Your Thursday Kick Off

Houston Dynamo, U.S. Open Cup, Luis Suarez …
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Kick Off: Dynamo cruise to 1st USOC title | NYCFC clinch playoff spot

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

Dynamo raise first Open Cup

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An early Mauro Manotas strike grabbed the lead for Houston and they never looked back, comfortably taking Wednesday’s US Open Cup title match against guests Philadelphia by a 3-0 tally. PLAYER RATINGS | RECAP

Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle and Bobby Warshaw agreed that the Dynamo took the crown on the strength of their counter. READ MORE

Across the aisle, the loss left the Union feeling sick over their third runner-up finish in the last five Open Cup tournaments. READ MORE

NYCFC clinch playoff spot, eliminate Fire

Also Wednesday, New York City FC got well with a solid 2-0 victory over visiting Chicago. David Villa set up Alexander Ring’s early second-half winner with a dynamic back heel, and then quickly added the insurance tally himself. RECAP

Long aims to shut down Atlanta

As their Supporters’ Shield race showdown with Atlanta fast approaches, New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long is making it his mission to help shut out the free-scoring Five Stripes. He and his teammates have their work cut out for them, as the current league leaders haven’t been held without a goal since mid-May. READ MORE

‘Caps get coaching search head-start

Some observers might have been surprised by the timing of Carl Robinson’s removal in Vancouver, but the club says it was done now to give them extra time to look for the right replacement. READ MORE

Meanwhile, The Athletic’s Kristian Dyer reports that LAFC assistant Marc dos Santos is the leading contender (Subscription needed for full article—ed.) to fill the Whitecaps’ bench vacancy. READ MORE

SKC ink 18-year-old to honorary contract

As part of Sporting KC’s Victory Project, Sporting KC have signed an honorary contract with osteosarcoma patient Kalen Ricketson ahead of their weekend hoe match against Real Salt Lake. The 18-year-old was handed jersey No. 24 for the week, and is listed on the club’s roster. READ MORE

Atlanta raising its soccer game

Soccer in the Streets has been a rousing success in Atlanta, and the program is being expanded to add a slew of new urban fields across the city. Local blog Dirty South Soccer examined how the initiative is transforming the city’s soccer scene. READ MORE

St. Louis back in the expansion game

The local Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis officials are again meeting with the league in an attempt to revive the city’s expansion franchise hopes. The city’s drive for an MLS club has a major new investor interested in privately funding a stadium deal. READ MORE

Suarez weighing MLS offer?

According to Spanish sports magazine Don Balon, Barcelona star Luis Suarez is considering his future with the La Liga giants and has an MLS offer on the table to tempt him. The 31-year-old Uruguay goal monster has often come up as a potential recruit for the league in recent years. READ MORE

MLSsoccer.com Must-Watch

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Go behind-the-scenes of Houston’s USOC win with ExtraTime Live

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