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Rumor

07 January 12:20 pm

With rumors flying over who will step in as the next head coach of the Red Bulls, one name seems to be a step closer to taking the reins in New York.

Previous speculation centered around former Aston Villa caretaker manager and Scottish international, Gary McAllister, but those rumblings seems to have stalled in recent days, leaving the door wide open for Portuguese manager Paulo Sousa. 

Making things even more interesting, Sousa just stepped down from his post at Hungarian club Videoton FC for "family reasons" – perhaps they prefer to be based in New York City? – which means his schedule is wide open for the 2013 MLS season. And, in the words of Alexi Lalas, Sousa is "a good bet to be the next coach of the New York Red Bulls."

Only time will tell who will take Hans Backe’s place at Red Bull Arena, but the clock is definitely ticking as the MLS Player Combine and the SuperDraft are quickly approaching.

Do you think Sousa is the right choice? Can he help the Red Bulls break the Curse of Caricola?

04 January 3:58 pm

The Portland Timbers certainly haven’t stood pat this offseason.

General manager Gavin Wilkinson and first-year coach Caleb Porter have already injected steel into the side – acquiring MLS vets such as midfielder Will Johnson from Real Salt Lake, versatile defender Michael Harrington from Sporting KC and Jamaican striker Ryan Johnson from Toronto FC – and now they could be poised to add some much-needed creativity.

If the rumors currently flying are true, the Timbers could have another midfield acquisition in the works: Argentinian Diego Valeri.

At only 26, Valeri is entering the prime of his career and would be a promising acquisition for a Timbers side in need of a bit more attacking oomph. It also helps he seems to be out of favor at his current club.

Valeri currently plays for Club Atlético Lanús in the Argentine Primera División, where he’s made 156 appearances since debuting in 2003 and captained the team in their 2011 Clausura runners-up campaign, but hasn’t seen much time since ex-Columbus Crew star Guillermo Barros Schelotto took over as manager. Of course, that’s where Portland come into play.

Should the Argentine make the move to the Pacific Northwest, the Timbers could have the type of creative midfield presence that would allow Darlington Nagbe to shift permanently to the withdrawn forward role many believe will bring out the best in Porter’s former Akron prodigy.

He’s no stranger to foreign adventures, either. In July 2009, Valeri was loaned to Portuguese champions Porto, where he played one season, then spent six months on loan with Spanish second-division side UD Almería.

What do you think? Is Valeri the answer in Portland? Will the Timbers’ offseason moves pay dividends in 2013?

04 January 1:08 pm

The Daily Mail – alarm bells already ringing! – reported Friday morning that current Queens Park Rangers vice-captain Ryan Nelsen was headed back to MLS as an assistant coach with former club D.C. United.

It didn't take long for The Washington Post's Steve Goff to get his journalistic biplane off the ground to effectively red baron those rumors.

Just as quickly, others chimed in with another possible landing spot for Nelsen: Toronto FC, where former D.C. president Kevin Payne is reshaping the club.

If Nelsen does land on an MLS staff, it would continue the ongoing trend of former players moving into assistant coaching roles. The New Zealander would certainly have plenty of experience to draw on, as well as an intimate understanding of the league and valuable contacts back in England.

What do you think? Would Nelsen be a good hire at TFC or D.C. United? For an MLS side in general?

03 January 6:30 pm

With rumors flying about the possibility of Chelsea FC star Frank Lampard joining the LA Galaxy – when aren’t rumors flying around the Galaxy? – it’s no surprise that fans worldwide are anxiously waiting to see where one of the past decade’s top goal-scoring midfielders will end up.

On Thursday afternoon, it seemed like a done deal that Lamps was on his way out, according to a report on the Italian website Cittaceleste.it that quoted his agent, Steve Kutner, as saying: “As for the future, the only certainty is that he will change teams at the end of the season. Frank wants to play for a great side, capable of challenging for important targets and where he could win more trophies.”

