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Kick Off: Report says CONMEBOL pursuing MLS teams for Copa Libertadores

Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.

1. CONMEBOL TO DISCUSS POSSIBLE MLS ENTRY IN COPA LIBERTADORES: A report by Lancenet in Brazil says that there are meetings scheduled by South America’s CONMEBOL during the upcoming Confederations Cup in June to discuss the possibility of including MLS teams in the Copa Libertadores beginning with the 2015 tournament. The article states that the biggest hurdle in the discussions is financial.

2. ALL HAIL JACK MAC: At the age of 20, he’s the youngest player to ever lead the scoring charts in MLS. The Sunday brace by Philadelphia’s Jack McInerney at RFK Stadium was rewarded by the media with the MLS Player of the Week award and the young striker joined the ExtraTime Radio podcast for a very frank discussion in which he reveals how he was almost traded away from the Union.

3. 24 HOURS UNTIL AMWAY CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP KICKS OFF: Three MLS clubs will begin their quest for the Amway Canadian Championship title on Wednesday in the first-leg semifinals. A CONCACAF Champions League berth is on the line. Vancouver have to get creative with their lineup, while Montreal are summoning the spirit of 2008 in their battle with Toronto. Here’s all you need to know about the event.

4. MLS DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE LOWERS THE BOOM: Although the incident occurred five days ago, New York Red Bulls midfielder Juninho Pernambucano didn’t escape punishment from the MLS Disciplinary Committee for kicking the ball at Sporting KC’s Jimmy Nielsen. Watch the play here and find out how the league ruled.

5. 8,000+ AT MLS RESERVE MATCH: Believe it or not, it’s nothing new for Real Salt Lake. There were 8,263 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium for Monday night’s 0-0 draw with USL Pro side Phoenix FC. It was a match that featured three red cards (WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS HERE). Meanwhile, RSL are contemplating forming its own minor league team.

6. HERC SAYS SANTOS BUILT TO WIN CCL TITLE: US international forward Herculez Gomez is the only player on the current Santos Laguna squad to have played in a FIFA Club World Cup, and he is eager to return to it this December in Morocco. He didn’t beat around the bush at the pregame press conference ahead of Wednesday’s first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final against Monterrey (WATCH IT HERE).

7. U.S. SOCCER PREZ PLOTS FIFA FUTURE WHILE MEXICAN CHIEF LEFT REELING: On Monday, U.S. Soccer head Sunil Gulati spoke to media for the first time since winning election to the FIFA Executive Committee. He spoke of helping to reform FIFA (and even disclosing his compensation) and bringing a World Cup back to the United States. Meanwhile, his rival for the post, Mexican president Justino Compeán, lamented seeing Caribbean nations switch their vote when he thought he had the election in the bag.

8. PLENTY OF MLS YOUTH STARS IN US U-20 CAMP: From former No. 1 SuperDraft pick Omar Salgado to LA Galaxy phenom Jose Villarreal and Seattle Sounders right back DeAndre Yedlin, there are plenty of MLS names who will look to leave an impression on manager Tab Ramos at a US Under-20 camp in California as they look to make the FIFA U-20 World Cup squad. Meanwhile, Chivas USA’s Julio Morales was called up by Mexico’s U-20s.

9. CHICAGO FIRE CHASING MILA?: Polish newspapers are still pondering the future of midfielder Sebastian Mila. Here’s the latest report from Europe, to which the Fire responded to the Chicago Tribune, "We have not had any contact with him at this time."

10. REAL SOCIEDAD FORWARD TARGETED BY MLS: Not the Spanish Real Sociedad. We’re talking about the Honduran club, who have forward Rony Martínez in their ranks. The forward is doing so well that he is being linked in the Honduran press with a move to China or the USA.

11. DC STADIUM NEWS: The Washington Post cites the same government official responsible for the construction of the Washington Nationals' baseball stadium as saying that “he hopes to have the framework for a deal to build a new stadium for the team ‘inside of a year.’” Read the full story here.

12. ANOTHER EUROPEAN GIANT OPENS ACADEMY IN USA: Turkish powers Galatasaray are the latest European club to target the US with the opening of their academy. The official opening ceremony is reportedly set for May 19.

13. MANCHESTER UNITED WIN ANOTHER EPL TITLE: They’ve done it again. The American owners of Manchester United saw their club capture another English Premier League title on Monday night football as the Red Devils downed Aston Villa 3-0 (WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS AND CELEBRATIONS HERE). And unfortunately for the Villans' American goalkeeper, Brad Guzan, he was victimized in one of the all-time best goals by Robin van Persie.

14. HEY, SUÁREZ, CHEW ON THIS: One of the highlights of the Manchester United celebrations was Patrice Evra's carrying a fake arm around Old Trafford, mocking the controversy engulfing his Liverpool nemesis, Luis Suárez, who has already been fined by his club for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. Next up is a suspension from the English FA which is likely to run more than three matches. But biting is still not worse than spitting, according to Alexi Lalas.

15. HEAVYWEIGHTS COLLIDE IN UCL SEMIS: Today the only game anyone will be talking about in the soccer world is the heavyweight clash between Barcelona and newly crowned German champions Bayern Munich in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinals (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes). Meanwhile, the rich get richer: Bayern formally announced their acquisition of Borussia Dortmund star Mario Götze.

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