Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. DEMPSEY DELIRIUM HITS OVERDRIVE: It’s tough to imagine a single player signing overshadowing a full weekend of MLS action, but it happened with Clint Dempsey’s transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to the Seattle Sounders. Watch his presentation in front of the Sounders faithful and his first interview with the Sounders TV crew. But there’ll be plenty more Dempsey talk Monday as he faces the media for the first time in press conference streamed live here at 5 pm ET.
2. REACTION TO SHOCK TRANSFER: Veteran soccer writer Jeff Bradley has seen plenty of players come and go in MLS, but he’s adamant that Dempsey’s is “the biggest shock move in MLS history.” Here’s what Dempsey’s new teammates had to say about the move. One writer argues that the Sounders have set a new bar for MLS clubs, while USMNT No. 1 GK Tim Howard saw the Dempsey transfer coming a few years back.
3. SOUNDERS RIDE DEMPSEY BUZZ TO VICTORY: By the way, there was also a match played in Seattle on Saturday, and it was no contest. The Sounders prevailed easily, blanking FC Dallas 3-0 at CenturyLink Field with goals by Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins (see how EJ celebrated with Dempsey here). But the visitors contributed in a big way to their own downfall: watch the highlights to see for yourself.
4. WERE DYNAMO, GALAXY IN RUNNING FOR DEMPSEY?: If the Houston Dynamo were in fact Dempsey’s first choice, as reported by ESPNFC.com, the two-time MLS Cup champs weren’t aware of it. But even if he had become available, the Dynamo admit that “it would have been difficult for us to assume such a financial commitment.” Meanwhile, Eric Wynalda reported the Galaxy were also in the running, but LA manager Bruce Arena refused to comment.
5. CAN DEMPSEY OUTDO “MAGIC MIKE”?: Dempsey has plenty of work to do to match the MVP season that Mike Magee is putting together for the Chicago Fire. Magee’s latest accomplishment? Another game-winner, this time in a 2-1 victory at Philadelphia (watch the highlights here). And while Magee now leads MLS with 14 goals, former MLS top scorer Jack McInerney has gone ice cold and admits being frustrated. Reigning Golden Boot holder Chris Wondolowski, meanwhile, seems back on track after his brace vs. Chivas USA (watch the highlights here).
6. DEMPSEY COMES, DONOVAN GOES?: After Landon Donovan confirmed to FutbolMLS.com during the AT&T MLS All-Star Game that “if there are offers, I will analyze them,” when his MLS contract runs out in December, sources tell Goal.com that “multiple clubs in multiple European countries [have reached out to Donovan].” It should make for an interesting offseason, especially heading into a World Cup year.
7. DONOVAN, GALAXY TOPPLE ITALIAN CHAMPS: The defending MLS Cup champs had a bye weekend, while they continued their participation in the International Champions Cup, which made a stop at Dodger Stadium. The Galaxy ensured the doubleheader was a memorable one with a 3-1 win over Serie A champions Juventus. Watch how LA pulled it off here (highlights).
8. RAPIDS ON THE RISE, CLAIM ROCKY MOUNTAIN CUP: It’s not typical for the goalkeeper to be the man of the match in a 2-2 tie. But Real Salt Lake manager Jason Kreis had no doubts about the performance against the Colorado Rapids by Nick Rimando (watch the highlights here), who Kreis claims is having “the best year of his entire playing career.” But the draw was still enough for the Rapids to claim their first Rocky Mountain Cup since 2006.
9. RSL SET SIGHTS ON USOC SEMIFINAL VS. PORTLAND: The clash against their rivals was of secondary importance to RSL with the upcoming US Open Cup semifinal against the Portland Timbers looming Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET). In fact, Kreis yanked Javier Morales early after complaints of muscle tightness: “I’m hoping it was precautionary,” Kreis said. “There’s no doubt Wednesday is the most important game of the week, and probably the month.”
10. TIMBERS HELD BY “PINCHERS” IN CASCADIA CUP MATCH: RSL’s upcoming USOC opponents looked well on their way to claiming all three points against Cascadia rivals Vancouver Whitecaps. But ‘Caps left back Jordan Harvey continues to find the back of the net, scoring an equalizer off a corner kick with 20 minutes to go (watch the highlights here). Timbers manager Caleb Porter was still convinced “we were clearly the better team” and noted how Vancouver were “just trying to pinch the game.” Fits the “big hearts, brass balls” mentality showcased by the Timbers Army tifo (see photo).
11. WHITECAPS STARTING ‘KEEPER BENCHED: It may have come as a surprise to many that Vancouver starting ‘keeper Brad Knighton was benched in favor of recent arrival Dave Ousted in Saturday night’s 1-1 tie vs. Portland. Knighton reveals having a “nice, long conversation” with manager Martin Rennie on Friday and he tells Philly.com that he feels he’s “done everything I possibly could to show that I’m capable of being a No. 1 in this league, whether it’s here or some place else.”
12. MAKE ROOM FOR A NEW NO. 1: Real Salt Lake’s draw allowed the New York Red Bulls to catch them atop the Supporters’ Shield standings. RBNY shocked Sporting Kansas City with a 3-2 win at Sporting Park (watch the highlights here), employing a clinical counterattack that exposed Sporting’s back line and enraged SKC manager Peter Vermes: “Our desire in the second half to close that game out was not of Sporting level. The guys are going to feel this one; they’re going to feel it from me.”
13. STOP THE PRESSES — DC, TORONTO WIN ON SAME WEEKEND: They entered the Week 23 slate with a combined five victories between them, but that didn’t prevent the bottom two teams in the East, DC and Toronto, from causing the weekend’s biggest upsets. Inspired by their newcomers, DC shocked MLS Cup contenders Montreal with a convincing 3-1 win at RFK (watch the highlights here), while Toronto got an early solo goal from DP Matias Laba and held on to beat New England on the road (watch the highlights here).
14. ANOTHER NAME LEAKS FOR USMNT ROSTER VS. BOSNIA: This one comes from Germany, where Bild says 1860 Munich forward Bobby Wood is getting the call from Jurgen Klinsmann for the match against Bosnia in nine days. The forward spots are filling up fast with AZ Alkmaar’s Aron Johansson expected to be one of the call-ups after committing to the US.
15. REMEMBERING KIRK URSO: A year ago today MLS mourned the loss of the Columbus Crew midfielder, who died suddenly due to arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. His close friend, Crew midfielder Ethan Finlay, was among the first to remind everyone about the date this morning: “It was on this day a year ago my dear friend Kirk passed away. He was the light in every room and I’m sure nothing’s changed up there. #ku15”
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