Kick Off: USMNT ready for Portugal, with or without Cristiano Ronaldo; Orlando City close on DP
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. ORLANDO’S BIGGEST SIGNING?
Long-rumored as their first marquee player signing, Brazilian star Kaká appears on his way to Orlando City, with the club revealing this morning that they are in "advanced discussions" with the AC Milan midfielder. Taylor Twellman broke the news, and it seems the former World Player of the Year will be loaned to São Paulo until the start of 2015.
2. USMNT FOCUSED ON THEMSELVES, NOT RONALDO
Whether or not Cristiano Ronaldo plays, the US national team is tired of talking about him. Instead they want to let their game speak for itself when they take on Portugal on Sunday (6 pm ET, ESPN).
3. ALTIDORE’S OUT
However, they will definitely have to overcome their toughest test yet without the help of Jozy Altidore after US Soccer confirmed on Thursday that the striker will be unavailable against Portugal. So what options does the US have to replace him?
4. EJ’S WORLD
If it was up to Eddie Johnson, Chris Wondolowski would be the striker to replace Altidore in the US starting line-up. EJ has also been speaking about how it felt to miss out on the US roster ahead of the World Cup.
5. THE MASK OF DEMPSEY
Clint Dempsey broke his nose against Ghana, but the US captain says he most likely will not wear a protective mask when his side take on Portugal on Sunday. Yet while the whole country will be cheering Deuce on, how does that feel for Portland Timbers fans?
6. THE GERMAN INFLUENCE
Many of the key players in the Jurgen Klinsmann era of the US national team have come from his ability and determination to recruit players of dual nationality. Yet what about the coach himself? Where and when did his love affair with the US begin?
7. NOT IMPRESSED
Germany are the US’ final opponents in Group G, and while they remain the favorites to finish first in the group, what do the European giants think about their North American opponents? Nothing particularly positive, it turns out, when it comes to the country's media.
Following Croatia’s 4-0 win over Cameroon on Wednesday night, Mexico’s chances of advancing to the knockout stages hinge upon getting at least a point when they play the European team on Monday. As such, here’s a look at what’s worked and what needs improving for the Mexicans after two games.
9. CAHILL’S LOOKING AHEAD
With Tim Cahill suspended for Australia’s final group game against Spain, the Red Bulls star has played his final moment at the 2014 World Cup, and indeed any World Cup, as the Socceroos legend confirmed this was his final tournament. It also seems he knows what he wants to do once he’s finished playing.
10. HOW TO SUCCEED AT THE WORLD CUP
Four years ago, New Zealand were impressing teams in South Africa with their resilience, and a number of other nations will be looking to emulate their spirit at this tournament (but hopefully go one better and win a game as well). Toronto FC boss Ryan Nelsen was part of that All-Whites squad and offers some advice on what it takes for smaller nations to do well.
11. MARTINS ON THE MOVE
Obafemi Martins is enjoying a great year with the Seattle Sounders at the moment, but could the Nigerian striker be set to leave the Pacific Northwest? The latest rumors suggest that Martins has been targeted Turkish side Besiktas.
12. ATTENDANCE IS IN
MLS will hope for a slight attendance boost following what so far has been a great, widely watched, World Cup. Even prior to that, though, attendance is up 6 percent, with Toronto FC, D.C. United and the Chicago Fire accounting for the biggest gains so far this year.
13. CANADA UNITED?
In order for the Canadian soccer program to advance to the next level, does the country need an all-encompassing division for Canadian soccer? It does, according to CSA president Victor Montagliani, who outlined his vision for a new league which coexists with both MLS and NASL.
14. BECKA RATON
With David Beckham's first two attempts to find a stadium in Miami falling by the wayside, could he be tempted to move his potential club to Boca Raton? That’s what Florida Atlantic University has in mind.
15. EA ON MLS
MLS continues to grow in popularity, and it’s now reaching the stage where EA Sports, makers of the globally popular FIFA video game series, are having to take note. As such, can North American fans expect a greater focus on their league in next year’s game?
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.