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Seattle Sounders FC

27 December 6:06 pm

Eddie Johnson lives according his own schedule, at least when it comes to announcing US national team call-ups.

After publicly confirming an October call-up for World Cup qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala a bit early, it appears Johnson let the cat out of the bag early once again on Thursday, tweeting that he'd be one of the players Jurgen Klinsmann will run the rule over during January.

While others apparently keep the good news to themselves, Johnson just can't seem to keep his excitement contained to family and friends. Clearly, those 13,852 Twitter followers need to know that their boy is headed back to the big time. And I say good for him. The guy saw some dark days and seems to be rebuilding step by step what was one of the most promising careers to originate in MLS or the US in general. He was a terror for MLS defenses this season, and a bright spot for Klinsmann in the two wins that sealed the US' Hexagonal spot, linking up with long-time friend Clint Dempsey to great effect.

Can he continue that kind of form for the USMNT? That remains to be seen, but I've got no problem with a player having a problem keeping this sort of thing to himself. Excitement is contagious, after all.

What do you think? Did Johnson make a mistake by announcing his call-up early?

22 December 2:37 pm

Bryan Meredith may have managed the Save of the Year in Seattle, but he was surplus to requirements once the season ended. According to Sigi Schmid and the Sounders staff, the 23-year-old needed a bit more seasoning between the pipes.

It was clear that wasn't going to come in Seattle, where Michael Gspurning is the unquestioned No. 1 and Marcus Hahnemann appears primed to return as the most-experienced No. 2 in MLS. And although he made 10 league starts in 2012, it looks like Meredith has already found a way to rack up the playing time he needs to continue developing, as the former Monmouth 'keeper joined Swedish second-division side IK Brage on the two-year deal.

"That was the biggest thing, the opportunity to get games," Meredith told the Kitsap Sun.

19 December 2:20 pm

Osvaldo Alonso's trip to Upton Park been called nothing more than a training stint, and in MLS we're more than used to those.

Now, however, it's not just the British press making mountains out of what were previously thought to be molehills. According to a report in eatsleepsport.com, West Ham manager Sam Allardyce intimated that a bid could be forthcoming if he decides that the Honey Badger fits his side's needs:

"We always need a bit of help as a manager," Allardyce reportedly said. "We're never going to turn one down are we? Or two! You've always got to try. If there's anybody there who can enhance or better the team, then we would like to go for them."

Grain of salt alert: First, this is the UK press (no elaboration needed). Second, Allardyce never specifically says that there'll be a bid coming. He's mostly just giving a very political, yet very obvious answer to a pretty straight forward question.
 
Ozzie would absolutely help the Hammers, by the way. And I'd be shocked if they weren't impressed by him. But ... grain of salt, people. Grain of salt.
 
 
14 December 8:27 pm

First of all, go ahead and bookmark this site right here: CLICK ME! It's an invaluable resource for anybody who cares about US soccer in general, and the US Open Cup in particular.

And if you don't care about the US Open Cup ... what the hell is wrong with you? It's one of the world's oldest tournaments, features huge upsets pretty much ever year, and is a breeding ground for future MLS stars. Yeah, the MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield may get your juices flowing a little more, but a cup's a cup. Anybody should be ecstatic to win one.

And it looks like, in 2013, the Sounders will have two shots to get back to the mountain top.

Not only are the big boy Sounders automatically drawn into the competition (along with the other 15 US-based MLS teams), but the Sounders U-23s have earned themselves a spot as well. There's no official announcement as of yet (US Soccer tends to take its time with USOC-related stuff), but according to TheCup.us' sources, Seattle's U-23s are in it by virtue of a first-place finish in the PDL's Northwest Division.

Second in the Northwest Division, by the way? That'd be the Portland Timbers U-23s, who are in the Cup (announcement pending!) for the second straight year.

So it looks like we could have two separate cases of fratricide, should the brackets work out just so. And should Cal FC not crash the party this time around.

EDIT: And our good friends at SounderAtHeart just sent us this:

So yeah, US Soccer may not have confirmed yet. But this one sure looks like it's good to go.

14 December 4:41 pm

Les bilans de l’année club par club se poursuivent à la vitesse de l’éclair, alors il est à nouveau temps de vous en offrir quelques résumés.

Pour sa deuxième saison en MLS, Vancouver a trouvé une stabilité défensive et a commencé fort, accumulant un viatique qui lui a permis de se qualifier pour la phase finale malgré une deuxième moitié de championnat catastrophique. Et pour cause : de manière incompréhensible, le club a laissé partir plusieurs joueurs clefs. Pour Martin Rennie, l’explication est davantage psychologique que sportive. Oserait-il commencer 2013 avec le groupe qui a fini 2012 ? Pas sûr…

Modèle inverse à Houston qui, jusqu’en juin, a confirmé que sa place en finale de la Coupe MLS 2011 était peut-être usurpée. Mais tout a changé avec l’ouverture du BBVA Compass Stadium, l’éclosion de Will Bruin, l’arrivée de Boniek Garcia et le passage au 4-3-3. Les Texans ont fait oublier leur réputation d’équipe ennuyeuse et ont atteint, méritoirement cette fois, leur deuxième finale consécutive. Et les perspectives sont excellentes, puisque tous les titulaires sont sous contrat pour l’an prochain.

