Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. NEW YORK’S NEW HOME
New York City FC have a home stadium. It was announced on Monday that the new MLS side will play in Yankee Stadium during their inaugural 2015 season, with the baseball venue downsized to a capacity of 33,444 for soccer matches with a field measuring 110 by 70 yards in dimension. Following the announcement, the club started taking orders for season tickets and unveiled their first season-ticket holder, Mariano Rivera, with the now-retired Yankees closer gushing about his first sporting love.
2. PLENTY OF ROOM FOR KREIS
At the announcement of their new home, New York City FC also gave us a look at the planned layout of the field. Following his time at Real Salt Lake, Jason Kreis became known for playing an attractive style of soccer. So will the perceived narrow pitch at Yankee Stadium affect the way that Kreis’ new team plays the game? Apparently not, because at 70 yards wide, the former RSL head coach insists it won't be that different from what he had at Real Salt Lake.
3. BUILDING IN NEW YORK? NOT FOR CERTAIN
According to Yankees president Randy Levine, "[Yankee Stadium] is going to be home to New York City FC until there is another home.” To that end, NYCFC’s chief business officer Tim Pernetti insists the club won't rush into anything: “We’re going to take whatever time is necessary to get it right.” While the search for a venue within New York City continues, Levine is at least open to looking beyond the city limits, if necessary.
4. BACK TO THE BOWL
Orlando City FC are also entering MLS next year and they let some interesting information slip on Monday, as the club confirmed that the Citrus Bowl will be the club's home for the entire 2015 season. The Lions are currently playing at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex as the Citrus Bowl undergoes renovations and will move back in next year while construction takes place on their own soccer-specific stadium.
5. BLOOM ARMY
So far as the wider soccer community is concerned, Toronto FC defender Mark Bloom is still operating under the radar. According to the 26-year-old himself, “Clubs have never been overly excited to have me. That’s how I operate, it works out for me.” Despite that history, the former NASL player has been earning plenty of praise for his performances, and even seems to have developed his own fan club along the way.
6. SPOILED FOR CHOICE
How many coaches would like to trade places with Carl Robinson right now? The Vancouver Whitecaps head coach is spoiled for choice when it comes to player selection at the minute. For while Erik Hurtado continues to move up the depth chart with fine performances like the one he put in against the LA Galaxy, Kekuta Manneh is also making a case for more game time. Those choices might get a little bit easier along the backline at least, as the Whitecaps could soon have another player departing for the World Cup.
7. COLORADO COMPLAINTS
Following a 0-0 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes, it could be argued that, despite a new head coach and some new players, the Colorado Rapids still suffer from the same problems. Certainly they need their strikers to start scoring goals but, in regards to Saturday's match, the club has taken exception to the Quakes' physical play.
8. AN UPHILL BATTLE
Maurice Edu has earned nothing but praise since returning to MLS this winter, a far cry from his recent time in England, but why is it that Edu struggled to get any game time with EPL side Stoke City? Edu himself has some theories, as well as offering advice for any other Americans abroad: “It’s an uphill battle to say the least. You’ve got to really, really show and prove yourself and sometimes that’s still not enough."
9. THE HIGH LINE
There’s no doubt that Chivas USA are starting to improve under new head coach Wilmer Cabrera, but if there’s one thing that still not there yet, it’s the clubs defense on the road. Does Cabrera need to consider altering his high defensive line ahead of a trip to San Jose next weekend?
10. LOST A BET
The Seattle Sounders host the Colorado Rapids this weekend and, having played an important role in both goals against Chivas USA, the Rapids will need to be wary of an in-form Clint Dempsey. Yet, regardless of what happens on the pitch, the upcoming game offers a chance for the Sounders' DeAndre Yedlin and the Rapids' Shane O’Neill to settle a bet they made on this year’s Super Bowl.
11. DONOVAN: AMERICA PROVIDES GOOD WORLD CUP PREPARATION
With their three World Cup group stages taking place in three wildly varying climates, the US national team will need to be able to adapt to the differing weather conditions quickly. Fortunately, as Landon Donovan points out, “For those of us who play in America, we deal with that all the time.” The LA Galaxy star also spoke about how his own approach to the game has changed over time and how he views the “group of death,” a group that one legend believes the US are favorites to advance from.
12. FIRST CAMP, FIRST DROP-OUTS
This week's US Under-21 national team camp will have to take place without two of its biggest names after both Luis Gil and Wil Trapp withdrew from the get-together. Both players cited injury as the reason for dropping out, as Gil has missed time for Real Salt Lake while Trapp apparently picked up a knock during the game against D.C. United on Saturday. Tab Ramos elected not to call in any replacements.
13. ENERGY BOOST
With three starts and a goal in the CCL, Sporting Kansas City fans may be expecting big things from Kevin Ellis, but as part of a defense that features Aurelien Collin and Matt Besler minutes may be hard to come by. As such, Ellis has been loaned out to SKC’s USL PRO affiliate, the Oklahoma City Energy, providing a boost for Jimmy Nielsen's side as they get ready for their first home game of the season. The new OKC owners have also been talking about their goals for the season and what fans can do to help them reach MLS.
14. BOSTON STRONG
The Boston Marathon took place on Monday and thankfully passed without incident. It featured an American winner, and was also an opportunity for former New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis to reflect on the tragic events from the previous year.
15. R.I.P. ERIC SHERTZ, A TRUE SON OF BEN
The North American soccer scene lost one of its biggest supporters over the weekend. Eric Shertz was a longtime member of the Sons of Ben, the Philadelphia Union supporters group, and a co-founder of Bearfight FC. The news of Shertz’s passing sparked an outpouring of support from supporters groups across America and Canada and a memorial fund has been set up. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the Shertz family and to the Sons of Ben.
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