According to the website of FC Nordsjælland, Michael Parkhurst has been called in to the US national team for next week's friendly against Italy. At least, I think that's what it says - I don't speak Danish, and Google Translate is only so helpful.
Anyway, Parkhurst being tabbed by Jurgen Klinsmann isn't much of a surprise, seeing as the one-time Rev put in two fairly strong showings against Panama and Venezuela last month, and the US is now paper-thin in central defense thanks to the Oguchi Onyewu injury.
Who else will join him? Here's my best guess:
GK: Tim Howard (Everton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)
D: Parkhurst, Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers), Carlos Bocanegra (Glasgow Rangers), Timothy Chandler (FC Nürnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA)
MF: Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Danny Williams (1899 Hoffenheim), Fabian Johnson (1899 Hoffenheim), Jose Francisco Torres (Pachuca), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla)
F: Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Note that this isn't my roster, just the roster I think Klinsmann will call. Also bear in mind that injuries have plagued Kyle Beckerman (recently) and Zak Whitbread (forever), otherwise the first would be a lock and the second would get a look.
The two young American-born left backs in England - Danny Potts of West Ham and Adam Henley of Blackburn Rovers - are expected to be with the youth squads of England and Wales, respectively. And neither's really ready for a spot with any full national team, anyway. Pearce, meanwhile, was pretty solid last month, and needs another look at the spot.
Up top it was a coin flip between LA's Edson Buddle and Wondolowski for the third forward slot, so I ended up going with Wondo. Hush-hush reports out of camp say that Klinsmann's staff were very happy with the San Jose man's ability to create chances - though, like the rest of us, they're still waiting for him to finish a couple.
Oguchi Onyewu just can't seem to catch a break.
The big central defender tore ligaments and the meniscus in his right knee in Sporting CP's win over Paços de Ferreira on the weekend. Sporting's official site says he needs surgery and will be out for at least two months.
Obviously, this rules him out for next week's showdown with Italy. But it also begs the question: How much can US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann rely on Gooch at this point in his career?
Onyewu's athleticism never really recovered after his horrible injury against Costa Rica two-and-a-half years ago, and rebuilding his other knee — at age 30 — suggests the road ahead will be bumpy. Expecting him to ever regain his 2007 to '09 form, when he was the best defender in Belgium and deservedly attracted the attention of clubs like AC Milan, seems like a fool's errand.
It was already imperative that guys like Geoff Cameron, Tim Ream and George John step up and claim roles with the national team by the end of the calendar year. The latest injury to Onyewu just crystalizes that need.
When you're Thierry Henry, you can do stuff. Stuff like score 300+ professional goals, stuff like win a World Cup, and stuff like build a mansion with a four-storey fish tank.
Just like Troy McClure.
Plenty of folks were disappointed that the little Swiss playmaker spent his maiden MLS voyage tethered mostly to the wings. As part of the Martin Rennie overhaul in Vancouver, though, it looks like Chiumiento will be moved to the center of the park - his natural spot, and the place he's wanted to play since day one.
Go to 1:16 of the following video and you'll see why that's a good idea:
Yes, it was against a college team. Yes, it's just preseason, and no, most MLS defenders wouldn't fall for those shenanigans.
But Chiumiento's got more than that in his bag, and the 'Caps are going to improve this year (I figure they'll compete for the final Western Conference playoff spot). If they go from 6-18-10 in 2011 to the postseason in 2012, somebody's gonna get the credit.
If history holds, that somebody will be Chiumiento. Six of the last nine MLS MVPs have been attacking midfielders, and many of them - David Ferreira, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Christian Gomez - are strongly associated with "turnaround" seasons.
Let's not overthink this one. Everton scored four goals in the six games before Donovan arrived, going 2-2-2 across all competitions. Since January 4, they've scored 11 in nine, going 4-3-2 with wins over Manchester City and Chelsea.
In January, Everton scored eight times. Donovan assisted five of them.
Somewhere, Robbie Keane and Edson Buddle are smiling.
I thought Andrew Wenger was going to be a central defender. So did Caleb Porter, apparently – the US U-23 coach played Wenger there during January's camp.
And we weren't alone; I'd say a plurality of people in the world of US/Canadian soccer figured Wenger projected as a surefire star in the middle of the defense. He has ideal tools for a young center back – he's skilled, physical, big, strong and quick, a guy cut straight from the Geoff Cameron mold.
But it turns out that Jesse Marsch has different ideas. He played Wenger up top in the rookie's first action last week, coming right out and saying "I like him as a forward." And Wenger himself has said he wants an attacking role.
So when word dropped today that former Italian international central defender Matteo Ferrari was/is about to sign with the Impact, it just crystalized what was already pretty clear: Wenger's not going to be a defender in MLS.
At least, not yet, and not unless something goes "Chris Albright at center forward"-level wrong over the next couple of years.
For the Impact's sake, let's hope that's not in the cards.
For Porter's sake, let's hope Ike Opara can stay healthy and impress. Otherwise, the US central defense could be in a world of hurt come Olympic qualifying time.
In the meantime, enjoy the highlights of Montreal's scoreless draw with the Portland Timbers:
So far, the Colorado Rapids have kept a pretty tight lid on it, but it looks like Nick Groke of The Denver Post has got the scoop.
According to Groke, the playmaker Tim Hinchey, Oscar Pareja & Co. have been making googly eyes at all offseason is Rosario Central youngster Martín Rivero, a 22-year-old attacking midfielder. Rivero has been a pro since 2008, has a double-handful of goals and more than 100 first team appearances, and now wants out of the Argentine first-division side.
More flair in the final third would be a welcome addition in Commerce City, where the mandate this season is to press, possess and entertain in Pareja's preferred 4-3-3 formation.
It seems that the 4-3-3 revolution has reached the Rockies. Colorado Rapids technical director Paul Bravo, head coach Oscar Pareja and team captain Pablo Mastroeni sat down with supporters on Wednesday night and talked about the direction the team's headed in preseason, with the answer being "We're going Dutch."
As with all 4-3-3s, the key is finding the right man to run the midfield, and Bravo had news on that front as well. He and Pareja will be working their South American contacts to find a "true No. 10."
Think Juan Román Riquelme is answering his phone these days? -- (Burgundywave.com)
The Cafetero-flavored rebuild continues in New England, according to our man Kyle McCarthy. He dropped this on Twitter a little while ago:
New England has signed Colombian striker José "Pepe" Moreno on loan from Once Caldas. #revs— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) February 1, 2012
And as it turns out, Revolution president Brian Bilello had handed out a hint just a bit before that:
We signed a #9 earlier today. Announcement should go out in the AM.— Brian Bilello (@RevsPrez) February 1, 2012
Who's Pepe Moreno, then? A well-traveled (he's had eight teams on two continents over the last half-decade), 30-year-old No. 9 who earned three caps with his country back in 2006.
Maybe not the star name Revs fans were hoping for, but with a loaded midfield, New England doesn't need a star up top. They just need someone to finish all the chances Benny Feilhaber, Kelyn Rowe, Shalrie Joseph et al create.