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14 February 11:12 am

It looks like there could be the new road kit for the USMNT in 2012-13.

Eurosport last night leaked an image of what looks like the future of the US kits, with plenty of turn-back-the-clock feeling.

Could this possibly be a throw-back of sorts to the old-school denim kit from the 1994 World Cup (right)? Take a look (The Denim Kit).

 

 

 

14 February 9:24 am

The Philadelphia Union -- in particular, manager Peter Nowak -- have taken a few hits this offseason. Understandly so, considering some of the messy player transactions, such as the sudden flight of goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon and the bizarre Sebastien Le Toux situation. I'm still not clear whether Le Toux was forced to go to Bolton or if he just failed and tried to pass the buck. Either way, he's with Vancouver now.

This all comes on the heels of a late overseas training stint for Danny Mwanga, Kyle Nakazawa's trade to LA, Veljko Paunovic's retirement, and the loss of Justin Mapp in the expansion draft. Plus, don't forget the explanations given by Nowak about Carlos Ruiz's transfer to Mexico. 

But there has to be a method to the madness, right? Nowak seems sure. He tweeted this out on Monday in response to a fan's question:

That response -- "Yes" -- is so perfect. So simple. So Nowakian.

Lest any of the second-guessers forget, Nowak and the Union are still on the correct trajectory for a club born just two years ago. That is, in Year 2, they improved over Year 1, and even made the playoffs.

So despite the departures and the confusing aftermaths, at some point, everyone needs to have a little faith and give Nowak the benefit of the doubt. After all, he's succeeded everywhere he's been. And so far, he's succeeding in Philly.

13 February 7:09 pm

So far, the Colorado Rapids have kept a pretty tight lid on it, but it looks like Nick Groke of The Denver Post has got the scoop.

According to Groke, the playmaker Tim Hinchey, Oscar Pareja & Co. have been making googly eyes at all offseason is Rosario Central youngster Martín Rivero, a 22-year-old attacking midfielder. Rivero has been a pro since 2008, has a double-handful of goals and more than 100 first team appearances, and now wants out of the Argentine first-division side.

More flair in the final third would be a welcome addition in Commerce City, where the mandate this season is to press, possess and entertain in Pareja's preferred 4-3-3 formation.

13 February 5:46 pm

Could the long, winding saga that is "Brian Ching vs. the Montreal Impact trade" be headed toward its inevitable conclusion? Earlier today the Impact announced that they'd awarded Ching a leave of absence from camp for unspecified, personal reasons. Now comes talk of a long-desired (by Ching) move back to the Dynamo courtesy of Mark Berman, sports director for Houston's FOX affiliate.

Coincidence or conspiracy?

13 February 3:40 pm

There's nothing like a good bit of outrage to spice up your day.

Why am I outraged, you ask? In a word, this.

<a data-cke-saved-href='http://msn.foxsports.com/video?videoid=ee06d881-6e53-474b-a6c5-8ce935992214&src=v5:embed::' href='http://msn.foxsports.com/video?videoid=ee06d881-6e53-474b-a6c5-8ce935992214&src=v5:embed::' target='_new' title='Clint Dempsey's notable goal' >Video: Clint Dempsey's notable goal</a>

Now, the only outrage that I should be feeling is how outrageously awesome that goal was. What I'm actually feeling is annoyed that the Premier League gave the goal to Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen as an OG.

Not only is that wrong in a "is this justice?" sense, but as nearly as I can tell it's wrong in a regulatory sense, as well. According to a 2006 FIFA Fact Sheet, “shots that ... rebound from the goal frame and bounce off a defender or goalkeeper are not considered as own-goals," and that's clearly what happened to Dempsey and Sorensen.

The only reason I know this to be the case is because I wrote an article about something similar in October when a Faryd Mondragon own goal was given to Dane Richards after a 1-0 Red Bulls win over the Union. My guess is that, after review by the awesomely-named Dubious Goals Committee, the FA will also reverse their ruling and Dempsey will get his goal. But in the meantime, I'll happily wallow in my resentment.

13 February 1:36 pm

The final day of the NASL combine came to a close in fine conditions down in Fort Lauderdale.

My team again played well but failed to find the net, though personally the game went well. The last two days I have played as a center back and right back, getting the chance to show my versatility to coaches and scouts.

On Saturday night, my Aussie roommate Joel and I went to watch the new Denzel Washington film, Safe House, at a mammoth shopping and leisure complex. The NHL’s Florida Panthers’ stadium was right across the street, and it was great to have some down time to stroll around and get out of the confines of the hotel for a few hours.

The final day also brought reflection and perspective on what has been a successful past three days. The level of play has been high and it’s been very enjoyable to be invited to such a prestigious event. In terms of my play personally, I have taken the lessons I learned in college, my academy days in England and from my short stint in the Scottish league to showcase my talent and ability in the shortest amount of time available.

