Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. EXPANSION BOMBSHELL DROPS AT 2013 AT&T MLS ALL-STAR GAME
While you were grabbing a sandwich and something to drink at halftime of last night's All-Star game, MLS Commissioner Don Garber was making an announcement that will fundamentally change the outlook of the league by 2020. According to Garber, MLS will have 24 teams by then, with the additional nugget that MLS won't be moving any teams either.
2. SO WHO ARE THE CONTENDERS?
Twitter spent the better part of the second half of the MLS All-Stars 3-1 loss to AS Roma trying to figure that out. One San Antonio columnist has already thrown his city's hat in the ring. Sacramento seems to think they'd be a perfect spot, though politics might get in the way. Heck, even soccer fans in Birmingham, Ala., aren't shy about their ambition. Let the competition begin.
3. ORLANDO CITY PREPARE TO PRESENT STADIUM PLAN
While others jockey for a place at the table, it seems Orlando City FC are in poll position to be team No. 21. They've got the fans. They've got the owner. They've got the ambition. What they don't have is a stadium. That could be close to changing with meetings scheduled for early August with the county.
4. LIFE WITHOUT BECKHAM ... BUT NOT FOR LONG?
The rumblings are that Orlando City could have an in-state rival sooner rather than later with David Beckham reportedly high on the market. His first target? Cristiano Ronaldo, or so says an unsourced article. Proceed with caution. It's been a few months since Beckham left for good. Do you miss him?
5. IT'S PROBABLY BEST TO STICK TO KICKING BALLS, CRISTIANO
Beckham would have to pay a barrel of money to bring Ronaldo to Miami, but you'd have to pay me to watch the Real Madrid star try to play baseball. With the club in Los Angeles and a trip to Dodger Stadium in order, it seems Ronaldo was fine at the plate with batting-practice meatballs being chucked down the middle, but struggled mightily on the pitching mound.
6. BACK TO THE MAIN EVENT: FULL COVERAGE FROM THE AT&T MLS ALL-STAR GAME
It didn't go as hoped for the All-Stars Wednesday night in Kansas City. AS Roma were just too in sync and Francesco Totti too smooth with the ball at his feet as the visitors coasted to a 3-1 win. Don't call it a failure, though. A week of awesome events and widespread local interest makes that moot. You can thank Kansas City soccer fans for that. Even the players who're used to getting booed at Sporting Park had plenty of good things to say.
7. BUSINESS OF SOCCER THRIVING IN ONCE DORMANT KC
KC has come a long way in seven years. Professional soccer, once an afterthought, is exploding in popularity. And that means businesses are interested in getting their name in the mix as well. Just look at what Sporting Innovations has been up to this week. None of it surprises former owner Clark Hunt, who says his father Lamar would be proud of the progress being made, at this point.
8. ALL-STAR GAME NOT ALL POSITIVE FOR SPORTING KC FANS
There is no doubting Graham Zusi is the lifeblood of Sporting, and the prospect of missing out on his services is one Kansas City and USMNT team fans won't want to think about. It's a possibility, though, after Zusi left the match after just 23 minutes because of a quad issue.
9. WHAT'S IN STORE FOR CREW FANS AFTER OWNERSHIP SWAP?
Anthony Precourt paid a pretty penny for the Columbus Crew, according to Forbes. Now the question centers around what he plans to do with his new MLS franchise. And no matter the generally positive reaction, some in Columbus wonder what the lack of a local owner means.
10. YET ANOTHER MLSER-TO-STOKE CITY REPORT
Stoke City appear to be on the hunt for young American talent again, and there’s a familiar name in the crosshairs. After making their name in the United States by landing USMNT regulars Geoff Cameron and Brek Shea, there’s news that the Potters are currently after New England Revolution forward and former Celtic target Juan Agudelo. It appears that new Stoke head coach Mark Hughes has been interested in the 20-year-old Agudelo for some time, and it can’t hurt that Agudelo and Shea have been close friends since they burst onto the MLS scene a few years back.
11. SPEAKING OF HUGHES, HE IS NOT HAPPY WITH UNION'S MATT KASSEL
The reason is pretty straightforward: Kassel's ill-advised tackle in a friendly match has Shea set to miss significant time with a knee injury. That's bad news for Hughes, especially since he didn't get to see the USMNT winger with his own two eyes during the Gold Cup.
12. MICHAEL OROZCO FISCAL MAKES PUEBLA MOVE PERMENANT
US national team defender Michael Orozco Fiscal has locked down a bit more job security in Mexico, inking a new contract with Puebla that will keep him on the same roster as US teammate DaMarcus Beasley for the near future. Orozco Fiscal first joined Puebla on a six-month loan last January from San Luis. He featured in three games during the USMNT’s recent Gold Cup title run.
13. RAPIDS REVOLVING DOORS KEEPS ON SPINNING
Colorado's rapid (get it?) transformation continues apace. On Wednesday, the club released Chilean forward Kevin Harbottle, who made only four appearances and failed to score since arriving in the off-season. But the bigger news is that, in addition to the potential arrival of Panamanian forward Gabriel Torres, veteran Uruguayan international striker Vicente Sánchez could be on the way.
14. LATIN AMERICAN SOCCER ECONOMY BIGGER THAN LIVESTOCK?
Come on, that had to spark some interest. This story is downright incredible. I'll let you click for the details, but soccer players are producing more revenue than livestock in Latin America these days. Who would have thought?
15. YOUR DAILY DOSE OF MLS RIDICULOUSNESS
There isn't much to explain here. Funny or Die + MLS All-Stars = Hilariously awkward '80s rap video. Just watch it.
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