Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. THE END OF CHIVAS USA
It’s the end of an era in LA. The big news broke on Thursday that MLS has purchased Chivas USA, taking over all operations at the club while the league searches for a new, local owner. Once that happens, the team will be rebranded with a new name and logo, but the team will stay put in Los Angeles and ideally play in a stadium other than StubHub Center. MLS Commissioner Don Garber held a media conference call to talk about the sale Thursday afternoon and issued a letter to Chivas USA fans explaining the move.
2. THE FALLOUT
The reaction from around the North American soccer scene was largely positive, given Chivas USA's recent troubles. Here's a collection of the stories from SI.com, Soccer By Ives, ESPNFC.com and Pro Soccer Talk. The folks at ESPNFC also take a look at what the sale might mean for Chivas Guadalajara, and the Goat Parade blog is wondering what will happen for exciting young striker Erick Torres. And Alexi Lalas, a longtime proponent of a Chivas USA rebrand within LA, jumped on the Off the Bench podcast to offer his take on the news.
3. EXPANSION UPDATE
During the Commissioner's conference call with the media, expansion talk came up once again, and while Garber had already stated that Chivas USA will remain in LA, he did talk about some of the other cities the league has been in discussion with regarding the two remaining expansion spots, including both San Diego and Minneapolis.
4. HOLLYWOOD HOMEGROWNS
The LA Galaxy had some news of their own on Thursday, albeit on a much smaller scale, after it was officially announced that they have signed Raul Mendiola and Bradford Jamieson IV to Homegrown contracts. Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena revealed that the team is thrilled to “continue our tradition of signing local players to the Galaxy.”
5. WAIVE GOODBYE
The Chicago Fire have made some cuts to their squad including Kellen Gulley, the second Homegrown player in Fire history. But it seems one young trialist has done enough to impress Fire head coach Frank Yallop.
6. YEDLIN’S DREAMS
Following a breakout rookie season in 2013, DeAndre Yedlin has seen his career skyrocket, culminating in a call-up to the US national team’s January camp. While Yedlin may find himself behind Seattle Sounders teammate Brad Evans in the running for a place in the US World Cup team, the young right back talks about his experience so far and how, as a Seattle native, nothing would mean more than winning the club's first MLS Cup.
7. STRONG AT THE BACK
The San Jose Earthquakes have always been a dangerous opponent going forward but, following the arrival of Mark Watson as coach, the team started to become stronger at the back as well. The arrival of Clarence Goodson really helped firm up that defense and, as Goodson himself puts it, “If we can do what we did the last half of the season over the whole year, we’ll be one of the best teams in MLS.” The team definitely still needs to work on its curling game, though.
8. MAKING MCBRIDES
Brian McBride is unquestionably one of the greatest American forwards of all time, but the former US international very nearly didn’t play soccer at all. If he hadn’t changed schools, McBride may in fact have found himself playing the other football. This in turn raises the question, how many potentially great players may soccer be missing out on?
9. FOCUS ON FAGUNDEZ
While Diego Fagundez is still some years away from being eligible to play for the US national team, that doesn’t stop people from wondering which country he may choose to represent. However, as Fagundez himself is quick to say, “Right now, I’m trying to keep focused and try to do everything I can to keep helping out the Revs.” He’ll be supported in that goal by new teammate Teal Bunbury, opens up here about joining the Revolution and reveals which number he’ll take.
10. SEASON TICKET PRICES
Which MLS teams have the most expensive season tickets? How about the least expensive? The answers probably won’t surprise you. As for which team offers the most value for money, well, that’s up to you to decide.
11. RECOGNIZING RAWLINS
Orlando City president Phil Rawlins recently sold his stake in English Premier League side Stoke City in order to focus on his new MLS side, but his hard work in Stoke didn’t go unnoticed. Meanwhile, just days after Orlando City midfielder Jamie Watson stated that most of the current squad wouldn’t make it to the MLS side, Watson has made the move to NASL outfit Minnesota United FC.
12. CAHILL’S CONTRIBUTIONS
Even at 34, Tim Cahill still has a big part to play for Australia, both in the World Cup this summer and at the 2015 Asian Cup, which the Aussies are hosting. However, in order to be a part of that, Cahill still feels he has to prove himself, and that involves playing well and playing a lot. Yet the burden on Cahill may be eased somewhat this year by Péguy Luyindula, whose preseason form has the Red Bulls staff quite excited.
13. PLAN B, C & D FOR US VS. UKRAINE
With the situation in Ukraine getting worse, federation officials from both countries are now considering alternative options for the friendly against the US on March 5. Looking further ahead, American Soccer Now has a complete breakdown of everything you need to know about the USA’s World Cup opponents. Mexico, meanwhile, has revealed their squad for the upcoming friendly against Nigeria.
14. CHAMPIONS CUP SCHEDULE REVEALED
The details for the 2014 edition of the International Champions Cup have been revealed with one of the most notable matches being Manchester City taking on Liverpool at Yankee Stadium, the potential future home of New York City FC. Manchester City certainly seem to be taken with the US and one club ambassador even believes the US can win a World Cup in the next 16 years.
15. THE HOUSE THAT CHING BUILT
The Houston Dynamo has begun contract talks with Will Bruin and Kofi Sarkodie as the club attempts to tie two of its most important players to new, long-term contracts. Staying with the Dynamo, Brian Ching’s recent testimonial match raised more than $130,000 for two charities helping to build housing for families in need.
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