Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. BECKHAM UNVEILS SPARKLING STADIUM DRAWINGS
David Beckham knows "wow" factor when he sees it, and the renderings leaked on Monday may just take your breath away. Spellbinding views? Check. Space for further development? Yep. Now comes the hard part: actually getting the thing built. Watch this space for further updates.
2. DEFOE DOES IT AGAIN
A single goal from Jermain Defoe was all it took for Toronto FC to take down D.C. United on Saturday and secure a home victory in front of 22,591 fans (watch highlights here). For Defoe, his first game at BMO Field was “a day I’ll never forget.” With three goals in two games, D.C.’s strikers could learn a thing or two from Defoe, as Ben Olsen lamented their inability to find the back of the net. Don't look now, but could there be another new face set to join TFC?
3. A CONFIDENT CREW
The Columbus Crew were able to make history on Saturday by defeating the Philadelphia Union, 2-1 (watch highlights here), to win their first two games of the season for the first time ever. The game was settled by a stunning strike from Bernardo Añor, his second goal of the match, and the Venezuelan believes his team is benefiting from newfound confidence. Union manager John Hackworth blamed the loss on defensive errors.
4. DIAZ AND DALLAS
FC Dallas took apart Chivas USA, 3-1 (watch highlights here), to remain undefeated in their first three games of the season. Mauro Diaz was once again central to Dallas’ success and, in the words of Oscar Pareja, “Mauro is carrying this team now.” Pareja’s former Colorado Rapids assistant Wilmer Cabrera would no doubt have liked someone to carry his Chivas USA side on Saturday. Instead, Cabrera acknowledged that defensive mistakes cost his team a result.
5. RAPIDS RIDE THEIR LUCK
It was a tale of two penalties on Saturday as the Portland Timbers fell 2-0 to the Colorado Rapids (watch highlights here). The first penalty also saw Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts ejected from the game, a moment Caleb Porter rightly described as a game-changer. The Rapids certainly won’t spend too much time worrying about the referee’s decision, though, and prior to the game, technical director Paul Bravo spoke about the club's ambition: “We have to keep fighting to stay relevant. The excuse of being a small-market club … is a bunch of b.s.”
6. HOME GAME WORKS AGAINST REAL SALT LAKE
It marked their second meeting in just three weeks, but this time, Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy shared the points following a 1-1 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium (watch highlights here). RSL took an early lead through Alvaro Saborio before seeing Robbie Keane cancel it out, and while the Galaxy lauded their formation tweaks as the reason for their successful comeback, the altitude played its part as well according to the RSL players. Yet the fact that this Real Salt Lake team considers the result a disappointment shows just how far the club has come in just under 10 years.
7. SPORTING KC GET THEIR FIRST WIN
Sporting Kansas City overcame the San Jose Earthquakes to record a 1-0 win at Sporting Park (watch highlights here). With both teams coming off midweek CONCACAF Champions League games, it seems that SKC’s decision to hold certain players out of their big game was somewhat justified. Dom Dwyer scored the only goal on the night and, as the striker put it, “We really needed three points today.” San Jose, on the other hand, can be grateful that was their only trip to Kansas City this year, as the result marked a ninth straight visit ending in defeat. Meanwhile, the fallout continues from the Quakes' CCL match, as their formal complaint against Toluca is now heading before the CONCACAF Disciplinary Committee.
8. GOALLESS DRAW IN NEW ENGLAND
Three weeks into the season and the Vancouver Whitecaps combined with the New England Revolution to produce the first goalless draw of the year (watch highlights here). Looking on the bright side, the result means that the Whitecaps remain unbeaten so far but, on a slightly more troubling note, it also means the New England Revolution have yet to find the back of the net. They’ve brought in some extra help to keep the ball out of the goal, acquiring goalkeeper Matt Pickens on Friday through a Waiver Draft.
9. DEMPSEY GETS DISCIPLINED …
With a new deal in place for the league's regular referees, the Disciplinary Committee roared to life on Friday, issuing three suspensions ahead of the weekend's matches. The most notable of the players sanctioned was Clint Dempsey, who received a two-game ban for his interaction with Mark Bloom during the Sounders 2-1 loss to Toronto FC. This news did not sit well with US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who issued an official statement of his own.
10. …SOUNDERS WIN ANYWAY
Despite the loss of Dempsey and their game against Montreal being postponed a day due to snow, the Seattle Sounders went on to beat the Impact 2-0 during Sunday’s clash at Olympic Stadium (watch highlights here). The loss of their biggest star meant the Sounders switched to a counterattacking style, which proved to be highly effective, leaving Frank Klopas to rue his side’s third straight defeat. With the Big O incapable of handling a little snow, might the Impact need an alternative alternate venue?
11. HONORS EVEN AT TOYOTA PARK
The Chicago Fire and the New York Red Bulls split the points in an entertaining 1-1 draw at Toyota Park on Sunday (watch highlights here). With the exception of Dax McCarty’s equalizer, the Red Bulls didn’t trouble Sean Johnson’s goal too much. Still, according to head coach Mike Petke, the performance was “a very positive step in the right direction.” One person who wasn’t happy with his own performance was 2013 MVP Mike Magee, making his first appearance of the season for the Fire. The team from the Windy City might be further buoyed by the imminent arrival of new loan signing Grant Ward.
12. A CHANGE OF SEASON FOR CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP
There was some interesting news on Friday concerning Canada’s qualification for the CONCACAF Champions League. Starting next year, the Canadian Championship, used to decide the federation’s representative in the CCL, is set to move from spring to summer. This means that the 2015-16 CCL will actually begin before the Canadian tournament and so, for that season only, Canada’s representative will be decided depending on which MLS team finished with the highest regular-season points total this year.
13. NEW YORK CITY STADIUM
Now that New York City FC have their badge sorted, perhaps the next most important step is securing somewhere to play. While the club remains relatively vague in its timeline, NYCFC director of football Claudio Reyna has revealed that we can expect a temporary stadium announcement within a month.
14. USL PRO BEGINS
The USL PRO season began on Saturday with an inaugural 3-1 victory for LA Galaxy II against local rivals the Orange County Blues and a 1-1 draw between future MLS side Orlando City and Vancouver Whitecaps affiliate the Charleston Battery. Ahead of those games, a number of MLS teams announced more players heading out on loan, including the Whitecaps, who sent Omar Salgado to the Battery, while the Galaxy sent six players, including Jack McBean, on loan to their new lower-division side, giving the club the highest number of loanees in MLS.
15. MINNESOTA’S TRIP TO THE OLD WORLD
The USL PRO season has begun and the new MLS season is well under way, but 2014 doesn’t begin for another three weeks for the NASL. As such, their clubs are still making the most of preseason and potential future MLS expansion contenders Minnesota United have just returned from England after becoming the first US side to visit the country’s national training facility, St. George's Park.
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