MLS Cup first: managers who are both former MLS players

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Jason Kreis was pouring in goals at times in the late 1990s and early 2000s for the Dallas Burn (now FC Dallas, of course.)

Peter Vermes was anchoring defenses for Colorado in those same late 1990s and then for the Kansas City Wizards in the early part of the next decade. So these two met on the field, multiple times at that.

That’s not remarkable in itself. Nor is it particularly remarkable that Vermes and Kreis are meeting as opposing managers Saturday for the 18th MLS Cup. But what is noteworthy here is that these two elements have never crisscrossed.

This is the first time former MLS players will meet as managers with MLS Cup on the line.

Former MLS players have managed in the league’s big finale before; Frank Yallop was the first (for San Jose) way back in 2001. Peter Nowak, Dominic Kinnear and Kreis followed (all as winners, no less). But this is the first time a pair of them have faced off.

Kreis (pictured above) was the better known MLS man as a player, the league’s first striker to reach the 100-goal milepost, and holder of the league’s all-time leading scorer honor for several years.

source: Getty ImagesVermes (pictured below) was equally as successful, but as a defender didn’t always enjoy the same name recognition. What Vermes did have was a more accomplished national team career. While Kreis never quite gained a foothold internationally, Vermes collected 67 caps.

Vermes was also front-and-center on one of the best MLS defenses ever, the 2000 Kansas City Wizards championship team. Back-stopped by goalkeeper Tony Meola at his best, a team of players who understood their roles, played within themselves and knew how to win 1-0 games beat the Chicago Fire in that year’s final.

Kreis’ top accomplishment as a player (team-wise, that is) was Dallas’ 1997 U.S. Open Cup triumph over D.C. United.

Bartra error emphasizes Dortmund’s latest Bundesliga woes

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Christian Pulisic sat out Friday’s 2-1 Dortmund defeat against Stuttgart. Coincidence? Perhaps.

However, the club’s struggles are apparent as Dortmund’s winless run extended to four matches and their gap from Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich could be up to nine points by the end of the weekend.

[ MORE: Chris Coleman steps down from Wales, expected to take Sunderland job ]

BVB was without several of its top talents for the match, including U.S. Men’s National Team star Pulisic and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but it’s Dortmund’s defending that continues to be the side’s biggest issue.

Stuttgart struck after five minutes when Chadrac Akolo broke the deadlock off of an embarrassing blunder by Marc Bartra and the Dortmund defense.

Bartra attempted a routine back pass to goalkeeper Roman Burki during the early moments of the match, but his ball back proved to be way too strong and deflected off of Burki and into the path of Stuttgart forward Akolo (video below).

Dortmund atoned for the former Barcelona man’s mistake just prior to halftime when Maximilian Philipp equalized, but it took just six minutes into the second stanza for Josip Brekalo to restore the Stuttgart advantage.

Moyes: Chicharito could miss two weeks with hamstring strain

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David Moyes has given Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez assurances that he’ll have the opportunity to compete for a starting role with the Hammers, but the Mexican international will have to wait a bit for a chance.

[ MORE: North London Derby takes center stage Saturday morning ]

Hernandez, 29, is currently nursing a hamstring strain, leaving his status for this weekend against Watford in doubt.

“I think everyone knows he [Chicharito] has got a hamstring injury,” Moyes said during Friday’s press conference. “It could take a week, it could take two weeks.”

Moyes didn’t mince words recently when speaking about Chicharito and other players within the squad, essentially pointing out that no player will be awarded a starting role simply because of their stardom.

Hernandez has scored four goals in 13 matches this season for West Ham, who currently sits 18th in the Premier League. The Hammers have won just two matches to start the 2017/18 campaign and sit on nine points.

Alessandro Nesta steps down with NASL side Miami FC

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Miami FC quickly put itself on the U.S. soccer map in two short seasons, and much of the club’s success can be attributed to manager Alessandro Nesta.

[ MORE: Chris Coleman steps down with Wales, expected to take Sunderland job ]

The former Serie A defender has managed the club in its first two years of existence, but Nesta’s time in South Beach is coming to an end.

Nesta revealed on Friday that he won’t be returning to the NASL club in 2018, as he prepares to fnd a “new challenge” in his managerial career.

With NASL’s future as a league very much up in the air, Nesta could be seeking a more stable position entering 2018, especially given that his name has been thrown around with several MLS jobs over the last few months.

Orlando City raised over $300,000 in friendly for Puerto Rico hurricane relief

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It isn’t always the score at the end of the match that matters, and Orlando City proved that with its recent friendly to benefit those affected by hurricanes in Puerto Rico.

[ MORE: Whitecaps announce USL affiliation with expansion side Fresno FC ]

Orlando City faced off with the Puerto Rico national team on Nov. 4, which the Lions won 6-1, but it was the club’s humanitarian efforts that proved to be the real story from the event.

The club announced that it raised $327,530 from the match, with all proceeds from the event going directly to the Puerto Rican people.

“I’m very proud of what our Club and our partners were able to accomplish,” Orlando City SC owner Flavio Augusto da Silva said in a team statement. “What we did meant more than just raising funds for Puerto Rico. Once again, we came together as a community to rally behind something bigger than us all.”