Not much left to say about this one. The Chicago Fire training in South Carolina, watched closely by a local alligator. Kudos to the club's fearless digital media leader Jeff Crandall for turning on his camera.
Kudos to Washington Post writer Steven Goff for digging into some tax records for the US Soccer Federation between April 2011 and March 2012, and discovering a few interesting financial nuggets.
- US men's national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann (above, left) collected $1,047,172 — a portion of his $2.5 million salary. He was hired late in the summer of 2011. Klinsmann’s contract runs through Aug. 31, 2014.
- Former head coach Bob Bradley, meanwhile, received $872,658, despite being fired four months into the tax period.
- US women's coach Pia Sundhage earned $299,190 while on the job during the entire tax period, which included a runner-up finish in the 2011 World Cup.
Here's the least surprising news of the day: Columbus has reportedly been picked as the site for the all-important World Cup qualifying matchup between the US and Mexico on Sept. 10.
That report comes from ESPN's John Sutcliffe, who tweeted out the news on Saturday. Crew Stadium has always been the frontrunner to host the match, thanks in no small part to its history of crucial matches for the Americans, and a 6-0-3 record there all-time. The last time the US suited up there came last September, when they beat Jamaica in qualifying.
The stadium has hosted the US team's home qualifier against Mexico in the final round for the last three consecutive World Cup qualifying cycles, with the United States collecting identical 2-0 scorelines in 2001, 2005 and 2009.
I am told that the Mexico @ USA World Cup qualifier on September 10th...will be played as usual in Columbus Ohio. #ElTRIONESPN
— John Sutcliffe (@espnsutcliffe) February 9, 2013
The seemingly endless coaching search for the next head coach of the New York Red Bulls has apparently taken another interesting turn.
Big Apple Soccer attributes a league source in a report released on Wednesday that says, among other things, that current Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert (above) is one of three remaining candidates for the head coaching job in New York.
The Red Bulls are the only team in MLS without a head coach when the MLS preseason got underway this week, and were reportedly recently turned down by former Portuguese international Paulo Sousa.
The coaching vacancy has also been linked in recent weeks to Fox Soccer analyst Eric Wynalda and former MLS coaches Jesse Marsch and Robin Fraser, as well as former Aston Villa assistant Gary McAllister. Big Apple Soccer reported earlier this month that the Red Bulls had hired McAllister had been hired for the position, but the report was promptly shot down by a source familiar with the negotiations.
The worst-kept secret in the days leading up to the MLS SuperDraft next Thursday is what Chivas USA want to do with that second overall pick.
And if there was any ambiguity as to what new head coach "El Chelis" Sola will do with his first-ever shot at the draft, he pretty much put that to rest on his Twitter account on Friday from the first day of the MLS Combine in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
It looks like he's doing a couple of things with this one. He's clearly tipping his hand about his intentions to snag North Carolina midfielder Mikey Lopez or Connecticut's Carlos Alvarez, two talented prospects and the best Mexican-American players in the draft. Alvarez, in fact, fits the bill nicely with an East LA background and a father who once played for Chivas Guadalajara.
But is he also hinting that one day these guys might play for the Goats' Mexican brother down in Guadalajara? It certainly sounds like it (we'll assume Maeve is a misspell or translation snafu for "maybe'), which means Chelis might have visions of turning his players into Mexican leaue prospects for the future. It's about to get real, real interesting at Chivas USA.
@cdchivasusa all the young is very good, but chivas need Mexico-American young players, because in a future Maeve play in Mexico.
— José Luis Sanchez (@Elchelis) January 12, 2013
Victor Pálsson’s brief time with the New York Red Bulls appears to be done, and he reportedly has a new deal with Dutch side Nijmegen Eendracht Combinatie.
The 21-year-old Icelandic winger was brought to New York in February by then head coach Hans Backe, but Pálsson struggled to establish himself as a reliable starter. He started four games and made 16 appearances overall, but failed to log a goal or an assist for the club before he was loaned to NEC with an option to sign in August. He has scored two goals in 12 games while on loan.
He has also played for Scottish side Hibernian during his career, and in 2011 was reportedly banned from all nightclubs in Edinburgh for urinating on a wall inside a club following a match.
The Red Bulls did not immediately respond to a request for comment from MLSsoccer.com.
If it's the end of the year, it's time for some obligatory video compilations. Cue the tape.
