Your Friday Kick Off

All-Star voting update, USOC Round of 16 preview, Eric Remedi …
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Kick Off: USOC Round of 16 opens Friday | Matarrita suffers WC blow

Here is everything you need to know about MLS and North American soccer this morning:

MLS All-Star Fan XI voting update

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Atlanta United playmaker Miguel Almiron is one of the top vote-getters in the early All-Star returns. | USA TODAY Sports Images

The early returns are in, and Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almiron currently leads the midfielders in voting for the 2018 MLS All-Star Game Fan XI presented by Target. LAFC and Mexico forward Carlos Vela is ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the EA SPORTS “More Than a Vote” challenge to earn the third forward slot. FULL RESULTS | VOTE NOW

Timbers, Galaxy open USOC Round of 16

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 begins with the LA Galaxy invading Portland on Friday night (11 pm ET | USsoccer.com). The visitors have moved to shore up their right back ranks by signing former Vancouver, Houston and Philly defender Sheanon Williams. READ MORE | PREVIEW

Old cup rivalries flare on Saturday

There will also be a pair of tantalizing Open Cup bouts on Saturday, with the spotlight matchup finding the last two champions dueling in Kansas City. FC Dallas come in having won five straight across all competitions, but they have suffered mightily both times they ventured into Children’s Mercy Park for a cup tilt. PREVIEW

Elsewhere, Philadelphia and the New York Red Bulls will make it four years running in the Open Cup, this time at Talen Energy Stadium. The Union, who have taken two of the three previous tourney clashes between the two, posted a scoreless draw in Harrison just a few weeks ago. PREVIEW

NYCFC’s Matarrita to miss World Cup

Costa Rica have suffered a big blow before even beginning World Cup 2018 play, as NYCFC left back Ronald Matarrita has been replaced on their 23-man squad due to hamstring injury. He was hurt during Thursday training session, and is slated to be in recovery for at least two weeks. READ MORE

Ciman waits on World Cup call

Will he or won’t he? That is the question being asked by and about LAFC defender Laurent Ciman, who is on standby ready to join Belgium’s World Cup squad as an injury replacement for Vincent Kompany. He will find out on Sunday if he’s needed to step in for the Manchester City star, who did not train on Thursday. READ MORE

Midfielder Remedi headed to Atlanta?

If Argentine radio host Leonel Cerrudo is correct, Atlanta United have finally found a new defensive midfielder. He says Banfield man Eric Remedi was on his way for a medical to seal a Five Stripes move. READ MORE

Toronto FC: The hunter and the hunted

In the wake of their wild 4-4 draw with D.C. United, stat guru Paul Carr offers up a little nugget about a peculiar new Toronto FC first. It seems that, this year, you can never count anyone out in one of their games. READ MORE

MLSsoccer.com Must-Watch

41268b1a-b4f6-4f81-8505-d00abcfd2c03.jpg Andrew and Matt examine how Raul Ruidiaz could help Seattle

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