Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. ORLANDO GETS ITS STADIUM
“Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.” That was the quote Orlando City president Phil Rawlins chose Tuesday, and it certainly seems Orlando’s time is now after they took a huge step towards an MLS franchise on Tuesday when the Orange County Board of Commissioners voted 5-2 in favor of providing funding for the club's new soccer-specific stadium. MLS president Mark Abbott released a statement on Tuesday that indicated the two sides will now begin work on an agreement to have Orlando join the league as the 21st team.
2. RSL TO MAKE FINAL PUSH FOR SHIELD
Real Salt Lake take on Chivas USA on Wednesday in their final match of the MLS regular season (9 pm ET, MLS Live). A win will put them top of the both the Western Conference and the Supporters' Shield race, and leave them to watch other teams' results this weekend. Chivas, who finish the season against the Portland Timbers on Saturday, can have a direct impact on who wins the Western Conference, and RSL expect the Goats to give it their all.
3. ROUNDING OFF THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Wednesday also sees two MLS clubs back in CONCACAF Champions League action in the final group games of the tournament. With their MLS playoff hopes all but over, the San Jose Earthquakes are completely focused on their must-win match against Heredia (10 pm ET, Fox Sports 2). Meanwhile, Sporting Kansas City 'keeper Eric Kronberg hopes to earn more than just a win when his side faces Olimpia (8 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus). What does each team need to do to progress? Here’s a handy guide.
4. SOUNDERS PLAY DEFENSE
The Seattle Sounders are going to the MLS playoffs and, as far as they’re concerned, that's all that matters. Head coach Sigi Schmid came out swinging in his press conference Tuesday stating that "at the end of the day, we got enough points to get into the playoffs.” Sounders part owner and GM Adrian Hanauer joined majority owner Joe Roth in backing Schmid whilse talking about a number of interesting topics in a long Q&A with reporters.
5. THE CONSULTANT
While he may be stepping down as manager, Schellas Hyndman is by no means finished with FC Dallas. The longtime coach, who will step down at the end of 2013, will take on the role of consultant, which means, in his own words, “I will not be working out of an office, basically when they need something they’ll let me know.”
6. KEEPING TABS ON VACANT ROLES
If owners and general managers are looking for candidates to fill vacant coaching roles, they could do a lot worse than US Under-20 national team boss Tab Ramos. That’s the opinion of Steve Davis over at NBC ProSoccer Talk, at least. One person who would definitely like to talk to FC Dallas about their open role is Brian Haynes, former player for the Dallas Burn and now head coach of the Atlanta Silverbacks.
7. RED BULLS BANISH DEMONS
If the New York Red Bulls can beat the Chicago Fire on Sunday, they will win the Supporters' Shield, regardless of other teams' results. It’ll be the first time the Red Bulls have won a major trophy and could go a long way to moving past previous disappointments. Is the pressure getting to Mike Petke, though? It seems not, as the New York coach had an interesting take on what real pressure is. Finally, no one knows the career of Red Bulls star Thierry Henry better than Arnold Catalano, the man who first scouted Henry as a teenager.
8. FEELING THE HEAT IN VANCOUVER
With the Vancouver Whitecaps failing to make the playoffs this season, could head coach Martin Rennie’s job be on the line? No more than usual it would seem, as Rennie admits “I’m always on the hot seat.” The real question, though, is whether or not Rennie should be shouldering all the blame?
9. JONES-ING FOR MLS
Jermaine Jones' Schalke side was on the wrong end of a 3-0 result against Chelsea and lost control of its UEFA Champions League group on Tuesday. Reports later surfaced once again that Jones is looking to move to MLS this offseason, even hiring US representatives to explore the options for him, although it might be more difficult that it seems. No doubt Jones could be a huge asset for most teams in the league, but Stumptown Footy asks, just how would Jones enter the league?
10. KLINSMANN ON SUCCESS “WE DESERVE TO BE NO. 1”
USsoccer.com sat down with US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to talk about the recently finished qualifying campaign, the upcoming friendlies and the German’s initial thoughts on the World Cup. Klinsmann believes the team deserved to be number one in CONCACAF but he is unimpressed by the seeding system for the World Cup draw: “It is what it is but I’m not happy about it.”
11. CANADA MEETING EQUALS
The Canadian U-17 national team managed to salvage a draw against Iran in the U-17 World Cup on Tuesday thanks to a goal from Toronto FC Academy product Jordan Hamilton and some top goalkeeping from Vancouver Whitecaps Residency talent Marco Carducci. With Argentina up next, Canada’s progress to the knockout stage may well depend on other results securing them a spot as one of the four best third-place teams.
12. A CHANGE IS GONNA COME
Could Sepp Blatter’s era be nearing an end? At a FIFA conference on Monday the man himself hinted that he could soon be replaced by CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb, but Webb has since indicated he has no desire to replace the current FIFA president. Instead, Webb seemed more interested in the formation of a Caribbean League to help boost competition in the region and, perhaps inspired by Jamiaca's poor performance in the Hex, increase those nations' chances in future World Cup qualifying campaigns.
13. RETURN OF EL CHELÍS?
Good news for fans of soundbites everywhere. José Luis Sánchez Solá - aka "El Chelís," the former Chivas USA head coach - is looking to return to management. Speaking to Goal.com, Chelís described how he felt “used” by Chivas USA and that he hopes to find a club where “we can see a better version of El Chelís.” The former Goats boss did have some interesting opinions on youth development in the US though, feeling that academies over college is the way forward.
14. TALENTED TEACHING
Roy Lassister is one of Major League Soccer’s all-time greats, and a promising youth coach in California. Find out what the joint all-time top scorer in a single season thinks about youth development in the country and the important role MLS plays.
15. KIRK URSO’S LASTING LEGACY
Two months after the tragic death of Kirk Urso, the Columbus Crew Soccer Foundation established the Kirk Urso Memorial Fund, designed to support and develop youth heart health research and programming. Now, one year later, the fund has raised $100,000.