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Week in Review, March 14-18 2011

mls ball Week in Review, March 14 18 2011Good evening everyone, and happy MLS First Matchday Eve.  As promised, our week in review feature is shifting to Friday to cover the week’s news and items that flew under the radar.  As expected, most of these involve preparations for tomorrow’s matches.  Make sure you take our poll at the end of the post as well to let us know what match you are most excited to see this weekend.

  • The tragedy in Japan has encouraged some teams to raise much needed disaster relief funds during their first home matches.  D.C. United and Vancouver will both have Red Cross volunteers on hand before their matches to collect donations for Japan.  If your team is doing something in conjunction with the Red Cross or other relief organization, let us know in the comments section.
  • We shared that Portland is selling season tickets at a face pace, and it looks like attendance is rising throughout the league.  FC Dallas bloggers are reporting that the club is telling local media that they could sell out their home opener.  If this is true, it’s a victory for a team that could compete for a Supporters Shield but has always been a low draw.
  • On the international scene, Bob Bradley called up 24 players for the next two friendlies.  These players will be in camp beginning next week to prepare for Argentina a week from tomorrow.  Many of the big names will be there (Donovan, Howard, Dempsey) but Bob Bradley also called up a few players unknown to most American soccer fans – GK David Yelldell (MSV Duisburg), D Timothy Chandler (FC Nurnburg), and D Zak Whitbread (Norwich City).
  • The Americans’ opponent, Argentina, reported today that Lionel Messi is healthy and will be available to play on the 26th.  So good luck with that.
  • The Andy Najar story could be taking a decisive turn as rumors heat up that he will pledge to play for his country of birth and not his adopted country at the international level.  But, until he makes an announcement, we won’t know anything for sure.  A lot of pressure for such a young guy.
  • Spain v. USA this June at Gillette Stadium.  Excellent.
  • Sporting Kansas City is robbing the cradle and has hired 21 year-old Callum Williams as their play-by-play announcer for 2011.  What may be even odder for fans is that Williams is British.  But his sample is pretty good.
  • The much anticipated MLS Reserve League kicks off this Sunday.  Quite a win for the league.