Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. CENTENNIAL EDITION OF US OPEN CUP KICKS OFF TUESDAY
When surveying the state of the professional game in the United States, many rightly point out that MLS is merely a teenager, still waiting to find out what it can become with a bit more maturation. If that's the case, then the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is the grandfather of the game. And on Tuesday, it will officially turn 100 years old as the play-in round begins today. You can find all the information you could possibly want about today's games here, as well as previews for the first round games scheduled for May 14-15.
2. MLS TRANSFER WINDOW CLOSES WITHOUT FANFARE
Apart from Kei Kamara's triumphant return (we'll get to that in a second), the MLS transfer window closed on Monday without a flurry of deals. Colorado did manage to sneak a signing in during the early evening, however, picking up Colombian defender Germán Mera on loan from Deportivo Cali through the end of the 2013 season. Meanwhile, FC Dallas' mysterious transfer dealings didn't work out, and no team has gotten anywhere with Ecuadorian midfielder Walter Ayoví despite the Monterrey standout's professed interest in MLS.
3. KAMARA WASTES NO TIME FEELING AT HOME IN KC
Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes didn't think he'd be back, but Kamara swaggered into the team's training facility on Monday to chat with the press and reconnect with his teammates after his loan ended at Norwich City. Then he advertised a dinner party on Twitter and bought 200 people Chipotle later at night. Typical Kei. You can watch his press conference here.
4. WILL KAMARA MAKE DEBUT VS. SHORT-HANDED SOUNDERS?
The SKC forward will train Tuesday with the team in hopes of taking the field for the first time this season on Wednesday against Seattle (8:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE). But who will Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid have to choose from? He certainly can't call on DeAndre Yedlin or Lamar Neagle, both of whom saw red against Philly at the weekend. He may not have Obafemi Martins or Eddie Johnson either. Johnson isn't injured, but if you watch this week's edition of Instant Replay, you can see why the Disciplinary Committee might have something to say about his game status.
5. ROBBIE ROGERS' SITUATION CONTINUES TO DRAW HEADLINES
Will he? Won't he? If he does return, where will he end up? Those are questions we're likely to hear for the foreseeable future. Check out the latest from the Chicago Fire here (hint: they won't give away the rights to Robbie Rogers). Meanwhile, Avi Creditor says the situation only has one logical conclusion. Stayed tuned to MLSsoccer.com for all the latest.
6. ARRIOLA EXPLAINS MOVE TO CLUB TIJUANA OVER LA GALAXY
The Galaxy weren't surprised when Paul Arriola chose the Liga MX over a first-team MLS contract, but they were disappointed considering the former US U-17 player seems to have a bright future. Arriola explained his decision to MLSsoccer.com's Tom Marshall on Monday after "months and months" of weighing the positives and negatives of both situations. In the end, the San Diego native decided to stay close to home: “I felt that Xolos was the place for me. I love the club, it's my home team and the people down there are wonderful.”
7. DOMINIC KINNEAR ON EXTRATIME RADIO, BEDOYA JOINS SBI PODCAST
If you need something to listen to during your morning commute or to keep you focused on a Tuesday morning, we've got you covered. First, listen in as Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear calls in from LAX to discuss his team's big road win vs. the Galaxy as well as a myriad of league topics. Then Alejandro Bedoya joins the SBI Show to talk about his season at Helsingborg and his hopes for a USMNT return.
8. MLS PLAYERS UNION RELEASES 2013 SALARY DATA
It's a day fans and journalists alike look forward to each year; MLS salary information, released by the MLS Players Union, is out for public consumption. Plenty of people are already breaking down the data.
9. ORLANDO CITY HIT STADIUM IMPASSE BUT STILL TARGET MLS
House Bill No. 7127 would have helped provide key funding for a soccer stadium in downtown Orlando, but it never made it up for vote. That's not deterring Orlando City SC, though, who are calling what many thought might be a near-fatal blow a "setback." Still, some are wondering if Mayor Buddy Dyer rushed into buying the plot of land the stadium is set to be built on. For now, it's a waiting game in central Florida.
10. BREK SHEA "HASN'T BEEN ANYWHERE NEAR IT" FOR STOKE SO FAR
Now, take that quote above with a grain of salt. Potters boss Tony Pulis has faith in the young American as the club inches toward EPL safety. It's just that Shea arrived following an operation on his foot and is taking time to return to fitness and form. According to Pulis, that was the plan all along: "He was always one for next season. The football club didn't buy Brek to come in and change water into wine. That was never going to be the case."
11. USWNT GOALSCORERS ALEX MORGAN AND MIA HAMM CONNECT
Mia Hamm training Alex Morgan in the arts of goalscoring? Watch out NWSL and the US international opponents. That can't be good for opposing backlines. That's the most interesting nugget in Grant Wahl's Monday roundup at SI.com, which also reveals that LA and Frank Lampard are still doggedly working on a deal.
12. DISKERUD ON MEETING MANDELA AND HIS INTERNATIONAL FUTURE
Mikkel "Mix" Diskerud is one of those players fans love to hype and hate to see left out of the US picture. The thing is, he's not cap-tied to the USMNT just yet, and Norway seems plenty interested in his services as well. In an e-mail exchange with Goal.com, he discussed plenty, but refused to address that pressing issue: "I would rather not address the issue publicly. And I have not done so to the Norwegian press either."
13. BLAZER ISSUED BAN BY FIFA
Former CONCACAF general secretary, American Chuck Blazer, was provisionally banned by FIFA on Monday afternoon in light of alleged breaches of the body's code of ethics that "appear to have been committed," according to a FIFA statement. The ban is for 90 days.
14. DORTMUND FANS ARE CRAZY, AND THERE SURE ARE A LOT OF THEM
There are very few cities populated by half-a-million souls. But if Borussia Dortmund fans had their way, they'd pack all 500,000 of their brethren into Wembley on May 25 for an epic final vs. Bayern Munich. Of course, that won't happen. The club has only 24,000 to go around. Talk about a soccer lottery.
15. HAVE LIVERPOOL DRIVEN AREA SURROUNDING STADIUM INTO DECLINE?
A report from The Guardian and the area's residents believe that to be the case. Apparently, the club has been buying up houses surrounding the stadium in case of expansion for decades, leaving them empty and, in the process, speeding the decline of the neighborhood around the ground. What do you think? Read the report and discuss in the comment section below.
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- Kei Kamara