Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today...
1. GALAXY EDGE CLOSER TO PLAYOFFS
The LA Galaxy took a large step Wednesday in their quest to get back to the playoffs while delivering another blow to the Montreal Impact's hopes in a 1-0 win at the StubHub Center. (Watch highlights here). Both teams fielded under-strength teams, and it was Kofi Opare who scored the only goal of the game for the Galaxy, revealing a message for a fallen friend during his celebration. The slide continues, meanwhile, for the Impact, and head coach Marco Schällibaum hit the nail on the head when he said, “Only points count in the end.”
2. END OF THE ROAD
Fresh off the news that Ramiro Corrales is set to retire, could another MLS veteran be considering hanging up his boots? Brian Mullan, who has been limited to a bench role for most of this season, has said he’ll make a decision soon but “I think I’d like to play one more year, maybe, and end it on a better note.” One of the reasons Mullan has found his time limited is the emergence of Shane O’Neill, now a regular fixture for the team at only 20 years old.
3. BRADLEY SAFE FOR NOW?
Following the fallout from Egypt’s humbling defeat against Ghana on Tuesday there were a lot of rumors about whether or not head coach Bob Bradley would be fired. According to the latest news from the BBC, his buyout clause is keeping him safe for now as the Egyptian FA appears unwilling to pay his compensation. But here's the question many are wondering: What happens to Bradley's career after the campaign is over?
4. BUILD FROM WITHIN
There’s no denying that Chivas USA have plenty of work to do this offseason. However, it seems the club is confident it has the pieces in place to build for the future after revealing they do not plan to bring in any more players from Chivas Guadalajara, instead finally understanding that “Chivas USA has to be for Chivas USA.”
5. BENGTSON OUT OF NEW ENGLAND?
Jerry Bengtson played a big part in helping Honduras qualify for next summer’s World Cup. Now the striker just needs to make sure he’s in the final squad, something he doesn’t feel he can do with the limited playing time he’s getting at the New England Revolution. Bengtson has told a Honduran reporter that he would not be continuing with the Revs past this season, although MLS officials mantain that he is still under contract with the club after this season.
6. XABI ALONSO? REALLY?
According to the latest rumors doing the rounds, Xabi Alonso could be coming to MLS for two years once his Real Madrid contract expires next summer. Neither team mentioned in the report have responded to questions about the rumor, so it remains just that for now. In more realistic news, could a pair of promising young Santos Laguna players be on their way in?
7. BREAK ON THE BENCH
After a couple of unfortunate errors in the Seattle Sounders' previous two games, Michael Gspurning was benched for last weekend's game against the Portland Timbers. How does the 'keeper feel about that? We’ll likely know how long Gspurning’s spell on the sidelines will be after the game against FC Dallas on Saturday, a game where the Sounders hope to field the majority of their starters. And finally, it seems with a permanent move to Portugal all but certain, Fredy Montero might keep providing for the Sounders after he’s gone.
8. IT MERITS A CONVERSATION
If the Vancouver Whitecaps can make it to the playoffs, there will be no denying that the return of Jay DeMerit helped them over the finish line. But with DeMerit’s contract expiring at the end of this season, some promising, younger options appearing during his absence, leaving some to wonder if this could be the end of the line for the 33-year-old defender.
9. CANADA PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE
The FIFA U-17 World Cup gets under way on Thursday and Canada are making their second consecutive appearance in the tournament. Could the young players give Canadian fans something to look forward to in the future? According to TSN's Jason deVos, they won't if they don’t get regular playing time for their clubs.
10. DAVID CARNEY FINDS SOME CONSISTENCY
After a rough year with little to no soccer, could David Carney finally have found a steady home in New York? Carney is under contract to the end of the year but seems to have impressed at left back. If that’s true though, what does it mean for Roy Miller? The Red Bulls also hope to welcome back Bradley Wright-Phillips this weekend as they try to close in on the Supporters' Shield.
11. HACKWORTH FORCED TO MAKE CHANGES
The Philadelphia Union have a great opportunity in their quest for a playoff place when they take on the Montreal Impact on Saturday. But an issue for the Union could be the sudden lack of consistency, both in players and formations, forced upon manager John Hackworth by injuries and suspension. Hackworth plans to make due the best he can.
12. PORTLAND TEAMS STAND FOR EQUALITY
Both of Portland’s pro soccer teams, the Timbers and the Thorns, have taken a stand for equality by becoming the first professional sports teams to endorse a marriage equality measure for the November 2014 ballot in Oregon.
13. TIM REAM TALKS LIFE
Tim Ream can sometimes be the forgotten man of US players abroad. In an interview with NBC ProSoccer Talk, Ream talks about his time in England so far, aiming for future US squads, wanting to return to MLS at some point and sharing thanksgiving with Tim Howard and Maurice Edu.
14. 20 WEIRD MOMENTS IN A PECULIAR SEASON
It’s been a strange year for D.C. United. The Washington Post has listed 20 strange occurrences from this season for the club, and that list doesn't even include the fact they celebrated the US Open Cup title in a hotel gym.
15. THANKS BUT NO THANKS
If you somehow missed the must-see video of the day on Tueday, here's another chance to hear TV Azteca commentators go bonkers after the USMNT's result against Panama helped Mexico avoid elimination for the World Cup. One thing’s for sure though, while the media and the majority of Mexico may be grateful, don’t expect a thank you from Rafa Márquez anytime soon.