Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. USMNT DISPATCHES BELIZE IN GROUP C OPENER: The feel-good atmosphere around the US national team looks like it's here to stay after another assertive victory against CONCACAF competition, a 6-1 win over Belize in their Gold Cup opener. Stuart Holden called it a "very professional performance" and it left manager Jurgen Klinsmann "very satisfied with the result." Watch Klinsmann's press conference here and watch the goals on U.S. Soccer's YouTube channel.
2. WONDO'S THREE GOALS, THREE "Ws" ARE STORY OF THE GAME: After getting his first international goal out of the way vs. Guatemala on Friday, the floodgates opened on Tuesday for MLS reigning Golden Boot champion Chris Wondolowski, who netted a hat trick vs. Belize, one for each "W" on the back of his jersey (including the extra third one). Watch him in this video as he offers a special thanks to Portland fans. Will he wear the misspelled "Wondowlowski" vs. Cuba?
3. TIMBERS ARMY TIFO MAKES HEADLINES: After the match, the USMNT raved about the support in Portland. In case you missed it, we give you every possible angle you can imagine, thanks to the expert photographers at JELD-WEN Field: super-wide shot, an eye-level shot from the lower tier, a glimpse from the stadium roof, another high-angle shot and lastly, the treatment by Deadspin.com. And watch the making of the tifo in this video. To think there were actually some fans upset with "Cascadia Sam."
4. USMNT PLAYER RATINGS – HOLDEN GETS HIGH GRADES: Mix Diskerud was a high vote-getter as far as our own Greg Seltzer is concerned. Compare his rankings to those of Jeff Carlisle's on ESPNFC.com and what Steve Davis dished out on Pro Soccer Talk.
5. LANDON DONOVAN BECOMES FIRST MEMBER OF 50-50 CLUB: Make it another statistical milestone for Donovan in his long-awaited return to the USMNT. After becoming the first player to reach 50 goals, on Tuesday he also notched his 50th assist. “I’m proud of it,” Donovan said. “But it’s better that it comes in a win.”
6. COSTA RICA JOIN USMNT ATOP GROUP C: The Ticos also took care of business in their Gold Cup opener, breaking through Cuba's defensive wall with three goals in the second half, including one by Columbus Crew forward Jairo Arrieta. Watch all the highlights here.
7. MORE PORTLAND NEWS – MLS COMMISSIONER AND TIMBERS OWNER TO MAKE ANNOUNCEMENT: Find out what it is when the stream of the event goes live at 4:30 pm ET on PortlandTimbers.com and MLSsoccer.com. If the MLS Commissioner is involved, it has to be big news.
8. DOES SILVA TRADE TO D.C. MEAN FORLAN ON HIS WAY? Toronto FC manager Ryan Nelsen says his club is hoping to "get something over the line soon with numerous players" during the MLS summer transfer window which officially opened on Tuesday. Those impending moves led to the trade of Luis Silva to D.C. United. But TFC fans are left wondering if 2010 World Cup Golden Ball winner Diego Forlán will be his replacement. "He is a good player and it wouldn’t be too bad to have him," says Nelsen.
9. D.C. MAKEOVER CONTINUES WITH REPORTED SIGNING OF HOMEGROWN STAR: The makeover looks to continue at D.C. United. After landing Jared Jeffrey and Luis Silva, the league's last-place club is also reportedly set to sign Collin Miller. He's a US youth international who just missed out on Tab Ramos' final Under-20 World Cup squad. Find out more about him here. WIll a transfer of Alain Rochat to Switzerland come next?
10. QUAKES AND FIRE ALSO MAKING MOVES: San Jose and Chicago were also busy on the open of the MLS summer transfer window. The Earthquakes added former English Premier League defender Jordan Stewart, while the Fire sent out Álvaro Fernández on loan again through the end of the year. Find out where he went here. Meanwhile, the Timbers sent one of their youngsters on loan to Sweden.
11. CHICAGO IN ACTION TONIGHT ON ESPN2: Call it the Cuauhtémoc Blanco Bowl. The two clubs for whom the Mexican great will most be identified with will meet in an intriguing international match at Toyota Park tonight and the game will be televised on ESPN2 (8:30 pm ET). Watch this preview of the match. According to this report in the Chicago Tribune, it's going to be a full house.
12. LA GALAXY TO ONCE AGAIN RECRUIT CHIVAS TALENT: Frenchman Laurent Courtois had an emotional send-off a couple of weekends ago when he scored in his last game for Chivas USA. But he hasn't had to move from LA. Apparently he is in training with the MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy.
13. LATEST SOCCER PLAYER TO MAKE HEADLINES WITH ESPN "THE BODY" ISSUE SHOOT: This year it's USWNT player Sydney Leroux, who is one of the 20 athletes featured in the fifth edition of the ESPN: The Magazine "The Body" issue, which features athletes in the nude. Some of the Leroux photos have already been released here.
14. IT'S OFFICIAL – JOZY ALTIDORE IS A SUNDERLAND PLAYER: Just this morning, he penned a "thank you" letter to AZ Alkmaar and the Dutch club's supporters on his personal website, one day after officially joining Paolo Di Canio and Sunderland.
15. ON THE TUBE: In addition to the Chicago vs. Club América friendly match (8:30 pm ET, ESPN2), there are three other international matches on the tube and each of them have a great deal riding on the final result. First, there are the FIFA Under-20 semifinals: France vs. Ghana (10:45 am ET, ESPNU) and Iraq vs. Uruguay (1:45 pm ET, ESPNU). Atlético Mineiro and Newell's Old Boys will also do battle in a Copa Libertadores semifinal (8:30 pm ET, Fox Deportes).
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