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Chelsea will face All-Stars August 5 at new Fire stadium.

Lalas resigns as Red Bulls GM, returns to AEG in Los Angeles.

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

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.

Major League Soccer

Perkins steps up to fill D.C. United void after Rimando injury.

Jose Mourinho
Troy Perkins has made the most of his opportunity to play in D.C. United's goal, posting consecutive shutouts for the first time in his career.
-- D.C. United photo --
By Gary Davidson
SoccerTimes

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Saturday, April 22, 2006) -- D.C. United goalkeeper Nick Rimando aggravated the foot injury that has kept him out of the lineup this season and could be out for several more weeks.

Fortunately for United, Troy Perkins has stepped into the void and the third-year player is playing the best ball of his Major League Soccer career. Surviving a shaky start -- conceding two goals in the first 18 minutes of the season-opening 2-2 draw with the visiting New York Red Bulls, Perkins then recorded consecutive shutouts for the first time over the last two games and has not allowed a goal in 252 minutes.

Rimando, who has been the United starter since he arrived from the defunct Miami Fusion in 2002, strained a tendon in his left foot during the preseason. He was tentatively scheduled to return to action today, then he was slated to make today's trip to New Jersey to face the Red Bulls as a backup to Perkins. After feeling something pop in his left foot Wednesday, he was scratched from the United travel squad for today's 4 p.m. (ET) match, one that will be broadcast by ESPN2.

"Nicky is a bit frustrated," United goalkeepers coach Mark Simpson said.

Perkins, 24. has looked increasing confident. After turning in a clean sheet in a 2-0 decision at home against Chivas USA, he turned in a flawless effort in blanking the Houston Dynamo 2-0 at RFK Stadium last Saturday, raising D.C.'s record to 2-0-1. Only one of this three saves was particularly difficult -- he made a quick save to stop Ronald Cerritos' close-in diving header to the right post in the 88th minute -- but he glided around his penalty area, cleanly fielding the repeated crosses the Dynamo kept pumping into the box.

"That first game (against New York), that first half, there were a lot of nerves," Perkins said after the Houston game, "It was the first time I'd played on that field in almost a year. . . I just had to get the nerves and anxiety out of the way, get it behind me."

Perkins was a revelation in 2004. He was playing on a paltry developmental contract and projected as the third-string keeper behind Rimando and Doug Warren when he was given a shot to replace the injured Rimando in a May 22 game at the Colorado Rapids. He lost that outing 2-1, but won 1-0 at the New England Revolution the next weekend. He wound up starting nine straight matches and 15 of 16, and was rewarded with a full contract. Warren was waived that June 30

Rimando's knee injury healed and he regained his job for the final 11 league matches with Perkins ending with a 1.62 goals-against average in 16 appearances. In 2005, Rimando started 30 of 32 league games, but Perkins believes he has demonstrated enough this season to be considered as a worthy candidate for the starting job.

"Every day, all three of the goalkeepers are playing for their job," Perkins said. "If they're not going to do it, (United is) going to find someone else to do it. So that's the way it is in any professional atmosphere. That's the way it is with any job. You don't do it, they're going to find someone else.

"(Whether Perkins starts), that's not up to me," he added. "That's up to the coaches. We were battling all preseason. It was pretty even. It was something (the coaches) would have decided (had Rimando not gotten hurt).

In defeating Houston, United shut down Dynamo striker Brian Ching, who had five goals in his first two matches.

Ching "likes to post up on the middle guy, which would be me," center back Bobby Boswell said after the game. "I just tried to get inside of him and not let him get any free looks at goal. And tonight I think we did a pretty good job of doing that. You don't have to necessarily stop him from getting the ball. You just have to make sure it's not easy for him. On a lot of the goals he scored, he did good to find open position and get free looks. And tonight, we didn't want anyone to get free looks."


