Joe Willis in  action vs. Colorado
USA Today Sports

MLS Preseason Tracker: United send three to Richmond, Quakes loan Bingham and Garza (Feb. 27)

Opening day 2014 is just around the corner, and MLS preseason action rolls on across Arizona, Florida, South Carolina, Oregon and beyond. Catch up with news and updates from MLS training camps below. And for the entire February preseason schedule, click here.


Sporting Kansas City 4, Indy Eleven 2 | HIGHLIGHTS
Toronto FC 0, Philadelphia Union 0 (Disney Pro Soccer Classic) | RECAP
Chivas USA 0, Colorado Rapids 0 (Desert Diamond Cup) | RECAP
New York Red Bulls 1, Fluminense U-23s 0 (Disney Pro Soccer Classic) | RECAP
Seattle Sounders FC 1, Houston Dynamo 1 (Carolina Challenge Cup) | RECAP
New England Revolution 1, Chicago Fire 0 (Desert Diamond Cup) | RECAP
Columbus Crew 4, Orlando City 4 (Disney Pro Soccer Classic) | RECAP
D.C. United 1, Charleston Battery 1 (Carolina Challenge Cup) | RECAP
Sporting Kansas City 3, Montreal Impact 2 (Disney Pro Soccer Classic) | RECAP
San Jose Earthquakes 0, Vancouver Whitecaps 2 (Rose City Invitational) | RECAP
Real Salt Lake 3, FC Tucson 1 (Desert Diamond Cup) | RECAP
Portland Timbers 1, Portmore United 1 (Rose City Invitational) | RECAP


UNITED SEND THREE TO RICHMOND: D.C. United and the Richmond Kickers announced Thursday the first three players to report to the USL PRO side as part of the teams' extended partnership.

Goalkeeper Joe Willis, midfielder Collin Martin and forward Christiano Francois will be sent to Richmond and are expected to report ahead of the Kickers’ match Saturday against the University of Maryland. The three will then return to D.C. United next week, ahead of their season opener March 8 at home against the Columbus Crew (7 pm, MLS Live).

Willis is entering his third season with United and has played in 23 matches for the Black and Red, making 71 saves, including a memorable penalty kick save against the New York Red Bulls in the 2012 MLS Cup playoffs.

Martin was United’s sixth Homegrown signing, joining the team midway through last season after playing one year at Wake Forest University.

Francois, who played last season at Maryland, signed on with D.C. this offseason. 

EARTHQUAKES LOAN TWO TO SCORPIONS: The San Jose Earthquakes announced Thursday that they have loaned goalkeeper David Bingham and midfielder Sam Garza (pictured above) to the San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL.

As part of the agreement, the Earthquakes will have the option to recall either player at any point during the loan.

Bingham, 24, has made five MLS appearances since joining the Earthquakes through a weighted lottery before the 2011 season. The former All-American at Cal also started three of the club’s four CONCACAF Champions League group matches and each of San Jose’s four Lamar Hunt US Open Cup games since 2012.

Garza, 24, has made 11 MLS appearances in his two years with the club. He was San Jose’s first-round pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft after a standout college career with UC Santa Barbara. Garza has amassed two goals and six assists in Reserve League action over the last two years and also had a game-winning brace against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the 2012 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

The Earthquakes will also loan a minimum of two players to Sacramento Republic FC as part of a USL PRO affiliation agreement. Those players will be announced at a later date.

NESTA RETURNS: After his retirement in October, Alessandro Nesta was reported to be in line for the Montreal Impact's head coaching job.

That turned out not to be true, but the Quebec club have nonetheless found a place for the Italian legend, who will return to L'Impact as a consultant to the technical staff, apparently with a focus on scouting and video analysis, according to sporting director Nick De Santis.

Meanwhile, head coach Frank Klopas and members of his team offered up some thoughts on their 3-2 loss to Sporting KC at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic last night.

"We just have to do a little better letting up bad goals at tough times," said Klopas. "There was a lack of concentration and maybe a little fatigue, but it will get better. I thought there were good at moments in the game."

RED BULLS MARCH ON: The defending Supporters' Shield champions have been all business so far this preseason, running up a 3-1 record and showing signs that they are ready to pick up right where they left off last season.

RBNY dispatched Fluminense's U-23 team 1-0 last night on the strength of a beautiful free-kick strike by Rubén Bover, and afterwards Bover and coach Mike Petke discussed the match.

If you haven't seen Bover's golazo yet, the video clip includes footage:

QUAKES IN THE VALLEY: The San Jose Earthquakes announced on Thursday that they will close out their preseason with an exhibition match against their new USL PRO affiliates, Sacramento Republic FC, at CSU Stanislaus’ Warrior Field in Turlock, Calif., on March 5.

The match will mark the first game for the Republic, who are coached by MLS legend Preki.

Turlock is a town of some 68,000 residents in the state's Central Valley about 100 miles east of San Jose. It will also play host to the Quakes' new PDL team.  

Back in the South Bay, Quakes president Dave Kaval continues to provide photo updates on the construction process at the club's new stadium, which is rapidly taking shape:

RETURN OF THE MARINER: Paul Mariner is returning to MLS ... but in the broadcast booth, not the technical area.

The longtime New England Revolution assistant coach (and short-lived Toronto FC boss) will join the Revs' broadcast team as a color analyst alongside Brad Feldman, a New England institution entering his 14th year of Revs coverage, the club announced on Thursday.

A former England international and revered icon at Liverpool FC, Mariner was head coach Steve Nicol's right-hand man throughout New England's successful period during the early 2000s. He later worked as director of player development at TFC before a brief stint at the helm between the Aron Winter and Ryan Nelsen regimes. 

CHUECA OUT AT CHIVAS:  Peruvian-born midfielder Carlo Chueca has been waived by Chivas USA, the club announced on Thursday

A former member of the Goats' youth academy, the 20-year-old signed with the senior team in August after a stint in Belgium.

Chueca made five appearances for the club in 2013, notching one assist.

MAGIC MIKE MATERIALIZES: The Chicago Daily Herald called it a contract holdout, while Fire technical director Brian Bliss said it was nothing of the sort, chalking it up to a media junket, a hamstring injury and a family matter. 

Whatever the reasons, reigning league MVP Mike Magee has been absent from the Chicago Fire's preseason camp in Tucson, Ariz., for a few days. But he returned late Wednesday evening, drawing a warm welcome as the Men in Red count down to opening day:


Stay connected: Get access to breaking news, videos, and analysis from North America's best soccer reporters via "This Week in MLS" newsletter or using our FREE mobile app.