Kick Off: Timbers roll in CCL | DC & Montreal up next | Western Conf. clashes

Kick Off - DC United celebrate

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

1. TIMBERS TRAVEL WELL

Having travelled more than 5,000 miles to Guyana, the Portland Timbers made a fine start to their CONCACAF Champions League campaign, beating Alpha United 4-1 (HIGHLIGHTS).  It was a result that left head coach Caleb Porter rightly pleased with a "comprehensive" performance.

2. SKC HELD IN NICARAGUA

The last time Sporting Kansas City faced Real Esteli it finished 1-1 and so it was again on Tuesday in Nicaragua (HIGHLIGHTS). Despite not getting the win, SKC head coach Peter Vermes was still happy to earn a "difficult" point on the road.

3. NEXT UP, UNITED

D.C. United get their Champions League campaign under way on Wednesday night when they host Jamaican side Waterhouse FC (8 pm ET, Fox Sports 2). Head coach Ben Olsen may choose to field star forward Eddie Johnson, who is currently serving a two-game suspension in league play. It probable that winger Chris Rolfe won't see the field, but did you know the "wannabe farmer" is equally happy in a corn field?

4. IMPACT LOOK TO TAKE CONTROL

The Montreal Impact play their second game of the tournament on Wednesday, meeting CD FAS for the second time in two weeks (10 pm ET, Sportsnet, UDN). No word on whether newly acquired playmaker Ignacio Piatti will see action in El Salvador, but at least one observer expects the Argentine to succeed in Canada more than he did in Italy.

5. RAPIDS HOST GALAXY WITH NO MOOR

The Colorado Rapids are in a serious slump at the moment -- four straight losses -- and their chances of getting out of it against the LA Galaxy on Wednesday night (9 pm ET, MLS LIVE) weren't helped by the news that club captain Drew Moor is out for the season with a torn ACL. That'll make it more difficult to deal with "unsatisfied" Galaxy goal machine Gyasi Zardes.

6. I AM NUMBER FOUR

The Seattle Sounders host the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday (10 pm ET, CSN in Canada, MLS LIVE in the US) with both teams looking to bounce back from defeats at the weekend. If familiarity breeds contempt, then these two sides probably don't like each other: This will be their fourth meeting in just over three months.

7. LEIWEKE NOT LEAVING TFC

Despite a few reports, Toronto FC head honcho Tim Leiweke insists he is not leaving the club. The team, at the moment, is in a good position to reach the playoffs for the first time in its history, but are they an elite club in MLS yet?

8. PHILLY WAIT ON NEW GOALKEEPER

It’s been a few weeks now since the Philadelphia Union made the somewhat surprising signing of Algerian international goalkeeper Rais M’Bholi and, so far, he has yet to make an appearance for his new club. However, as interim coach Jim Curtin revealed, that absence was at least partly due to a car accident in Paris.

9. HOW TO USE NEW SIGNING SENE

The New York Red Bulls don’t start their Champions League campaign until next week, but there's a good chance new signing Saer Sene will play a big part in that tournament? According to head coach Mike Petke, the club is still working out how best to utilise their new signing.

10. AKINDELE’S HELPING HAND

Everyone is suddenly paying attention to FC Dallas rookie Tesho Akindele following his hat-trick against the San Jose Earthquakes. Yet while the striker has certainly had some good role models to learn from, one of the main reasons he’s transitioning to the league so quickly might be Je-Vaughn Watson.

11. RIDGEWELL SETTLING IN NICELY

With a big game against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, Liam Ridgewell was one of a number of stars left out of the Timber’s travelling squad for their Champions League game on Tuesday but, having scored his first goal at the weekend, the Englishman is certainly enjoying his transition to MLS.

12. CAMERON AND AGUDELO UPDATES

Geoff Cameron seemed an extremely rare type: An American successfully settled at Stoke City. So it might come as a surprise to learn that, according to this report, the US international has requested a transfer. If true, could his Instagram offer a clue as to his next destination? Meanwhile, the German press gave more than a hint about the club that's interested in US forward Juan Agudelo.

13. TOPPS UNVEILS NEW SOCCER APP

There's a new must-have soccer app that will be especially appealing for MLS supporters. Topps, exclusive makers of the official MLS trading card sets in recent years, have now released KICK 15: a free soccer-specific app that allows you to collect digital trading cards from 57 clubs around the world, including MLS teams.

14. THE LATEST TECH

Being the team from Silicon Valley, the San Jose Earthquakes pride themselves on being at the cutting edge of technology. They were the first team to accept BitCoin as currency at matches and now they’re helping lead the way in wearable tech.

15. PUTTING THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE?

In what could turn out to be a great move for Seattle Sounders fans, their club is reportedly taking the step of including CONCACAF Champions League games in their upcoming season ticket packages. You may be thinking: they do know they haven’t qualified yet, right? Don't worry, there's a plan for that as well.

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