Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. GALAXY DOWNED IN TIJUANA
The LA Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League adventure ended in disappointment Tuesday night following a 4-2 defeat (4-3 on aggregate) at the hands of regional rivals Club Tijuana (watch highlights here). Robbie Keane managed to score two goals for the visiting Galaxy but, sadly, it wasn’t enough and the Irish international summed it up fittingly after a slow start: “The game was really over after the first 10 minutes. Simple as that.”
2. MORE CCL ACTION
With the Galaxy out, attention now turns to the two MLS teams still in contention to reach the CCL semifinals. The San Jose Earthquakes' trip to Toluca is up first on Wednesday night (8 pm ET, Fox Sports 2), but the Quakes head into the match carrying quite a few injuries. That game is immediately followed by Sporting Kansas City’s second leg against Cruz Azul (10 pm ET, Fox Sports 2) and, despite holding a 1-0 lead from the first match, SKC are under no illusions as to the enormity of their task.
3. GOING GREEN
There was exciting news for US national team fans on Tuesday, now that Bayern Munich youngster Julian Green has chosen to play for the US rather than Germany and has filed for a onetime change of association with FIFA. This is a big get for US boss Jurgen Klinsmann and, as Green explains, it was the treatment he received while with the team in Frankfurt -- including receiving a shirt from Clint Dempsey -- that convinced him to join the US. While Klinsmann praised the growth of soccer in the US for helping secure their new player, how excited should US fans really get about the latest addition to the pool?
4. CHERUNDOLO CALLS IT A CAREER?
From the future of the US national team to a man who played in so many memorable matches, it appears that longtime defender Steve Cherundolo is set to announce his retirement on Wednesday. Hampered by knee injuries for the past few years after playing such a large role in the US team's success at the 2010 World Cup, Cherundolo finishes his international career with 87 caps and appeared in 370 career matches with German side Hannover 96.
5. GOMEZ TROLLS EL TRI
Once Herculez Gomez was finished rubbing salt in the wounds of LA Galaxy fans on Tuesday night he turned his attention to the Mexican national team, and the US striker doesn’t believe new manager Miguel Herrera did particularly much in the country's intercontinental playoff games against New Zealand that former manager Víctor Manuel Vucetich couldn’t have done.
6. DEMPSEY TALKS PRESSURE
A lot has been said about Clint Dempsey’s form and lack of goals over the past few months, but the US captain played a big part in the Seattle Sounders' winner against Sporting Kansas City in the season opener and bagged himself his first goal of 2014 against Toronto FC last weekend. Now that he’s scored, does he feel the pressure has been lifted at all? “I don’t look at it like that," he said. "I keep the same mindset – going out, working hard and trying to get as many goals as possible.” While the Sounders continue to gel, what has Sigi Schmid made of Dempsey’s growing chemistry with Obafemi Martins and the first two game as a whole?
7. DEFOE OFF TO HOT START
Jermain Defoe made a dream start to his time in Toronto with two goals against the Seattle Sounders and a Player of the Week award as well. Performances like that could help him get to the World Cup in Brazil, and the Englishman believes he can make it: “If I can get that experience of playing in a second World Cup, I can come back here on a high and help the team again. That’s all I want to do.” Can Defoe make the England squad? He’s certainly won over Eric Wynalda.
8. SPORTING KC VS. MAN. CITY?
Sporting Kansas City announced Tuesday that they will take on English Premier League side and perennial title challengers Manchester City this summer. City will travel to the US as part of the Guinness Champions Cup, but have found time in their schedule to take on the reigning MLS Cup champions at Sporting Park on July 23.
9. YOUNG AND RESTLESS IN COLORADO
Coaching was always a career path Pablo Mastroeni wanted to take after retiring last season, and it's no surprise that he'll build his team around a strong defense now that he's in charge. Check out this interview with Mastroeni, in which he discusses a number of Colorado Rapids topics this year and downplays the idea that his team is too young to hang tough in 2014: "I don’t really look into that too much. As a player, managers and media harped on age. I think it’s such a talking point for the sports pundits as opposed to the reality of the game."
10. HASSLI STAYING IN TEXAS
Eric Hassli didn’t have to go far to find a new club. After parting ways with FC Dallas over the winter, the former Designated Player has joined the NASL’s San Antonio Scorpions. The Scorpions harbor MLS ambitions of their own though and Hassli’s first game could come as early as Thursday when the Scorpions take on the Houston Dynamo in a scrimmage.
11. 'CAPS GOT WHAT THEY DESERVED SAYS REO-COKER
Despite playing against 10 men for the majority of their game on Sunday, the Vancouver Whitecaps were lucky to come away with a point against Chivas USA. Nigel Reo-Coker was particularly culpable for the pass that allowed Chivas to score the opening goal and, reflecting on the game, he said the team got what it deserved in the draw. Still, the future is still looking good for the ‘Caps, and new star Pedro Morales is settling in nicely to life in Vancouver.
12. RSL BRANCHING OUT AGAIN
Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen is set to make his proposal on Wednesday for a new six-field soccer complex in Oceanside, Calif., a potential home for the club's future USL PRO team. Says a team official: “[Hansen] is really excited about the possibility of Oceanside being a home to a minor league soccer team that we operate and have an interest in."
13. END OF AN ERA FOR INDOOR SOCCER
While professional soccer continues to grow in North America, it looks as though it could be the end of the line for the Major Indoor Soccer League. The USL acquired the league in 2011 and released a statement earlier this week indicating that the MISL could be on the chopping block. Needless to say, this news was not met favorably by many of the team owners.
14. LISTEN TO ME
Amobi Okugo has quickly become a leader on the Philadelphia Union backline, so much so that he was granted the captain's armband in the team's home opener last Saturday. But if you’ve ever wanted to hear exactly what the young center back says while he's on the field, then here’s your chance.
15. MLS INSIDER RETURNS
MLS announced on Tuesday that the acclaimed MLS Insider documentary series will be returning for the 2014 season with new episodes appearing on KICKTV. Check out the new episode was released on Tuesday, looking at the battle for Southern California between the LA Galaxy and Club Tijuana.
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