Hate missing the Kick Off? Of course, you do. Sign up for The Kick Off e-mail.

Kick Off - Sigi Schmid
Getty Images

Kick Off: Sounders have one thing in mind - "Three-Peat"

They’re not shy about it in Seattle.

Ahead of tonight’s US Open Cup semifinal match against FC Dallas (10 pm ET, live stream on soundersfc.com), the manager of the two-time defending champion Seattle Sounders makes the objective clear: “We want to accomplish something that no MLS team has done by winning three in a row,” Sigi Schmid said.

FC Dallas have a massive obstacle to overcome to advance to the final. This from Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times: Seattle are winners of four straight, they’re undefeated in August (6-0-1), they’ve never lost at Starfire Stadium and they have a 8-0-2 in their past 10 home games in all competitions.

While the Sounders are shooting for their third straight USOC final, the Chicago Fire are aiming to advance to their sixth championship match as they get set to face a Richmond Kickers team which is playing their sixth game in 20 days (8:30 pm ET, live stream on chicago-fire.com).

What concerns Fire manager Frank Klopas most about the Kickers, whose league season wrapped up last weekend? “I've seen tapes of Richmond when they played Kansas City [in the USOC quarterfinals], and they have pace. They're a team that's well-organized.”

Find out why they’re writing about this match at Toyota Park like it’s a Virginia Commonwealth University alumni association meeting.

While there is plenty of drama in store for tonight’s USOC semis, there was little suspense in the appointment of the first assistant coach who was officially named to Jurgen Klinsmann’s staff. The German boss explains why.

Fans anticipating the debut of Bundesliga-based German-American Fabian Johnson will not get a chance to see him in a US uniform for this round of exhibition matches. It’s a paperwork issue.

Klinsmann sat down with local media in LA ahead of the first of two FIFA fixture date matches against Costa Rica at the Home Depot Center. The conversation ran the gamut and covered Olympic team plans, the specific mentality he wants out of his players and the ideal position for Landon Donovan.

Donovan’s Galaxy teammate, Robbie Keane, is with the Republic of Ireland in preparation for Euro qualifying matches against Slovakia and Russia. His coach, Giovanni Trapattoni, says Keane will be ready to play despite his transatlantic travels.

FC Dallas defender George John also made a transatlantic trip from Europe all the way back to his hometown of Seattle, where he has rejoined Dallas to face Seattle in the USOC. He spoke for the first time about the deal that fell through with Blackburn Rovers.

Staying in the English Premier League, there is a report that Arsenal are looking to an American as one of their transfer deadline targets: Clint Dempsey.

Vancouver Whitecaps target Owen Hargreaves seems set to land a deal in the EPL before the close of the transfer window tomorrow. There’s talk of him joining Manchester City.

It’s a big day for Stuart Holden, who plays in his first match since returning from a knee injury for Bolton Wanderers reserves today.

In addition to the US Open Cup matches, there’s also a Copa Sudamericana doubleheader on Fox Deportes beginning at 6 p.m. ET.

Switching to the women’s game, just days after the Western New York Flash captured the WPS championship game, the women’s professional soccer league is already looking ahead to next season and potential expansion.

US women’s World Cup star Hope Solo is looking ahead … to an appearance on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.

Some important news from the college ranks. The manager of the Maryland men’s program, Sasho Kirovski, says that “we’re pushing for allowing some of our players to play with MLS reserve teams in the summer. That shouldn’t be hard.”

It’s not hard to get excited about perusing a photo gallery of Diego Maradona photos from his debut with his new club in the United Arab Emirates. (PHOTOS)

Another world soccer manager has ties to MLS. After the resignation of Hernán Darío Gómez, ex-MLS midfield enforcer Lionel Álvarez is now at the helm of the Colombian national team on an interim basis and will look to put his stamp on the team and earn the full-time job. (SPANISH)

Here’s a manager who’s a guarantee to make news: Tigres UANL boss "Tuca" Ferretti. When awarded with the manager of the year award in Mexico, he promptly handed it to his Pumas UNAM counterpart, saying: “Memo [Vásquez] is who really deserves this trophy, not me.” (SPANISH)

Finally, if you’ve never heard of “pantsing,” Seattle Sounders veteran goalkeeper Kasey Keller explains the time he “pantsed” a teammate in Germany.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

The movers and shakers of the MLS Power Rankings for Week 24

Klinsmann calls on D.C. United’s Chris Pontius to USMNT camp

Full list of MLS players called in for FIFA international fixture matches

Get the The Kick-Off delivered to you!

Enter your email address below to sign up for The Kick-Off mailing list and get it delivered to your inbox every morning.



Fill out a second bracket!

Is your bracket busted? We are offering all fans a chance to fill out a second playoff bracket and a chance to win a $1,000 credit on SeatGeek.com. Make your picks now!

Stay connected: Get access to breaking news, videos, and analysis from North America's best soccer reporters via "This Week in MLS" newsletter or using our FREE mobile app.