Kick Off: MLS All-Star Game tonight! Plus, catch up on expansion, promotion-relegation and schedule news
Meanwhile, here are the top 15 stories we’re following today:
1. THE LATEST ON MLS
MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott has been making the rounds during AT&T MLS All-Star week in Portland, and he spoke at length on Tuesday on a number of topics. Included in the conversation: promotion and relegation, expansion, Chivas USA and much, much more. Read the full report here.
2. FIFA CALENDAR?
FIFA president Sepp Blatter is in Toronto right now, with the Under-20 Women’s World cup getting under way in Canada. But it was Blatter’s comments about MLS that made headlines, as he claimed that the league has plans to move to a FIFA calendar -- which Abbott did not rule out "for some point in the future, but there’s not an imminent plan to change to the international calendar."
3. DEMPSEY SEES PROS AND CONS OF PRO/REL
It’s the question that refuses to ever go away: Will Major League Soccer ever implement promotion and relegation? Clint Dempsey has offered his view on the subject, admitting that he can see both sides of the discussion, despite Abbott saying that it “never happens.” Deuce, apparently, likes a “Cinderella story” though. You won’t find that on his new rap album.
4. SACRAMENTO STADIUM SEARCH MOVING QUICKLY
Just a few days ago it first came to light that the owners of the NBA's Sacramento Kings are interested in investing in Sacramento Republic FC with a view toward bringing MLS to California's state capital. Meetings with league officials are reportedly on the cards in Portland this week, and now MLS executives are said to be touring possible stadium sites in Sacramento as early as next month.
5. LANDON SAVORING BAYERN MATCHUP
In soccer terms, a lifetime has passed since Landon Donovan last called the Bundesliga and Bayern Munich home. Donovan has since played in the Premier League and MLS, scoring World Cup winners and taking sabbaticals in Cambodia. But Wednesday's AT&T MLS All-Star Game against Bayern gives the LA Galaxy man the chance to play against his former side, and maybe even prove a point or two?
6. BECKERMAN OUT, RIDGEWELL IN
There have already been a number of high-profile casualties for the AT&T MLS All-Star game, and now Kyle Beckerman has added his name to the hurt locker. The RSL midfielder sustained an injury in the win over Colorado and will be replaced on the All-Star roster by Liam Ridgewell, who is just three games into his Portland Timbers career.
7. EAST SIDE VS. WEST SIDE?
Dempsey had more to say about the format of the All-Star Game, throwing his support behind a return to the old format of East vs. West. That format was ditched in 2004, with the MLS All-Stars taking on a foreign club power ever since. But could the East vs. West contest ever return? “I think you could reward more players and reward more coaches for doing a great job,” said the Sounders man. Not even Bayern Munich is good enough for Dempsey.
8. FULHAM INTEREST IN GONZALEZ REBUFFED
Costa Rica was the surprise of the World Cup, and Giancarlo Gonzalez was one of Los Ticos’ standouts in Brazil. There's now plenty of outside interest in the Columbus Crew defender, with Fulham reported to have had two bids rejected.
9. NYCFC TO SIGN GSPURNING?
Jason Kreis’s New York City FC roster is starting to take shape, with Frank Lampard and David Villa signed up for the franchise’s debut season next year. But one position that has remained unfilled is an unquestioned No. 1 goalkeeper, although Michael Gspurning could be about to change that, if a report in Germany is to be believed.
10. JAIME ON HIS WAY TO RSL
Transfer rumors are slippery things. They are difficult to source and track down, often relying on dodgy agent quotes and airport sightings (in the case of #DempseyWatch). The one linking Sebastian Jaime with Real Salt Lake is somewhat more straightforward, with the official Chilean league site appearing to confirm the signing. That’ll be that, then. Except, not according to Jeff Cassar.
11. CAMERON HAPPY TO PLAY HIS PART AT STOKE
He’s been the subject of transfer speculation linking him with Hull City, with Steve Bruce said to be willing to pay £4.5 million for the defender, but Geoff Cameron insists that he’s happy playing in any position for current club Stoke City. Even if that means at right back.
12. IMPACT HOLD THEIR NERVE TO KICK OFF CCL CAMPAIGN
Given all that has changed at Stade Saputo over the past two weeks or so, it was perhaps fitting that the Montreal Impact should start a new competitive campaign on Tuesday night, beating El Salvador’s FAS 1-0 to kick-start their CONCACAF Champions League challenge. Marco Di Vaio netted the winner as Montreal registered their third tournament win of the season, as many wins as they have in MLS.
13. REIGN-SOUNDERS DOUBLEHEADER?
With Memorial Stadium unable to host the NWSL final, the Seattle Reign have been looking at alternative options, one of which could see the club hold a CenturyLink Field doubleheader with the Seattle Sounders. Reign owner Bill Predmore says the two games would be held as separate matches, with fans cleared out in between.
14. SPORTING KC ADDRESS CREST GATE
Those eagle eyes among us will have spotted that Andy Gruenebaum took the field for Sporting Kansas City’s 1-1 draw with Philadelphia on Saturday wearing a uniform without the club crest. It’s a very serious issue and one that the club’s kit man and head coach Peter Vermes are taking with the utmost gravity.
15. LUPE FIASCO TO LURE JJ TO CHICAGO?
First we had Drake tempting Jermain Defoe to Toronto, and now it would seem Lupe Fiasco has taken it upon himself to lure Jermaine Jones to the Chicago Fire, amid rumors the USMNT midfielder could be set for a MLS move. Reports claim Jones turned down the Fire’s offer, but can he turn down Fiasco?
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