Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. PORTLAND KICKSTART WEEK 10 TONIGHT WITH MATCH VS. REVOLUTION: The upstart Portland Timbers, who have enjoyed a magical start to the 2013 season under new head coach Caleb Porter, will have the stage to themselves as they host a dangerous New England Revolution team which may be starting to find its way (10:30 pm ET, Univision Deportes). Read the preview here. Can lefty winger Rodney Wallace continue to be the difference-maker?
2. TIMBERS GRANT ATTICUS HIS WISH: The Timbers and Timbers Army were busy yesterday with a special event at JELD-WEN. If you’re an MLS fan or a mainstream US sports fan, you’ve come across the story of 8-year-old cancer survivor Atticus Lane-Dupre and his Make-A-Wish dream which came true. Not only did his Green Machine team beat the Timbers, but he scored some goals, lifted a wood slab from Timber Joey and even switched jerseys with Portland captain Will Johnson. Read the story and watch the video here. Atticus made SportsCenter’s Top Plays and you can follow his day from start to finish in this video.
3. HOURS REMAIN TO GET YOUR FANTASY TEAM SET: The early start to Week 10 means that only hours remain for you to get your MLS Fantasy: Manager team set up. Get all of this week’s tips from the experts here and then hurry and tweak your lineup. If you have New York midfielder Dax McCarty on your squad, you’re going to want to read this injury update from RBNY coach Mike Petke.
4. REVENGE IS SWEET FOR MONTREAL IMPACT IN CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP: After coming under fire from their own fans for fielding several reserves in a 2-0 first-leg loss to Toronto FC last week, the Montreal Impact “were hurt like a tiger” and responded in a big way in the return match of their Amway Canadian Championship semifinal series. They overturned the result and then some with a 6-0 trouncing. Catch every single goal here. The Impact reveled in eliminating TFC and crushing their dreams of a fifth straight Canadian title: Just read this tweet to understand.
5. WHITECAPS AWAIT IMPACT IN CANADIAN FINAL: There was no drama in Vancouver, where the Whitecaps padded their 3-2 away win cushion with a 2-0 victory at BC Place. Ex-RBNY forward Corey Hertzog was a key contributor as the Whitecaps move on to the final.
6. PORTLAND GK RICKETTS REVEALS CLASH WITH EX-COACH: Who would have ever thought that the soft-spoken and level-headed Donovan Ricketts, a goalkeeper who is helping to fuel the Timbers’ rise in 2013, would ever have a run-in with a head coach? The Jamaican international admitted that things between him and former Impact coach Jesse Marsch weren’t idyllic: "Me and Jesse, we just didn't see eye to eye," he tells The Oregonian. Read the full story here.
7. MONTERREY THREEPEAT AFTER MIRACULOUS COMEBACK FOR THE AGES: We knew that the Rayados of Monterrey were explosive, but this was out of control. Down 2-0 at home to American forward Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna with a half-hour to go in the decisive second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final, Monterrey showed why they were two-time defending champs. They mounted a spectacular comeback you need to watch here to believe. It’s their third consecutive continental title which sets up another trip to the FIFA Club World Cup.
8. HERC TO SEATTLE? USMNT FORWARD SERIOUSLY INTERESTED IN SOUNDERS: That’s what Gomez revealed to ESPN.com Insider Doug McIntyre. “How could you say no to such a great organization?” Gomez told ESPN. How do the Sounders react? Well, they must know all about the tampering rules in MLS because GM Adrian Hanauer didn’t bite. Gomez’s MLS rights belong to Sporting Kansas City.
9. MLS DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE’S BUSY WEDNESDAY: If you didn’t catch up to all the MLS disciplinary action from yesterday, here’s the lowdown: San Jose’s Steven Lenhart was suspended for two matches, New England’s Chris Tierney was banned for tonight’s match vs. Portland and two players who appealed their red-card suspensions were denied. But why does Revs coach Jay Heaps feel “hard done by”?
10. BEWARE OF LAST-PLACE SEATTLE SOUNDERS: The Philadelphia Union are set to host the West’s last-place Seattle Sounders on Saturday (4 pm ET, MLS LIVE), but the standings don’t matter to Philly manager John Hackworth, who still calls Seattle “one of the best teams in the league.” He also gave the latest update on defender Bakary Soumaré, who had requested a trade several weeks ago. The club’s position may surprise you.
11. TIME FOR MAICON SANTOS TO START IN CHICAGO?: That’s what the Fire faithful will be wondering after seeing the Brazilian register a goal and assist in Wednesday’s Reserve League matchup against FC Dallas. Watch his impressive showing in the highlights here. Meanwhile, Chicago also announced a high-profile summer friendly against Mexican giants Club América.
12. NEW SACRAMENTO CLUB AIMING FOR MLS: Sacramento’s new USL PRO club hired former Chelsea executive Graham Smith as its new technical director and the Englishman is not bashful about his long-term ambitions for the team: “We want to be able to identity the club and the community with everything that's good in football and hopefully that will take us to Major League Soccer.”
13. US OPEN CUP FIRST-ROUND DRAW REVEALED: MLS clubs will not join the competition until the third round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, but three MLS cities will have a rooting interest after the draw was released for the first round. Portland, Seattle and New York will have Under-23 sides that will be looking to advance in the competition when they take the field on May 14. See all 18 first-round match-ups here.
14. EUROPA LEAGUE FINALISTS DETERMINED TODAY: After we saw Bayern Munich make it an all-Bundesliga UEFA Champions League final yesterday, we’ll see if the Europa League semifinals can up the drama today. Chelsea host FC Basel (3 pm ET, Fox Soccer) and Benfica welcome Fenerbahçe (3 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus) with a spot in the final on the line. While you’re waiting for the Timbers-Revs match tonight, you can also catch some Copa Libertadores action on Fox Deportes beginning at 7 pm ET.
15. THIERRY HENRY TO JOIN RAFA MÁRQUEZ AT LEÓN?: Make of this one what you will. But there’s a report circulating that former RBNY Designated Player Rafa Márquez could be luring Thierry Henry to Mexico to play for his current club, León. No word on when that would actually happen. And if you enjoy more Red Bulls DP talk, catch the latest episode of the Seeing Red podcast with Tim Cahill.
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