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Kick Off: Shea may stick as DF, Schmid takes Cup

For the first time this preseason FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman admits that the Brek Shea at center back experiment is working out so well that “it could be a permanent move.”

While FC Dallas still have a week to fine-tune for their first game of the season, the Seattle Sounders and the LA Galaxy get set to meet in First Kick 2011 tomorrow (9:30 pm ET, ESPN). There’s no one more educated than former Galaxy and Sounders midfielder Peter Vagenas to evaluate the match-up. He sums up the match-up succinctly in this Q&A and clearly has his favorite.

Another former Sounders player, Colorado’s Tyrone Marshall, still harbors ill feelings about his departure from Seattle and in this Q&A he claims he wasn’t given a fair shake.

In the debate over whether the Supporters’ Shield or MLS Cup is the most valued piece of silverware, Seattle manager Sigi Schmid has picked a side. He says no one “remembers who wins the Supporters’ Shield.”

The season hasn’t started and the speculation is already rampant as to what LA’s David Beckham will do after his contract expires at the end of the year. He says a return to the EPL could still be in the cards.

By the way, about the Beckham family’s new arrival this summer … it’s a girl!

The other big match on Tuesday is the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals between Real Salt Lake and Deportivo Saprissa at Rio Tinto Stadium (10 pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel). RSL already know they will be outnumbered in midfield but Will Johnson says they match up well because RSL “plays more of a Central American style.”

There had been some concern that Sporting Kansas City had not upgraded its back line ahead of the 2011 season. The formal signing of a former Real Madrid defender will help address that area.

There is some controversy brewing over the FC Dallas acquisition of Colombian Under-20 star Fabián Castillo. An alleged English investment group claims it has an option on the player that expires on March 15. (SPANISH)

Another Colombian in MLS, Philadelphia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón, will be participating in a chat no at 2:30 pm ET today. Check the link here.

Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson also gets in on the photography sessions featuring axe-wielding fans. Hard to believe there is another MLS club owner would be caught with an axe in this spot. (PHOTO)

Staying in Portland, there is speculation in the local papers as to Monday’s major announcement by the club.

In this feature on Timbers manager John Spencer in The Scotsman newspaper, he makes it clear that he sees this as his big opportunity to give back to American soccer. He also takes a jab at the English Premier League.

Meanwhile, in Vancouver it’s “Whitecaps Day” just five days before the club’s first ever MLS match at Empire Field: scarves everywhere and Whitecaps flag flying above City Hall.

On the other side of Canada, there are now confirmed reports that there will likely be a new group that will swoop in to take control of the company that owns Toronto FC.

In case you missed it, Argentina released a 24-man roster ahead of the upcoming matches against the United States and Costa Rica. It is laden with top players based in Europe including Lionel Messi. The US roster is out on Wednesday.

On the international scene, it was a weekend in which the league leaders in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain all tripped up. In England, Stuart Holden and Bolton advanced to the FA Cup semifinals against Stoke, while the other semi will feature the derby of Manchester.

The most dramatic match came from Australia, where the Brisbane Roar made one of the more improbable comebacks you’ll ever see in soccer, coming from two goals down in extra time to win Australia’s version of MLS Cup. (VIDEO)

For a highlight and lowlight from all the action, we go to Italy. First, there’s this super solo effort from Chilean Alexis Sánchez of Udinese who goes box to box on his goal. In Cesena, even the ball boys had to console one of their own forwards after he missed an absolute sitter against Juventus. (VIDEO)

Lastly, we’re just two weeks away from hearing that DOOP song again at Philadelphia Union home games. It’s become such a popular club slogan, the club has reportedly filed for the trademark. Must-Reads:

Real Salt Lake get an injury scare in Champions League lead-up

The official salary cap fantasy manager is on

Jackie Pickering sits down one-on-one with Seattle’s Steve Zakuani

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