*Seems like just yesterday Chris Pontius was a rookie revelation for D.C. United. Now he’s the club’s longest-tenured player. Coincidentally, he appears in the ad running alongside the story in the print edition.
*The MLS regular season opens Saturday, but three MLS clubs begin the competitive portion of the campaign tonight in the CONCACAF Champions League. In the first leg of the quarterfinals, the Los Angeles will face Toronto FC in front of 45,000-plus at the indoor, artificial-turfed Rogers Centre at 8 p.m. ET, and the Seattle Sounders will host Herculez Gomez and Mexico’s Santos Laguna on the turf at CenturyLink Field at 10 p.m. Both matches are available on Fox Soccer Channel, Telefutura and concacaf.com. On Tuesday, defending champion Monterrey took a big step toward the semifinals with a 3-1 victory at Mexican rival Morelia.
*The Insider told you a few months ago that big changes were coming to the U.S. and MLS officiating program, and now the USSF has announced the details.
*Alex Morgan notched a hat trick today as the U.S. women’s national team rebounded from a loss to Japan by routing Sweden, 4-0, for third place at the Algarve Cup tournament in Portugal. Abby Wambach also scored.
For the latest FIFA men’s rankings.....
*Boosted by its victory at Italy last week, the U.S. men’s national team made the largest leap among the top 32 nations in the FIFA rankings, moving to No. 27. Spain remains first. Other big movers: Argentina +3, South Korea +4, both Montenegro and Estonia +7, and Ukraine +10.
In CONCACAF, Mexico (22) and USA lead the way, followed by an odd order of teams: Panama (50), Jamaica (54) and El Salvador (58) ahead of Costa Rica (59) and Honduras (63).
The USA’s World Cup qualifying opponents in June are Antigua (95) and Guatemala (86).