But hold the horses. Kutner later went on BBC 5Live radio and denied he had done any interviews with the website. He said he hasn't "spoken to anybody about Lampard's future and hasn't given any interview about it," according to ESPN.com.

Still, the fact remains: It is common knowledge that Lampard is moving on at the end of the season. There are plenty of rumblings about offers from Lazio, Inter Milan and, of course, LA, with a reported $6.5 million-per-year contract from the MLS club.

That's all about his future. But there was also a brilliant rumbling on the internet on Thursday about his past.

Here’s a great video that recently surfaced from Lampard’s early days, showing then-West Ham manager Harry Redknapp adamantly defending his decision to offer Lampard a spot on the team. Of course, Hammers supporters still aren’t the English international’s biggest fans, but Redknapp turned out to be 100 percent correct about his young prodigy and nephew.

03 January 1:23 pm

Les nouvelles de ces derniers jours, souvent liées aux transferts, peuvent, comme les épisodes de la série Friends, avoir un titre qui commence par « Celui qui… » Tour d’horizon.

Celui qui a déjà signé : Carlo Cudicini au LA Galaxy et José Goncalves à New England, les deux nouveaux venus les plus récents, titulaires plus que potentiels.
Celui qui se tâte : Il y a toujours ces joueurs importants pour l’équipe qui ne savent pas trop s’ils vont tenter une nouvelle aventure. Le champion de la catégorie cet hiver s’appelle Landon Donvan, sur qui le LA Galaxy compte cependant déjà pour 2013.
Celui qui se fait attendre : À un peu plus de deux semaines de la reprise, deux équipes n’ont toujours pas d’entraîneur, Montréal et New York. Gary McAllister, souvent cité autour de la Red Bull Arena, n’aurait cependant pas reçu d’offre du club au taureau ailé.
Celui qui envisage l’aller-retour : L’hiver en MLS, c’est aussi l’occasion pour certains joueurs de décrocher un contrat de quelques mois en Europe. Ce ne sera pas le cas de Thierry Henry à Arsenal. « Il n’est pas prêt », estime Arsène Wenger. Tim Cahill, en revanche, pourrait être prêté à Sunderland.
Celui qui viendra peut-être, mais peut-être pas tout de suite : « J’aimerais, un jour, jouer en MLS ». Le refrain est connu, qu’il soit chanté par Kaka ou Olivier Occean. Dernier interprète en date : l’international polonais Ludovic Obraniak.
Celui qui est bien où il est : Pas question de traverser l’Atlantique pour les Canadiens et Américains dont la carrière tourne à plein régime en Europe. Parmi eux, Sacha Kljestan, qui préfère même Anderlecht à l’Espagne ou à la France.
Celui qui ne prend pas encore sa retraite : Il y a de ces joueurs éternels qui déjouent chaque année les pronostics prévoyant la fin de leur carrière. Montréal a eu Eduardo Sebrango, Houston a Brian Ching.
Celui qui est attendu de pied ferme : Cette entrevue de Sepp Blatter, président de la Fifa, date bien d’il y a quelques jours et non d’il y a plus de 6 ans. Le commissaire Don Garber l’a donc invité au Coup d’envoi de la saison pour qu’il constate les progrès de la MLS de ses propres yeux.

03 January 12:34 pm

Rest assured, the flood of Honduran players to Major League Soccer hasn't reached the high-water mark just yet.

According to comments from the player himself, the Seattle Sounders are closing in on the signing of CD Victoria defender Wilmer Crisanto, who they've been pursuing for some time if the reports are to be believed.

Here's what the right back (above) had to say to Cronometro: "It is a matter of my salary, they already told me what I was going to earn in Seattle. I asked my agent to try to get a little more but if he's not able to, I'll have to settle for what they offered me, I'm not asking for much."

Of course, nothing is official until the final shoe drops, but the 23-year-old sounds pretty confident that he'll be the latest Catracho to land in MLS.

