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Kick Off: Philly have PPL expansion plans

They always said professional soccer would be big in Philly.

Now comes news this morning that the Philadelphia Union are exploring plans to expand PPL Park to become a 30,000-seat venue. Here are the details of the three-phase plan.

Another club is planning ahead. The Montreal Impact have released season ticket details for their debut MLS season next year while also confirming they are keeping their current club name in MLS. A new logo and jersey will be unveiled this summer.

A new stadium will be unveiled on Thursday as the countdown to the opening of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park continues. While one local writer highlights one of the most identifiable features of the stadium, another uses the occasion to give us a history lesson in Kansas City soccer.

One of the players who helped bring the only MLS Cup title to Kansas City back in 2000, defender Nick Garcia, will be back in training with the club today.

For all the accolades bestowed on new MLS Player of the Week Jean Alexandre, one player who really impressed Real Salt Lake manager Jason Kreis was Collen Warner, who showed against Vancouver that he can also play off the ball.

While the experiment of using Warner at attacking midfield will likely continue, the first start for the New York Red Bulls’ Austin da Luz on Saturday was good enough to earn him another start, according to his manager Hans Backe.

Backe also said that he expected a fight to break out in the locker room among his players after RBNY conceded a late equalizer to the Columbus Crew last Saturday. He said that’s what would happen in the English Premier League.

The big stories from the Group B openers on Monday at The Home Depot Center? Honduras can’t score against nine-man Guatemala while Jamaica throttle tiny Grenada. The highlights for both matches can be found here.

Tonight, the USA take on Canada in their Gold Cup opener from Ford Field in Detroit. Jozy Altidore says to expect the Americans to “force the issue” against the Canucks (8 pm ET, Fox Soccer).

The Canadians still carry the grudge of the 2007 semifinal loss to the USA, when a late equalizing goal was disallowed. Dwayne De Rosario calls it “100 percent frustrating.”

One star “made in the USA” who is sure to figure prominently in his country’s Gold Cup run is Clint Dempsey, who for the first time has spoken out about his ambitions to leave Fulham and play with a Champions League qualifier.

If Dempsey does return to Fulham, he’ll have to work with another new coach as Martin Jol takes over the club following the departure of Mark Hughes.

The match will shine a national spotlight on Detroit and its potential for being home to an MLS expansion team. The ownership group that is currently in talks with the league office feels good about its chances: “We’re definitely in the top tier of potential MLS expansion cities.”

The USA vs. Canada rivalry will be experienced once again this Saturday as the Seattle Sounders host the Vancouver Whitecaps. Here’s what one Sounder says about facing Vancouver: “That's a foreign country … They're foreigners. We're the United States. We're proud of that.”

The Whitecaps and Sounders face off in a Reserve League match later tonight at StarFire Sports Complex (7 pm local time and admission is free). Meanwhile, Steve Zakuani showed up at Seattle training on Monday. Here are the photos to prove it.

The Sounders’ Cuban midfielder, Osvaldo Alonso, told one media outlet that he was prohibited from visiting with his compatriots on the Cuban national team when he showed up at the team hotel in Dallas on Sunday. (SPANISH)

Another match to be played tonight is Greece vs. Ecuador at 8 pm ET from CitiField in Flushing, New York. That’s right, a baseball stadium will play host to teams representing two of the largest ethnicities in all of Queens.

Lastly, in the latest news from the FIFA investigation into the bribery scandal involving CONCACAF officials, the members of the Caribbean Football Union have refused to participate in FIFA investigative meetings today.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

D.C. United make their move up the MLSsoccer.com Power Rankings

ESPN’s Taylor Twellman expects three points vs. Canada in latest edition of ExtraTime Radio

Four Days With Fraser: Part 1 of new MLSsoccer.com video series

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