Say what you will about Carlos Bocanegra and whether he's the same player he was during the past two World Cups. But the dude is a professional.
It's been a tough week for the US national team captain, omitted from camp by Jurgen Klinsmann for a lack of minutes with Racing Santander and name-dropped repeatedly in the bombshell article by the Sporting News' Brian Straus as a flashpoint for what is reportedly a rift between squad and coach.
But on Tuesday, Bocanegra took the highest road possible on all the relevant social-networking venues. First, he penned a thoughtful, respectful few lines on his Facebook page:
"During the last 18 months, Jurgen has introduced a lot of new ideas to the team and has a vision of how he wants to grow the program," he wrote. "Every coach around the world has his own style and methods. He has always been up front with players about where they stand and where he sees them going.
"Not every player is going to be happy with all of the decisions and methods, but he will tell you to your face where you stand. From a coach, that is the best thing you could ask for. One of the greatest strengths of this team has always been our unity and spirit, and we all remain committed to the cause of qualifying for the World Cup."
Then, he added some thoughts on his Twitter account:
Unfortunately sometimes your club situation directly affects your national team career. I appreciate all the friendly messages (cont)
— Carlos Bocanegra (@BocaBoca3) March 19, 2013
.. (cont) & would love to be in camp. Its an honor and a privilege to represent the USA. Lets all get behind the team for these 2 big games”
— Carlos Bocanegra (@BocaBoca3) March 19, 2013
It's that kind of leadership that makes fans hope Boca is back in the picture soon.
Eidur Gudjohnsen, Joan Verdú, Nelson Haedo Váldez, Javier Saviola ... it's hard to know which rumors are real and which are mere rumors in the Emerald City.
But the Sounders are clearly up to something, as GM Adrian Hanauer told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday that the club hopes to have news on a Designated Player soon. Earlier Tuesday, Steven Goff of The Washington Post offered up an interesting appetizer:
Seattle Sounders in hunt for Nigerian forward Obafemi Martins? Just a little somethin' I heard today. Thoughts? #mls
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) February 19, 2013
No indication of if that "little somethin'" has legs or not, but Martins is certainly a pedigreed forward who could help Seattle immensely. He's played in all of Europe's "Big Four" leagues and currently is taking a star turn at Levante in Spain's top flight.
What do you think? Would a mercurial Nigerian speedster with nearly 100 career goals for clubs and country be the right fit for the Sounders?
Well that's one way to avoid rush hour on the 405.
According to Grant Wahl over at SI.com, Jurgen Klinsmann hasn't been wasting any precious hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic while commuting from his home in Orange County up to Carson for US national team January camp. He's choppering himself back and forth.
That's right. Jurgen Klinsmann is piloting his own helicopter to make the 70-mile round trip up and down the coast, dodging one of Southern California's most notoriously crowded freeways.
If only all of us had a helicopter at our disposal. As Ferris Bueller once said, "If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."
Sunday tabloids are for light reading and gossip. So here's a good one for entertainment value.
David Beckham has yet to decide where (or if?) he’s playing in 2013, but if you’re the sort who trusts those loveable UK rags, he’s apparently delivering a handful of fellow English World Cup veterans into MLS to take his place.
According to a report on Sunday in The Mirror, Becks will try to sell Steven Gerrard, Peter Crouch, Ashley Cole and Michael Carrick on the league.
Of course, the report also makes the tired suggestion that MLS would be “an ideal destination for them to finish their careers.” That said, the entire quartet is around the same age Beckham was when he made the jump over from Real Madrid six years ago.
In the same report, another Englishman, Jermaine Pennant, suggests that a Stateside move could revive his stalled out career.
“Playing in America is a strong option for me,” he is quoted as saying. “You only have to see the caliber of players there of past and present to see how the league is improving. It is getting stronger with every year.”
The 30-year-old winger – who never delivered on his promise when he debuted for Arsenal as a teenager – has never really quite fit in anywhere. Add to that his history of disciplinary and legal problems, and you have to wonder if any MLS team would take the bait. Then again, Luke Rodgers worked here for a time...
We now return you to your regularly scheduled Sunday.
For all those US national team fans clamoring for Omar Gonzalez to get his shot in Jurgen Klinsmann's good graces, it's worth citing that old Smiths song: "How soon is now?"
The LA Galaxy backline destroyer and MLS Cup 2012 MVP isn't just getting his shot, he's seizing the advantage and impressing the big boss. Check out this installment of "Opportunity Knocks" from US Soccer to get a sense of where Gonzalez fits in and how he's doing in January camp.
Javier Morales is coming back. And that's straight from the man himself.
At the closing of a busy Wednesday full of transactions, and on the eve of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, RSL's creative force in midfield tweeted that he will return to Real Salt Lake for a seventh season.
