Kick Off: Chicago Fire coach Frank Yallop returns to face San Jose Earthquakes, EPL friendlies on tap

Kick Off Frank Yallop returns to San Jose

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USA Today Sports Images

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

1. FIRST TRIP BACK

While the Chicago Fire's game against the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday (10:30 pm ET, NBCSN in the US, MLS LIVE in Canada, match preview) has come just too soon for new Fire signing Razvan Cocis, it will mark the first time that Frank Yallop has ever coached against San Jose, where he won two MLS Cup titles and has spent two separate stints. It will likely also be the last time his team plays at Buck Shaw Stadium, as the Quakes' new home is nearing completion.

2. MLS VS EPL

There is only one MLS game on Wednesday, but there are plenty of games involving MLS teams thanks to the annual English invasion. The LA Galaxy entertain Manchester United (10:30 pm ET, Fox Sports 1), which has Landon Donovan reminiscing about his EPL days, while Toronto FC host Tottenham Hotspur (7 pm ET, ESPN2), FC Dallas take on Aston Villa (9 pm ET, live stream available on FCDallas.com), Sporting Kansas City face off against Manchester City (9 pm ET, ESPN2) and the Columbus Crew play Crystal Palace (7:30 pm ET, live stream available on TheCrew.com).

3. BATTLE FOR SIN CITY

It’s all happening in Vegas. Just one day after the latest news concerning Justin Findlay’s push to bring MLS to Sin City, another businessman has emerged vowing to launch a $350 million effort to secure his own franchise.

4. BEAS' KNEES BACK TO MLS?

Former Chicago Fire standout and US national team veteran DaMarcus Beasley may be closing in on a return to MLS, The Washington Post reports, but with which club? It sounds like Columbus and Chicago are not in his immediate future, but the likable Beasley remains a popular figure in the Midwest.

5. A EUROPEAN INFLUENCE?

What, if anything, does MLS need to really take it to the next level? According to Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola (who might have a slight bias), the league needs European coaches if it really wants to help young players develop.  Guardiola was also full of praise for Jurgen Klinsmann’s work as US coach.

6. BAYERN GOING GREEN?

Speaking of Bayern Munich … while we saw just a glimpse of Julian Green’s potential during the World Cup, could this be the season the young US star gets his big chance with Bayern Munich? Guardiola certainly expects the forward to be around, playing down any talk of him going on loan.

7. VALDES WANTS TO COME BACK

Although Carlos Valdes is still unclear on who has apparently failed to pay him for the past six months, the Colombian defender is at least certain on one thing: He intends to head back to the US. What would that mean for the Philadelphia Union?

8. XAVI’S CHANGED HIS MIND?

Looks like New York City FC fans can put away the welcome banners for Xavi Hernandez, as the latest reports indicate the former World Cup winner is now set to stay with Barcelona for another year.

9. AGUDELO IN ORLANDO

No news to report on Robinho today but there was another notable striker training with Orlando City yesterday: Juan Agudelo. Don’t get too excited, though, US fans: The former MLS star will not be joining the Lions.

10. WONDO TIPS BWP FOR SUCCESS

Having tied Roy Lassiter’s scoring record just two seasons ago, Chris Wondolowski knows a thing or two about goals, and the San Jose Earthquakes striker believes that Bradley Wright-Phillips could soon be challenging for his joint crown.

11. HOMEGROWN CHANGES

With the All-Star Game fast approaching, so too is the first MLS Homegrown Game and, with that in mind, there have been some tweaks to that roster, with three new players stepping in for others.

12. OLD WORLD TAKES NOTE

It seems that while the World Cup may have helped give soccer here in the States a small boost, it has also captured the attention of the English media, with both the BBC and Sky Sports News providing their own takes on the rising soccer fandom.

13. A GOOD PROBLEM

Matt Besler and Graham Zusi choosing to stay with Sporting Kansas City is a good thing for both MLS and SKC. With regular playing time, it’s probably even a good thing for the US national team. However, if this becomes a new trend, could it present problems for Jurgen Klinsmann down the line?

14. FOCUS ON THE FUTURE

As US soccer continues its focus on their future stars, the U-20 national team won the recent National Training Center Invitational, thanks in no small part to the son of a former Mexican star, while Under-17 coach Richie Williams has named two separate rosters for two upcoming tournaments.

15. FOUR YEARS LATER

A lot has changed in the past four years for the US national team and, while the same could be said for Canada, things haven’t turned out quite as well for the Canadians during this time. Yet with the start of a new cycle upon us, there appear to be reasons for optimism.

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