Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. NEW TV DEALS FOR MLS & US SOCCER?
At 1 pm ET, MLS and US Soccer are set to make a major announcement (streamed live on MLSsoccer.com). No word yet on the details, but according to the Sports Business Journal, the announcement is about new media rights deals that SBJ calls "a watershed moment" for MLS.
2. US SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY
Today, we find out who is on Jurgen Klinsmann’s 30-man preliminary World Cup squad. The predictions have been coming fast and furious, such as these from MLSsoccer.com's experts. When the USMNT finally gets to Brazil, it'll have one last, behind-closed-doors scrimmage before the real thing.
3. OTHER INTERNATIONALS CALLED
Will Toronto's Jermain Defoe be called up to England's 30-man squad on Monday? He seems pretty confident he will. We'll all find out at 10 am ET, when the England manager Roy Hodgson will make a live announcement.
4. SETTING THE PLACE ON FIRE
Now, on to MLS action. The Chicago Fire earned their first win of the year, 5-4, over the New York Red Bulls in an instant classic (HIGHLIGHTS). The match featured two hat tricks, one by Chicago rookie Harrison Shipp and one by New York's Bradley Wright-Phillips. After the game, Red Bulls coach Mike Petke admitted that Shipp had not been a pregarme priority. Shipp, meanwhile, turned his focus on getting another win -- and engaging in some Twitter trash talk with Dax McCarty.
5. SOCCER REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution dismantled the league-leading Seattle Sounders, 5-0, on Sunday (HIGHLIGHTS). How, exactly, did they do it? According to head coach Sigi Schmid, the Sounders “threw too many people forward, left ourselves open to the counter.” Seems about right, given that New England’s Diego Fagundez, who scored twice, took advantage of DeAndre Yedlin’s penchant to run forward.
6. RSL'S MORALES COMES ALIVE
It took only 17 seconds for Real Salt Lake's Javier Morales to put a damper on the resurgent Houston Dynamo's mood. It took only 27 minutes for things to get worse for the Dynamo, as Servando Carrasco was sent off, leading to a 5-2 victory (HIGHLIGHTS). Morales finished with a hat-trick and, as teammate Kyle Beckerman said: “That’s who Javi is … He can do special things.”
7. CHANGES ON THE WAY FOR IMPACT
The Montreal Impact were taken apart 3-0 at home to Sporting Kansas City (HIGHLIGHTS) on Saturday. The result forced the Impact players to acknowledge the fans' frustrations and had Impact owner Joey Saputo promising changes: "Our fans deserve better." Meanwhile, the visitors set a couple of passing records on the day.
8. DC WIN AT ALL COSTS
D.C. United coach Ben Olsen understands that it wasn’t exactly the easiest game to watch, but United's 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union did put three more points on the board (HIGHLIGHTS). For the Union, securing three points seems like a distant memory as the club has now gone nine games without a win -- a franchise record. Despite pressure on Union head coach John Hackworth, his players are standing firmly behind him.
9. QUAKES STAY STRONG WITH 10
FC Dallas’s worrying slide continued on Saturday. Playing with a man advantage for the entire second half, they still fell 2-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes (HIGHLIGHTS). Quakes 'keeper Jon Busch certainly played his part, and head coach Mark Watson summed up the performance: “The second half was just about sticking together, defending and seeing if we could see the game out.”
10. WHITECAPS' YOUTH IMPRESS AGAIN
The Vancouver Whitecaps extended the Columbus Crew's winless streak to seven games thanks to 1-0 win on Saturday (HIGHLIGHTS). A stunning strike from Erik Hurtado was the difference, just one of the moments that had Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson full of praise for his young players. On the other side, the Crew’s Gregg Berhalter shouldered the blame: “If I’m critical of anything, it might be my team election, of not rotating more guys and getting some fresh legs in there.”
11. REVENGE ON THE RAPIDS
After last week questioning his team's spirit, Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera was much happier with Sunday's 3-1 win over the Colorado Rapids (HIGHLIGHTS). A snowstorm was a talking point before the game, but afterward, it was all about two ex-Rapids players undoing their former club. Martin Rivero set up the first goal, and Marvin Chavez scored the final two. All of which leaves the Rapids with what center back Shane O’Neill refers to as “one of those days you just want to forget about.”
12. FIVE-MINUTE EXCHANGE IN PORTLAND
After 90 minutes in which neither team could break through, both the LA Galaxy and then the Portland Timbers scored in stoppage time in a 1-1 draw at Providence Park (HIGHLIGHTS). The result left some of the Galaxy’s key personnel particularly vexed over decisions that didn’t go their way, but the Timbers know exactly what they need to work on. They also need to find a way to score more goals and, with that in mind, reports suggest the club could land a new target forward this week.
13. BIG NAME RETURNS
Following the success of players like Michael Parkhurst, Maurice Edu and Clint Dempsey, US international DaMarcus Beasley, currently with Liga MX side Puebla, on his way back to MLS? If he does leave Puebla, he'll miss out on playing with one of the game's most enigmatic and entertaining players, former Mexican international Cuauhtemoc Blanco, who has signed with the club at the age of 41.
14. DUTCH CLUBS CHASING AGUDELO
Juan Agudelo, who enjoyed a strong loan spell with FC Utrecht, had his UK work permit rejected again, meaning he will most likely be forced to leave EPL side Stoke City for good. No details yet, but it seems that several Dutch Eredivisie clubs are interested in his services.
15. TITI ON TWITTER
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