Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today...
1. CHING OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
Brian Ching has made it official. The MLS veteran and one of the league’s all-time greats announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of the 2013 MLS season. Ching will then take up a front office position for the Dynamo but, before that, the Dynamo are set to honor Ching with a testimonial match in December. No word on an opponent yet but just look at some of the names already confirmed to play. “What I’m happy about is getting a chance to play with my friends for a final game,” said Ching, who cited physical decline as the main reason for his retirement. Goal.com takes a look at some of the Ching’s career highlights.
2. MONTREAL OUT OF CCL DESPITE WIN
The Montreal Impact are out of the CONCACAF Champions League despite a solid 2-0 victory over CD Heredia on Tuesday night (watch highlights here). Yet, because of the result, the Impact have done their part for MLS and put San Jose’s fate back in their own hands. A win for the Earthquakes in the final group game against Heredia will see them advance to the knockout round. Montreal head coach Marco Schällibaum was full of praise for his team's effort: “With a bit more luck, we could have easily scored five or six.”
3. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PREVIEWS
It's another night of CCL action on Wednesday as the LA Galaxy are in Costa Rica for their clash with CS Cartaginés. A single point will send the Galaxy through to the knockout stage with a game to spare and it seems the Galaxy are taking no prisoners either, bringing Landon Donovan to make sure the job gets done. Before that though, the Houston Dynamo host W Connection, with a win putting them back in control of the group with one game to go. After a brief wobble, the Dynamo now seem to be getting back in form and building for the future around their draft picks.
4. RED BULLS ON THE ROAD
Depending on results, the New York Red Bulls and the Seattle Sounders could seal a playoff berth on Sunday when the two teams face off at CenturyLink Field. However it seems that in order to do so both teams will be without some of their biggest names. New York are unlikely to play with Thierry Henry or Jámison Olave, for fear of the pair aggravating old injuries on Seattle’s turf, while Seattle also have concerns over Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson.
5. PORTLAND PEOPLE
Andrew Jean-Baptiste has had a strong season for the Portland Timbers. With long-term injuries to David Horst and Mikaël Silvestre, the second-year player has done a more than capable job filling in at center back. However, with Jean-Baptiste seemingly running afoul of Caleb Porter over his attitude, could the player find himself on the bench for a while? One player likely to see more playing time is Maximiliano Urruti, and here’s a short Q&A with the Timbers' new player. Meanwhile, club owner Merritt Paulson gave a typically fascinating interview on the Soccer Today podcast in Dallas.
6. DC FOCUSED ON OPEN CUP
With D.C. United already eliminated from the playoff race, you could forgive them for looking beyond this weekend’s match against Toronto and focusing on next Tuesday's US Open Cup final against Real Salt Lake, which is exactly what they’re doing. Ben Olsen said as much in the most diplomatic way possible, while Chris Pontius has been speaking about his second chance at winning the Cup.
7. I BELIEVE IN ORLANDO
Orlando has once again shown its support for a Major League Soccer franchise. This time the club has been collecting signatures from fans stating, “I believe in Major League Soccer in Orlando.” #Mission15k aimed to have 15,000 signatures before October, and it's mission accomplished. Whoever does end up getting franchises, the league will likely stick with the two conference structure, but could it work with four?
8. THEY COME FROM FAR AND WIDE
Major League Soccer is an incredibly diverse league. How so? It features 549 players born in 62 different countries. Can you name the one player from Liberia?
9. CAPOLOGY 101
Working the salary cap and player trades in order to get the best possible deal for your team can be tricky, even for some veterans of the league. So what are the factors that need to be considere? Here’s a fairly comprehensive breakdown as it pertains to Toronto FC. There's also news pertaining to the potential departure of Richard Eckersley, and the end of the season for Danny Koevermans.
10. FAGUNDEZ HITS THE MARK
Diego Fagundez, the New England Revolution’s first Homegrown player, scored his 11th goal of the year on Saturday. It’s been a great season for the 18-year-old, who has already set the MLS mark for goals set by a teenager.
11. TV RATINGS
Good news for MLS fans on the TV front, as the Galaxy’s game against the Sounders on Saturday was the most watched MLS game of the year. The new figures seem to suggest the league is benefitting somewhat from the EPL lead in and, more importantly, an incredibly strong MLS playoff race.
12. GUZAN AND BRADLEY
“It’s the little things that make a big difference,” says Brad Guzan when talking about making the most of the limited number of games left before the World Cup. One not so little thing is Michael Bradley’s current injury. Is there a chance it could limit his playing time at AS Roma, even after he recovers?
13. US U-17S
U.S. Soccer announced its roster on Tuesday for the US Under-17 national team travelling to Spain and the MLS Academy system is once again proving its worth. Seven of the 20 players selected come from MLS sides and will now get to try their luck against academy sides from Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano as U-17 head coach Richie Williams begins the long preparation for the CONCACAF U-17 Championship.
14. CAHILL HAS FIFA SKILLS
Tuesday saw the release of FIFA 14 and, to mark the occasion, a launch party in New York featured New York Red Bulls star Tim Cahill facing off against famous recording star Drake. Who won? Cahill, of course, made all the more impressive by the fact that Cahill chose to represent his current team while Drake picked Real Madrid. Cahill was also one of four stars voted onto the MLS downloadable cover for the game which you can find here along with team specific versions for all 19 clubs. One small curiosity: Despite being made mostly in Canada, their national team is not included in the game.
15. EARTHQUAKES PRACTICE DISRUPTED … BY A TANK!
Of all the reasons you might expect a training session to be disrupted, having a tank almost crashing into the practice is probably not high on the list. Yet, believe it or not, that is exactly what happened to the San Jose Earthquakes and goalkeeper Jon Busch.