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Roundup: Bomb Pops, Band-Aids & Blind Dates

The U.S. Men's National Team introduced new road kits; top MLS stars are hobbled heading into the weekend; Ian Darke shows he knows the ways of love just as much as he knows soccer

2014: Have we reached Peak Kit Failure? First USA's home-team homage to golf, then cf97's spidey-sense freakout, now this thing.
2014: Have we reached Peak Kit Failure? First USA's home-team homage to golf, then cf97's spidey-sense freakout, now this thing.

Happy Julian Green Day everyone!

Nothing like a USA vs Mexico game in the middle of the week to add some excitement to the routine. As of Tuesday afternoon well more than 50,000 tickets had apparently been sold for the game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. It should be an electric atmosphere with plenty of supporters from both nations. Kickoff is set for 10 p.m. CT; the game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Jurgen Klinsmann has a few tough choices left to make and some performances could be crucial. Sean Johnson is also along for the trip so we may just see a Fire man take the field.

While soccer fans have had Wednesday circled on the calendar this week, there were some eventful happenings Tuesday that should not go unnoticed.

Fire reserves top Indy11, 3-1

Everyone's first glimpse of the Fire's new younger brother - from Dad's new family, ugh - was won by CF97, 3-1. The game, dubbed the 'Schlabst Cup,' saw Chicago race out to a 3-0 halftime lead at the Boilermaker Soccer Complex in West Lafayette, Indiana on goals from Lovel Palmer, Juan Luis Anangono and Chris Rolfe. Indy11's first goal in competition came in the second half, when Kleberson - freshly signed a day before - beat Alec Kann on a spot kick.

Rolfe's tally was particularly encouraging, as the veteran attacker weaved through several defenders before finishing calmly back-post.

The U.S. Men's National Team introduces new road kits

The U.S. Men's and Women's National Teams will pay tribute to one of America's most loved treats when they wear these new road kits, which the men will debut tonight in Arizona. Some may call it a tacky design that looks like a bomb pop, but I say there is definite strategy behind it.

Imagine playing during the summer in Brazil with the sun pounding down on the pitch. Now when America's opponents start to fade and look for hydration and relief, all they will see in front of them are a bunch of delicious looking popsicles running around. Don't be alarmed if Cristiano Ronaldo licks Michael Bradley during a game. It's all part of the new plan.

MLS teams dealing with injuries

It seems like injuries are starting to play a role in the MLS season. It never takes long for the bug to bite and throw a wrench in clubs' plans. The New York Red Bulls will be without Australian superstar Tim Cahill for two weeks and not-so-superstar Richard Eckersley for potentially a month. They might also hold out Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave this week because of the Montreal turf.

Jermain Defoe could miss Toronto's clash with the world-beaters that are the Columbus Crew this week. Defoe was removed during the Real Salt Lake game with some hamstring issues. Jonathan Osorio and Donnell Henry are expected to be on the sidelines as well.

Lastly, perpetually hurt Steven Lenhart has a sprained MCL. He should try to stop destroying everything.

CONCACAF Champions League starts semifinals

No MLS team in the semifinals is a bit of a bummer, but I caught some of the action Tuesday and it was pretty good. Costa Rica side Alajuelense showed very well at home against Toluca but could not come away with a point as they fell 1-0 to the Liga MX club. Alajuelense had a lot of opportunities in this game including a penalty that was sent over the crossbar. They played better than I thought they would, but this tournament is effectively over for them as there is almost no chance of defeating Toluca in Mexico.

Tijuana picked up a one-goal advantage over my pick to win it all Cruz Azul. It was a tight game and I still believe conceding a goal on the road will not doom Cruz Azul. I look for the blue guys to bounce back next week in Mexico City with a 3-1 victory to move on.

Speaking of Toluca, those jerks got a $5,000 fine (or roughly 10,000 Tecates) for filming the San Jose Earthquakes practice session ahead of the second leg of their quarterfinal clash in the Champions League. Seems soft.

Ian Darke wins the Internet

You need to watch this video if you haven't already. Ian Darke is cool. He could commentate a tax audit and make it seem lively and compelling. Your Wednesday will be better for having seen this.