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Kick Off - John Doyle

Kick Off: Quakes GM takes responsibility for failed signing

It’s the last thing that the San Jose Earthquakes needed as they attempt to work their way back into playoff contention.

San Jose brass addressed the arrival and sudden departure of Ecuadorean Edmundo Zura, whose loan deal was canceled just days after signing with the Earthquakes. GM John Doyle takes the blame — “It’s my fault, 100 percent,” he said — but the club’s president says that both Doyle and head coach Frank Yallop are staying put.

From Ecuador, the player’s representative is speaking out. He tells a local radio station that Zura is healthy but that he needed time to get back into shape, time he alleges the Earthquakes weren’t prepared to give him. Now apparently Zura is locked out from playing for any team back in his home country due to transfer rules in Ecuador. (SPANISH)

Philadelphia Union manager Peter Nowak is faced with his own tough decision. He refuses to tip his cap as to who will start in central defense in place of the suspended Carlos Valdés when the Union face Real Salt Lake on Saturday night. Will it be Juan Diego González? Stefani Miglioranzi? Or will they officially sign Joe Tait?

Fans in Portland get to look forward to a match tonight. The Timbers reserve side will take on the LA Galaxy at JELD-WEN Field.

The Timbers’ greatest rivals — the Seattle Sounders — get ready to put tickets on sale for the US Open Cup final against the Chicago Fire and the club’s GM says that the Sounders “won’t turn anyone away” when asked whether additional seating will be opened up.

Bad news for Chivas USA. The injury that knocked out Heath Pearce from US national team camp is serious enough to keep the Goats’ defensive leader away from fields for a while.

The news from New England Revolution camp revolves around the visit by a world-famous golf player, who “unfortunately showed a couple of guys up” when he trained with the team.

With the majority of MLS teams enjoying an extended break this holiday weekend thanks to FIFA’s September fixture dates, soccer fans are likely to pay greater attention to Saturday’s USL-Pro final between MLS expansion hopefuls Orlando City and Harrisburg City from the Citrus Bowl. (FOX Soccer)

Another expansion hopeful is Minnesota, where there are some new developments on the potential new Vikings stadium, which could be the home of a new MLS club. A report in the Pioneer Press explains how “the Vikings would prefer a moving roof because [owner Zygi] Wilf wants to get a Major League Soccer franchise.”

Back to MLS, Chivas USA rookie Zarek Valentin will spend this off-weekend tracking his former college side, defending NCAA champion Akron Zips, around California: “Hopefully, I can take some of the guys who are in my class out to maybe Santa Monica or something like that for a nice dinner.”

LA Galaxy Designated Player Robbie Keane is with the Republic of Ireland ahead of two important Euro qualifiers. Adored on his arrival into LA — with a goal in his debut — Keane generates a different reaction from his fellow Irishmen back home. Here’s a story that gets into the details of the dynamic.

Keane’s teammate with Ireland, Aston Villa center back Richard Dunne, clearly doesn’t get the picture when he says that if an opportunity came to move to MLS, “At 34, 35, I’d definitely take it.”

Three Whitecaps teammates have taken advantage of the time off to go out fishing together. The story they have, which involves a seal, is one they’ll be telling their grandkids.

Hoffenheim’s manager, who coaches new USMNT midfielder Fabian Johnson, will also have a cool story to tell: about the time he saved a woman stuck under the wheels of her own car.

Hoffenheim, also known as the home of two American players, will now welcome a third after one of several transfer deadline deals involving Americans and Canadians in Europe.

Staying in Europe, here were some of the biggest moves ahead of the transfer deadline: Brazilian Diego to Atlético Madrid, Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun to Arsenal, Raul Meireles to Chelsea, Mauro Zarate to Inter Milan, Eljero Elia to Juventus, Royston Drenthe to Everton, Bryan Ruiz to Fulham.

Chievo Verona’s American midfielder Michael Bradley has already participated in two training sessions with his new club and in this Q&A he reveals that “the challenge will be for me to get going with Italian as quickly as possible.”

If you haven’t seen Bradley’s first video interview for his new club on ChievoTV, check it out here. (VIDEO)

One person who will be closely following what Bradley does with the “Flying Donkeys” is New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, an avid Serie A fan who grew up an Alessandro Del Piero and Juventus supporter.

Lastly, another excellent piece from The New York Times about soccer in the authoritarian-ruled country of Myanmar, where the soccer experience is “an escape”: “I don’t come here to support any particular team. I come for the freedom to yell anything I want.”

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Ecuador vs. USA friendly set for October 11 but venue still unclear

Red Bulls star forward Juan Agudelo relishes break prior to USMNT camp

Vancouver Whitecaps trialing former Tigres UANL defender who wants out of Mexico

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