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.
Here's a rumor that may have some legs. Though it hasn't always been the most reliable of sources, Honduran publication Diez claims that Houston Dynamo midfielder Oscar Boniek García has spoken to 20-year-old compatriot Alex López about a move to MLS, and López certainly isn't shying away from the possiblity.
"I have many friends who play in MLS, it would be a great goal, life is made for that," López is quoted as saying. "If the opportunity is given to me, I will go and work my hardest"
Given the success Honduran players have had in MLS and López's succcess with club team Olimpia in the CONCACAF Champions League and at the various levels of the Honduras national team, this one makes a good deal sense, not to mention the comments attributed to him the report.
"I have asked God for the opportunity to play abroad," López is quoted as saying. "It is something all players desire, and if the opportunity is given – and only God knows – we'll see how things turn out."
And let's not forget, López looks to be an excellent player in the making. He made his debut for Olimpia at the age of 18, and has registered 22 goals and 37 assists in 58 games in all competitions for the Honduran powerhouse.
He yet to score in three appearances for Honduras' senior national team, but made one start and two appearances off the bench during the team's impressive run at the Olympic Games, and has put in a series of strong performances at the youth international level.
García's involvement in the story naturally makes the Houston Dynamo a rumored destination, but López denied the certainty of a move, saying, "The truth is, I've had talks with Boniek García, but I'm not the one who makes the decisions here, [team] president Rafael Ferrari is the one who has command of the team, and he knows my future."
One more South American player for your silly season enjoyment here. According to this report in Argentine publication Olé indicates the Chicago Fire are one of a number of teams interested in midfielder Iván Marcone, who plays for 2012 Clausura champions Arsenal de Sarandí.
Marcone, who is just 22 years old, has already made 114 league appearances for the Buenos Aires side and has one goal to his name. He isn't a guy who's going to light up the scoresheet, but will contribute on both sides of the ball.
Of course, because Arsenal won the championship earlier this year, they will be participating in the Copa Libertadores, an enticing prospect for any player. Thus, Marcone deflected questions about interest from the Fire, as well as Spanish outfit Celta de Vigo and Cruz Azul, simply by saying, "I'm only thinking about the Copa Libertadores."
So, it doesn't sound like the soundest of rumors, but the prospect of a technical, hard-working midfielder like Marcone coming to MLS is always fun to think about, especially on this slow New Year's weekend.
MLSsoccer.com reached out to the Fire about the report, but has not yet received comment.
Could Aston Villa and Ireland defender Richard Dune be the latest man to reinforce the New York Red Bulls backline? The Daily Mail seems to think so.
Given the source, NY's trade for MLS veteran Jamison Olave, and the fact that the report states there is a £50,000-per-week salary on offer (that's $4.2 million annually for those who don't want to do the math) for a player who's struggled with injury, it seems very dubious.
The 33-year-old does bring a strong pedigree, however, with 408 Premier League (and 43 second-flight) appearances to his name in a long career with Everton, Manchester City and now Aston Villa. He's also scored eight goals in 76 appearances for the Irish national team and played in both the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2012.
Nous voilà donc au sommet du classement de « Pleine lucarne », la crème de la crème de la saison 2012, l’équivalent du coup franc qui déloge la toile d’araignée dans le petit coin du but où personne ne parvient habituellement à placer un ballon.
1. Le projet de jeu offensif de San José
C’est vrai, elle n’a pas soulevé la Coupe MLS, mais vous ne m’ôterez pas de la tête que San José a été la meilleure équipe de la saison 2012. Elle doit une fière chandelle à Frank Yallop : il a constaté les forces de ses joueurs dans les airs l’an dernier et a bâti autour de ça une redoutable armada. Des buts de la tête à profusion, beaucoup de présence dans le petit rectangle adverse, du danger permanent sur les phases arrêtées ou venant des flancs dans le cours du jeu, et j’en passe.
