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Kick Off, July 13, 2012: Julian de Guzman, Toronto FC

Kick Off: Toronto continue makeover, ship DP to Dallas

Just as Toronto FC are beginning to move — 2-1-4 in their last seven — it looks like they are moving one of their biggest names.

Canadian international Julian de Guzman has been traded to FC Dallas in exchange for midfielder Andrew Wiedeman. The trade looks good for both sides, clearing up cap space and opening up a DP slot for TFC and providing struggling FCD — winless in 13 matches — with the defensive-midfield presence they’ve lacked this year.

De Guzman could be available when Dallas travel to Colorado on Saturday night (9 pm ET, live stream on MLS LIVE).

Toronto head to New England on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, TSN2 in Canada, live stream on MLS LIVE in USA), and Luis Silva will likely be in the starting XI. After notching his first professional goal in Wednesday’s win over Vancouver, he appears over the “old stuff.”

Come next week, professional soccer will be old stuff to longtime Seattle Sounders forward Roger Levesque. The 31-year-old has announced his retirement, to become official after Wednesday’s friendly against Chelsea. “I'm leaving on a positive note,” he said.

There are many positive notes around the Sounders this week. First, they thumped Chivas USA midweek to earn a spot in their fourth consecutive US Open Cup final. Second, the Eddie Johnson-Fredy Montero is finally clicking. Lastly, goalkeeper Michael Gspurning’s health is improving and he will travel to New York for Sunday’s match (4 pm ET, ESPN).

The Red Bulls also might have one of their injured players, center back Markus Holgersson, back in the lineup for Sunday’s game. But they won’t have Heath Pearce back yet. The All-Star center back is healthy enough, though, to discuss the pressure of playing in the Big Apple on the Seeing Red podcast. “If the team has a horrible match, the news and the message carries across the country, it goes international, because of the guys we have here,” he says. (PODCAST)

One of those guys, of course, is 35-year-old forward Thierry Henry, who, according to his manager, “still cares and knows everything [and] is hungry to win.”

Staying in Gotham, news came down on Thursday that the New York Cosmos will join the second-tier NASL in 2013. Is it a first step toward making the leap to MLS in the future? Their head honcho seems to have even bigger aspirations. “Our intention is to play ultimately at the highest level and be the No. 1 side in North America,” Seamus O’Brien tells the New York Post.

Jay DeMerit has been playing at the highest level all season for the Vancouver Whitecaps. The fans recently voted him to the All-Star team, but he’s more impressed with some of the fans’ other picks. “It's great to see fans … voting in the right players to represent our league.”

Fans won’t see transferred midfielder Davide Chiumiento represent Vancouver when they face Chicago on Saturday (8:30 pm ET, live stream on MLS LIVE), which is as disappointing to the Swiss midfielder as it is to ’Caps fans.

In New England, the fans have no reason to criticize new DP Jerry Bengtson, who scored in his debut last weekend. But that hasn’t always been the case for the Honduran international. “My critics motivate me,” he says. (SPANISH)

Plenty to criticize about the Portland Timbers’ disappointing season so far. In this midseason report card, only goalkeeper Troy Perkins escapes with a decent grade. The Timbers are home to the LA Galaxy on Saturday (11 pm ET, NBC Sports Network).

Portland, of course, recently let go of head coach John Spencer, a move that flummoxed Real Salt Lake’s Jason Kreis. (PODCAST) 

He does understand the ramifications of RSL’s visit to Supporters' Shield leaders San Jose on Saturday (10:30 pm ET, live stream on MLS LIVE). The Quakes return home to Buck Shaw for the first time in nearly two months. And RSL, who seem back to their dominating selves, might deploy their new attacking weapon.

Back to the Portland-LA match, the Galaxy’s David Beckham came out swinging on Thursday. The oft-discussed star lashed out at his critics and the MLS Disciplinary Committee. Then he went and won an ESPY Award.

D.C. United return to Houston this weekend (Sunday, 9 pm ET, Galavision), a few months after losing on a blazing hot day in May in the BBVA Compass Stadium opener. This time, they appear more ready for the heat.

Another intriguing match is the Midwest mashup between Columbus and Sporting KC on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, live stream on MLS LIVE). Sporting might be a little tired after their midweek USOC semifinal, but MLSsoccer.com’s Jonah Freedman believes they are on the verge of upending the usual order of things in MLS.

As we approach the one-year anniversary since the US national team upended the coaching staff and hired Jurgen Klinsmann, ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle analyzes where things stand. Conclusion: “There are still plenty of unanswered questions.”

KICKTV personality Jimmy Conrad’s answer to a question on the latest edition of the Off the Bench podcast revealed a tidbit few knew about: He was offered the technical director job at Chivas USA.

Conrad’s revelation is great “silly season” scuttlebutt. There’s plenty to go around right now, including the comments of Andrei Arshavin’s agent that the Russian international rejected “some offers from the MLS.”

Still no word on any offers, rejected or accepted, for US captain Carlos Bocanegra, but Goal.com’s Brent Latham wonders if he shouldn’t try his luck in Mexico.

More Americans will be headed overseas. So says former Bolton Wanderers regular Robbie Elliott, now a youth coach with the US federation. “The development in the last few years is there for all to see in America. Where once we had 80 per cent college players to work with and 20 per cent professionals, it has flipped right round now.”

Finally, still in England, there have been quite a few chuckles around the internet after a rather risquee image was discovered on the Premier League’s official site. Good thing FOX Soccer’s Warren Barton has a sense of humor.




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