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Kick Off: Reports indicate Timbers could trade US star

Is Portland Timbers forward Kenny Cooper, one of the club’s major acquisitions during the offseason, now on the trading block?

That’s a possibility according to reports in Portland. This is what Cooper had to say: "I do want to be here, but that's not up to me." The Timbers travel to face Chicago on Saturday night (8:30 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live).

Things are rosier in the camp of the Timbers' rivals. Sigi Schmid will be wearing that Sounders FC scarf around his neck for a few more years after signing a contract extension yesterday that ties him to the club through 2015.

The 58-year-old wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. “For me everyday coming to work here is like a dream. I'm living a dream. … To me, this is Soccer City USA.”

Even Sir Alex Ferguson was surprised to hear about the attendance numbers at Sounders matches during his press conference after Manchester United arrived in Seattle ahead of next Wednesday’s game. More than 64,000 tickets have been sold for the game.

The defending champion Colorado Rapids are first up to face Seattle in league play on Saturday, seeking to stop the Sounders’ recent unbeaten streak (4 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer) and they will do it with Brian Mullan in the squad. Although he’s unsure about whether he will start, Rapids manager Gary Smith says he has “absolutely every intention to take him on the trip.”

Seattle may be “Soccer City USA” but it is Los Angeles that will arguably play host to the two best matches of the weekend. The LA Galaxy face Real Madrid at the Los Angeles Coliseum (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes), while Chivas USA host the New York Red Bulls at the Home Depot Center (10:30 p.m. ET, Galavisión).

The frustration is palpable among the New York Red Bulls, where Thierry Henry is “thinking about my team right now and how bad we are.” He is clearly fed up with dealing with the same media questions, too: “I’ve spoken more here than in my whole entire career. I don’t know what else you want me to say; we’ve got to win against Chivas.”

Meanwhile, Red Bulls manager Hans Backe says he has made a decision on which goalkeeper to cut after the arrival of Frank Rost.

Forward Brian McBride will be back to his old stomping grounds when the Columbus Crew welcome the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live). The Fighting Canaries will induct him in their Circle of Honor at halftime of the match.

Three players who could make their Quakes debut at Crew Stadium are Jacob Peterson, Nana Attakora and Alan Gordon, who were all picked up by San Jose from Toronto FC in a Thursday trade. San Jose GM John Doyle expects Attakora and Gordon to come off the bench, while Peterson will likely be a starter: "We've been looking for a right-side midfielder almost all season long. Jacob Peterson fits the bill for that."

Meanwhile, Peterson, who says he was surprised at the news, questioned TFC’s success at trades: “You see what Nick LaBrocca is doing this year [at Chivas USA] and other payers around the league recently traded by Toronto. It makes you stop and think.”

One player heading to Toronto is Terry Dunfield, the lone Vancouverite on the Vancouver Whitecaps, who was set to play in a dream match on Monday against his former club Manchester City at Empire Field. While admitting that the move is the toughest thing he’s had to do in his career, he also revealed that he felt he “was told in a very sort of cutthroat manner” about the swap.

There may be more moves coming for Vancouver, who will entertain Real Salt Lake on Saturday at Empire Field (4 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live). These are the words of manager Tom Soehn: “We're still looking for a leader, someone that's good in possession, someone that can put their stamp on the game.”

After beating the New York Red Bulls on the road last weekend, D.C. United could make a major statement to the rest of the league if it can succeed in defeating FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park this weekend (9 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live). DC manager Ben Olsen thinks the recent success is a product of an improved roster: “I just think we’re a more talented group, frankly. I don’t think it’s anything necessarily that I’m doing — I just think we’re a better group of players.”

The New England Revolution host the Philadelphia Union on Sunday (7 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live) and the Revs are still basking in the glow of facing Manchester United in midweek. New England central defender A.J. Soares reveals the name of the Red Devils player he exchanged jerseys with. The Man. United fan was also candid that he “had to fight the urge to cheer when they finally arrived.”

Expect forward Carlos Ruiz to be back in the Union lineup after being given a weekend break by the coaching staff last weekend. The Guatemalan is fed up with the speculation regarding a rumored move to Veracruz in Mexico: “Why would I want to play for some second-division team in Mexico when I have all my family coming and things are going great here in Philly?”

The fact that things are going great in Philly is what has Sébastien Le Toux upbeat despite scoring just one goal all season. The advice from his manager Peter Nowak? "He just needs to chill out a little. That is the phrase?"

Amidst all the talk of a possible Ruiz departure to Mexico, there’s a big Mexican name that is seemingly set to land in MLS. Reports indicate that the impending arrival of former national team midfielder Pável Pardo is only a matter of time. The player himself says he will play in MLS this season although it will not be with the Chicago Fire.

The transfer window officially opens today and the talk of Nicolas Anelka’s potential acquisition is still in the news. A report this morning out of England says that the LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls would make a move for the Frenchman but only if he arrives on a free transfer from Chelsea.

As first reported by MLSsoccer.com’s Greg Seltzer, Jozy Altidore’s move to AZ Alkmaar is set. But Altidore is busy in Boca Raton, Fla., with a soccer camp that featured the USMNT player on the local newscast. (VIDEO)

The Houston Dynamo, who host Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night (8:30 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live), will be one of the busiest MLS teams in the transfer window. There is an unidentified European player joining the side today and he, along with two other trialists, should see time in the match against Bolton Wanderers on Wednesday.

Read about how the FIFA Under-17 World Cup title with Mexico has changed the life of FC Dallas goalkeeper Richard Sanchez, who is currently on a break with his family out in California.

More FC Dallas prospects will be on show at 1 p.m. ET today (ESPNU and ESPN3.com) as the US Soccer Development Academy Under-18 final between FC Dallas and Pateadores will be staged in Milwaukee. An MLS academy team will also play in the Under-16 final as the LA Galaxy face PA Classics on Saturday night, also in Milwaukee.

One of the top players in the US national team youth system, Nicholas Gaitan, is being wooed by Argentine giants Boca Juniors.

It’s not just American players that are making news abroad. There are American owners as well. The latest acquisition is Beitar Jerusalem in Israel.

The FIFA Under-20 World Cup is right around the corner and what better way to prepare for altitude matches in Colombia than being in Colorado? The England U-20s credit the help of the Rapids’ English manager, Gary Smith, for their pre-tournament camp which starts in Denver today.

The only FIFA event anyone will be tuning into this weekend is the Women’s World Cup final as the USA face Japan on Sunday (2:45 p.m. ET, ESPN and Galavisión).

Can you sing it? “Meghan Rapinoe, I went to the casino …” That’s exactly how a song dedicated to the World Cup midfielder starts out. Listen to it on YouTube.

Lastly, breaking the rules in soccer can cost a team and player dearly. But how about buying the rules? That costs $1.4 million.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

How the USA won the World Cup for robots last weekend on the latest edition of ExtraTime Radio

The Throw-In: Back off Hans Backe and the Red Bulls for US Open Cup loss

Postcard from Mexico: Tigres becomes favorite landing spot for Americans

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