After consistent failure in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, MLS teams always have had the same built-in alibis. Too early in the year, too little time to prepare. But not this season. There are no excuses for the Red Bulls. When they play their first-ever Champions League quarterfinal, hosting MLS foe Vancouver in the home leg at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m., Univision), the playing field will be level. “Not only is it important that this franchise to do well in CCL, but this entire league,’’ goalkeeper Luis Robles said. “Up until now, no team from Major League Soccer has won. Montreal was very close, they got to the final, yet in the end they fell. … When you’re looking from
D.C. United is back in action this afternoon, taking on St. Louis FC of the USL in their second match of the Suncoast Invitational. United showed some good signs during their 4-2 loss to the Montreal Impact, even if the score line itself doesn’t reflect that; they will look to build on that and try and put together a complete performance as they ramp up for the season. St. Louis FC are coached by former Chivas USA, Toronto FC, and Sacramento Republic manager Preki. The key for this game is to look at the changes, if any, Ben Olsen makes to his starting lineup. If it is the same group as against the Montreal Impact, that would seem to be an indicator that those are the likely starters on March
Patrick Mullins, whose arrival last summer helped invigorate D.C. United’s bland attack and secure an MLS playoff berth, has signed a multi-year contract extension. Sources familiar with the deal said he is slated to earn a base salary of $250,000 this year and $260,000 next year, with the club holding an option in 2019 worth $310,000. Last year Mullins had a base salary of $96,250 and overall earnings of $126,250, according to the MLS players’ union. Acquired in a trade with New York City FC, where his playing time had dwindled in his third pro season, the former University of Maryland star scored two goals in his first four starts and later recorded a hat trick against Chicago and a two-goal game against Orlando.