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.
CAPS SET TO FACE VICTORIA VIKES: Fresh off a nine-day training camp in Casa Grande, Ariz., the Vancouver Whitecaps FC continue preseason preparations on Sunday when they travel to Vancouver Island to face the University of Victoria Vikes.
It’s an annual match that dates back to 2005, with the ‘Caps holding a 6-1-1 record in the series.
Last year’s match at Centennial Stadium was pretty popular, too, drawing a crowd of more than 2,600. Youth players from the Whitecaps FC Island Academy will also be in attendance.
Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson talks about the match here:
RAPIDS DEFEAT UNLV: The Colorado Rapids hit the weekend on a high note, scoring a 2-0 victory Friday afternoon over UNLV in Las Vegas.
Final: 2-0 for #Rapids over UNLV. Goals from Chavez/Sanchez. Brown had great chances and was unlucky not to score. Last 30 min was strong.— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) February 14, 2014
Newly acquired forward Martin Chávez opened the scoring in the 60th minute and then Uruguyan forward Vicente Sánchez added on in the 71st minute to round out the scoring in the Rapids’ second preseason match. Colorado will next face Chivas USA on Sunday also in Las Vegas.
The boys over at the Rapids Podcast also had some fun with Drew Moor in honor of Valentine’s Day, getting the details on how the team captain popped the question to his longtime girlfriend.
FIRE TO BRING BACK BAROUCH: The Chicago Fire are set to bring a familiar face back into the picture.
The club announced on its website on Friday that the team will be joined in Tucson, Ariz., for its upcoming preseason preparations by Orr Barouch. The 22-year-old forward returns to the club after spending the past year-and-a-half on loan with Israeli Premier League side Bnei Yehuda, where he was a regular contributor.
Barouch signed with Chicago back in 2011 and made 28 appearances during his rookie season before being limited to just nine games in 2012.
CREW SIGN SWEAT AND BAIDEN: The Columbus Crew are rounding out their roster for the 2014 season, and announced Friday they have signed two of their recent SuperDraft picks, defender Ben Sweat and midfielder Kingsley "Fifi" Baiden. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Sweat, the team's 14th overall selection, is a full back who played collegiately at South Florida, where he set a school record for appearances. Baiden, taken 42nd overall, is a holding midfielder from UC Santa Barbara. Described as "small in stature" by coach Gregg Berhalter, Baiden was also called a good technical player and hard worker.
ARNAUD'S ARRIVAL TO NATION'S CAPITAL: D.C. United midfielder Davy Arnaud is still getting settled in at D.C. United, but he spoke about the process as well as his first impressions of the club in an exclusive interview on the team's website.
Arnaud stressed the importance of the preseason, but not just because it allows the team to fine-tune things on the field. It also allows them to grow together off of it.
"We had a day off the other day and we got a big group of guys, we all went to eat together, and it's not always like that on every team I've been on, but it seems like this group, everybody gets along very well," he said. "It's important because you want to have guys next to you on the field that you trust and that you want to battle and win for."
TIMBERS TALK TUCSON: The Portland Timbers recently finished their preseason stay in Tucson, Ariz., with a 2-0-2 record, and that unbeaten mark unsurprisingly has the team in good spirits as the games that truly matter draw closer.
Head coach Caleb Porter and several of his players, including newcomer Steve Zakuani, talked about their two-week visit in a video on the club's website. As you could imagine, they had nothing but positive things to say about how they trained and bonded in Tucson.
Additionally, Timbers owner Merrit Paulson excited fans by offering a glimpse of their upcoming jersey unveiling.
GOATS KEEP THE MULLET: Second-round MLS SuperDraft pick Thomas McNamara and his mullet are staying with Chivas USA. The Goats announced on Friday that they signed the attacking midfielder to a deal, though terms were not dislcosed.
The 22-year-old McNamara was taken with the 20th pick in last month's draft after opening some eyes at the MLS Combine with his play and unique hairstyle. McNamara, a New York native, finished his final year at Clemson with a team-high seven goals and also had eight assists.
LA GALAXY II WIN FIRST MATCH: LA Galaxy II are off to a winning start.
Several LA Galaxy hopefuls were on display on Thursday as the club's USL PRO team picked up a 2-1 win over the USL PDL's Fresno Fuego at Chukchansi Park in their inaugural match. Travis Bowen – the older brother of former Galaxy Homegrown product Tristan – and Raul Mendiola scored the goals for LA Galaxy II, who also fielded Jack McBean and Oscar Sorto.
REIGNING CHAMPS HEAD DOWN TO ORLANDO: Sporting Kansas City took to the air on Friday morning, traveling to Orlando ahead of their participation in this year's Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic. The club put a Vine video of its travel on Twitter, but next time someone should tell Ike Opara when social media is being used.
Orlando bound! https://t.co/iHIWLO7mls— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) February 14, 2014