The latest one comes from the folks at US Soccer, who have put together the best moments from a historic year for the US men's national team, including every goal from the 2012 campaign. Check it out.
The San Jose Earthquakes topped the final regular season installment of the MLS Power Rankings on Tuesday, and it was a fitting end to an impressive season for the Quakes. Although they were one the season’s biggest surprises (MLSsoccer.com had them ranked No. 9 at First Kick), the Quakes ascended to the top spot in Week 16 and never really let up.
In fact, the Quakes held the top spot in the Power Rankings for 17 weeks this season (tops among all teams), and led the way for 14 consecutive weeks after reaching the top midway through the season. They relinquished their spot just once - to Sporting Kansas City in Week 30 – but claimed it again the next week and carried the torch each of the final three weeks of the season.
Some other notes on Power Rankings this season:
- The biggest surprise of the year was easily D.C. United, who came in at No. 16 at the First Kick poll in early March and finished the regular season at No. 3. They also proved to be one of the most volatile teams on the poll this year, rising to No. 2 in Week 15 before plummeting back to No. 12 as late as Week 28 before they surged down the stretch to finish in the top 3.
- The biggest disappointment was easily the Portland Timbers, who carried the No. 8 ranking into First Kick and effectively slipped into a free fall from there. They bottomed out at No. 19 in Week 19 and ended up holding that spot for a total of seven weeks this season.
- Toronto FC led the league with most weeks spent at the No. 19 spot – 14.
- Six teams held the bottom spot at least once this season – Toronto, Portland, Chivas USA, Philadelphia, FC Dallas and Montreal. The Impact held that spot at First Kick but never graced it again after Week 4.
- Five teams held the No. 1 ranking at some point this season – San Jose, Sporting Kansas City, Real Salt Lake, Seattle and the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy held it at First Kick and never got it back, slipping all the way down to No. 17 in Weeks 11 and 12. The swing of 16 spots is the largest of any team in the rankings this season.
- The most stable team this season was Sporting Kansas City, who never fell lower than No. 7 and spent a total of seven weeks at No. 1. The Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake both bottomed at No. 8 and reached No. 1 at various points in the season.
- The Houston Dynamo also never fell outside of the top 10 at any point this season, falling as low as No. 9 and rising as high as No. 2 in Week 22.
- The biggest one-week jump of any team this season belonged to San Jose, who leaped from No. 9 to No. 3 in Week 4 after a 1-0 win in Seattle. The Quakes never fell lower than No. 4 the rest of the way.
- The biggest one-week drop also came in Week 4. FC Dallas plummeted from No. 6 to No. 15 after a 4-1 loss at D.C. United.
- The Vancouver Whitecaps are the only playoff team not ranked in the top 10 at the end of the season. They fell to No. 12 in Week 25 and have languished outside the top 10 ever since.
- Chivas USA was only team to go out the way they came in. They were ranked No. 18 at First Kick and finished No. 18 in the final rankings on Tuesday, having never climbed any higher than No. 12.
Note: There were no rankings for Weeks 13-14 due to international dates.
Julian de Guzman appears to be on his way out of Toronto after four years spent as one of the biggest names on the Reds’ roster.
Sportsnet in Canada is reporting that de Guzman has been traded to FC Dallas, although it’s unclear exactly what head coach Paul Mariner’s club will get in return for one of their three Designated Players.
De Guzman has appeared in 65 games for Toronto since signing as the first Designated Player in club history in 2009. Read the report here.
Fans longing for the bridge between North, Central and South American soccer, take notice. Change might just be on the horizon.
According to a statement released from CONCACAF, president Jeffrey Webb met with executive committee members of CONMEBOL on Wednesday in São Paulo, Brazil, to explore the potential for collaborative opportunities between the confederations.
Among the items discussed was the staging of a special Copa América in 2016 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of CONMEBOL that would involve CONCACAF's partnership and participation, referee development, technical programs and other synergies.
Webb is a special guest of CONMEBOL president Nicolás Leoz and will attend the second leg of the Copa Libertadores Wednesday evening between Corinthians and Boca Juniors.
"The discussions today were held in a spirit of genuine cooperation," said Webb, making his first trip to South America since his election as CONCACAF president on May 23. "I look forward to further talks and building a stronger relationship between our confederations."
Webb is accompanied on the trip by CONCACAF vice president Justino Compeán, who is also president of the Mexican Football Federation.