Kick Off: Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers face off in the first of two matches in five days

Kick Off - Caleb Porter, Portland Timbers

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:

1. UNION AND LE TOUX KEEP GOING

The Philadelphia Union continue their march towards a potential first trophy thanks to a 2-0 win over the New England Revolution in the US Open Cup quarter-finals. Sebastian Le Toux scored the second, making him the all-time leader in the competition with 14 goals to his name.

2. CASCADIA CLASH (PART 1)

Wednesday sees the Seattle Sounders take on the Portland Timbers (10:30 pm ET, Free stream on USsoccer.com) in the first of two clashes between the sides in the next five days. While Sunday’s game is expected to be played in front of a full house at CenturyLink, tonight’s game will take place at the more intimate StarFire Sports Complex and Caleb Porter is not a fan of the coin flip that determines which side plays host.

3. OLD FRIENDS, NEW FOES

When the Carolina Railhawks take on FC Dallas on Wednesday evening (7:30 pm ET, watch live on NASL.com and WRALSportsFan.com), it’ll be a match with added significance for coaches Colin Clarke and Oscar Pareja, who know each other quite well.

4. SILVERBACKS TRY TO SINK SHIPP AND THE FIRE

The Atlanta Silverbacks take on the Chicago Fire in the US Open Cup (7:30 pm ET, Free stream on Chicago-fire.com) and while the Silverbacks will have to make do without Eric Wynalda on the touchline, the Fire are likely to feature Harrison Shipp, who is looking to build on his already impressive form this season.

5. WHITECAPS 2?

While the Vancouver Whitecaps have enjoyed a strong affiliation with USL side Charleston Battery this season, that looks set to end as the ‘Caps announced on Tuesday the planned formation of a brand new USL PRO franchise in the city of New Westminster, the first to be based in Canada.

6. JIMENEZ RULED OUT

More bad news for the Columbus Crew on Tuesday, as Hector Jimenez has been ruled out for 6-8 weeks following a knee injury picked up in the game against the Colorado Rapids on a tackle from Vicente Sanchez. It's an incident that could see the Rapids forward face action from the MLS Disciplinary Committee.

7. BRAZIL HUMBLED IN SEMIFINAL SHOCK

The World Cup semifinals got under way on Tuesday and Germany delivered the shock of the tournament, beating host side Brazil, complete with on loan Toronto FC goalkeeper Julio Cesar, 7-1. Can Argentina or the Netherlands deliver something similar tonight (4pm ET, ESPN & Univision in the US, CBC in Canada)? Which team has the edge going in?

8.  ALEXI’S FINAL WORD

He played in MLS and abroad, he starred in a World Cup, he has served as an MLS GM, and now he's an analyst for ESPN: Alexi Lalas has been there and done that in pretty much all aspects of US soccer. So what was his final verdict on the USA’s World Cup performance?

9. OFFERS FOR BECKERMAN?

While Sporting Kansas City face a battle to keep hold of Matt Besler following an Impressive World Cup, what of Real Salt Lake and their own defensive midfield superstar Kyle Beckerman? RSL GM Garth Lagerwey offered his own view on the subject as well as discussing any possible moves the club might make during this transfer window

10. THE PRODUCTION LINE

Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel, Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando and a seemingly endless line of MLS 'keepers. But why is the USA so successful at producing world-class netminders at this rate?

11. DYNAMO GETTING DEFENSIVE

Following the return of captain Brad Davis, the Houston Dynamo were finally able to get on the score sheet last weekend. Now the focus turns to getting their first clean sheet since May 17.

12. OBJECT OF AFFECTION

With Ashley Cole officially joining AS Roma, where he may or may not be joined by DeAndre Yedlin, the player attracting most speculation during this transfer window is Brazilian Robinio and, according to the latest rumors, he is set to be the focus of a three-way bidding war between MLS clubs.

13. ONE FOR THE FUTURE

Sporting Kansas City have added their first new signing of the summer with college standout Michael Kafari joining the side. However, don’t expect to see a huge amount from Kafari immediately, as head coach Peter Vermes has suggested his new player is one for the future.

14. ACADEMY REVAMP

While the Development Academy playoffs are currently in full swing, is there a case to be made for changes to the MLS academy system in order to help maximise player development?

15. RIP DEBRITO

While the soccer world mourned the loss of Alfredo Di Stefano on Monday, this weekend saw the passing of a notable US soccer pioneer, as Pedro DeBrito, a former rookie of the year in the original NASL, who earned one US Cap, died in a car accident at the age of 55.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

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