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.
CASCADIA ON TOUR: The Seattle Sounders are getting a chance to size up both of their Cascadia rivals this weekend in Tucson. The Sounders played the Portland Timbers to a 0-0 draw on Saturday evening (Recap | Highlights). Both teams fielded near first-choice lineups for the first 60 minutes of the encounter, but were unable to put one home.
Sigi Schmid's (admittedly rotated) squad did not seem any worse for wear when they got back on the field on Sunday afternoon as they topped the Vancouver Whitecaps by a score of 2-1 in the teams' second meeting of the preseason. The highlight of the day was unquestionably a sizzling volley from forward Kevin Parsemain – a Martinique international currently on trial with the Sounders) – his second tally of the preseason to open the scoring.
Andy Rose added the second for the Sounders with a well-placed header before Carlyle Mitchell pulled one back for the 'Caps. Canadian international Russell Teibert also missed a chance to equalize from the penalty spot with the Sounders leading 1-0, sending his effort over the bar.
GALAXY RALLY FOR WIN: The LA Galaxy took the field at the StubHub Center for the first time in 2014 and came away with a well-earned 2-1 comeback win over reigning Armenian champions Shirak FC (Recap).
The four-time MLS Cup winners initially fell behind in the 35th minute when Serge Deble got around Jaime Penedo to finish off a breakaway, but got one back just before halftime as newly-minted Brazilian forward Samuel tapped in from close range off an Omar Gonzalez knockdown on a free kick (watch here).
Second-year forward Gyasi Zardes, demonstrating much-improved finishing technique, bagged the winner in the 75th minute when he coolly slotted home a deflected shot from Baggio Husidic at the top of the box (watch here). See what the LA Galaxy players and staff had to say after the game and check out LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano's three takeaways from the team's win.
The Galaxy's next stop is Mexico City, where they will face Liga MX outfit Pumas UNAM in a closed-door scrimmage before heading back to California to take on the San Jose Earthquakes in Fresno next Saturday.
FIRE ROOKIES IMPRESS: Two revamped Eastern Conference teams took the field in Bradenton on Saturday night as the Chicago Fire and D.C. United squared off, and some unlikely heroes guided Chicago to a 2-0 win (Recap | Highlights).
Head coach Frank Yallop sent out most of his first-choice players to start the game, but the veterans were unable to generate any push against United. The youth came through in the second half for Chicago, though, with Benji Joya – who only had two training sessions under his belt since joining Chicago in a weighted lottery – rasping a shot off the post before Homegrown signing Harrison Shipp turned in the rebound. Shipp then turned provider for Chicago's second goal when he found trialist Grant Ward after a storming run, who coolly finished in traffic.
“Anytime your young players can get a chance to play and express themselves in a game like this it’s great,” Fire head coach Frank Yallop told Chicago-Fire.com. “It’s about competition for places and I’m not afraid to play a young player at all.”
Check out what Shipp had to say after his impressive showing:
The Rojiblancos were back on the training field Sunday.
OUT IN THE COLD: Most MLS teams are enjoying their preseasons in sunny locales such as Florida, Arizona, LA or even the Middle East in the case of FC Dallas, but the Rapids have opted to stay right at home in chilly Colorado for the time being. That doesn't seem to be an issue for reigning Rookie of the Year Dillon Powers, though:
Also, be sure to check out the latest edition of the Rapids Podcast as the guys talk to three youngsters who've enjoyed some success in the preseason and debate the team's ideal starting XI. Of course, there's also the issue of finding a new head coach.