Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. NEW LOOK D.C. MARCH TO FINAL: If every MLS game was an elimination match, D.C. United might be competing for the Supporters’ Shield right now. Instead, the team ranked last in the league can console themselves with a place in the US Open Cup final. Dwayne De Rosario was able to capitalize on a Sean Johnson fumble for the first goal while Nick DeLeon scored a second just after the break to make the final score 2-0. The only dampener on D.C.’s evening? Luis Silva left the game early with a suspected concussion.
2. RSL TO HOST FINAL: Save the date! We now know the final will be held on Oct. 1 at Rio Tinto stadium after Real Salt Lake beat the Portland Timbers 2-1. If this was the tactical game many suggested it would be, then Jason Kreis came out on top thanks to the second half introduction of Joao Plata, who proceeded to score a superb game-winning goal. Of course there were also some top saves from Nick Rimando, who claims the job isn’t finished yet: “Our goal wasn’t to get to the final, it’s to win it.”
3. NEW SIGNING MAKES IMPACT IN CCL: In the all-MLS CONCACAF Champions League clash from Wednesday night, both Montreal and San Jose made changes from their weekend starting lineups, with the Earthquakes fielding an entirely different starting group. The Impact’s changes weren’t quite so drastic, and it was new Designated Player Hernán Bernardello who helped make the difference in a tight 1-0 win/
4. SPORTING KANSAS CITY START STRONG: Down in Nicaragua, Sporting KC took nothing for granted against Real Estelí and, while injuries dictated a few changes, they were still able to field a side that ran out 2-0 winners thanks to nice goals from Ike Opara and Dom Dwyer. The club also kept a travel journal of their adventures (check it out), and the win surely made the two-and-a-half hour bus ride worthwhile.
5. TRANSFER DEADLINE LOOMS LARGE: With the transfer window set to close today, which clubs will make some last-second moves? Houston secured the services of Alex López on Wednesday, while Colorado look set to finally add Panamanian star Gabriel Torres to the team as their first ever Designated Player. There’s also talk of Toronto signing another new player.
6. WHERE IN THE WORLD WAS JESSE MARSCH? What do you do when you’ve mutually parted ways with your MLS club? If you’re Jesse Marsch, you pack up your family and travel around the world for six months. Much like Landon Donovan’s sabbatical, Marsch claims to be refreshed by the experience and wants back in MLS at some point.
7. DON’T FORGET OBA: With his goals, flips and winning smile you might think it would be hard to forget about Obafemi Martins but, just in case you got swept away with Clint Dempsey fever, there’s an interview with Martins over at FIFA.com. He talks about playing in Seattle, comparisons with Europe and the origins of his famous flips.
8. PETKE HELPS RED BULLS FIND THEMSELVES: Less stars, more hard work. According to Empire of Soccer, with Mike Petke as manager, the New York Red Bulls finally have an identity, and while it may not always be pretty, it’s certainly effective. One person who apparently didn’t fit with that identity, however, is current man of the moment Clint Dempsey. According to one source, the Red Bulls turned down the chance to sign him.
9. JAMAICAN INTERNATIONAL BREAKING BAD: You might not think it could get much worse for the Jamaican national team right now. They had to watch the Gold Cup from afar after failing to qualify and currently sit dead last in the World Cup qualifying Hexagonal. Well, guess again, as one unnamed international has been provisionally suspended for 30 days for failing a drug test.
10. PROBLEMS AT BUZZARD POINT? Turns out there may be an issue with some of the land for D.C. United's new stadium. Specifically, it may not be owned by the person the club have been negotiating with. Fear not, though; if the new owner is unwilling to sell, it seems the City could exercise Eminent Domain and simply take the land from him.
11. BEND IT LIKE … KAKÁ? While attempting to secure funding for their new stadium, Orlando City president Phil Rawlins spoke this week of the club’s plan to sign the “Brazilian Beckham”, which can only mean one person … right? Meanwhile, in other potential expansion team news, Sacramento Republic FC already seem to have quite the fan base in place.
12. THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT: U.S. Soccer has announced the invitation list for it’s inaugural National combine. MLS Academies make a good showing across the board with 31 of the 64 kids selected coming from the system, but FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake are particularly well represented with six and four youngsters attending respectively.
13. INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONS CUP COMES TO A CLOSE: Miami showed that it does indeed have a market for soccer, as 67,273 fans descended on Sun Life stadium on Wednesday to watch Real Madrid beat Chelsea 3-1. Some of them will have also been there to see the LA Galaxy lose 2-0 to AC Milan in the third-place playoff. After the game Bruce Arena revealed the far more interesting news: The Galaxy have held contract talks with Landon Donovan.
14. YES, TFC WILL PLAY FRIENDLIES: In the other MLS-Serie A clash of the evening, Toronto FC hosted MLS All-Star victors AS Roma at BMO field. TFC lost 4-1, and Toronto GM Kevin Payne insisted that fans unhappy with friendlies being played during the MLS season should “get used to it. ... I don't think it's a detriment. ... For young players on the field now, how much is this game worth to play against teams like this?”
15. JIMMY FALLON DOESN’T HOLD BACK: What happens when Jimmy Fallon gets hold of some MLS players profile shots? Comedy gold, that’s what happens.
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