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FC Dallas' Ruiz is out for 2-3 weeks with hamstring strain.

O'Brien comes home; versatile player signs with Chivas USA.

MLS preview: Twelve teams start pursuit with single goal in mind.

Fight injury delays Franchino from taking Costa Rica flight with Revs.

Red Bull reportedly pays over $100 million for MetroStars package.

Galaxy GM, president Doug Hamilton dies on flight home.

Houston discards 1836 moniker and becomes Dynamo; MetroStars sale nears

D.C. United chief denies Nowak directed racial remark at opponent.

Dallas re-signs Ruiz to lucrative contract; MetroStars get Arvizu.

D.C. United, MLS deny any talks to send Adu to Chelsea.

FC Dallas signs Cooper; San Jose expansion hopes are dealt blow.

All 12 teams start preseason training.

MLS Cup returns to Pizza Hut Park in November.

Chivas USA acquires Razov from MetroStars, trading away Martins.

MLS notes

Barcelona's U.S. tour will conclude with match against Red Bulls.

Joan Laporta
Joan Laporta brings FC Barcelona to the United States for three games in August.
-- FC BArcelona web site photo --
(Thursday, April 13, 2006) -- The New York Red Bulls will host FC Barcelona August 12 in the finale of the Spanish power's three-game American tour.

The match, promoted by Soccer United Marketing, Major League Soccer's marketing arm, will be at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Barcelona's first two games will be against club teams from Mexico, August 6 in Los Angeles and August 9 in Houston. Further details will be released at a later date.

Barcelona, which is a European Champion's League semifinalist, leads Spain's La Liga by 11 points with six matches remaining. The club will be making its first tour of the United States since 2003.

"In order to be a 'SuperClub,' you have to measure up against the best," Red Bull New York president and general manager Alexi Lalas said in a press release. "This is a wonderful opportunity for our players to play against one of the elite teams in the world. And make no mistake about it, we will not be there to get autographs."

Barcelona, coached by Dutch midfield legend Frank Rijkaard, features several of the world's best-known players, including "World Player of the Year" Ronaldinho (Brazil), 18-year-old sensation striker Lionel Messi (Argentina), and African "Player of the Year" Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon). Also expected to make the tour among the international gallery of stars are a number of players who will be coming off World Cup performances -- defenders Rafael Márquez (Mexico) and Carles Puyol (Spain), and midfielders Deco (Portugal) and Mark Van Bommel (the Netherlands).

"It is a good moment for FC Barcelona to promote its image in the great country of the U.S.," team president Joan Laporta said in the release. "We are sure that, with the cooperation of MLS, Barca will become more recognizable among the North American public. We also believe that the presence of our team and our star players will assist the he promotion and growth of soccer in the United States."

In the Champions League semifinals, Barcelona travels to Italy to face AC Milan Tuesday with the second leg at home April 26 at Nou Camp.

The last time Barcelona played in America, it tied Juventus of Italy 22 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., defeated AC Milan 2-0 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and fell 3-1 to England's Manchester United at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

New York Red Bulls: Lisi has hernia surgery

SECAUCUS, N.J. -- New York Red Bulls midfielder Mark Lisi underwent surgery yesterday to repair a sports hernia.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Ulrike Muschaweck who has performed the procedure, known as used the "Minimal Repair Technique" on many MLS and U.S. national-team players, as well as hundreds of others from around the world.

Lisi was limited to playing only one minute, closing the Red Bulls' 2-2 draw at D.C. United in the team's April 1 season-opener. He should be able to return to training in a week or two.

Meanwhile, Red Bulls president and general manager Alexi Lalas denied rumors that he is about to leave the organization and go to the Los Angeles Galaxy, which has been without a GM since Doug Hamilton died March 9.

Lalas, an original MLS player who played with four teams in seven years before retiring in 2003, was hired by Anschutz Entertainment Group to be general manager of the San Jose Earthquakes in 2004. The next year, he moved within AEG to become president and general manager of the MetroStars.

