The Full 90

The Morning Kickoff: Just 20 days until MLS returns

The Morning Kickoff is your start-the-day-right collection of stories, opinions, news and videos from around the globe. We scour the Web, you click the link. We're still working on our tagline.

The speculation and innuendo that accompanies almost every pre-season will finally find an end in 20 days, when the Major League Soccer season starts. Proper football will return.

Until then... How did you celebrate your 21st birthday? Chances are, you weren't laid up and left home with a dislocated elbow while your friends headed to Phoenix for two weeks. Chances are, you weren't picked up in the private jet of your employer on the morning of your joyous occasion and flown to Phoenix to reunite with your friends and celebrate your birthday proper.

Chances are, you aren't Teal Bunbury, whose strange trip to stardom is making every single stop possible. Read the whole story (from its humble Twitter beginnings to completion)

on the Sporting Way blog.

On the field this weekend,

Sporting Kansas City posted two shutouts over the Portland Timbers and Montreal Impact.

But they only scored two goals (one from the spot, one an own goal).

Sporting KC will compete in the MLS Desert Cup this weekend, playing Friday and Saturday night. The first game is against the Arizona Sahuaros (of the National Premier Soccer League) at 7 p.m. Friday in Tuscon. The second game is against the New York Red Bulls at 9 p.m. on Saturday. There are two more games scheduled, March 9 and 10, before the team returns to KC.

Check out

the pictures Game 1 Game 2

) from Saturday.

Kansas City's other soccer team, the Missouri Comets,

climbed closer to securing a playoff spot with a blowout win over the Chicago Riot this weekend.

The excellent Free Beer Movement blog

takes a look at our very own KC Cauldron

in their "Better Know a Supporters Group" feature.

Rauwshan McKenzie, 'member him?,

might make the biggest start of his career in the CONCACAF Champions League

as Real Salt Lake struggles with injuries and suspensions.

Could the addition of several interesting strikers (Omar Bravo, Charlie Davies, Carlos Ruiz, et al)

revitalize the Eastern Conference.

Well, finally, we can start the pre-season:

David Beckham will play his first exhibition game this week.

The United States' U-17 team

topped Canada 3-0 to win the CONCACAF U-17 final.

The biggest shocker of the weekend, of course, was

Arsenal capitulating against Birmingham City in the Carling Cup Final. three more chances for titles this season can they recover?

Lightning Round!

How Wayne Rooney escaped discipline for his obvious elbow against Wigan is beyond me.

It's like Todd Haley-Josh McDaniels all over again, but

this time it's Mark Hughes and Roberto Mancini.

After Birmingham, the biggest win of the weekend was likely

Borussia Dortmund knocking off Bayern Munich 3-1 (in Munich!). it also sent their shares up 11 percent (it settled back to 8 percent) at the Frankfurt stock exchange today. Speaking of Germany, the country will have an extra spot in the 2012 Champions League. Chelsea to take action following air gun incident involving Ashley Cole. Yep, pretty sure 7-0 always gets you sacked. It did for Palermo boss Delio Rossi. FIFA will decide the 2014 World Cup berth allocation this week. The bidding starts at $1 million a berth, right? A Colombian player kicks defenseless and injured owl,

who just so happened to be the unofficial mascot of the team he was facing. I hope animal abuse has a lengthy jail term in Colombia.

Remember when Ronaldinho did this all the time? Remember conga lines?

The Closer

Did anyone watch The Academy Awards last night? I have zero stomach for puffy award shows. I also didn't see at least half of the movies nominated (which is a first for me), and I knew "Inception" wouldn't sweep the awards.

I did see "The Social Network" and I loved Trent Reznor's soundtrack. Was glad to see it won.

Speaking of movies (and, since this is a soccer blog), what is your favorite soccer movie? I'm pretty fond of "The Damned United" and "Escape to Victory."

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