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New York Red Bulls

31 March 12:24 pm

Leave it to Jimmy Conrad to liven up media day, a normally subdued affair defined by the same five questions and lots of fringe players waiting patiently for someone -- anyone -- to meander over and stick a recorder in their face.

Conrad and the KickTV cameras made their way to Red Bulls media day a little more than a week ago to ask the hard-hitting questions normal journalists don't have the courage to ask. You know, things like whether Victor Palsson prefers yogurt or cereal. I won't give anything else away, other than to say Thierry Henry wasn't particularly amused by Jimmy's line of questioning. Seems to be a theme there.

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I had the pleasure of being on the other end of the microphone during media day a few years in Kansas City when Conrad was still knocking heads in MLS instead of cracking jokes in front of the camera. Let me tell you, it was nothing like this.

30 March 6:54 pm

Erik Soler wasn't kidding when he said he'd work to find a home for Luke Rodgers.

The English striker, who was denied a visa to ply his trade in the US on Friday, appears to be headed to Lillestrøm in Norway, according to reports in the Norwegian press.

"The Englishman has signed a contract that extends the season, and joins LSK from the tips of sports director Erik Soler."

Rodgers had 10 goals and three assists in 25 games across all competitions for RBNY last season.

29 March 6:28 pm

It wasn't MLSsoccer.com interviewing him after a league loss, so NYRB's Thierry Henry was in a good mood for this Fox Business talk in which he revealed an interesting tidbit.

"It wasn't a business decision [his arrival to MLS]," he said. "Since I was 17 or 18 I said to myself one day I'll come play in MLS and I want to play for a team in New York. I love New York."

He's not lying. We worked out the math to see if this statement was true: He was born on August 17, 1977 which would have made him 18 when MLS celebrated its first kickoff in April 1996.

But since this was a business interview, he contributed an opinion as to why European soccer telecasts enjoy relatively solid ratings in the USA: no competition from other US sports on Saturday mornings.

It's worth sticking around until the very end of this video clip. The co-anchor does her best David Beckham impersonation. Really?

20 March 5:00 pm

El Káiser vestirá el rascacielos más prominente de la Ciudad de Nueva York con los colores de su club.

El defensa del New York Red Bulls, Rafa Márquez, iluminará el Empire State Building con los colores del equipo, el viernes, 23 de marzo previo al partido en casa ante el Colorado Rapids de este domingo.

A Márquez se unirá el Presidente de Negocios Operacional, Chris Heck, en un evento donde Rafa “subirá el switch” e iluminar una de las torres icónicas del mundo con los colores blanco y rojo representativos del equipo.

Los Red Bulls arrancan la temporada en su estadio ante Colorado Rapids este domingo, 25 de marzo a partir de las 4 pm ET.

20 March 11:55 am

La MLS se germanise. Quelques jours après la signature d’Arne Friedrich à Chicago (il participe à son premier entraînement ce mardi), on annonce aujourd’hui que son compatriote Michael Ballack traversera l’Atlantique cet été.

Michael Becker, agent de l’ancien capitaine de l’équipe nationale allemande, a déclaré que son client « souhaitait évoluer en Major League Soccer » et a même pointé une destination de préférence : New York. Sauf que le club semble lui préférer Stephen Ireland (Aston Villa)… Des déclarations qui ne manquent pas d’animer les débats sur les réseaux sociaux.

Le milieu de terrain de Leverkusen intéresse d’autres clubs de MLS. Il y a quelques semaines, son nom revenait notamment parmi les sérieux prétendants à une place de joueur désigné à l’Impact de Montréal, qui n’est certainement pas seul sur les rangs.

Un autre Allemand fait déjà les beaux jours d’un club de MLS : Torsten Frings, à Toronto. Cependant, en sauvant ce qui ressemblait à un but tout fait ce samedi à Seattle, l’ancien joueur de la Mannschaft s’est blessé : il sera hors-circuit pour quatre à six semaines. Une absence qui risque de peser lourd en demi-finale de Ligue des champions contre Santos Laguna.

12 March 5:48 pm

There were some rumblings on Twitter during NBC Sports Network's first MLS broadcast on Sunday and Keel Cam Part 5 confirmed it: Ryan Meara is essentially Larry Bird in a goalkeeper's kit and gloves.

