Eastern Conference Notes: Ochocinco humbled, Lekic on trial with NE and more

Eastern Conference Notes: Ochocinco humbled, Lekic on trial with NE and more

MLS- Toronto FC

Eastern Conference Notes: Ochocinco humbled, Lekic on trial with NE and more

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By THOMAS FLOYD

The first day of the Chad Ochocinco era in Kansas City wasn't exactly a smashing success.

The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver acknowledged he was behind the pace Wednesday as he began his trial with Sporting Kansas City, telling reporters, "The only thing I'm probably good at is just being fast as hell."

Wearing his signature No. 85, Ochocinco seemed to particularly struggle during a crossing exercise with assistant coach Zoran Savic. Coach Peter Vermes deployed the 33-year-old as a right forward for the reserves during a full-sided scrimmage.

He showed some improvement on his second day with the club, coming up with an assist and a converted penalty kick.

Here is some more news from around the Eastern Conference:

CHICAGO FIRE

The status of Serbian midfielder Bratislav Ristic for Saturday's home opener against Sporting Kansas City remains in doubt after the 31-year-old injured his quad during the first half of Chicago's 1-1 draw with FC Dallas. Patrick Nyarko replaced Ristic in the 42nd minute of that contest.

COLUMBUS CREW

The drama surrounding Robbie Rogers took another turn Wednesday when Crew technical director Brian Bliss told MLSsoccer.com the club is not actively looking to trade the disgruntled midfielder, noting it would take a "heck of a deal" for Columbus to consider any offer.

D.C. UNITED

With rookie center back Perry Kitchen called up to the U.S. under-20 national team and right back Jed Zayner day-to-day with a hamstring injury, coach Ben Olsen will have to change his back line for Saturday's trip to New England. The likely candidates to step into the lineup are Uruguayan Rodrigo Brasesco and second-round pick Chris Korb.

HOUSTON DYNAMO

Wednesday's trade of strikers that saw Houston ship Dominic Oduro to Chicago in exchange for Calen Carr was in part driven by Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear's familiarity with the speedster from when he was coaching in San Jose and Carr was playing college soccer at nearby California.

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

The Revolution's quest to bolster its front line with a proven goal scorer has led to a two-day trial for 6-foot-2 Danish striker Rajko Lekic that began Wednesday. The 29-year-old, who currently plays for Silkeborg IF in Denmark, has 110 professional goals to his name.

NEW YORK RED BULLS

A slew of absences due to international obligations means coach Hans Backe will get to test his squad's depth early this year. With center backs Tim Ream and Rafael Marquez called up to the U.S. and Mexico, respectively, Backe will be counting on veteran defender Carlos Mendes, who started 20 regular-season games and both of New York's playoff contests last season, at Columbus on Saturday.

PHILADELPHIA UNION

Although the Union would appear poised to move to 2-0 with a home game against the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, Philadelphia's players are not taking anything for granted against the team that notched a 4-2 win over Toronto FC in its first MLS game. In fact, midfielder Brian Carroll told MLSsoccer.com he doesn't "even refer to them as an expansion team."

TORONTO FC

After its 4-2 loss at expansion Vancouver, Toronto will get another crack at an expansion side Saturday when it hosts the Portland Timbers. Coach Aron Winter told TSN the team will be counting on a boost from the support of Toronto's vigorous fans.

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Do you think Ochocinco has any chance of sticking with Kansas City? Are you surprised Columbus said it isn't trying to deal Rogers? Does Lekic sound like the solution to New England's forward troubles?

Share your thoughts below.

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