I couldn't be happier. Just sign my new contract with RSL. Thanks to the Club, Owner, coaches, teammates and sepcially to the FANS! #RSL2015
— Javier Morales (@javi_mo11) January 17, 2013
What do you think of the development? Javi just turned 33 a week ago, but there's no doubt he's an institution at Rio Tinto Stadium and gives RSL a little something extra.
You've probably read the rumors, and so have we: The New York Red Bulls are reportedly trading Joel Lindpere to the Chicago Fire in exchange for an international slot.
But as of Friday evening, neither club was saying anything, as both RBNY and Chicago declined to comment to MLSsoccer.com.
But given the amount of salary the Red Bulls are likely taking on for Juninho Pernambucano — further crowding up an already crowded midfield — and their suddenly open Designated Player slot thanks to the sale of Rafa Márquez, this move isn't much of a surprise. (Lindpere signed a hefty contract extension a year ago.)
Even less of a shock considering the clear-out of Hans Backe products that began as soon as the 2012 season ended and will likely continue as new sporting director Andy Roxburgh puts his stamp on the club. All that cap space is going to go somewhere, and if you factor in the extra international slot into the equation, well, you can take a guess as to what kind of math the Red Bulls are banking on.
Still, it'd be a bit sad to see the Estonian midfielder make his exit from Red Bull Arena. After all, he bagged the first goal ever scored there and was a fan favorite. If he's gone, by the way, that would leave a single player left on the roster from that March 2010 friendly against Santos, the debut match at RBNY's new home:
The times have changed in Harrison, indeed.
Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson isn't exactly a shy guy. Especially on Twitter. He's apologized one more than one occasion for being a little too, well, a little too honest on the social-networking site.
But you can often read between the lines as to what's going on even when Paulson's being less than forthcoming. So please take the following with the appropriate grain of salt.
On Sunday, Mix Diskerud's father and agent told MLSsoccer.com that Timbers head coach Caleb Porter had contacted his former US Under-23 midfielder and discussed the possibility of the Norwegian-American joining his building project in Portland.
Then on Monday the news broke from the league office that Mobi Fehr — another foreign-raised US youth international — had signed with the league and that the Timbers have an 83.1 percent chance of landing the Tokyo-based central defender in a weighted lottery on Tuesday.
Call me crazy, but it seems like Paulson, in a tweet earlier on Monday, seemed to suggest the latter possibility being a lot more likely. Or maybe there's something else going on entirely.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall in Portland.
Always disappointing when deals that were done fall apart. Crazy biz but that's the biz we are in. Next option may make more sense anyway.
— Merritt Paulson (@MerrittPaulson) December 17, 2012
Hitting the "undo" button on unpopular transactions is so in these days.
A week after the Philadelphia Union traded for Sébastien Le Toux, bringing the fan favorite back to PPL Park, it looks like the Vancouver Whitecaps could be considering a similar move.
According to Marc Weber at The Province, Davide Chiumiento was back in Vancouver this weekend and even had lunch with 'Caps head coach Martin Rennie to discuss a possible return to MLS.
Vancouver sold the popular attacking midfielder to FC Zürich in July for what was deemed "family reasons" at the time. But it's no secret that the 'Caps missed the Swiss-Italian's attacking spark after he departed, especially as they limped into the playoffs by winning just once in their final 10 games.
Chiumiento didn't do much to calm the rumors, if you check his Twitter feed. His fans certainly would welcome his return, too, judging by the responses he got.
We'll keep tabs on this one, as Whitecaps fans would certainly be ecstatic to welcome Chiumiento back to BC Place, stat.
The dots have been slowly coming together over the past few months and now we've got a face and a name to put to them.
The new eight-team American women's league that will begin play in the spring will be called the National Women's Soccer League. But you can just call it the NWSL for short.
Those eight teams that comprise the league are a nice combination of old-school WUSA and WPS names and a few new faces: Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City, Portland Thorns FC, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit, Western New York Flash and Seattle, which has yet to announce its team name.
US Soccer made the announcement on Saturday and also unveiled the NWSL's logo — an appropriately patriotic red, white and blue crest with a silhouetted player in action. Kind of a nice homage to the NBA's logo, no?
About the only thing left we're wondering is, who is that on the logo? We know the NBA's shield features Jerry West (the guy's nickname is "The Logo," for crying out loud!). The anonymous player has a pony tail, so it's clearly not short-sheared Abby Wambach. Alex Morgan, perhaps?
Here's hoping the NWSL goes on to a long, successful run as the premier women's league in North America. It's got some decent backing, too — US Soccer will subsidize the salaries of up to 24 US national team players, while the Canadian Soccer Association and Federation of Mexican Football will each do the same for up to 16 players.