Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. LAGERWEY TALKS RSL CONTRACT
Despite Jason Kreis's departure, Real Salt Lake have maintained their continuity and success on the field thanks to the promotion of Kreis assistant Jeff Cassar to the role of head coach. But what about the situation with another key figure, longtime general manager Garth Lagerwey, who is out of contract at the end of the season? Should fans be worried? Not according to this Q&A, in which he also touches on expansion, among other things.
2. BELTRAN TAKING HIS CHANCES
Staying in Salt Lake, RSL right back Tony Beltran arguably still has a shot at making the US national team’s World Cup squad. That idea may have seemed unlikely just a couple of months ago, but now, Beltran says, he feels very confident, mainly because the US finally used a formation he knows.
3. BRADLEY THE FAMILY MAN
4. MLS IMPACT ON USMNT
When Clint Dempsey scored his second goal in Seattle's win over Dallas on Saturday, US national team fans smiled knowing one of their key players was finally back in form. His form, in fact, is so good, that he earned a second consecutive MLS Player of the Week award and made an assault on the top spot in Bleacher Report's MLS Player Power Rankings.
5. USMNT BENEFITTING FROM MLS PLAY
Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley aren't alone in the good-form category. Maurice Edu also netted for the Philadelphia Union over the weekend, and Michael Parkhurst had another strong performance for the Columbus Crew. According to SB Nation, it all points to the fact that MLS returns appear to be paying dividends for many US stars ahead of the World Cup.
6. NYC FC IN THE HOUSE RUTH BUILT?
The New York Times on Monday evening cited two sources claiming that New York City FC will play their first three seasons at Yankee Stadium. There was no confirmation from the club, but the article says an announcement could come next week.
7. RED BULLS LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
The New York Red Bulls have yet to win this season, and while head coach Mike Petke admitted that it may be starting to affect his team’s mentality a little, the players are trying to stay optimistic ahead of Wednesday night’s increasingly vital game against the Philadelphia Union (7.30 pm ET, Free Stream on MLSsoccer.com). One question for Petke is, who should start up top, Peguy Luyindula or Bradley Wright-Phillips?
8. YOUNG UNION STARS READY FOR NEXT TEST
As the Philadelphia Union look towards two games this week, they will have to count on solid performances from Raymon Gaddis. “I’ve grown tremendously … My defending is very good now, not just 1 v 1, but collectively, as a back four, I [think] it’s been good.” At the other end of the field, newly acquired striker Andrew Wenger has already opened his Union account, and the Philadelphia native took no time to further engratiate himself with his hometown fans, signing autographs in a place he used to work.
9. MORE YOUNG TALENT ON DISPLAY
Down in Frisco, Texas, the best and brightest of MLS's U-17 academy teams have convened for the final rounds of the Generation adidas Cup. On opening day, a wild one between New York and Seattle finished in a draw (RBNY won in PKs), while San Jose held Chivas de Guadalajara to a 0-0 scoreline (Chivas won in PKs). Get all the details from Day 1. Tonight, at 9 pm ET, watch Real Salt Lake take on English club Stoke City live.
10. FIRST OF MANY FOR BENGTSON?
A former Generation adidas player, Teal Bunbury, has recently returned from injury. It was an arduous journey, but the New England Revolution forward is starting to find his form again. As his his teammate Jerry Bengtson, who scored his first goal of the season on Saturday. “it’s just the first one … Hopefully I can do more for the club,” the Honduran international says.
11. MLSER IN MEXICAN YOUTH TEAM
More Real Salt Lake news. Young center back Carlos Salcedo has been called up by the Mexican Under-21 national team for the very first time. While representing your nation is always a big deal, Salcedo seems equally thrilled to represent his club in Mexico: “I’m just really excited to show the coaching staff how much I’ve developed since I came to Real Salt Lake, and how much my game has grown in MLS.”
12. CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL SET TO BEGIN
Tuesday night sees the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League final between Cruz Azul and Toluca (8 pm ET, Fox Sports 2), and it’s certainly not a battle of the underdogs. Cruz Azul are attempting to win the continental title for a record sixth time, while Toluca are going for their third. A victory could prove important to Cruz Azul for other reasons as well, though.
13. SLUGGING AWAY IN LOUISVILLE
When Orlando City make the step up to MLS, the owners will have to decide what to do with their USL PRO franchise rights. While one of the club's operators is still keen to see the team move to Louisville, Wayne Estopinal, an architect from the area, feels he’ll need more investors to help ensure the team’s bright future.
14. ALTIDORE’S A CLASS ACT
Jozy Altidore is struggling to see the field with Sunderland at the minute. But the US international showed his true character off the field in his response to fan mail from a young fan with Williams Syndrome.
15. DONOVAN’S VIDEOBOMB
Is Landon Donovan the world’s greatest player? Better than Lionel Messi and David Beckham combined? The player himself certainly doesn’t think so, but we imagine he's better than both of them at video-bombing Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano's TV stand-up.
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