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matthew doyle

08 December 12:24 pm

A step down in quality could be just what little-used Sporting KC rookie Dom Dwyner needs to get on the field, and it looks like St. Mirren of the Scottish Premier League are ready to offer it.

STV Sport out of Scotland say that Saints skipper Danny Lennon has the striker in Paisley for training right now, with an eye toward a wintertime loan. Dwyer, who was born and raised in England, would not require a work permit.

"I became aware of Dom through an agent," Lennon told STV. "Kansas City's season is over and there are one or two of the MLS players trying to get over [to Britain]. It has been on the back burner for a month to six weeks, but Dom is over now.

"It would only be a short-term one for us so we will have to wait and see but the reports we have had on him are positive."

Dwyer got on the field but once for Sporting in his rookie season, playing four minutes. St. Mirren currently sit 11th in the 12-team SPL.

07 December 8:40 pm

There's usually ample reason to mistrust the Brazilian media when it comes to soccer  the bigger the lie, the bigger the page views. So they tend to tell some whoppers.

But this one seems to have some truth to it. According to globoesporte, and initially picked up Stateside by the New York Post's Brian Lewis, Juninho Pernambucano  the original Juninho, and no, we shouldn't have to use his last name  is set to sign with the Red Bulls. And in fact, it would take a "miracle" for the transaction to get derailed.

Like I said, this one seems to make some sense, and it's mostly because Juninho goes way back with new global Red Bull soccer honcho Gerard Houllier. Houllier was head coach at Lyon for a spell when Juninho was the man there, and the two reportedly have a tight relationship.

Juninho is out of contract with current club Vasco da Gama on Dec. 31, which means he could come on a free when the MLS window opens on Jan. 1.

On Jan. 30, for what it's worth, he turns 38 years old.

05 December 7:13 pm

You bet your sweet bippy.

Here it is on r/MLS, the 2012, end-of-season awards. And I am awesome.

Does this kind of dominance come naturally, you may wonder?

It would be immodest to say "yes." It would also be wrong. As Malcolm Gladwell so eloquently (read: dubiously) explained in his pop-psychology best-seller Outliers, there may very well be a thing called "The 10,000 Hour Rule." And that if any talentless hack does one specific task for 10,000 hours or more, he'll probably get pretty good at it.

I guarantee you I've wasted 10,000 hours on the internet. Hell, I've probably done 20,000 hours. I remember 'TheSpark' before it became 'SparkNotes.' I spent hours on SoccerAmerica:Graffiti. I ran a linkshell in FFXI, for God's sake.

That's why I'm beating a World Cup veteran (Hi, Alexi!) and my boss (Um.. sorry, Chris) combined.

To blatantly rip off Stephen Colbert: I am like an athlete who has trained his entire life for a race he never knew was coming. And that race is "internet."

Thank you for your votes.

I'm Matt Doyle, and I approve this message.

05 December 4:44 pm

Good supporters' group songs in MLS have a way of going viral. Everybody steals (borrows, improves upon, whatever) from everybody else.

And the song of recent vintage that's done the rounds the most is "I Believe That We Will Win." Since coming to MLS via the Red Bull Arena SouthWard in summer 2010 (and if you have evidence someone else in the league did it earlier, do go ahead and post it in the comments below), it's become a de rigeur chant.

Let's face it, though: KC does it best. The Cauldron absolutely owns this one.

Anyway, here's what our guy Shawn Francis over at TheOffsideRules called the song's "own, heart-fluttering short film," courtesy of the American Outlaws. It looks like it was shot primarily (completely?) at Livestrong Sporting Park and the surrounding drinking establishments before/during/after the recent US national team game vs. Guatemala, and it is pretty damn awesome:

04 December 8:28 pm

If you're the type of person who misses the 3 am ET wake-up calls of the 2002 World Cup and loves obscure New Zealand semi-pro teams, then you're in luck. Because the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup starts Thursday at some point. When, I'm not certain, because you need a degree in physics to figure out the time zone differentials.

But we'll let the good folks at KICKTV give us a handy-dandy cheat sheet so that you don't miss a minute of action.

04 December 5:43 pm

If you clicked because of that title ,you should be ashamed of yourself.

Anyway, Dortmund finished atop the UEFA Champions League "Group of Death" thanks to their 1-0 win over Manchester City on Tuesday (side note: LOL!). That means one of the other group winners will have to face Real Madrid in the Round of 16, and also that City finished with the worst group record of any EPL side in Champions League history, with just three points.

