Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1) DEMPSEY INTRODUCED TO MEDIA IN SEATTLE AS MLS WATCHES ON
Clint Dempsey knows the pressure is on now. Not just for him, but for Seattle, where MLS Cup is clearly the expectation after making perhaps the biggest signing in MLS history. Even more exciting for Sounders and USMNT fans: Dempsey is expected to play against Toronto next weekend. Where exactly he fits in is still a bit up in the air.
2) HOW'D DEMPSEY TO SEATTLE GET DONE?
Lots of phone calls and lots of money. That's the simplified version of the story surrounding a dream move for the Sounders. If you want the whole shebang, SI.com's Grant Wahl has a brilliant rundown here full of juicy tidbits. Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer filled in the gaps with all the other details on ExtraTime Radio.
3) FAMILY, LIFESTYLE CALLS DEMPSEY BACK TO US
We knew he liked to fish. We knew his kids were starting to grow up. We just didn't know Dempsey would call it quits on Europe without at least tasting the Champions League. Family and lifestyle were primary drivers for his return, he said on Monday. The money doesn't hurt, either. The question now is whether this is a one-off for the league or the beginning of a trend.
4) DEMPSEY STEALS HEADLINES BUT GALAXY QUIETLY IMPROVE
You may remember Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo from the Gold Cup, during which he led Panama to the final and was named the tournament's top netminder. Even if you don't, Penedo won't be off the US soccer radar for long after signing with the LA Galaxy, spurning interest in Mexico and Europe. Carlo Cudicini's got some competition. No matter which goalkeeper is between the posts, it seems they may be able to count on the services of (DP?) Omar Gonzalez.
5) TUESDAY MARKS ANOTHER BIG DAY IN ORLANDO'S MLS QUEST
If you build it, we will come. That seems to be the message from MLS to Orlando in regards to a soccer-specific stadium that would appear to be the final piece of the expansion puzzle in South Florida. Orange County commissioners face a big decision today as the club seeks $20 million in government assistance to get things going.
6) CHAMPIONS LEAGUE KICKS OFF TONIGHT
The group stage of the 2013-14 edition of the CONCACAF Champions League gets underway in earnest tonight with two Mexican clubs getting things started. Toluca host Caledonia, while Club Tijuana and their Americans travel to El Salvador to take on Firpo.
7) HAS PORTER FOUND A JAMAICAN GEM IN TEENAGE DEFENDER?
Caleb Porter surprised more than a few people when he started 19-year-old Alvas Powell against San Jose last weekend. After all, Porter has options. It's just that the first-year manager sees so much potential in his young defender despite occasional lapses: "He's a bit more of a prototypical outside back that fits my vision and system."
8) BIG THINGS PREDICTED FOR LABA IN TORONTO
Matías Laba's first MLS goal was a beauty, a slaloming solo run that left the Revs gasping for air. Now comes the hard part: living up to the expectations that his talent encourages. Could he be one of MLS' best? Toronto think so. Could fellow Argentine Max Urruti join the fold soon as well? Perhaps, but Newell's Old Boys aren't giving him up without a fight.
9) REF CAM CHANGES THE PERSPECTIVE ON AT&T MLS ALL-STAR GAME
You might have wondered why RoboCop was refereeing last weekend 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game. Wonder no more. Check out all the highlights from a view you've never seen before. Michael Bradley's pretty good at making his team's case, right?
10) SKY BLUE FC AND RED BULLS SET TO LINK UP?
The Timbers and the Thorns already have a partnership, but it seems the NWSL could be in line for a second MLS marriage. That all depends on the progress of talks involving the New York Red Bulls, reportedly set to start soon.
11) FORMER SPORTING KC DEFENDER LANDS WITH BLACKBURN ROVERS
Yann Sango'o has landed on his feet after his contract was mutually terminated in Kansas City. The Cameroonian brother of former MLSer Franck Sango'o put pen to paper on a two-year deal with Championship side Blackburn on Monday.
12) EARTHQUAKES REVOKE SUPPORTERS GROUP BANNER PRIVILEGES
San Jose are still dealing with the fallout from a few isolated events in Portland last year, and the their latest step in addressing the problem is to revoke the right for the 1906 Ultras to display banners during games. Get the full explanation here.
13) SLAP! ECUADORIAN DERBY GETS OUT OF HAND
Ecuador international and Barcelona 'keeper Máximo Banguera is a sore loser. So sore that immediately following a derby loss to Emelec, Banguera slapped his international teammate Pedro Quiñónez in the face. Hard. So hard that Quiñónez was having convulsions and almost lost consciousness. Wonder how long the ban will be?
14) SUNDERLAND FAN GETS THREE-YEAR BAN FOR RACIST BEHAVIOR
Let it be known: Racism will not be tolerated. That's especially true in the case of Sunderland supporter Liam Jones, who was handed a three-year football ban for making a racist gesture toward Romelu Lukaku last November. In case you need to be reminded, "Don't Cross the Line."
15) FORMER PRO SOCCER PLAYER, US COLLEGE PRODUCT SET FOR TV LOVE
Soccer and The Bachelor don't normally go hand in hand, until next season that is when former pro and college player Juan Pablo Galavis looks for love on ABC. He played for Aragua, Guaros de Lara and Monagas Sport Club during three professional seasons in the Venezuela and for Roberts Wesleyan College in the US.
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