It is hard to make comparisons, but I definitely feel that playing against the likes of current MLS players Jeb Brovsky, Dilly Duka, O’Brien White, Bright Dike and Bernando Anor with Pitt in the Big East for four years prepared me well to move up the ranks into the professional level.

We shall see what happens over the coming weeks, but I have had some positive feedback, which is always good to hear. Combines are notoriously hard to play in, as many players try to hard to impress and certain coaches are only looking for a certain type of player. But all you can do is work hard and show what talents you have in the time allotted to you. That is all you can do.

Thanks again for following along with the posts and video blogs on MLSsoccer.com and feel free to keep in touch on twitter (@JPW8), as many of you have already done, to stay up to date with my progress.

Check out the previous blogs along with my last video blog below.

Follow MLSsoccer.com's Joe Prince-Wright at the NASL Combine

JPW at the NASL Combine: Arrival in Ft. Lauderdale

JPW at the NASL Combine: Norwegians, Aussies and red cards

13 February 10:19 am

Here's a list of things that Rancid drummer and occasional Real Salt Lake kit man Branden Steineckert owns that DO NOT have a RSL badge on them:

  • underwear*
  • a passport, drivers license, birth certificate or any form of government-issued ID
  • a timeshare in Boca

Everything else --drumkit, scarves, skateboard, left leg-- is free game and adorned with the logo of the 2009 MLS Cup champs. Safe to say the man is not shy about about who he supports.

*This is unconfirmed. Real Salt Lake does not sell officially-licensed undergarments but you never know if he's rocking some custom-made claret & cobalt briefs under his skinny jeans.

11 February 4:05 pm

The first day of the NASL combine started on the training complex of the Ft. Lauderdale strikers, with the level of play high and a few tiring matches in the heat.

For the weekend, we have been split up into four teams. I am in the white team and we have an international mix with Argentines, Brazilians, Australians, Norwegians and, obviously, an Englishman.

Our goalkeeper Steffen Haraldsen works for the Norwegian parliament and plays semi-pro in Norway. Interesting enough back story you might think, however he also is a massive fan of Major League Soccer and MLSsoccer.com and watches videos on the website everyday. The reach of MLS has apparently extended to Norway.

The standard of play was really high in the first game, which we drew 2-2. The same goes for the temperature. The 80-degree sunshine and high humidity made it a cagey opening as both sides didn’t want to over do it in the heat. The need to conserve energy was key considering there are two more games coming up.

But like I said, the standard is high, with former Genoa and Levante players, Serie A and La Liga teams respectively, among the hopefuls trying out for the NASL. There are 50 or so coaches and scouts watching, and everyone is eager to impress.

Tomorrow we have another game and then an opportunity to relax in the evening, and a few of the lads are going to head to the movies.

Stay up to date with the video blog every day, as I will be updating on the latest news from the NASL combine.

Follow MLSsoccer.com's Joe Prince-Wright at the NASL Combine

JPW at the NASL Combine: Arrival in Ft. Lauderdale

10 February 3:49 pm

Welcome to the Depth Chart, a shallow look at the hot topics currently dominating the American soccer conversation. A story's RANK indicates its size, while its BUZZ (thumbs up, or down, or both) reflects its sentiment. Scroll beneath the image for links to the articles referenced within.

This week, familiar themes populate the Depth Chart: trades, the USMNT and yet another big LA acquistion.

Related Links

Galaxy agree with Sao Paulo to bring back Juninho

US to play friendly against Brazil at FedEx Field on May 30

ET Radio: Davies on DC loan and what went wrong

Backe shoots down talk of extended loan for Henry

Dynamo get Kandji, deal conditional draft pick to Rapids

 

09 February 9:03 pm

Pick up the phone, David Beckham. It’s time to call in a favor.

LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena was a big part of helping Beckham finally settle down in MLS after a rocky start. Now it’s time for Beckham to use his direct line with the English FA to nominate Arena as a candidate for the vacant national team post of the Three Lions.

There’s a strong argument to be made that Arena would leap to the top of the list if he ever got on it. Here’s how he matches up with the rumored finalists:

Arena has more World Cup experience than Harry Redknapp and a lot less baggage. Aside from his recent spell at Tottenham, Redknapp's resumé doesn't blow anyone away.

Arena has plenty more international experience, including management of star players, than second-division coach Sam Allardyce.

And let’s not flatter Stuart Pierce with a comparison to The Bruce.

Which leaves Guus Hiddink as the only real competition, although the Dutchman doesn't have Beckham's influence on his side like Arena does. Hiddink is the classic coaching mercenary -- the new Bora Milutinovic -- and his record says he's good for a short-term run, but don't expect him to leave a legacy. Not when the next big payday is waiting.

Look, an American at the helm of England is the longest of long shots, but hasn't Beckham always said he wants to help grow the American game? Is there anyone who doubts that merely having Arena’s name in the mixer for the most important national team job in the world would leave a mark?

It just takes a phone call.