIN
The Eastern Conference’s worst team takes on its best this Saturday as the Montreal Impact host the New England Revolution (7 pm ET, MLS LIVE, TSN/RDS in Canada). Diego Fagundez has once again started to earn the plaudits after consistently strong performances. In news that will make many of us feel old, the midfielder is set to graduate high school next week.
10. INTRODUCTIONS AND RETURNS
When FC Dallas take on the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday (8:30 pm ET, UDN), 19-year-old FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez will find himself in a position he probably wasn’t expecting so early in his career. The Quakes will once again be without Chris Wondolowski but could be set to welcome back Jason Hernandez.
11. HISTORY ON UNION’S SIDE
The Philadelphia Union have earned at least one point from all six of their previous encounters with Chivas USA, and so the team from Pennsylvania will no doubt be hoping history repeats itself on Saturday (10:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE) as the Goats feel the effects of yet another red card.
12. GALAXY LIGHT AT THE BACK
The LA Galaxy’s injury problems aren’t getting any easier, as it seems Todd Dunivant is still at least two months away from making a return. Yet with the Galaxy heading set for a trip east for a game against the Chicago Fire (Sunday, 4 pm ET, MLS LIVE), many in the Windy City will be hoping that Landon Donovan’s gotten over his US roster snub by now.
13. RAPIDS LOOKING FORWARD
The Colorado Rapids host the Houston Dynamo on Sunday (8 pm ET, MLS Live), and while it’s an important game in itself, the Rapids fans seem to have one eye focused on next week’s clash with FC Dallas instead. The Dynamo have been hit hard by injuries and absences, so could they be looking for some new signings?
14. SHEA TO ORLANDO?
Is Brek Shea getting closer to a move back to MLS? With the English Premier League currently in offseason, Shea has started a 10-day training stint with Orlando City SC but, for now, it’s just a training stint.
15. BUILDING PROBLEMS
After meeting stiff opposition to their original stadium plan, David Beckham and his group of investors changed the location of their proposed soccer venue. However, it seems some people are still opposed to the plan. Miami aren’t the only ones struggling with location issues, though, as New York City FC seem to be facing a battle of their own.
BONUS: ATLANTA LOVES SOCCER
Despite recent stories about season-ticket pledges and supporters groups, many are still questioning whether Atlanta is really a soccer town. This in depth article breaks down exactly why Atlanta and soccer are a good fit.
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.