MLS NEWS NOTES AND RUMORS and WEEK 13 PREVIEW

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER RETURNS TO ACTION – MLS WEEK 13 PREVIEW

Most everyone’s eyes will be on the World Cup this weekend, and rightly so, the sheer weight of match-ups over the next four days is incredible.

Having said that, lets take a look at what we have in store for ourselves this weekend and touch on some of the stories we may have missed while over-indulging in the World Cup Garden of Eden.

PPL PARK OPENS IN PHILADELPHIA THIS SUNDAY
The Philadelphia Union fans will agree with Tom Petty, the waiting is the hardest part, but now the wait is over as Peter Nowak’s boys will christen their new home, PPL Park on Sunday against Seattle Sounders at 5pm ET. The match will be shown on ESPN2 and will see Union attempt to turn around a less than stellar Expansion campaign. Union are dead last in the East having garnered 7 points from 10 matches. Philly fans will be hoping that the League’s newest Soccer Specific gem will provide the inspiration for some points down the stretch.

SACHA KLJESTAN MOVES TO EUROPE
Belgian Champions Anderlicht acquired Chivas USA captain Sacha Kljestan during the World Cup break leaving the Goats, who are in the midst of a five game losing streak, missing some key talent.  Manager Martin Vasquez has brought for Chivas USA midfield standout Paulo Nagamura back into the side with an aim to fill the missing Kljestan’s shoes. Another help for Chivas might come in the form of Venezuelan international
Giancarlo Maldonado who is training with the team.

BLAISE NKUFO IS COMING TO SEATTLE
This deal was done early in the season, but since then we have all had a chance to see Nkufo play for Switzerland in the World Cup. The 35-year-old was a key element in helping FC Twente to the Dutch Eredivisie title last season, and the powerful striker may be the reason Seattle’s goal scoring numbers begin to rise.

DC SIGNS BOSKOVIC TO DP CONTRACT
Montenegro Captain and midfielder Branko Boskovic signed with DC United as a designated player from Rapid Vienna. The 29-year-old Boskovic may be just the tonic for United, he has a kind of Peter Nowak quality about him and can certainly provide some vision and creativity for a team that needs something to get excited about.

KANSAS CITY TRY TO LOCK EIDUR DOWN
The Kansas City Wizards have made a designated player offer to out-of-contract forward Eidur Gudjohnson. The 31-year-old Icelandic international spent quality time with some of the world’s best clubs including Chelsea and Barcelona. He can score goals at any level of the game and if signed look for Eidur to inject some life into a wayward Kansas City attack. On the books at Tottenham Hotspur, Gudjohnson hasn’t been ruled out of the White Hart Lane club’s plans for Champions League qualification, so expect Kansas City to have to fight to acquire him.

US OPEN CUP IN FULL SWING
The first two rounds of the 2010 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup have been played leaving the Third Round, right around the corner. Next Week to be exact. Those that may be unfamiliar in the 92-year-old FA Cup style tournament, will find that Round Three is when the Major League Soccer teams enter the fray.

Defending Champions Seattle Sounders and 4-time winners Chicago Fire head a list of 8 MLS teams that qualified for the tournament. New York Red Bulls and DC United fought their way in to the tournament via an all MLS Qualifying campaign. Houston Dynamo, Chivas USA, Los Angeles Galaxy and the Columbus Crew round out the MLS field.

Those eight sides have been drawn against the eight lower division teams who survived Round One and Two, including clubs from the North American Soccer League, the USL First Division and Second Division as well as amateur sides from across the country.

For complete details of the US Open Cup results and Schedule for Round Three, click here.

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER SALARY LIST RELEASED
Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Union released the player salaries for the 2010 season, right at the moment when most fans where getting symptoms of World Cup Fever.

Needless to say, David Beckham is still the highest-paid player in the league. Beckham, who hasn’t played this season for the Los Angeles Galaxy because of a torn Achilles tendon, again tops the league at $6.5 million in guaranteed compensation this year, according to the list released Monday.
Landon Donovan, Beckham’s Galaxy teammate, is second at $2.13 million, followed by Juan Pablo Angel of the New York Red Bulls at $1.92 million. Toronto FC’s Julian de Guzman ($1.72 million) and Seattle Sounder Freddie Lungberg ($1.31 million) round out the top 5.

The Complete list of Player Salaries, by team and alphabetically, can be found here.

SAM CRONIN SENT TO SAN JOSE
Toronto FC sent Sam Cronin to San Jose Earthquakes for allocations money. Cronin, deemed not physical enough for Preki’s system in Toronto, may just find himself in the perfect system in Frank Yallops Earthquakes, especially after the season-ending injury to Brazilian Andre Luiz.

Look for Toronto to use the cash to sign a Designated Player, possibly Deportivo la Coruna’s 31-year-old striker, Mista. He won’t fill seats exactly but he may score goals after struggling in Coruna the past few seasons.

TAYLOR TWELLMAN WONT PLAY IN 2010
In a bit of sad news for any fan of Major League Soccer, the New England Revolution announced that Striker Taylor Twellman will miss another season, his second in a row, due to recurring symptoms of a head injury he sustained in 2008. Twellman had been training with the Revolution all season, but apparently will not be able to make a return this season.  Many fans around the league will be wishing Twellman all the best and to hope foe a complete, if not speedy, recovery.

SUMMER FRIENDLIES ARE RAMPANT
Celtic playing at Fenway Park, Manchester United to tour North America and take on the MLS All-Stars, Champions League Winners Inter Milan dropping in to play MLS sides, Cuty and Spurs at Red Bull Arena and Mexican clubs gearing up for the new season. It’s all coming to a town near you. What a summer it is shaping up to be for international friendlies.

Click here for a complete list of International Friendlies in North America this Summer

EXPANSION TEAMS UNVEIL NEW LOOKS
Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers have unveiled the gear, logo’s and branding they will sport going into their 2011 inaugural seasons in Major League Soccer
To see the Vancouver look click here
To see Portland’s new look click here

MLS WEEK 13 TV SCHEDULE

Friday, June 25
9:00pm MLS – Real Salt Lake v San Jose Earthquakes MLSDK

Sunday, June 26
7:30pm MLS – Toronto v Los Angeles FSC
7:30pm MLS – Columbus v DC United MLSDK
8:30pm MLS – Kansas City v New York MLSDK
8:30pm MLS – Houston v Colorado MLSDK
10:30pm MLS – Chivas USA v FC Dallas MLS DK

Sunday, June 27
5:00pm MLS – Philadelphia v Seattle ESPN2
7:00pm MLS New England v Chicago MLSDK

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