The intensity is gradually ratcheting up as MLS preseason training continues at a variety of locations around the world. Catch all the other news and updates from MLS training camps below. And for the entire February preseason schedule, click here.
BOFO OPENS PRESEASON ACCOUNT: Adolfo “El Bofo” Bautista got on the board for the first time this preseason, scoring on an 11th-minute free kick to give Chivas USA a 1-0 victory Thursday over Real Salt Lake.
The victory in the closed-door scrimmage is another positive sign for the Rojiblancos as they look to rebound from a dismal 2013 season. Chivas USA are now unbeaten in three preseason matches, having played the LA Galaxy to a 2-2 draw on Feb. 5 and beaten USL PDL side Orange County Blues 2-0 on Monday.
Real Salt Lake posted some photos to their Instagram account from the game:
GRAFER (AND, HOPEFULLY, HIS PANTS) RETURN TO MLS: Former Colorado Rapids and MetroStars goalkeeper Paul Grafer was announced on Thursday as Chivas USA's new goalkeeper coach. The 39-year-old Grafer served in the same role with the US Under-17 national team for the past five years, including working with new Chivas USA boss Wilmer Cabrera.
Grafer is best known among MLS fans for inspiring the website GrafersPants.com, named after his distinguishing goalkeeping pants. Will Grafer still go with pants in the Southern California weather? Only time will tell.
SIGNS OF THE TIMES: If you're in the United States at the moment, chances are you've seen some snow recently. One New York Red Bull got more than he bargained for when he looked outside:
To the north, Toronto FC's Dwayne De Rosario ventured outside with HIS family:
QUEBEC NATIVE BERNIER TO CAPTAIN IMPACT IN 2014: The Montreal Impact announced Thursday that midfielder Patrice Bernier – a native of Brossard, Quebec, and a Canadian international – will captain the team in 2014. Bernier had been vice captain to Davy Arnaud during the Impact's first two seasons in MLS. Arnaud was traded to D.C. United in December.
Bernier has produced eight assists in each of his first two MLS seasons and is a perfect 10-for-10 on penalty kicks, adding three goals from the run of play.
BIG CROWD EXPECTED FOR GALAXY-EARTHQUAKES PRESEASON GAME: Most games at this stage of preseason are played before crowds measured in the hundreds, but the LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes will find a larger audience when they meet at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, Calif., according to this video report from KFSN in Fresno. More than 8,000 tickets have already been sold to Saturday's Central California Cup match, with capacity listed at 12,500 for the AAA baseball stadium.
LA may be more used to the attention; they drew 12,447 fans to their preseason opener against Armenian club FC Shirak. Meanwhile, the Galaxy's newly-minted USL PRO team, LA Galaxy II, will take on the PDL's Fresno Fuego on Thursday night.
ROBLES WHISTLED FOR TIME-WASTING: If it's a new season, there are probably new rules. Or at least new areas of emphasis. One showed up in last night's friendly between the Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls, as Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles was whistled for time-wasting by referee Chris Penso. Jack McInerney converted the resulting indirect free kick for Philadelphia's only goal in a 2-1 loss.
According to SoccerWire.com, whether Robles had received a warning prior to the call was a matter of some debate, but both New York head coach Mike Petke and Philadelphia coach John Hackworth said they expect a crackdown on slow goalkeepers this year. "As a coach, I would rather them start calling it in preseason so we can get used to that kind of thing,” Hackworth said.
DRAFT PICK BAIDEN POSTS PICTURE WITH CONTRACT: Former UCSB midfielder Fifi Baiden has impressed Columbus Crew teammates and coaches alike this preseason, especially in fitness drills. All signs point to the defensive midfielder who came through the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana joining the Crew roster this season. And by all signs, we mean his Twitter account:
Officially signed my first professional contract with the Crew#Happy for the opportunity!! pic.twitter.com/Jefs2a5XHl— Kingsley fifi baiden (@fifi5baiden) February 12, 2014
The Crew do expect to cut the squad close to 30 players by the weekend.
SEATTLE CONGRATULATE ACADEMY SIGNEES: The Sounders welcomed some of their top Academy players to training this week, honoring the 12 players who signed national letters of intent this week: