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Kick Off: Colorado goes public with EJ interest

Eddie Johnson will find out his next MLS stop today, and at least one former teammate has made it clear that he would take the former Kansas City and Dallas striker in a heartbeat.

Colorado Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made it public that his team wants Johnson, a former US international who signed an MLS contract on Thursday.

“If the opportunity comes to us, he’s a player I’d like to have,” Pareja said. “I’m very happy with what we have, but I’m very conscious of having Conor [Casey] out for a time.”

The allocation process will determine where EJ ends on later today and the Rapids are currently ranked at No. 14, meaning they will have to hope other teams choose to opt out, or they might have to trade up.

The Rapids already announced the signing of Martín Riveros and they have an Arsenal FC reserve team player coming on trial. Find out about him here.

New Vancouver Whitecaps designated player signing Barry Robson had other offers lined up when his Middlesbrough contract expires this summer but he says Vancouver was “a no-brainer.” And he wants fans to be sure: “I may be 33, but I've still got hunger and fitness in me," the midfielder said.

Remember yesterday’s rumors from Scotland about USMNT captain Carlos Bocanegra joining the Whitecaps? Leave it to ex-US defender Jay DeMerit to track down the truth: “I didn't speak with the team about it but I spoke briefly with Carlos. It doesn't sound like he is coming back to MLS, at least at this point. ... Maybe next year.”

Meanwhile, it was #ChingSanity yesterday, at least according to Houston Dynamo players, who gave Brian Ching a warm welcome on his return to Houston. It was not an issue for the veteran forward to take a pay cut to make it happen: "I know how old I am, and I've been around the league long enough to know my value. ... Me taking less money allows me to be here where I want to be, allows me to open up a stadium that I've always dreamed of doing. That's rewarding enough for me."

In Montreal, there was a very different reaction to the deal that sent Ching to Houston for a conditional 2013 draft pick. “The Impact should have held out for more from Houston because of the shortage of forwards on its roster,” says the Montreal Gazette.

Let’s play two! That’s the mantra of the Impact, who will take the field without Ching as they face UCLA (1 pm ET) and PDL side Ventura County Fusion (3 pm ET) later today at The Home Depot Center.

In yesterday’s action, the LA Galaxy defeated Chivas USA 3-2 in a preseason version of the SuperClásico. Lifelong Galaxy fan Rafael García stood out among the LA reserve players who most impressed during a 3-0 first-half blanking of the Goats. Watch the highlights here. (VIDEO)

Chivas USA manager Robin Fraser was not happy: “First half, really poor. Really poor. We had too many turnovers and not enough ideas to deal with the way that they were playing.”

Three Chivas USA players will take their minds off the most recent preseason loss by helping contestants lose weight in a spin-off of the US reality show The Biggest Loser. Univisión airs a slightly different format this Sunday and Chivas USA will figure prominently. (SPANISH)

Injured MLS Defender of the Year Omar Gonzalez spoke to media yesterday about his knee injury and layoff, revealing that he wasn’t “sad about it for too long,” so much so that he thinks his attitude surprised people: “Maybe the German guys thought I was a little weird, because they were telling me, like, something's really wrong, and I was still smiling.”

Off the field, read about some of the corporate restructuring taking place in the ranks of the LA Galaxy front office. More news is expected today.

How about this news concerning former LA Galaxy midfielder Chris Birchall: He tells one newspaper that he’d play for his hometown club Port Vale for free.

The latest on the Michael Ballack situation at Bayer Leverkusen is summed up in this German article: He confirmed to El Mundo Deportivo in Spain that “there is a possibility that I go to the New York Red Bulls.” And if he wants to get out of his contract early, Leverkusen are apparently willing to listen. (GERMAN)

Speaking of the New York Red Bulls, there is an update to the situation involving goalkeeper Luis Robles, who has apparently cancelled today’s trip to New York.

Reports are that Sporting Kansas City have signed a deal with USMNT midfielder Graham Zusi that will keep him in KC for another four years. “It only makes sense and he also deserved the raise,” said manager Peter Vermes. "We consider him part of the core group of guys we’ll be counting on for years to come."

Check out this in-depth interview with Toronto FC Designated Player Julian de Guzman, who runs through his experiences at TFC, including being asked to play at forward by Preki.“It has definitely been a tough journey. Unfortunately, it has taken some time to find a good feeling.”

Philly fans could get a taste of international soccer at the end of this month with one report claiming that Chile vs. Ghana will be played at PPL Park. (SPANISH)

What’s the latest on FC Dallas central defender George John, who is on loan at West Ham in the hope of an outright transfer? This report says that it’s 50-50 whether he stays with the Hammers.

LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan wraps up his latest loan spell at Everton with an FA Cup match against Blackpool on Saturday.

We’ll also keep an eye on the FA Cup matchup between Tottenham Hotspur and Stevenage Borough, who are managed by former Colorado Rapids head coach Gary Smith. FoxSoccer.com’s Bobby McMahon points out what Smith has in common with the likes of Harry Redknapp and Steve McLaren.

There’s a good offering of televised action for the US soccer fan today, including the Serie A match between Inter Milan and Bologna (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes), the Brazilian contest featuring Guarantingueta against Palmeiras (6 pm ET, GolTV), the English second-tier match between Reading and Burnley (3 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus) and the day wraps up with the Mexican league encounter pairing Estudiantes Tecos and Atlante (9 pm ET, Galavision).

If you’re not familiar with Clint Dempsey’s career trajectory, find out how the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedies influenced his path to become a pro in his latest Goal.com diary entry.

LA’s David Beckham spoke about the vacant England manager position yesterday and gave his backing to Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp to fill the void.

The Honduran national team manager Luis Fernando Suárez had some harsh words for ex-Houston Dynamo forward Carlo Costly and his playing matches in the Copa Latina in Miami: "I need him playing, not every eight days in Miami with four or five fat guys, five or six ex-players. This isn’t becoming of a professional player.” (SPANISH)

In this Q&A with USMNT midfielder Michael Bradley, the Chievo Verona player explains his long love affair with Italian soccer: “When I was growing up on Sunday on RAI International at 9 or 10 in the morning you'd get an Italian game from the Serie A and at that time, AC Milan was always the best team. So every Sunday, my dad [Bob Bradley] and I would watch AC Milan.”

Lastly, they call it “Inside the Sounders’ Studio,” as Seattle midfielder Brad Evans poses questions to one of his teammates. You’ll find out more than you want to know about a recent Sounders acquisition, but it’s entertaining.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Houston’s Dominic Kinnear explains how the Brian Ching deal went down on ExtraTime Radio

The Throw-In: In Year 17 the league must now chase all fans

Postcard from Mexico: Jimmy Maurer looks to follow Jonny Walker’s footsteps in Chile

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