The intensity is gradually ratcheting up as MLS preseason training continues at a variety of locations around the world. Catch all the other news and updates from MLS training camps below. And for the entire February preseason schedule, click here.
From the hiring of new head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter to bringing in US national team fixture Michael Parkhurst, there have been a lot of changes since the Columbus Crew last took the field.
And fans will get a sneak peak of what those changes look like in motion when the Crew take the field for the first time in 2014, on Wednesday against Swedish Allsvenskan champion Malmö FF in Bradenton, Fla. And ColumbusCrew.com gave us five things to look for to prepare for the match. Will Parkhust play? Who will be in goal? Where will Dominic Oduro, another newcomer, play? All questions Crew fans will surely like the answer to.
WHITECAPS HIT THE DESERT: Vancouver traveled from British Columbia to Arizona on Monday, and fittingly, captain Jay DeMerit led the team off the bus upon arrival (see below).
The 'Caps kicked off the next phase of their preseason with a Tuesday training session in Casa Grande, and will face new NASL club Indy XI in a Wednesday scrimmage before two meetings with Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders FC in the days ahead. VWFC observers have plenty of questions about Carl Robinson's new-look unit and will be hoping to find some answers this week.
GALAXY II DEBUT: LA marked another small piece of history on Tuesday, as coach Curt Onalfo led the first-ever training session for the club's new USL PRO squad (photo below). Galaxy II have also confirmed the details of their first game, a preseason clash with USL PDL side Fresno Fuego on Feb. 15.
Exactly one week later the reserves will meet the first team in the Galaxy's inaugural "Blue and White Game" at StubHub Center, which will be open to the public. Meanwhile, the first team meets hallway rivals Chivas USA in a scrimmage on Wednesday.
EARTHQUAKES ARRIVE: After unveiling their new crest and kits on home turf last week, San Jose jetted south to Tucson for their first session in Arizona on Tuesday morning. The Quakes scrimmage Seattle on Wednesday.
PRANKSTERS LURKING IN REVS CAMP: The New England Revolution have entered the second week of their stint in Bradenton, Fla., where they met the Philadelphia Union in a Tuesday afternoon scrimmage before a Thursday duel with the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers of NASL.
But first, Andrew Farrell and Lee Nguyen found a prime opportunity for a brief but entertaining edition of "Scare Cam," with Paolo DelPiccolo their victim. Interestingly, it appears Farrell is getting some minutes in central midfield against the Union; the Revs are providing updates on their Twitter feed.
TIMBERS TRAINING HARD: Portland are also ramping up their preparations in Arizona and their Tuesday session was attended by The Oregonian beat writer Jamie Goldberg, who provided detailed updates via Twitter.
Notably, it sounds like Diego Valeri and Steve Zakuani are making solid progress towards full fitness, while newcomer Gastón Fernández may be in contention for set-piece delivery duties this season. Left back Michael Harrington has rejoined the team after a month in camp with the US national team.
UNITED PUTTING IN WORK: One of many MLS teams hiding out from snowy weather back home, D.C. United continue to mold their dramatically remodeled squad into shape in Bradenton. United's official blog has a bevy of photos from Tuesday's session ahead of a scrimmage against Eastern Conference rivals Toronto FC on Wednesday (live stream on MLSsoccer.com).
But some things never change, like the extra duties assigned to rookies on the training ground, in this case Homegrown Jalen Robinson.
PINEDA IMPRESSES FIRE: It's still early in preseason, but one of Chicago's most promising Homegrown products has already begun to stake his claim for a bigger role in 2014.
New coach Frank Yallop has described Victor Pineda as one of the most impressive youngsters in camp thus far, and the longtime US youth international hopes it lays the groundwork for a place in the starting 11 on opening day. Pineda tells Chicago-Fire.com that his goal is to "try to get into that first game, try to earn a starting spot, keep that starting spot and do my best to represent the club I’ve spent half my life playing for."