Mostly, though, this is all an excuse to post video of Dortmund's secret weapon, "Footbonaut." Resistance is futile:

Hat tip to Goal.com's Seth Vertelney for the video. This thing is both awesome and ridiculous.

04 December 4:10 pm

Robbie Russell, a veteran of MLS, Norway, and both the UEFA and CONCACAF Champions Leagues, appears to be hanging it up. The 33-year-old right back battled through injuries with D.C. United last year, but still had enough in the tank to set up the decisive goal vs. New York in his team's victory in the Eastern Conference Championship.

This all courtesy of a tweet from The Washington Post's Steven Goff:

Note the adverb sneaking its way in there — that "probably" does leave the door open a crack. But with age catching up to him and Andy Najar looking like a long-term solution at right back, it's hard to imagine Russell making it past 2013.

01 December 9:22 pm

This one comes courtesy of our good friends over at Sounder At Heart, a site you should already have bookmarked.

"Sounder at Heart has learned through two secondary sources that Yossi Benayoun has interest in playing in Major League Soccer and that the Seattle Sounders were told of that interest. Benayoun is in the final few months of his loan to West Ham United and full contract with Chelsea."

Benayoun is also 32 and has been through a series of leg injuries over the past couple of years. So while he may want to play in MLS, he may have to face the simple reality that he's not really a DP-type of player at this point.

30 November 4:16 pm

We'll have more coming on this in a bit, but for the time being, let's just link out to Grant Wahl's sit-down with AEG honcho Tim Leiweke, who we all thought would be busy finding "The Beckham Replacement" over the next couple of months.

Turns out that timeframe may have been compressed a bit:

"We're well aware of Kaká's interest in MLS, and we in turn have made it very clear to him that he's aware of our interest in him," Leiweke told Wahl on Friday. "We have a great relationship with Real Madrid, and just as we worked through a player with them six years ago [Beckham], I'm absolutely convinced we could find the right deal this time, too."

The transfer window officially opens on January 1. The silly season, it seems, is open already.

As usual, the whole article is worth a read.

28 November 7:24 pm

There has been no one clearly dominant player in college soccer this year. There's actually been a bunch of them.

And after a somewhat (OK, mostly) laughable preseason Hermann Trophy watch list, the NSCAA got things largely right with their 15-strong roll call of semifinalists.

Of course, the two guys they missed — CSU Bakersfield's Gyasi Zardes and Indiana University's Eriq Zavaleta — are Nos. 1 and 3 on our Big Board, and both sure-fire pros as soon as they decide to put pen to paper. Zardes is an LA Galaxy Academy product who reportedly turned down a Homegrown contract last year, and led the Roadrunners with 15 goals and nine assists as a redshirt junior. Zavaleta, a true sophomore, has 17 goals and three assists, and has led the Hoosiers into the NCAA Tournament's final eight.

So yeah, a couple of big names missing from the list, which is below:

Name Class Position School
Carlos Alvarez Sr. M UConn
Don Anding Sr. F Northwestern
Ashton Bennett Sr. F Coastal Carolina
Scott Caldwell Sr. M Akron
Mamadou Doudou Diouf Jr. F UConn
Andrew Farrell Jr. D Louisville
Ryan Finley Sr. F Notre Dame
Jose Gomez Sr. M Creighton
Daniel Haber Jr.  F Cornell
Robbie Kristo So. F St. Louis
Patrick Mullins Jr. F Maryland
Steve Neumann Jr. F Georgetown
Dillon Powers Sr. M Notre Dame
Devon Sandoval Sr. F New Mexico
Chris Thomas Sr. F Elon

Note the number of seniors, which speaks well of the chances for a third consecutive strong SuperDraft. I can't pretend to have watched as much college soccer this year as guys like Daniel Robertson, who provides our MLS on Campus coverage, and Travis Clark, who does great work for TopDrawerSoccer.com, but I've seen my fair share, and most of these guys have a future. I particularly like Alvarez and Diouf, because I am a UConn homer, and Sandoval, because he will be the next Steven Lenhart. Seriously, you will either love or hate him.

Odds-on favorite at this point? Probably Notre Dame's Finley, who scored 21 goals and added four assists for the Fighting Irish. All as a sub, which either makes it way more impressive or way more confusing.

Notre Dame, by the way, lost to Indiana last weekend in the Round of 16. Zavaleta scored the game-winner.

Some things are better than trophies.