MLSsoccer.com's Kick Off: April 14

The U.S. Open Cup has served up another early season rematch.

After Kansas City and Colorado met twice in three days, with Colorado advancing
in Tuesday night’s Open Cup showdown, it’s the turn of the San Jose
Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake, who last met a little over two weeks
ago on March 27, a 3-0 victory for visiting RSL.

Tonight’s game is likely to mark the debut of goalkeeper Jon Busch for the Quakes. The defending champs should also have some new faces in the lineup.

RSL forward Jean Alexandre could be available for Wednesday’s match but not for two home games in May, when he will join the Haitian National Team for an international friendly against Argentina.

International exhibitions will soon have a new home in Houston as the Dynamo have received the decisive thumbs-up to proceed with construction of what will be the newest soccer stadium in America.

The Chicago Tribune offers some perspective of the impact made by the Fire’s soccer home, Toyota Park.

Despite their Open Cup loss, soccer fans are abuzz in Kansas City and even the Kansas City Star gets into the act with this editorial that ties in the new stadium opening in 2011. They’re even talking about bringing the National Soccer Hall of Fame to KC.

The Vancouver Whitecaps continue their preparation for their first season in MLS in 2011, by signing three Honduran players (report in Spanish with photos).

One
signing that may not happen is the deadline deal transfer of Luke
Rodgers to the New York Red Bulls. The forward was reportedly denied a work permit. That left winger the Red Bulls are after has a name after all. Also, NYRB will have Carl Robinson back for this weekend’s game.

While
things may be looking up for the NYRB’s Robinson, Brad Evans of the
Seattle Sounders still can’t get over the 2-2 tie at Real Salt Lake and
the two goals which he calls his “fault.”

Chivas
USA have lost Maykel Galindo and Ante Jazic for a few weeks due to
injury. They should take a cue from David Beckham as to how to pass the
down time. Maybe a Lakers game with the Kitchen Nightmares celebrity? In the meantime Simon Fuller has left Beckham’s side, resigning from his post.

Injuries have also struck D.C. United, which along with a red card suspension and a poor start has Curt Onalfo fuming in the nation’s capital. Meanwhile, Gambian players have paid dividends for other MLS clubs, perhaps it’s United turn.

This weekend D.C. may turn to Andy Najar, who is the subject of a feature about soccer players going pro at an early age.

He’s not in his teens any more, but Philadelphia’s Cristian Arrieta is off to a good start for the Union. The right back has had success in Toronto, site of Thursday night’s Game of the Week on ESPN2.

The stadium surface at Toronto’s BMO Field was once heavily criticized by current captain Dwayne De Rosario. He’s singing a different tune these days.

Switches
are not reserved for pitches. The scoring on Seattle’s second goal last
Saturday was changed by the MLS league office to credit Sounders defender Tyrone Marshall instead.

Speaking
of controversial calls, FC Dallas’s Eric Avila says that the alleged
hand ball that had Guillermo Barros Schelotto incensed, was not really a hand ball.

One player who has scored his share of goals is Michael Bradley. Here’s an ESPN The Magazine feature on the Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder.

Bradley
worked his way to the Bundesliga. But once a year a story is unearthed
of a soccer con artist who finagles his way onto a club. The Wall Street Journal gives the most recent account.

On
the international front, Chelsea and Benfica continued their march to
their respective league titles with wins on Tuesday. Inter Milan kept
their treble hopes alive by advancing to the Italian Cup final while
Blaise Nkufo’s Twente lost 1-0 to open up the title race in Holland.

Today’s
slate of international matches includes the London derby between
Arsenal and Tottenham as the Gunners try to push Chelsea for the EPL
title with the return of Robin van Persie (3 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Spanish
leaders Barcelona are in action in one of five La Liga matches (4 p.m.
ET, ESPN Deportes). And Glasgow Rangers and their Americans will travel
to Dundee United. There are also nine matches on tap in the Mexican
league with the highlight being the América vs. Pumas matchup.