There is a ton of interesting stuff going on today. I hope y'all have time for a lot of reading.
First, in game action, Chicago beat Columbus 2-1 in a U.S. Open Cup game Thursday. Among the goal-scorers for Chicago was Mike Magee, who has four goals in four games since joining the Fire. I wonder if/when Galaxy brass will regret that trade for Robbie Rogers.
Chicago will host Orlando City in the quarterfinals June 26. MLSsoccer.com has a poll up where you can vote for whom you think will win the cup. My inkling is that either RSL or the winner of the FC Dallas/Timbers game should be considered the favorite. But then Chicago looks like a different team since Magee arrived.
Speaking of Orlando City, here's an interesting aside. A lot of people were upset/offended when the New York City franchise was given to the folks at Manchester City. The thinking was that Man City would treat New York as a minor-league affiliate, similar to how CD Guadalajara views Chivas USA. Some of those same folks said they thought the league should have given a team to Orlando instead, apparently without realizing that Orlando City is basically an affiliate team of EPL side Stoke City. Thursday stokecityfc.com's lead story was about Orlando's victory over Sporting KC in the Open Cup.
The folks at the Sporting KC blog "Down the Byline" weren't too happy their team lost to Orlando - thus this piece headlined "Disappointed, Frustrated, Pissed Off, Embarrassed."
No one in the world should be more embarrassed today than the folks who run soccer in Quebec. The provincial soccer federation has banned the wearing of turbans by any youth soccer players, thus making the game off-limits for whole swaths of religious minorities in the province. The Canadian Soccer Association has responded by banning any Quebec participation in any national soccer events, including the 2013 Canada games, which are scheduled for Quebec. The fight could mean Montreal Impact academy players are banned from playing in the tournament. Already there are many calls for the Quebec Soccer Federation to back down and the Impact are planning multicultural events at their games to show their displeasure with the turban ban.
In player movement news:
- Toronto FC has waived Canadian midfielder Terry Dunfield, saying they want to give playing time to younger options on the squad.
- U.S. defender Jonathan Bornstein is examining the option of coming back to MLS.
- Whitecaps coach Martin Renee says his team is planning some new player acquisitions very soon.
- To follow up on yesterday's rumor, Brazilian Marcos Senna has officially signed with New York Cosmos, not MLS.
New Chivas USA coach Jose Luis Real held his first press conference and called the job of turning around the club the most important challenge of his career.
In Philadelphia it's the one-year anniversary of the hiring of John Hackworth. Phillysoccerpage.net has a very detailed analysis of what he inherited and whether or not things are getting better for Union.
While the glow of Tuesday's National Team victory in Seattle might be dying down some by now, I thought a couple more interesting links came up Thursday. First, Soccer by Ives did a nice piece on how well the "gamble" of having a game in Seattle paid off. That website is one of the top gathering places for National Team fans on the web, and I think there is general agreement even by the biggest skeptics that Seattle should definitely host important U.S. games again in the near future.
Meanwhile, you might like to know that the atmosphere at the C-Link Tuesday made the front page of what is reportedly the biggest website in Brazil.
Finally today, I'd recommend you read this nice column from former Rapids coach Gary Smith, who calls the day Steve Zakuani was brutally injured in Commerce City, Colo., the "worst day of my coaching career."
- Scott Ayers