Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. RED BULLS RUN PICK AND ROLL TO PERFECTION VS. GALAXY
Well, not exactly. But Thierry Henry certainly did set a pick on Omar Gonzalez on Tim Cahill's game-winning header — he admitted as much after the match — as New York logged a massive win to stay top of the Eastern Conference. It certainly wasn't a pretty win, and LA goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini was probably to blame on the stoppage-time winner as he stayed rooted to his line. But the Red Bulls don't care. Not one iota.
2. DESIGNATED PLAYER HUNT CONTINUES FOR LA
Frank Lampard is staying put, but that doesn't mean the Galaxy are giving up. Bruce Arena confirmed that LA are still pursuing a DP to line up alongside Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan as they attempt to defend their MLS Cup title and record a historic three-peat. "We're still looking for one," Arena said, before declining to go into specifics. Kaká? Ronaldinho? Who do you want to see at the HDC?
3. EMOTIONAL FAREWELL FOR THE MAN WHO STARTED IT ALL
David Beckham. He'll go down in history as one of soccer's preeminent trailblazers, and certainly the most media savvy. And even though his playing career is over after a tear-stained send off with Paris Saint-Germain, there's no doubt Beckham will find a way to put his fingerprints on the modern game for a long, long time. Will it be through MLS ownership? We'll have to wait to find out.
4. SIDELINE ROBBERY IN DC: SPORTING FUMING AFTER BLOWN OFFSIDE CALL
There was no doubt about it. Ike Opara was clearly onside, and the (disallowed) goal he tucked past United goalkeeper Bill Hamid in the first half of D.C.'s skid-stopping 1-1 draw with Kansas City should have stood. But, alas, the linesman's flag waved it off, prompting this statement to MLSsoccer.com from PRO head Peter Walton: “It was clearly a wrong call and one that cannot be justified.” Well, then. That leaves little room for interpretation. Meanwhile, United were simply happy not to lose...again.
5. SPEAKING OF SLIDES, CHIVAS USA FIND THEMSELVES OVERMATCHED AGAIN
Six games. Five losses. Zero wins. Chivas USA are stumbling mightily after a brief surge of success to start the season. Chelís' last-place side lost 4-1 at home to Real Salt Lake on Sunday night, and the colorful boss admitted that this is simply Chivas' level right now. RSL and surprise goalscorer Ned Grabavoy, meanwhile, made the Goats pay for every mistake: “When you get your chances, you got to punish them.”
6. SEATTLE ARE BACK AND THAT SHOULD MAKE THE REST OF MLS WARY
We knew the Sounders had the firepower. They just weren't quite primed and ready to make an impact. Then FC Dallas came to CenturyLink Field and bore the brunt of the payload in a 4-2 thrashing led by Eddie Johnson and Lamar Neagle. Sigi Schmid's side is becoming quite the "handful" for opposing defenses. Meanwhile, Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman felt his side simply lost their composure, failing to properly defend despite recording a rare olimpico.
7. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE REST OF WEEK 12
Start with the updated standings, obviously. Then check out the goal charts ... guess who is all alone in first? Next, spend your morning watching the highlight packages from all nine games. Your boss won't notice, I promise. Finally, check your MLS Fantasy: Manager team. Was this a winning weekend on a personal level?
8. COULD KENNY MILLER BE HEADED BACK TO IBROX?
Nothing from the 'Caps on this particular subject, but the rumors of a Rangers return for the Scottish striker seem to be growing louder by the day across the Atlantic. Right now, it's mostly suggestions that Miller could make a return, but this is definitely one to keep an eye on.
9. IS THE QUALITY OF PLAY IN MLS IMPROVING? THESE GUYS THINK SO
"These guys" being some of the league's most influential decision makers and rivals in Mexico. Goal.com's Keith Hickey runs this one down for you, gathering insight from a variety of circles. What do you think? Are the players getting better? We already know the competition on the field is fierce.
10. BECKENBAUER, MATTHÄUS HAVE SPECIAL PLACE IN THEIR HEARTS FOR THE UNITED STATES
Germany are coming to RFK Stadium to face Jurgen Klinsmann's US side, and that's got some legends of the game feeling nostalgic. Check out this interview with Franz Beckenbauer and Lothar Matthäus, who're effusive in their praise for the game in America and what it has become. [GERMAN]
11. ANDRE HAINAULT COMES UP TRUMPS IN SCOTLAND WITH PICTURE-PERFECT VOLLEY
The Canadian was mostly known for scoring with his head in MLS, but the defender's skill-check winner against Ross County's rivals Inverness was a thing of beauty, especially because it kept the losers out of Europe. You can watch the goal for yourself here.
12. BEHIND THE SCENES AT WIGAN: JOY FOLLOWED BY SORROW
The New York Times' Sam Borden went to Wigan to get a feel for what it's like to experience unfathomable happiness (FA Cup glory) and desolate sadness (EPL relegation) in a matter of a few days. It's the kind of thing that shaves years off a fan's life, that's for sure. Here's hoping Roger Espinoza and the Lactics can return to the top flight in a year's time.
13. EUROPEAN SEASONS END WITH DRAMA AND A BIT OF CONTROVERSY
It's just like Mario Balotelli to dominate the headlines, but this time it's not because of something he's done. Well, he did put away the controversial late penalty kick that drew AC Milan level with Siena before another late goal sealed their Champions League place, but that's just a day at the office for the Italian lightning rod. Speaking of CL, Clint Dempsey's dreams came up a point short as Tottenham were forced to settle for another year of Thursday fixtures in the Europa League. Hey, at least Sasha Kljestan won another title in Belgium.
14. STEP ONE: WIN RUSSIAN TITLE. STEP TWO: INSPIRE NAMESAKE.
Here's a strange story out of Moscow. CSKA head coach Leonid Slutsky led the capital side to it's first title since 2006, and now he would like others to cement his name in history. Slutsky apparently dreams of having someone, preferably one of his own players, name their child after him. Will it happen for him? It's too early to tell. It does explain the explosion in baby boys named Bruce in the Los Angeles area the past two years.
15. FAMILY COMES TOGETHER TO CELEBRATE MAN'S LIFE AFTER SOCCER TRAGEDY
Richard Swanson, the Seattle Sounders fan struck by a truck and killed while dribbling his way to Brazil 2014, would have been 43 years old on Sunday. He never lived to see the day, but his family and friends made sure he was in their hearts and minds just days after his ambitious dream was cut short. Our thoughts go to them in the wake of this tragic event.
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