The Full 90

The Morning Kickoff: The Border War, MLS preseason news, friendlies and more

There are certain days when I can't take Twitter. It's a social network I'm not altogether comfortable with on the best of days. But, during national events like the State of the Union and fake celebrity death scares, that uncomfortableness is somewhere near 11.

Last night, when my timeline became a scorched-earth battleground between Kansas and Missouri fans that eventually became a one-way street of gloating, my level of uncomfortableness was somewhere around 25. Instead of ignoring it, because I'm the kind of cat that tongues a cavity before going to see a dentist, I got caught up in it last night. Following each and every mean tweet in the name-calling phase and then gloating phase once the game ended. (I have no horse in the race and no interest other than cursory in the heated rivalry, though I admit I once played a franchise in NCAA for PlayStation with Missouri after random selection.)

It's a pity that Sporting Kansas City will never have a geographic rivalry (derby) that can even compare (even just fractionally) to the Border War. It bums me out. Every MLS team has a geographic rivalry, except us here in KC.

St. Louis, despite being a hot-bed of American soccer, would really be the only likely candidate. But our sister city to the East seems like more of a long-shot than ever to get an MLS franchise these days. Omaha and Oklahoma City even less likely. Meaning, KC will likely always exist as the only truly geographically isolated franchise. Ooof.

I'm not even a Missouri Tigers fan, and I'm now depressed.

Lightning Round!

• You've seen the blurry video and read the articles about it, now, check out

a photo slideshow of Sporting KC's first preseason game.

• Former KC coach Curt Onalfo on

his new job with Los Angeles.

• Jose Mourinho

wants to coach in MLS?

• Tough break for Portland's forward Bright Dike

as he will miss 6-9 months after tearing his Achilles' tendon.

• FC Dallas boosts its attack by signing

Brazilian Ricardo Villar.

• Today's foreign-star-to-MLS news rumor?

Miroslav Klose.

• New England close in on

French midfielder Ousmane Dabo.

• Sports Illustrated on

MLS' growing pains.

Wolfsburg have suspended playmaker Diego for defying orders and taking a penalty that missed over the weekend.

The loss led to the firing of boss Steve McClaren.

• Nothing like a mid-week round of International exhibitions, huh? There are some good ones: France vs. Brazil, Germany vs. Italy and

Messi vs. Ronaldo

(er, Argentina vs. Portugal). The United States would've been playing in Egypt on Wednesday, but that game was cancelled. Here's the schedule for the next two days.

Today

• Republic of Ireland vs. Wales, 1:45 p.m., ESPN3.com



• Peru vs. Panama, 2:40 p.m., EPSN3.com (In Spanish)

Wednesday

• Denmark vs. England, 1:15 p.m., ESPN3.com



• Netherlands vs. Austria, 1:30 p.m., ESPN3.com



• Germany vs. Italy, 1:45 p.m., ESPN3.com



• Northern Ireland vs. Scotland, 1:45 p.m., ESPN3.com



• France vs. Brazil, 1:55 p.m., ESPN2, ESPN3.com



• Argentina vs. Portugal, 2 p.m., GolTV



• Spain Colombia, 2:30 p.m., ESPN3.com

• This is a back-and-forth I missed over the weekend.

British GQ had a semi-unflattering story about Philadelphia Union supporters "The Sons of Ben." Match Fit USA's Jason Davis penned a rebuttal.

My take? Nearly every MLS team has a section (whether it be small like it is here in KC or large like the Sons of Ben) of young (mostly) men who dress like ultras-lite (in KC, it's mostly bandanas over the face and a slightly aggro disposition) who are borrowing from what they've read and seen from their English/Italian/Spanish counterparts.

This is all part of establishing fan identity. You take what you've seen, practice it, then build something your own on top of it.

For the most part, in the USA, it's harmless. Some R-rated chanting laced with profanity and a show of defiance with bandanas covering the face. Possibly a smoke-bomb or two. (Some are bound to be more violent, especially in a city like Philadelphia where they threw batteries at J.D. Drew and booed Santa Claus.) There isn't the same socio-economic/political struggle that comes with the Old Firm or the Liverpool-Manchester United rivalry.

This doesn't make American fans passionate posers. It makes them fans drawing from their influences as they try to establish their own identity in a lower-tier league (on a grand American sports scale) struggling for cultural acceptance.

As soccer fans, what do you think of the two articles? I'm especially interested in hearing from some of the displaced Brits that frequent KC games and what they think of this.

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