En début de saison, Chicago était optimiste sans toutefois savoir vraiment comment il allait réussir sa saison. Malgré le départ de joueurs clefs, comme Pappa, le présage s’est doublement vérifié, notamment grâce à un recrutement bien mené tant en hiver qu’en été. Les arrivées de Berry, Freidrich, Rolfe, Fernandez et MacDonald ont amélioré l’équipe néanmoins encore un peu courte pour jouer le top. Des automatismes améliorés l’an prochain suffiront-ils ?

Seattle a vécu sa première saison sans trophée depuis son passage en MLS. Les supporters en veulent davantage mais ont été plus de 96% à voter pour que le directeur général Adrian Hanauer reste en place. Bien que déçu des résultats, Sigi Schmid pense que l’équipe a progressé. C’est vrai que par moments, Seattle a montré du jeu de très haut niveau, encore relevé par le retour réussi d’Eddie Johnson : pour 2013, les ambitions peuvent être élevées… et les attentes aussi !

Je recommencerai cet exercice à quelques reprises dans les prochains jours jusqu’à ce que le tour d’horizon de tous les clubs soit terminé. Rendez-vous ici pour retrouver sur la même page un lien vers tous les textes et les dates de parution des prochains bilans.

07 December 6:24 pm

Deux attaquants renommés de MLS ont changé d’employeur au cours des dernières heures : Sébastien Le Toux et Maicon Santos.

Le Toux retourne à Philadelphie, le club dont il défendait les couleurs en 2011, pendant que Josué Martinez effectue le chemin inverse, prenant la direction de New York. « J’espère y rester pour toujours », a déclaré le Français, qui n’aurait jamais quitté la Pennsylvanie si Peter Nowak ne l’avait pas poussé vers la porte de sortie.

Philadelphie s’est aussi renforcé en défense, en allant chercher l’expérimenté arrière central de Seattle Jeff Parke. Un renfort qui aime le club, un autre né dans la ville : voilà qui fait dire à Simon Borg que l’Union va bientôt sourire à nouveau.

Il y a par ailleurs beaucoup d’animation autour des joueurs en fin de contrat ou dont l’option n’a pas (encore) été levée. Il y avait quelques surprises dans la liste publiée par la MLS en début de semaine. Entre autres Gonzalo Segares, qui a depuis lors réussi à trouver un accord avec son club, Chicago. Il en est d’autant plus heureux qu’il croit que son équipe a besoin de deux ou trois renforts pour viser la Coupe MLS.

Le premier d’entre eux est l’attaquant Maicon Santos, seul joueur sélectionné lors de la première étape du Processus de repêchage, organisée aujourd’hui par la MLS. L’option sur Santos n’avait pas été levée par son club précédent, DC United, et le joueur rejoint donc l’effectif de Chicago selon les termes de cette option.

Les joueurs qui n’ont pas été repêchés aujourd’hui sont admissibles pour la deuxième étape du Repêchage, qui aura lieu le vendredi 14 décembre.

06 December 1:56 pm

The Seattle Sounders are relentless, or so claim the reports from Spain.

The club managed by Sigi Schmid was rumored to be after Espanyol midfielder Joan Verdú in the summer and now they're apparently giving it another go. Inside Spanish Football reports that the Sounders are trying to lure the 29-year-old Spanish midfielder in the upcoming January transfer window.

The same article indicates that Verdú's contract expires in the summer of 2013, but that he's interested in moving to Seattle if provided with "a good offer."

Espanyol currently sit in last place in the La Liga standings and could be looking to offload higher-priced players ahead of a potential drop.

05 December 7:39 pm

If you enjoyed the snippets of Sigi Schmid's locker room talks in the MLS36 featuring Fredy Montero on the NBC Sports Network earlier this season, you'll be watching and re-watching American Football for days.

That's the name of the new documentary being produced by LEVYFilms. The group gained exclusive access to the Sounders, including the team talks which are one of the highlights of the film.

Here's what the founder of the company told ESPN.com last month: The LA speech last week was a full-circle rerun of the Salt Lake speech.

"I have lots of other locker room speeches," he said. "The LA speech last week was a full-circle re-run of the Salt Lake speech."

A trailer of the movie was unintentionally leaked and those who watched it are already raving about it. Stay tuned.

03 December 8:23 pm

By now you've probably seen "the list," the group of guys available for the third-ever MLS Re-Entry process, which includes Stage One and Stage Two Re-Entry Drafts on Dec. 7 and 14.

Things could certainly change between now and then – guys could opt out of the process, come to new terms with their clubs, be traded to another MLS team or head overseas – but I thought it would be interesting to see what kind of lineup you could pluck from those made available by their clubs.

Without too much in-depth research, below is my Re-Entry XI. Feel free to discuss and share yours in the comment section below.

Goalkeeper: Kevin Hartman

Defense (left to right): Gonzalo Segares, Marvell Wynne, Ike Opara, Jeremy Hall 

Midfield (left to right): Justin Mapp, Julian de Guzman, Tony Tchani, Eric Avila

Forwards: Juan Pablo Ángel, Maicon Santos

01 December 10:22 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.