A month ago, AEG sold the MetroStars to Red Red Bull Company Limited, the maker of the so-called "energy" drink. The Galaxy is one of four MLS clubs still owned and operated by AEG.

"We were told (Red Bull officials) were not going to make any changes," Lalas told The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. "I've been so focused on Opening Day, any kind of long-range plan or direction has yet to be discussed. I owe a tremendous amount to AEG. . . and I would have no problem working for them again, but I have no intention of leaving."

Kansas City Wizards: Conrad returns from surgery

KANSAS City, Mo. -- Defender Jimmy Conrad returned to practice Tuesday after having sports hernia surgery March 31. The procedure was performed by Dr. Ulrike Muschaweck, who operated yesterday on New York Red Bulls' midfielder Mark Lisi and also has done the surgery for many other MLS players.

Last night, Conrad started and went 58 minutes in a 4-0 exhibition victory over Missouri State University.

FC Dallas: Charras still awaits visa

FRISCO, Texas -- Argentine midfielder Marcos Charras joined FC Dallas this week, but could be two weeks from officially joining the roster as he waits for his visa to be approved.

His first practice with the team was yesterday.

Real Salt Lake: Match with Real Madrid sought

SALT LAKE CITY -- Real Salt Lake would like to play Spanish power Real Madrid August 12 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.

RSL wants to play at Edwards Stadium rather than Rice-Eccles Stadium, its home field, because the Brigham Young football facility has a grass field and seats 65,000, compared to 45,017 at Rice-Eccles.

If Madrid can't be enticed, RSL management will try to bring in another well-know European club. August 12 is the only open Saturday on the MLS club's summer schedule.

Colorado Rapids: Soccer balls to be donated to Iraqis

DENVER -- The Colorado Rapids, in conjunction with KOA-Newsradio 850, will donate 1,200 Rapids soccer balls to children in Iraq.

The project is the brainchild of Steffan Tubbs, co-host of a KOA program and once a journalist embedded with the U.S. military in Iraq.

"Steffan Tubbs has put together a drive that is going to directly affect underserved children and at the same time give our American soldiers the chance to make a difference in the lives of the people they interact with every day," Rapids vice president and managing director Jeff Plush said. "The Rapids are looking forward to donating resources to help this cause and partnering with KOA on this humanitarian effort."

Fans who wish to help the effort can visit any Colorado Sports Authority location between Monday and April 24 and donate a hand-stitched Mikasa soccer ball for $8.50. The cashier must be informed of the reason for the purchase. Fans can also contribute to the cause by placing the order by calling (877) 872-6888.

Next Thursday, deflated soccer balls can be dropped off at special locations ( list of drop-off locations). Donations of school supplies and toiletries, such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, notebooks, pens and pencils can also be made.

D.C. United: Quaranta, Stokes are out

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- D.C. United midfielder-forward Santino Quaranta will miss about three weeks after injuring his right hamstring playing for the United reserves in Sunday's 1-1 draw with University of Maryland in the Kicks Against Breast Cancer event.

After recovering from a left hamstring ailment suffered in the preseason, Quaranta played 15 minutes in the season-opening 2-2 draw with the New York Red Bulls, but was not used in Saturday's 2-0 decision over Chivas USA.

Defender David Stokes also was hurt against Maryland Sunday, injuring his right quadriceps. Having been slowed by a left hip flexor strain in the preseason, Stokes will be out for at least three weeks.

Goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who has not played yet this season because of a foot injury, is close to returning, but Troy Perkins will start Saturday in the club's home game with the Houston Dynamo.

United also announced it will hit the road to play the Harrisburg City Islanders of United Soccer Leagues' Second Division May 9 at Chapman Field at Cumberland Valley High School.

The school is located in midfielder Josh Gros' hometown of Mechanicsburg, Pa.

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