Carlos de los Cobos and the Chicago Fire will make a major announcement at 1 p.m. ET Friday
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Kick Off: Fire to make news, San Jose's tug of war

Big news coming out of Chicago today. The Fire are set to make a major announcement at 1 p.m. ET (watch the event here).

The Fire face a must-win match against the league-leading LA Galaxy at Toyota Park on Saturday as they look to keep pace in the MLS playoff hunt.

A local product who plays for the Galaxy will be returning home and seeking to exact revenge on the Fire for their 3-2 win in LA a few weeks back.

Chicago will celebrate its three millionth fan in style on the weekend.

Meanwhile, the US World Cup Bid Committee also reached a milestone: ahead of the FIFA inspection.

The owner of FC Dallas ponders whether his team can ever exclusively be made up of Dallas-Fort Worth players. Plans for a residency program could make that vision a reality.

Speaking of MLS owners, the Portland Timbers’ Merritt Paulson says his club will reach 10,000 season-ticket holders by the end of the year.

Union fans in Philadelphia have attracted the attention of one local columnist, who takes note of their unique fan culture and the controversy surrounding chants that include expletives.

Still in Philadelphia, one writer questions the youth movement of the Union. Manager Peter Nowak poses the question: more important to win hardware or secure a multimillion-dollar transfer of a young player?

The Timbers’ fellow 2011 expansion side Vancouver Whitecaps named their MLS manager on Thursday. Here’s your chance to know everything you wanted to know about Teidur Thordarson: from how many cups of coffee he drinks to how his dad refused a contract offer from Arsenal.

Thordarson signed a one-year deal.

A rugby star is looking for a deal to play in MLS, according to one report on Englishman Danny Cipriani. While does not indicate Cipriani’s training is a trial, this article makes the leap and cites the Rapids.

Another Englishman will be taking the field soon enough in MLS. Superstar David Beckham is targeting next weekend’s match against Eastern Conference leaders Columbus Crew for his return from an Achilles tear.

Following their US Open Cup semifinal defeat against the Columbus Crew, D.C. United defender Marc Burch accuses the Eastern Conference leaders of having “some dirty players” ahead of the league rematch between the two clubs on Saturday on Fox Soccer Channel.

When New York soccer legend Mike Petke announced he was retiring at the end of this season, he forgot to tell Red Bulls teammate Juan Pablo Angel.

Ahead of their match-up at Real Salt Lake, a critical one in the Supporters' Shield race, Red Bulls star Thierry Henry calls RSL a great team and still says he is not 100 percent fit.

RBNY will be without four players as international call-ups impact more than one MLS team ahead of the upcoming slate of weekend matches. Dane Richards, who is with the Jamaican National Team, talks about the label he has received from Henry: fastest man in MLS.

Speaking of international soccer, The Boston Globe uses the occasion of the midweek SuperLiga final to draw the differences between Mexican and American professional soccer clubs.

That’s going out in style … Guatemalan international referee Carlos Batres officiates the first half of the SuperLiga final and then retires. (SPANISH)

MLS Commissioner Don Garber says that the league is examining how to schedule matches to ensure MLS teams are given the best chance to succeed in international competitions like SuperLiga and Champions League.

The international scheduling conflict is most evident in the tug of war involving San Jose’s Arturo Alvarez and the Salvadoran National Team. El Salvador are taking their case to FIFA after the Earthquakes fought to keep the player for this weekend's league match.

In Europe, The Wall Street Journal joins the debate of whether the numerous matches between the minnow countries and soccer powers during qualifying for Euro 2012, are a complete waste of time.

Lastly, the New Journal of Physics provides us with a scientific explanation of what makes the Roberto Carlos free kick so difficult to stop. Must Reads:

Have MLS teams figured out how to stop LA’s Edson Buddle?

ExtraTime Radio podcast with RBNY’s Tim Ream and Chicago’s John Thorrington

Behind the scenes video of Real Salt Lake’s Champions League road trip to face Cruz Azul

MLS owes a debt to its “Original” players from 1996

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