New York Red Bulls: De Grandpre named to top post

SECAUCUS, N.J. -- Marc De Grandpre was named New York Red Bulls managing director, partially replacing president and general manager Alexi Lalas, who left the club to assume a similar position with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Two persons will replace Lalas. De Grandpre will run the business and commercial aspects of the team, while a director of soccer operations, who will soon be named, will be responsible for coaches, players, travel, and training-related concerns.

Mo Johnston will stay as coach and will report to De Grandpre, then to the director of soccer operations when he is named.

De Grandpre has been with Red Bull North America -- a division of the corporation that makes the Red Bull beverage -- for more than seven years as the director of field marketing, supervising all marketing activities for the company in the East region. He played an important role in Red Bulls acquisition of the team from Anschutz Entertainment Group last month.

"Over the past two months, I've had an opportunity to really get to know this club and am thrilled to help take it to the next level," De Grandpre said in a press release.

Additionally, the Red Bulls acquired striker Jean Philippe Peguero yesterday from the Colorado Rapids in exchange for forward Thiago Martins, plus first- and third-round 2007 draft picks.

Peguero, a 25-year-old who has played 10 times for Haiti, holds a United States green card, meaning he will not count as a senior international

"We are excited to add another quality striker to our club," New York coach Mo Johnston said in a team release. "Jean Philippe is a strong, quick forward who is very good in the air. He has proven he can score goals in this league and we believe he can contribute to our team immediately.

Peguero was signed by Colorado on March 31, 2004, after previously playing with Don Bosco in Haiti. He has seven goals and four assists in his MLS rookie season, and followed that with seven goals and six assists in 26 games last year. In 2006, Peguero has recorded one assist in three matches.

Martins' Red Bulls' career consisted of 11 minutes last weekend in a 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake. After being named "Most Valuable Player" of the second-division A-League in 2003, recording 22 goals and seven assists with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, he was signed to finish that year with D.C. United, but he saw no action in 2004 after twice tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament.

He was traded to Chivas USA, where he had three goals and one assist, while starting 21 of his 22 games in 2005. The Red Bulls predecessor, the MetroStars acquired Martins in the offseason.


Columbus Crew: Szetala fractures foot bone

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Columbus Crew's unsettled midfield became that much more complicated when the club learned holding midfielder Danny Szetela has a broken bone in his left foot and will miss about eight weeks.

In 2005, his first full MLS season, Szetala played in 16 games, missing half of the season with problems following a concussion.

"I've felt like I've been battling injuries for the past two-and-a-half years here," Szetela told the Columbus Dispatch. "This was the year I was hoping for. My second full season, I really wanted it to be big for me and my team. But I'll still have half a season and hopefully I'll come back fast and healthy."

The Crew, off to a 0-2-1 start, has already started six different players in its four midfield slots. Szetala has started all three. His injury, a stress fracture of his fifth metatarsal, suffered in a challenge with Chicago midfielder Thiago in Saturday's 1-1 home draw with the Fire, leaves coach Sigi Schmid to turn to an inexperienced replacement.

Joe Reitz, who only returned to practice Tuesday after straining a ligament in his left knee April 8, appears to be the leading candidate, but Joel Kitamirike, Tim Ward and Eriv Vasquez are also possibilities. Kitamirike replaced the injured Szetala in the 71st minute against the Fire.

Croatian Leonard Bisaku, signed April 4, would likely be the first choice, but he hasn't yet received a work permit.

Szetala, 18, one of MLS's most promising youngsters, was acquired through a lottery in July 2004. He started the season on the right flank, but then was moved back, working in defensive-oriented tandem with Brandon Moss.

Szetala and Moss "started to develop a little bit of chemistry in there and it's unfortunate that happened," Moss, 21, told the Dispatch. "I've got a lot of learning to do, as do a lot of players on this team. Things are happening so much faster. You take three touches and you're going to lose the ball."

Gary Davidson is SoccerTimes publisher and managing editor.

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