Kick Off: MLS teams shuffle lineups for midweek matchups while Canada prepares to crown champion
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today while preparing to vote for the Etihad Airways Player of the Month for May.
1. CROWNING A CHAMPION
Wednesday night's action is highlighted by the second leg of the Canadian Championship final (7:30 pm ET, MLSsoccer.com free stream in US/Mexico, Sportsnet One in Canada), with the winner being awarded not only the Voyageurs Cup but also Canada’s place in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League. The score is currently tied 1-1 from the first leg, and if Toronto FC hope to win, they will have to overcome not just a resurgent Montreal Impact but their faithful home crowd as well.
2. TRYING TO START A NEW STREAK
While Real Salt Lake’s unbeaten streak may have come to an end, the team are happy to have an immediate chance to get back on the winning side of things on Wednesday evening when they face the Columbus Crew (7:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE), who themselves could be without influential midfielder Wil Trapp.
3. GOING THROUGH CHANGES
There’ll be some familiar faces visiting Denver when the Chicago Fire take on the Colorado Rapids (9 pm ET, MLS LIVE), but while the Rapids are finding their feet, a midweek game may see first-year head coach Pablo Mastroeni shuffle his lineup. For Chicago, Frank Yallop suggests that injuries present an opportunity for some other players to shine.
4. US OPEN CUP POSSIBLE PAIRINGS
While the fourth round of the US Open Cup does not take place until mid-June, we now know all the possible permutations for the fifth round (the Round of 16), as US Soccer announced the results of the latest draw on Wednesday. Should MLS sides advance past their first opponents in the contest, there are plenty of interesting MLS matchups on the cards.
5. MEXICO FALL TO BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA
With Mexico falling to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday, their attention will now turn to Friday’s match against Portugal. Both Mexico and the US will be watching intently to see whether Cristiano Ronaldo plays any part in that game, as apparently the Portuguese star is day-to-day with his thigh injury.
6. MORE SMART BUSINESS IN KANSAS CITY
Uri Rosell’s time with Sporting Kansas City has come to an end, as the player was sold to Lisbon-based Sporting Clube de Portugal for a deal rumored to be worth at least $1.3 million. Sporting's CEO Robb Heineman called it the largest transfer in SKC’s history and also offered some hints on possible replacements.
7. REGARDING NYCFC RUMORS
After the recent trouble regarding their original plans for a training ground, New York City FC have confirmed that they have been forced to look elsewhere for a new facility. However, the club was significantly less forthcoming in addressing recent rumors about Frank Lampard.
8. DOES BECKHAM NEED A BREATHER?
Could David Beckham really come out of retirement to play for his potential Miami expansion club? He’ll need somewhere to play first, and initial reports suggest that Beckham’s group and the city are “far apart” on their ideas regarding finance for a waterfront stadium, with City manager Daniel Alonso telling the group to “take a breather.”
9. DAX TAKES A KNEE
The New York Red Bulls currently find themselves outside the playoff places and winless in four. They’ll be looking to rectify that this weekend, but their chances of doing so took a hit with the news that Dax McCarthy is set to miss multiple games with a knee injury.
10. PERKS IN BRAZIL
The US only have one more warmup match before they head off to Brazil and, following a tough training camp, there is some good news for the players. While Jurgen Klinsmann continues to work on his “soccer mandate,” it seems he will not be imposing the same strict restrictions on his team as Mexican coach Miguel Herrera.
11. ORLANDO CITY RELOCATING
Orlando City are still serving as one of Sporting Kansas City’s two USL PRO affiliates, but with the Florida team due to enter MLS in 2015, they have already lined up an affiliate of their own with their USL franchise set to transfer to Louisville.
12. CHANDLER HEADING HOME
US national team defender Timmy Chandler no longer has to worry about his club situation after the World Cup, as Chandler signed a three-year contract to rejoin German club and hometown team Eintracht Frankfurt. The 24-year-old departs Nürnberg, with whom he was relegated this season.
13. CLINTON’S QUEST
Allegations are flying faster than ever as to the manner in which Qatar won the 2022 World Cup, but as investigations into the process reach their conclusion, was the quest to discover the truth driven by none other than former US President Bill Clinton?
14. MERAM’S MEMORIAL
When Justin Meram scored the Columbus Crew’s first goal against Toronto FC on Saturday, he lifted his jersey to reveal an emotional message to his late uncle. The midfielder has since explained just what that moment meant to him and how important it was to honor his fallen family member.
15. LOSING IT FOR A WINNER
The debate continues about whether D.C. United striker Fabian Espindola intended his long-range chip as a shot or a cross against Sporting Kansas City last weekend. But there can be no debate that listening to the goal on radio sure left D.C.-area listeners intrigued.
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