Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. YA GOTTA BELIEVE: There may be plenty of skeptics (including a Goal.com writer) who don’t give the Seattle Sounders a chance in tonight’s CONCACAF Champions League semifinal second leg at Santos Laguna (8 pm ET, Fox Soccer and Univision Deportes), but the Sounders players are adamant: “It’s only one goal,” says Mauro Rosales. “It’s a time that’s going to define us as a team and our character,” echoed Eddie Johnson, who is expected to play.
2. DO SANTOS THINK THEY’RE ALREADY THROUGH TO FINAL?: That’s what Seattle manager Sigi Schmid seems to believe. No team has ever advanced in a two-leg CCL knockout series after losing the first leg at home. "That's what everyone is going to feel, and that's normal," Schmid said. "I know probably Santos, in the back on their minds, doesn't expect us to do it, so that might give us a little bit of an edge."
3. LA GALAXY EQUALLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT CHANCES IN MONTERREY: The Sounders’ positive vibes seem to be rubbing off on the LA Galaxy, who also face a deficit going into enemy territory. With Juninho declared fit and ready to play, the Galaxy arrived into Monterrey with a spring in their step. Here’s what Landon Donovan told the Mexican press: “It’s possible … we’re motivated and ready.” Added manager Bruce Arena: “I don't think there's any issues in terms of us not believing we can win the [second] game."
4. MATTOCKS REACTS TO BENCHING, SALGADO TOSSED FROM TRAINING: Two Vancouver Whitecaps youngsters are facing the music despite a dose of adversity at the club. Darren Mattocks was benched on Saturday with Corey Hertzog taking his place and the Jamaican international answered questions about the move in this article. Meanwhile, former MLS No. 1 draft pick Omar Salgado was tossed from training after reportedly shoving a teammate.
5. ALSTON TAKES LEAVE FROM REVOLUTION: It came as a shock to the MLS family on Monday when the New England Revolution announced that starting left back Kevin Alston was taking an indefinite leave of absence to seek treatment for a rare but treatable form of leukemia. Read how the condition was discovered here.
6. TORONTO FC’S SECOND ARGENTINE TARGET HAS A NAME: For several weeks now we’ve heard of Toronto FC’s interest in Newell’s Old Boys product Maximiliano Urruti. Now, thanks to Kurtis Larson at the Toronto Sun, we have the identity of the second Argentine who has been linked with the club. He’s also on the young side, but he’s the captain of his club. Reports in Argentina say he could depart for Canada on April 29.
7. WILL IT BE MLS OR UAE FOR PARK JI-SUNG: The former Manchester United star midfielder is reportedly weighing offers from the USA and the United Arab Emirates for the next stage of his career with his current club QPR a likely candidate for relegation from the EPL.
8. WHITECAPS RESERVE PLAYER “GOOD ENOUGH FOR EUROPE”: You can be excused if you don’t know much about Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Russell Teibert just yet. But Nigel Reo-Coker is convinced that Teibert is set for the big-time after his latest start for the ‘Caps on Saturday night: “I’d put my career on it – Russell could go and play in Europe. He’s that good. I believe in him that much.”
9. RICARDO LA VOLPE WANTS TO COACH IN MLS: Maybe the early success of Chivas USA manager José Luis Sánchez Solá is resonating. In an exclusive interview with ESPN Deportes’ Jorge Ramos y Su Banda, former Mexican national team boss Ricardo La Volpe made it clear he would be interested in coaching in the USA: “Yes, of course,” was his answer. “Soccer is universal.”
10. IMPACT’S DI VAIO WANTS TO STICK AROUND: While the Montreal Impact got a lot younger with Monday’s loan signing of Maximiliano Rodríguez from Argentinos Juniors, one of their veterans has expressed his intention of sticking around past this year. “I’d like to carry on,” 36-year-old Marco DiVaio told a primetime Quebec talk show.
11. ADU SET TO PLAY UNDER YET ANOTHER HEAD COACH: Former MLS player Freddy Adu just made the move to Brazilian club Bahia. But a 5-1 loss in their opening match brought about a coaching change. Find out the name of the 64-year-old who will decide whether or not Adu gets playing time.
12. HIGHS AND LOWS FOR PORTLAND FANS: Monday was a roller-coaster day for the Timbers Army. Hours after learning that Ryan Johnson was named MLS Player of the Week, they got updates on the injuries to Diego Valeri and defender David Horst. One of them is due for a long layoff.
13. FORBES GIVES THUMBS-UP TO SPORTING PARK: You know you’re doing something right if Forbes is penning articles like these about your stadium. Find out why they call Sporting Park “one of America’s best sporting experiences.”
14. DO-OR-DIE IN UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: It should be a foregone conclusion that Real Madrid will go through to the UEFA Champions League semis after their second leg vs. Galatasaray today (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer). The major suspense will surround Oguchi Onyewu’s Málaga side as they look to upset Borussia Dortmund (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus).
15. UFC FIGHTER NAILS EARTHQUAKES MASCOT: What else do you expect when you have UFC fighters taking penalty kicks against a guy in a costume? The ball wound up doing some damage on Quakes mascot “Q” – watch it here.
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