Don't believe me? Check out the side-by-side photo below of Larry Legend at Indiana State and Meara following his side's 2-1 defeat to FC Dallas.

The best part about it? He joins Mehdi Ballouchy as New York Red Bulls with celebrity doppelgangers. As the Shawn "MLS Insider" Francis pointed out to me a few months ago, Ballouchy bears a striking resemblance to John Oates of Hall & Oates fame.

 

12 March 5:32 pm

My love for all things Keel Cam is well documented. New York's mop-topped defender is simply magnificent at providing behind-the-scene moments with his own brand of humor and some spot-on one-liners mixed in for good measure.

He's done it again with "Keel Cam Part 5," an examination of what tagging along for team bonding at the golf course with the Red Bulls might be like.

My favorite lines:

"That has house written all over it."

"Dax, grab your balls."

"Maybe stand up on your toes, just to get the full flex."

"Does Bruno Mars have any golf game? The club looks as big as he does."

"Can I introduce my caddy, Mehdi Ballouchy?"

As Ryan Meara says, anything for Keel Cam. Let the ridiculousness begin...

10 March 1:10 am

Last year, before the season started, I very cleverly predicted that LA would win the West, the Shield and the Cup. I predicted that Houston would win the East. And I came up with a few other good ones that panned out.

Unfortunately I made these predictions on Twitter, and 4000 posts later, I was no longer able to have my moment of glory. Not gonna make the same mistake this year.

Western Conference
Real Salt Lake

Eastern Conference
Houston Dynamo

Supporters' Shield
RSL

MLS Cup
Seattle Sounders

US Open Cup
Chicago Fire

MVP
Fredy Montero

Golden Boot
Chris Wondolowski

Defender of the Year
Geoff Cameron

Rookie of the Year
Luis Silva

Coach of the Year
Martin Rennie

And the most important question... will another forward come out of the blue and rack up double-digit goals? Wondolowski and Dom Oduro have done so in the last two seasons. This year's version will be... Tommy "Disco" Heinemann.

Feel free to bookmark this and throw it in my face 9 months from now.

Cheers, and enjoy the soccer.

05 March 1:03 pm

Take heart, MLS fan: You are not the only one getting ready for the regular season.

With First Kick five days away, FIFA is getting in the spirit of the season by naming their four stars set to shine in the 2012 season: Juan Agudelo, C.J. Sapong, Brek Shea and Steve Zakuani.

I think those are pretty solid picks. You might not. The best part about First Kick is that for every team and every player, the sky is the limit on Day One; anything can happen.

So channel your inner FIFA and let us know: Who do you think is going to shine in 2012?

02 March 5:33 pm

TUCSON, Ariz. – Juan Agudelo returned to New York Red Bulls practice here on Friday, walking a little taller. Literally.

The 19-year-old striker scored the US Olympic team’s opener in their 2-0 win over their Mexican counterparts in Texas on Wednesday – his first goal in a US shirt since his strike against Argentina nearly a year ago.

And Agudelo gives full credit to the bleached mop rising off the center of his scalp.

“It was just a play that we drew up the day before at practice, actually,” he explained to MLSsoccer.com. “Just a near-post cross off a corner kick and I was able to get my head on it with the Mohawk.”

If that ‘hawk looks like an homage to a certain Wesley Snipes movie to you, you’re not alone. Apparently Agudelo’s ‘do immediately reminded US Under-23 head coach Caleb Porter of the Stallone/Snipes sci-fi action classic Demolition Man.

 

 

And right there, folks, is where the generation gap between the 37-year-old coach and the teenage striker becomes apparent.

“Caleb told me about that – I didn’t really know about Demolition Man,” Agudelo admitted.

Fair enough. He wasn’t even a year old when the movie came out in 1993.

“I searched on Google images and it was like I was staring at myself,” he continued. “It wasn’t what I was going for, but that’s the way it worked out.”

Maybe it's time to add "Simon Phoenix" and "Demolition Man" to Swagudelo's growing list of nicknames.

WATCH: Agudelo on his time with the US U-23s