Your Thursday Kick Off

Dempsey’s legacy, Red Bulls grab Shield lead …
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Kick Off: Dempsey bids farewell | Red Bulls go top | Philly roll thru DC

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

Dempsey’s legacy

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Even with four key match-ups on the schedule, Wednesday’s big news was the retirement announcement made by Seattle star Clint Dempsey to put a cap on an illustrious 15-year pro career. The Texas native netted 79 total MLS goals, another 72 playing in England and became the joint all-time USMNT top scorer, and our Bobby Warshaw writes that his lasting legacy will be that of the bravest American ever with the ball at his feet. READ MORE

Red Bulls grab Shield lead

The New York Red Bulls moved into the Supporters’ Shield lead with a 1-0 home win over Houston on Wednesday night. Hometown boy Brian White was over the moon after scoring his first career goal for the winner, and the defense posted its eighth Red Bull Arena clean sheet of the season. READ MORE | RECAP

Elsewhere, Philadelphia made it four wins in a row with a 2-0 midweek decision at D.C. United. CJ Sapong scored the first half winner and set up Fafa Picault’s insurance tally as the Union moved 10 points clear of the playoff line. RECAP

Timbers get well, Quakes stun FCD

Portland climbed back into the playoff zone on Wednesday night by stopping a four-game slide with a 2-0 home victory over defending champs Toronto FC. Second half goals from Diego Chara and David Guzman bumped the Timbers up to fifth in the West. RECAP

Meanwhile, conference leaders FC Dallas suffered a wild 4-3 loss at San Jose. Vako Qazaishvili scored twice for the Earthquakes and Chris Wondolowski bagged the 62nd minute winner. RECAP

Adams on the move?

According to the local Volkszeitung, RB Leipzig could try to sign Red Bulls midfield ace Tyler Adams before the summer window closes in Germany. The Bundesliga side will want a couple of reinforcements if they qualify for the Europa League group phase on Thursday night. READ MORE

Who’s primed for a US call-up?

It’s nearly time for another round of US national team friendlies, so we conjured up a list of the top five MLS players playing their way toward a debut cap. It features a pair of Real Salt Lake wide men, and a trio of youngsters from the Eastern Conference. READ MORE

Is Schelotto Miami’s first choice?

Argentine soccer outlet Doble Amarilla reports that David Beckham’s Miami expansion team has Boca Juniors manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto at the top of their wish list (in Spanish) for their first head coaching hire. The former Columbus Crew SC star is said to be one of three Argentinians in their sights, along with Matias Almeyda and Gabriel Milito. READ MORE

Kick Childhood Cancer month starts Sat.

All 23 MLS clubs are revved up and raring to go for the fifth annual Kick Childhood Cancer month, which is set to begin on Saturday. Everyone can get involved with official gear available, social media donation drives and an MLS WORKS auction, all to benefit the world renowned Children’s Oncology Group research center. READ MORE

MLSsoccer.com Must-Watch

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Jillian and Stephen take the This Week In MLS couch

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