Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1) US CRUISE PAST HONDURAS TO REACH FINAL: After going 2-0 up inside the first 30 minutes at a packed Cowboys Stadium, the US national team knew a place in Sunday’s final in Chicago was on the way. Despite a brief scare when Honduras pulled one back just after halftime, Landon Donovan proved the catalyst in a 3-1 win as Jurgen Klinsmann’s men reached their fifth straight Gold Cup final. Watch the reaction here.
2) DONOVAN DOES IT AGAIN: LD was the hero once more, notching two goals and an assist to take his tally to seven goals and seven assists in six games since rejoining the USMNT. Surely he’s back in the World Cup picture? “I think it’s the most relaxed I’ve ever felt, and the most enjoyable it’s felt in a long time,” Donovan said. “When that’s the case, I play well.” And SI.com looks at how Donovan and other veterans are showing up as they get a second chance.
3) KLINSMANN BANNED? One of the only negatives to come from the USA’s dominant semifinal win was that head coach Jurgen Klinsmann may miss the Gold Cup final on Sunday. The German coach reacted angrily after DaMarcus Beasley was scythed down in front of the bench in the 88th minute, and referee Walter Quesada sent Klinsi to the stands. News should come in the next 24 hours after the CONCACAF Disciplinary Committee meets.
4) PLAYER RATINGS: So after Donovan stole the show once again, who else played well? Alejandro Bedoya put in a great shift on the right, while Clarence Goodson and Kyle Beckerman were solid in clogging up Honduras’ attack. See how we rated them, and they had a go over at The New York Times, too.
5) PANAMA STUN MEXICO: Panama had never beaten Mexico in their history up until 17 days ago … and now they’ve beaten them twice. A stunning 2-1 win at Cowboys Stadium sees Los Canaleros reach the Gold Cup final for just the second-time in their history, after they lost to the USA on the only other occasion back in 2005. But what does this loss mean for Mexico boss José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre?
6) USMNT FAVORITES AGAINST PANAMA? So with the US sweeping everyone aside throughout the Gold Cup, will Panama be a walkover, too? Not likely. The USMNT are heavy favorites for the final at Soldier Field, yet, that favorites tag isn’t bothering them.
7) STADIUM ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY FOR D.C.: Fans of D.C. United, the wait could finally be over. At 11 am ET this morning, an announcement is expected from the mayor of Washington’s office, with reports suggesting a tentative agreement has been reached to build a 20,000-seat stadium for the team on Buzzard Point in Southwest Washington. Stay tuned to MLSsoccer.com for more info.
8) DETROIT JOINS MLS EXPANSION CONVO: Rumbling for MLS expansion in Detroit continues to gather pace, as the Motor City released plans to build a new soccer stadium downtown. Owners of the Pontiac Silverdome are keen to lure MLS to the city and help revitalize the downtown area. Detroit City FC are one of the best-supported NPSL teams in the nation,but could this work?
9) GUARDIOLA TO MANAGE USMNT ONE DAY? Reports from Spain yesterday got the US soccer twitterati in a spin, as Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola is said to be keen on becoming the USMNT coach one day. Probably a long time off, but still, excited about that?
10) TIMBERS BEAT NORWICH, HOUSTON TOP STOKE: Two MLS teams defeated Premier League opposition on Wednesday night, as Portland shutout Norwich City 1-0 thanks to a José Valencia goal. Meanwhile, Geoff Cameron’s return to Texas wasn’t a happy one, as his Stoke side lost 2-0 thank to terrific goals from Giles Barnes and Andrew Driver.
11) HOUSTON HOMEGROWN: Remember the name Elochukwu "Elo" Ozumba, because the Houston Dynamo youngster will be eligible to represent the US in 2014. The Nigerian born star could well be Houston’s next homegrown talent, after Bryan Salazar. Elo is one to watch out for after scoring a bucket load of goals for the Dynamo's academy.
12) SOUNDERS WAIVE OCHOA: The latest news from Seattle is that the Sounders have decided to release forward Sammy Ochoa. The Mexican-American striker scored 10 goals with two assists in 26 appearances across all competitions, will he land somewhere else in MLS? And who is coming in?
13) TORRES TO COLORADO? AIMAR TO LA? REY TO TORONTO? Rumors continue to swirl around MLS with plenty of new names linked to the league each and every day. After impressing throughout the Gold Cup, could Colorado move to bring in Gabriel Torres? Argentine legend Pablo Aimar hasn’t ruled out a move to MLS with the Galaxy reportedly interested. And Toronto could snap up Spanish winger Álvaro Rey.
14) RONALDINHO, MINEIRO LIFT LIBERTADORES: Ronaldinho joined an elite group of players to win both the Copa Libertadores and UEFA Champions League, as Atlético Mineiro beat Olimpia on penalties last night to lift South America's most coveted trophy. Only Cafu, Dida, Roque Júnior, Carlos Tévez and Walter Samuel have won both of the storied trophies. Can Ronaldinho make the World Cup squad? Elsewhere, former Red Bull Juninho shone on his return to Vasco da Gama. Surprised?
15) MICHAEL OWEN COMMENTATES ON … MICHAEL OWEN: After hanging up his boots last season, England legend Michael Owen has now turned to punditry. Owen has joined BT Sport for the upcoming EPL season and in this hilarious commercial, watch on as Owen gets two minutes to himself to relive his best moments … through his own energetic commentary. Brilliant.
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.