Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. HENRY’S STUNNER SENDS RED BULLS TOP
Form is temporary. Class is permanent. Thierry Henry proved that once again on Wednesday night, as his sublime bicycle-kick game-winner led New York to a 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact. The top-of-the-table clash in the East ebbed and flowed, but Henry’s two goals sent New York to the summit. “We needed a goal," he said. "I've had the opportunity to score some good goals in my career, but you kind of think about it at the end of you career, not right now."
2. LATE SHOWS
Usually San Jose are the kings of the last-gasp winner, but they had some competition last night. Seattle’s Djimi Traoré scored deep into stoppage time to stun Sporting KC and grab the Sounders a 1-0 win. While two goals in the last 13 minutes gave RSL victory against New England. But the Quakes got in on the act, too, with Chris Wondolowski scoring the winner in the 81st minute against Toronto.
3. SCHMID: “WE FINALLY GOT SOME LUCK”
After Traoré’s late match-winner, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid believe his side weathered the SKC storm and got the slice of luck they deserved.“We’re happy to get the win because we needed the points,” Schmid said. "We’ve played well, and today we finally got some luck.” Sporting blamed a third defeat in four games on a “horrible second half” and then a “monumental mistake” for the last-gasp goal.
4. THE DANCING BEAR PILES MORE MISERY ON UNITED
Houston can’t wait for their next game … but it’s a different matter for D.C. United. The Dynamo routed Ben Olsen’s side 4-0 at RFK on Wednesday, with the home side rock bottom of the Eastern Conference. “Is my job on the line?’” Olsen said. “It better be. I’m the leader of this team. But I have faith in what I’m doing and I’ll continue to go about my work.” The Dynamo went joint top of the East with the win, and have two games in hand of the Red Bulls. BTW, Will Bruin loves playing against D.C.
5. NELSEN: “WE ARE JUST TOO SOFT AND WE HAVE TO BE HARD”
Toronto boss Ryan Nelsen is another manager who is feeling the pressure. His TFC outfit let points slip late on, once again, after a positive start against San Jose. “We haven’t had a clean sheet yet,” he said. “No team has played through us or broken through us or stretched us. I don’t think an opposition team has earned a goal against us yet.”
6. STREAKS ALIVE IN THE BIG D
The two hottest teams in MLS both stretched their unbeaten streaks to eight games, with a 1-1 tie in Texas. A second-half Kenny Cooper PK saved Dallas, who remain top of the West. But Timbers boss Caleb Porter wasn’t happy with the PK award. “It's hard to win a game when you're playing against 12 men,” Porter said. “For me, that's just unfair, completely unfair. I'm not going to criticize anyone specifically, but that's just unacceptable.”
7. WHAT’S UP WITH ALL THE PK STRUGGLES?
MLSsoccer.com senior writer Jeff Bradley delved into the stats yesterday, as successful penalty kick conversion is down in MLS. And last night another PK save was registered, by RSL's Nick Rimando: “You try to just stall them as much as you can. That’s what I do," he said. "I concentrate on him and stay focused.” But the Revs didn’t blame Saer Sene for the late miss. Find out why.
8. WATCH SEVEN MLS MATCHES THIS WEEKEND … ON US
So after all that late-drama in midweek MLS action, wouldn’t you like to watch the action this weekend? Well, you can … for free. That’s right, this weekend you can watch seven matches live via a one-weekend-only FREE TRIAL of MLS Live. Register now. Thank us later.
9. ESPN’S EPL COMMENTATORS HEADING TO BT SPORT
With the new deal in place for EPL, Serie A, MLS, Ligue 1 and plenty of other leagues, new British broadcaster BT Sport will be grabbing some of ESPN’s most recognizable voices. ESPN’s lead announcer for EPL games aired in the US, Ian Darke, is making the switch to BT and he will be joined by ESPN colleague Steve McManaman. Will you miss the duo’s dulcet tones early on a Saturday morning?
10. GOLD CUP IS COMING UP, SO WHO COULD BE IN FOR KLINSI?
With the Gold Cup just two months away, the US national team roster is beginning to take shape already. Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle breaks it down, giving his roster predictions and more. Plus Klinsmann spoke yesterday about his plans for the summer: “The Gold Cup roster will be a roster of 23 players with a rule that we can actually change four players after the group stage. So right now you’re handling 45-50 players.” Busy times lie ahead.
11. SPEAKING OF KLINSMANN, HE'S NOT A FAN OF THE EPL & SERIE A
Klinsmann is full of praise for Bundesliga sides but worries for the future of the game in other European countries. “I think there are other countries that are struggling big-time," Klinsmann told Reuters. “Italy and England are struggling big time. Even the bigger teams have so much debt that it's scary. I think in the long run Spain will jeopardize its foundation.”
12. THIRD TIME LUCKY FOR AGUDELO?
After his trade from Chivas USA to the New England Revolution, has young Juan Agudelo finally found a team that will make him the main man? That is the question posed by Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney, as Agudelo aims to spearhead the goal-shy Revs attack.
13. SALGADO FACES SURGERY, AGAIN
Another US starlet, Vancouver Whitecaps forward Omar Salgado, is having no luck with injuries, at all. The 19-year-old US youth international is set to undergo a third operation on his right foot, after missing out for over 10 months. Salgado was a long-shot for the US U-20 World Cup squad this summer. Now his dreams seem all but over.
14. DEMPSEY CHASING THE GUNNERS
Despite coming off the bench and helping spark a comeback to grab a point at fellow Champions League-chasing rivals Chelsea, Clint Dempsey and Tottenham Hotspur still hope to get into one of the remaining UCL spots in the EPL table. They can still catch Arsenal, with two games left and just one point between the sides. Game on.
15. FERGUSON REACTION, CAN MOYES CHANGE AMERICAN SOCCER?
With the soccer world still reeling from the news that Sir Alex Ferguson’s will retire at the end of this season, every front page of the UK papers featured Sir Alex. With his successor likely to be David Moyes, a longtime supporter of American soccer, what does that mean for Yanks heading to Europe? The latest SmorgasBorg breaks it all down.
Get the Kick-Off delivered to you!
Enter your email address and favorite team below to sign up for The Kick-Off mailing list and get it delivered to your inbox every morning.