Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. MLS SIDES ENTER US OPEN CUP
Tonight is the night the US Open Cup dream will begin for Major League Soccer sides. Let the drama start. With ties taking place across America, it’s set to be a soccer night in the US. Defending champions Sporting Kansas City start the defense at home against the Des Moines Menace from the PDL. Did someone say giant killing?
2. WHERE WILL THE UPSETS BE?
Talking of upsets, which MLS sides are most at risk against lower league opposition? Perhaps the Philadelphia Union against the Ocean City Nor’easters? Chivas USA, D.C. United and Colorado Rapids are most at risk, according to this blogger's upset "threat assessment." Real Salt Lake’s head coach Jason Kreis is "taking a very aggressive approach" toward the Atlanta Silverbacks, as he called RSL’s third-round exit to Minnesota Stars last season as “the worst night in the history of the club.”
3. DIFFERENCES IN DC ARE RECONCILIABLE
Speaking of United's struggles, looks like coach Ben Olsen and his superstar player Dwayne De Rosario have worked out their little tiff. “We are both competitors and we are not always going to see eye to eye," DeRo told The Washington Post. You get over it. With the respect we have for each other, we put it aside.”
4. USMNT PREPARE FOR BELGIUM FRIENDLY IN CLEVELAND
Jurgen Klinsmann and his USMNT players are in Cleveland ahead of their friendly with Belgium on Wednesday. (8 pm ET, ESPN2, live chat on MLSsoccer.com) The US will face off against the Red Devils at FirstEnergy Field, with everyone aiming to impress ahead of the crucial World Cup qualifiers in the coming weeks. However, some withdrawals have already come, as Maurice Edu and Corey Ashe have pulled out due to injury.
5. BEASLEY TO WIN 100TH CAP
DaMarcus Beasley appears to be in line to make his 100th appearance for the USMNT on Wednesday night. Turns out the Indiana native didn’t think he would ever get this many caps, but he's “honored to play for this team, for this country, to go out and wear the crest across my chest every time we go out and hear the national anthem. For me, it’s just been a great ride. And hopefully it’s not over yet.”
6. HOLDEN CLOSE TO RETURN
While Beasley missed plenty of games away from the USMNT while he struggled at club level, Stuart Holden has missed plenty of minutes because of injury. However the Bolton Wanderers man is looking ahead. “It feels fantastic to be back," Holden said. "It's like the first day of school. I love being with the national team. I love representing my country. It's been a great start to camp."
7. CANADA FOCUS ON GOOD HABITS AGAINST COSTA RICA
The Canadian national team are in action tonight, as Canada host Costa Rica (8 pm ET, Sportsnet) in Edmonton. Interim head coach Colin Miller has urged the Canucks to keep “doing the right things” as they return to play in Edmonton for the first time since 2008. Miller is in his third temporary spell in charge of the national team, with the squad eager to impress ahead of the Gold Cup this summer.
8. A DAY IN THE LIFE OF HERCULEZ GOMEZ
Santos Laguna and USMNT striker Herculez Gomez has joined us for a special look at his life off the field. Make sure you check out part 1. Relax and enjoy hanging out with Herculez. Part 2 is coming up today.
9. MAGEE: “I HAVE TO CUT THE CORD WITH LA”
Speaking in his first interview after his first practice with the Chicago Fire, Mike Magee spoke of his desire to return home to Chi-Town and move on from LA quickly. "I tried to get back [here] a couple times in the past and then I think throughout the process with Robbie Rogers, that whole saga with him trying to get to LA, it crept in my mind that somebody had to go to Chicago. And I raised my hand."
10. GSPURNING’S ENEMY: CROSSES
This is very neat. Michael Gspurning is compared to Count Dracula for his similar distaste to crosses. Harsh? This columnist picks apart the giant Austrian’s positioning on crosses and discusses why the Sounders have conceded so many from that position. Better get the notebook out, Michael. Plenty of good tips here.
11. GOTW CONTENDERS
Plenty of variety with the contenders for AT&T Goal of the Week, this week. (WATCH) We have Thierry Henry’s lob, Diego Fagundez’s volley, Quincy Amarikwa’s scissor kick, Marco Di Vaio’s cool finish and Rodney Wallace’s near-post blast. Who do you think should win the gong? Get voting, guys.
12. ASSESSING THE COMMISH
Over at ESPN.com, Roger Bennett takes an in-depth look at the great things MLS Commissioner Don Garber has achieved since he joined the league. Garber revealed that having the New York Yankees and Manchester City alongside MLS is pivotal for the future: “Their involvement in our league proves that owning an MLS franchise has moved from being an intriguing investment to a valuable one.”
13. MLS FANTASY: KEANE AND DI VAIO STEAL THE SHOW
You probably already guessed it, but Robbie Keane and Marco Di Vaio piled up the points in MLS Fantasy: Soccer Manager this weekend. Keane high-scored with 21 points but Graham Zusi was still the most captained player. See who else made the Fantasy team of the week, plenty of Colorado Rapids and Montreal Impact stars involved.
14. CRYSTAL PALACE WIN PLAYOFFS, JOIN MEGA-RICH EPL
The South London side fought it out with Watford, and triumphed in extratime at Wembley on Monday, thanks to a Kevin Phillips penalty. That PK is worth at least $170 million to Palace next season. Their fans celebrated like it was worth it that and more.
15. TEST YOUR MLS KNOWLEDGE, ORLANDO SENTINEL STYLE
This is great. What’s better to wake up to on a Tuesday morning than a quick MLS pop quiz? It may not be that comprehensive or difficult, but it will separate the wheat from the chaff. Is The Sentinel newspaper in Orlando scoping out the knowledge of fans ahead of any potential MLS expansion side? If so, pretty smart.
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