1. Announcement of Pirlo deal expected soon.Unless there is a last-minute snag, a press conference to officially present Andrea Pirloas the latest New York City FC signing will be held Friday, and the Italian star is expected to attend the NYCFC-Red Bulls match at Yankee Stadium Sunday.
More than 40,000 tickets have been sold for the first Empire State derby at Yankee Stadium, and a Pirlo announcement could push ticket sales toward the 49,000 figure that would be a sellout.
The Juventus star has another year remaining on his contract yet it appears that he will start a new phase of his career in MLS, signing a contract that would kick in when the domestic transfer window opens July 8.
MLS has tried to get the deal done now rather than next winter for many reasons. An imminent motivation is so Pirlo can play for New York City FC July 12 at Yankee Stadium against Toronto FC, which signed his former Juve and Italy teammate Sebastian Giovinco.
No financial details of the transaction have been reported. Pirlo reportedly told Juventus in early May he was planning to leave and MLS was his probable destination.
2. Wednesday: Sounders fall again, Kamara gets back on the beam.
Four days after netting a consolation goal in a 5-1 drubbing by the Galaxy, C.J. Sapong tallied a vitally important score for Philadelphia, which rebounded from that defeat to beat Seattle, 1-0, at PPL Park on Wednesday.
Union keeper Bryan Silvestre recorded his fourth whitewash in just eight matches as the Sounders lost their third game of the last four, all by shutout. Sapong scored in his fourth straight game and has bagged five goals in his last six games.
Kei Kamara tends to score twice in a game when he does score, and by bagging his fourth double of the season he powered Crew SC past New England, 2-1. He leads MLS in goals with 12. The victory ended a six-game winless skid for Crew SC; New England is 1-4-4 in its last nine games.
Toronto FC’s Designated players -- Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Giovinco -- scored goals in a 3-1 defeat of Canadian rival Montreal. TFC battled back after Impact defender Ambroise Oyongo scored his first MLS goal in the 19th minute.
Cyle Larin and Kaka scored in Orlando City’s 2-0 defeat of Colorado. Combined they have scored 14 of OCSC’s 22 goals this season. Mike Grella’s goal and a strong defensive effort earned the Red Bulls a 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake and halted a four-game loss skid.
3. Former Galaxy draft pick Hatzke comes out.
Six years after being picked by the Galaxy in the 2008 SuperDraft, Matt Hatzke has publicly declared he is gay.
An All-American at Santa Clara University, Hatzke was picked in the fourth round and traded to San Jose later that season. The Quakes released him at the start of the 2009 preseason and rather than try to catch on with a lower-division team he searched for his identity away from the field.
He eventually returned to dental school and completed his studies last year. He works in a dental office with his father, a dentist, and his mother, a hygienist.
4. Four chosen as ESPY nominees.
Red Bull forward Bradley Wright-Phillips and the three MVP finalists from last year have been chosen as nominees for the Best MLS Player award to be presented at the ESPY ceremonies July 15.
Wright-Phillips tied the single-season scoring record of 27 goals held by Roy Lassiter and Chris Wondolowski. MVP winner Robbie Keane of the Galaxy joins fellow finalists Obafemi Martins (Seattle) and Lee Nguyen (New England) as the ESPY nominees.
Keane set career marks in goals (19) and assists (14) in winning MVP honors. Runner-up Martins scored 17 goals and registered 13 assists. Nguyen shattered his personal best of five goals in a season by hitting 18.
Since the award’s creation in 2006, retired Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan has won it five times. Other past winners are David Beckham (twice), Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill.
5. Pareja tries to beat the Dallas heat.
Severe summer heat is reason enough to train in the evening, and with FC Dallas stuck in a six-game winless streak, head coach Oscar Pareja has ample reason to conduct later sessions this week as he prepares for a Texas rivalry game against Houston on Friday.
“To be honest, just trying to hide from the sun. It’s brutal here,” he told Dallas.com. “We have changed some stuff to get these guys healthy. I think we have done a pretty good job in that part so far this year. Other than duties on the national team, the boys have been healthy and we don’t have the nursery [training room] full like last year.”
FCD has been the favored team for the Friday night telecasts on UniMas and Univision Deportes, but results haven’t been good. FCD is 1-2-3 in Friday night games and after playing Houston this week, it has one more such commitment: Sept. 18 at Sporting Kansas City.
“Sometimes people don’t see the challenges those things bring,” Pareja said of the Friday games. “Now we’re back home. Our response has to be good.”