With the European Championship taking a day off between the group stage and quarterfinals, we can catch our breath ... and turn full attention to MLS’s six-game slate tonight and five new soccer books.

First, MLS:

D.C. United supporters are most interested in two West Coast matches: Sporting Kansas City, which sits two points behind DCU in the Eastern Conference race, visits the Seattle Sounders, and the New York Red Bulls, Sunday’s opponent, are in Vancouver to face the Whitecaps.

United has played more matches than both of its closest pursuers, so losses and draws when DCU is idle would go a long way toward D.C.’s push for the top slot. The Red Bulls are without three regulars: Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez are nursing injuries and resting for Sunday’s showdown with United, while Mehdi Ballouchy has visa issues that prevented him from accompanying the club to Canada.

In MLS news, Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle’s industrious midfielder from Cuba, is now a U.S. citizen, but is he eligible for the U.S. national team? Unlikely. Besides, Juergen Klinsmann isn’t exactly lacking in central midfield. Details from the Seattle Times.

Toronto FC, with one victory in 11 league matches and five goals scored in five away losses, shipped home the three players arrested in Houston the other night.

With Ireland’s early elimination from the European Championship, striker Robbie Keane has rejoined the Los Angeles Galaxy. He won’t play tonight at Real Salt Lake but could return Saturday against Vancouver.


Four new soccer books — and one electronic book — have turned up at Insider World Headquarters. I haven’t read all of them in full yet, so other than the Paul Cannell memoir, I can’t offer endorsements, but the topics might pique your interest:

“La Roja: How Soccer Conquered Spain and How Spanish Soccer Conquered the World,” by Jimmy Burns, whose work also includes “Barca: A People’s Passion” and “The Hand of God: The Life of Diego Maradona.”

”Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-Five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer,” by Gwendolyn Oxenham, a former Duke star who traveled the world with three friends to discover the soul of the sport.

“This Love Is Not for Cowards: Salvation and Soccer in Ciudad Juarez,” by Robert Andrew Powell, who chronicles a season with Indios in a Mexican border city plagued by drugs, human trafficking and murder.

“Beyond Bend It Like Beckham,” Timothy F. Grainey’s look at the growth of the women’s game in places such as the United States and its on-going challenges in other parts of the world.

“F%$#@’ Hell It’s Paul Cannell,” sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll in the NASL, written by the hard-partying Geordie forward. (If you’re searching online, I couldn’t spell out the actual title. This is, after all, a family blog.) The digital-only book is available for purchase here. This is the memoir I mentioned on the blog in April after meeting Paul for a drink (or three) in Washington.