The other tidbit to come out of the article concerns Crisanto's teammate at Victoria and with the Honduran Olympic team, José Velásquez Colón. According to the story, the center back is preparing to embark on a trial with the Sounders after a successful year for both club and country.

What do you think? Have Hondurans taken over from Colombians as MLS' biggest import?

02 January 12:40 pm

Add another name to the list of players publicly mulling an MLS adventure. This time it's Bordeaux attacking midfielder Ludovic Obraniak, who took a second to ponder his future in an interview with Républicain Lorrain.

Now, I don't like the sound of the middle of the following quote -- of course, as you can tell below, Google translate is a slippery slope -- but the 28-year-old is a longtime Ligue 1 veteran and a Polish international. If he's properly motivated (and healthy), there are certainly teams out there who would be willing to give Obraniak a run at the right price.

"I have nearly 300 Ligue 1 in the legs, a nice list. I am calm," he said. "Soon it will be time for me to see football as a fun first. Why not joining Major League Soccer? I've always loved the United States, and my wife has ever lived."

Whether or not Obraniak will ever actually arrive on these shores is anyone's guess. What we can be sure of is that mooted MLS moves won't be slowing down anytime soon.

27 December 6:27 pm

Keep 'em coming. That seems to be the mindset in MLS as a growing number of Honduran players head north for the United States and Canada.

The latest in a long line of Catratchos appears to be U-23 midfielder Arnold Peralta, who also has one senior cap to his name. On Thursday morning, the 23-year-old's Honduran club, CD Vida, tweeted that he was headed to Toronto.

At a tad taller than 5-foot-7, Peralta isn't likely to be an enforcer in the mold of Roger Espinoza, but he could certainly be similar to Marvin Chavez or Mario Martinez. If he's anywhere close to that duo, TFC may have landed a central piece to their rebuilding campaign.

25 December 7:01 pm

In his first season in MLS, Honduran international Victor Bernardez helped lead the San Jose Earthquakes to the Supporters Shield, and, on a personal level, he was named to the MLS Best XI.

Now, it looks like he might be doing things off the field to help the club. In this Q&A with Honduran side Diez.hn, Bernardez revealed that, at the request of the Quakes' technical staff, he has networked to try to bring two more Honduran internationals to San Jose.

"I played in the national team with them," Bernardez said. "The important thing is that they are good people. That's what the president of San Jose wants: harmony in the dressing room."

Bernardez cited sensitivities around the contract negotiations and declined to reveal the names of his two potential new teammates.

The Quakes' roster already includes another Honduran international, midfielder Marvin Chavez, who was instrumental in the side's high-scoring attack.

More and more Hondurans have joined MLS in recent years, including Houston's Boniek Garcia, New England's Jerry Bengtson, Colorado's Henry Thomas, and Seattle's Mario Martinez, among others.

This offseason has seen several of Martinez's 2012 Olympic teammates linked to MLS. Seattle have reportedly been chasing CD Victoria defender Wilmer Crisanto for a while, while Olimpia defender Johnny Leveron, Victoria defender Jose David Velasquez, and Olimpia attacking midfielder Alex "the Honduran Maradona" Lopez have popped up on various radars. 

"I'm proud because managers are becoming interested in the quality of Honduran footballer," Bernardez said.

22 December 2:24 pm

After some haggling in the press – read failure to budge by the Union – it appears a loan deal proposed by Santa Fe for the services of Carlos Valdes is finally kaput. That sound you hear is the collective sighs of relief emanating out of The City of Brotherly Love, as the Sons of Ben avoid the exit of one of the lynchpins of their team ahead of a promising 2013 campaign.

Except that might not be the end of it (key word: might). Now it seems Colombia head coach Jose Pekerman has taken it upon himself to recommend Valdes to an even bigger South American power – Boca Juniors.

Count me among those that take Pekerman's words as simple praise rather than a true indication of interest from the Argentine giants, but you never know. It could be an interesting few months in Philly as John Hackworth looks to keep hold of one of the league's top center back from a year ago.