John Spencer leads the Portland Timbers against Chivas USA in a USOC play-in match on Tuesday
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Kick Off: Portland host USOC play-in, "Flaco" flak

It’s only the beginning of the MLS season but it’s playoff time. Or play-in to be exact. US Open Cup style.

Neither team has garnered a single point after two matches in MLS league play but Chivas USA or the Portland Timbers will have something to celebrate after tonight’s US Open Cup play-in match between the two clubs at Merlo Field (10 pm ET, live stream on PortlandTimbers.com).

The Timbers have confirmed they will start New Zealand goalkeeper Jake Gleeson for the first time with Adin Brown and Troy Perkins out due to injuries.

Portland manager John Spencer says that despite last weekend’s 2-0 loss in Toronto, he feels his squad outplayed the one coached by Dutchman Aron Winter.

In a US Open Cup play-in match that takes place Wednesday, the Chicago Fire host the MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids at Bradley University’s Shea Stadium in Peoria, Ill. (7:30 pm ET).

The Fire are a very different team from the one that struggled last year. The club’s owner explains the fundamental differences while stating that the move for Nery Castillo “was a mistake.”

Rookies experience the range of emotions during their first season. Here’s one who admits to crying during the national anthem in his MLS debut.

Here’s a rookie who’s already making a difference although his playing time has been limited. Toronto FC’s Demetrius Omphroy has multiple sclerosis and is using his position as a professional soccer player to build awareness around the disease.

It’s also been a rollercoaster for Designated Players in MLS after two weekends of the regular season. Now Seattle DP Alvaro Fernandez says he’s surprised at being substituted and benched by manager Sigi Schmid.

So what happens in Kansas City now that Chad Ochocinco played his first reserve match? Here’s the scouting report on his performance. There may be a chance that Ochocinco sticks around for a while longer.

Ochocinco is not the only gridiron player trying his hand at soccer. There’s another player who played on one of the biggest stages in American football and is heading to Colorado to get back into the sport he loves.

One player wanting to break through in MLS is ex-Mexican national team defender Aarón Galindo, who is looking to get out of his Chivas de Guadalajara contract to come to the USA. He says there is interest. (SPANISH)

The technical director position has gained popularity in American soccer circles. Individual MLS clubs have filled the position and there were rumors that US Soccer was talking to Marcelo Bielsa about the same role. But the latest hire is being made by the MLS league office.

Amid all the talk about a new stadium for the New England Revolution, club owners reveal that the the Revs were on the verge of clinching a deal before the economic downturn hit.

As the US national team prepares to face Paraguay on Tuesday in Nashville, Tenn. (7:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer), here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the USA vs. Argentina match with snippets of Bob Bradley’s locker room talk. (VIDEO)

Given the number of players with Bundesliga experience on the US national team, Landon Donovan has modified his speaking habits.

If you think two goals in three international appearances has somehow gotten to Juan Agudelo’s head, think again. How does he stay grounded? Dinner every night with his parents.

Check here for the full TV listings on a busy international soccer Tuesday, including the debut of the US Under-20 national team, featuring several MLS players in a World Cup qualifying match-up against Suriname.

These instances are becoming a little too frequent these days. A bee attack at a soccer game. This time, the insects go after the referee because of the color of her shirt?

Talk about strong-arming someone during negotiations. Read what one club from Russia’s Premier League is accused of doing to a player who did not want to get out of his contract.

Lastly, this story has the photos of the coffin to prove it: fans bring a dead body of a fellow supporter to a Colombian first-division soccer match.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Javier Morales heads up the Team of the Week following Week 2

RSL manager Jason Kreis gives his thoughts on retiring jersey numbers in soccer on ExtraTime Radio

Exclusive footage from the MLS Week in Review show


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