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Leg 1
11/23 FINAL
1LA
0SEA
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Leg 2
11/30 9:20pm
SEA
LA
ESPN
Western Conference Championship
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Leg 1
11/23 FINAL
1NY
2NE
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Leg 2
11/29 3:00pm
NE
NY
NBCSN
Eastern Conference Championship

Kick Off: Summer transfer rumors pick up pace, plus Tim Howard is primed to become a star...off the field

Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today and don’t forget this is your last week to cast your MLS All-Star votes via Twitter!

1. HOWARD'S NEXT MOVE

NBCSN is eager to grow Tim Howard's role further in the coming season, Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch revealed in his latest media column, suggesting that the MLS product has a TV career ready and waiting whenever he decides it's time to hang up his gloves.

2. SKC’S SIGNINGS AND RETENTION

Robb Heineman is a busy man right now, but the Sporting Kansas City CEO took some time out on Monday to answer questions in the club's first fan forum, in which he confirmed the Kansas City will be unveiling a new signing in the “next 10 days to two weeks.”

3. RUMOR MILL KEEPS CHURNING

Take these all with a grain of salt as we’re getting deeper and deeper into silly season, but reports suggest that both New York MLS sides are looking at Florent Malouda, the Philadelphia Union want Algeria captain Madjid Bougherra, D.C. United are apparently close to signing an Argentine midfielder and Olivier Occean is once again linked with the Montreal Impact.

4. GOING ON LOAN

While David Villa waits for New York City FC’s first season to get underway, he’ll be playing his soccer down under with the sister side Melbourne City FC. As for Jeb Brovsky, currently NYCFC’s only other player, he’ll be heading to Norwegian side Strømsgodset.

5. OPEN CUP RETURNS

The Philadelphia Union take on the New England Revolution on Tuesday evening (7pm ET) for a place in the US Open Cup semifinal. Sebastian Le Toux will likely start for the Union and the fan favorite reflected on the end of his no-card streak at the weekend. Meanwhile, can the Revolution use the game to stop their current slide?

6. WARM UPS AND INJURIES

The Carolina Railhawks are one of two NASL teams remaining in the US Open Cup, and they prepared for Wednesday's game against FC Dallas by beating Mexican side Puebla 2-1. Dallas may be forced to call upon Raul Fernandez in goal for that game as Oscar Pareja suggested Chris Seitz may have torn his right quad. Either way, only one team will march on to the semis.

7. WHERE NEXT?

Whoever advances to the US Open Cup semis, the remaining teams now know exactly where the path to the final will lead them as U.S. Soccer completed the coin flips to determine the semifinal hosts on Monday afternoon.

8. TRADE SECRETS

What can the NBA, currently embroiled in the LeBron James will-he-won't-he saga, take from MLS? Well, the Designated Player rule for one, says Andy Glockner.

9. FARFAN'S FORTUNES

It’s a tale of mixed fortunes for the Farfan brothers. After being cut by Cruz Azul, Michael has found himself training with the Philadelphia Union, his former club, while brother Gabriel completed a permanent move to Mexican side Chiapas FC.

10. MEXICO MOVES

It’s not just US national team players drawing plenty of attention following a strong World Cup, as a number of Mexican stars, including Guillermo Ochoa and Javier Hernandez are being linked with moves to new clubs.

11. THE EXPERIENCE

Kyle Beckerman made such a good impression during his three games at the World Cup that it caused plenty of heated discussion when he was left out in the Round of 16 against Belgium. Now that he’s back in Salt Lake City, the dreadlocked hero reflected on his experiences in Brazil.

12. US’ BUSY FOUR YEARS

With the World Cup behind them, what comes next for the US national team? There's plenty of speculation as to how Klinsmann will line up his side in the coming tournaments, but one things for certain: it’s going to be a busy four years.

13. GEIGER IN THE SEMIS

Germany take on Brazil today in the first of the World Cup semifinals, and while the US has long since departed, there will still be a familiar face along the touchline as American referee Mark Geiger will be the fourth official for the game.

14. SEARCHING FOR A GOAL

Darlington Nagbe is, once again, proving to be one of the Portland's most important players this year, but with almost half of the season gone, the Timbers midfielder is still searching for his first goal.

15. R.I.P DI STEFANO

The soccer world lost one of its all-time greats on Monday after Alfredo Di Stefano passed away just two days after turning 88. Di Stefano won five European championships back to back, scoring in each of the finals, and is rightly mentioned in the same breath as Pele and Maradona.

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