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August 7, 2013 at 8:49 AM

CCL group stage kicks off, Open Cup semifinals on tap (Wednesday links)

usoc logo ccl logoThe Sounders are MLS-only the rest of the year, but there are still a couple non-league competitions to sort out.

First off, the U.S. Open Cup semifinals kick off Wednesday:

D.C. United at Chicago Fire, 5:30 p.m.
Portland Timbers at Real Salt Lake, 6:30 p.m.

Neither of the the West Coast teams have made an Open Cup final, and the winner will host the winner from the East, where the teams have combined for six tournament titles (Chicago four, D.C. two). There will be video streams of both games.

The 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League group stage is already underway, and here is in the MLS involvement coming up:

San Jose Earthquakes at Montreal Impact, 5 p.m.
Sporting Kansas City at Real Esteli (Nicaragua), 7 p.m.

The Houston Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy are also in the tournament but don’t play until later. Let’s get to some linls:

*     *     *

— Regarding the Sounders, Djimi Traore made his fourth appearance on MLS Team of the Week. Here is a report, and there are others, noting Seattle used retention funds to re-sign Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. And I haven’t done links in a while, but here is a tweet that caught a lot of attention.

— In some Clint Dempsey reading, it appears we won’t hear from U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann on the move until at least the weekend (though goalkeeper Tim Howard was happy to see it), The Washington Post writes about some of the MLS growing pains accentuated in the past few days, the league website looks at the biggest USMNT signings in MLS history.

— Lot of people talking Dempsey, including me on the Sounders FC roundtable, GM Adrian Hanauer on MLSsoccer.com’s ExtraTime Radio, and both Dempsey and Hanauer on KJR-AM.

— Elsewhere around the league, here’s a report saying Juan Agudelo is off for Stoke City at the end of the year, Portland has re-signed DP Diego Valeri to a multiyear deal, and San Jose is dealing with its hard-to-control ultras.

— Also, MLS wants its teams to have a USL PRO team or affiliate by 2015, and Landon Donovan is reportedly drawing interest from other leagues.

Fredy Montero got off to a scoring start with Sporting Lisbon in preseason.

— Here is a skit involving Jason Sudekis as a football coach turned soccer coach that is pretty hilarious.

— Lastly, the latest from Instant Replay…

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