Bilan : 72 buts au total en saison régulière (personne n’avait fait aussi bien depuis 1998) et jamais deux rencontres de suite sans trouver le fond des filets. S’il faut en sortir des individualités, je pointerais Wondolowski, qui marque dans de nombreuses situations et a été particulièrement redoutable sur corner, et Chavez, un des meilleurs centreurs de la compétition tant de la gauche que de la droite. Et je n’ai même pas parlé des nombreux buts inscrits par San José en fin de match…
Pleine lucarne : les tops de la saison 2012
1. Le projet de jeu offensif de San José
2. Landon Donovan, le passeur le plus complet
3. Kansas City, dans les airs et dans les coins
4. Métamorphoses à Houston
5. Le retour réussi d’Eddie Johnson
6. Chris Tierney et Andy Najar, recul sans frein
7. Kenny Cooper a assuré sans Thierry Henry, puis confirmé avec lui
8. Direct dedans
9. Patrice Bernier - Felipe, axe des succès montréalais
10. Jaime Castrillon et Brian Mullan sauvent l’honneur de Colorado
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.
Ya es casi un hecho. Arnold Fabian Peralta se iría a la MLS (Toronto), ya declarado por nuestra Presidenta. Suma... http://fb.me/1xQv2eLpb
— Andrew Wiebe (@AndrewWiebe_MLS) December 27, 2012
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.
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?
On s’approche de la fin de l’année, et nous voilà arrivés au sommet des classements de « Droit dans le mur » et « Pleine lucarne », respectivement mon flop 10 et mon top 10 de 2012. Aujourd’hui, des décisions qui, cette saison, valaient bien ce coup franc anglais.
1. Les changements de mi-saison à Toronto et Vancouver
Après un départ raté en championnat, Toronto s’est séparé d’Aron Winter qui, malgré les mauvais résultats, avait un projet en construction. Un énième nouveau départ de zéro pour ce club qui éprouve bien du mal à travailler sur le long terme. Illustration des décisions douteuses qui ont suivi : alors que les buts de la tête de Koevermans sauvaient l’équipe, quand le Néerlandais s’est blessé, Toronto a transféré Eric Hassli, dont aucun des 15 buts qu'il a inscrits depuis son arrivée en MLS n’a été marqué de la tête.
Hassli venait en droite ligne de Vancouver, qui s’est aussi séparé de Le Toux et Chiumiento en cours de saison pour attirer les Miller et Robson. L’équipe a délaissé un style qui fonctionnait bien pour intégrer des éléments qui ne correspondaient pas à l’ADN de son jeu. Le bilan destructeur : 14 points sur 51 en deuxième moitié de compétition (seuls 4 clubs ont fait pire), contre 29 sur 51 durant la première. Sans compter qu’il faut tout rebâtir pour 2013…
Droit dans le mur : les flops de la saison 2012
1. Les changements de mi-saison à Toronto et Vancouver
2. C’est l’Union qui ne sourit pas
3. Montréal, sans ailes ni tête
4. L’effondrement de Portland
5. Les lenteurs défensives de New York dans l'axe du jeu
6. Des chèvres sans étable ni percussion
7. Les errances de l’axe défensif de DC United
8. Les abonnements de la défense de Dallas
9. Columbus peut se réjouir de ne pas jouer au basket
10. Au LA Galaxy, défendre sur le flanc gauche est optionnel
Seattle Sounders left-footed genius Mario Martinez has never been afraid to express himself on the field. Or off the field, for that matter.
Earlier this season he openly discussed his dissatisfaction with his lack of playing time. Now he's talking about a move to Europe on Twitter.
On Wednesday, he dropped this line which is sure to grab the attention of the Sounders' front office: "Ufff, would Turkey be a good option?"
Ufff turquiaa seria buena opcion??
— Mario Martinez (@mariomartinez_7) December 26, 2012
When the Sounders signed Martinez on loan from Honduran side Real Espana on August 1, 2012, it was not clear how long the loan would run. But in a year-end Q&A with MLSsoccer.com, Seattle manager Sigi Schmid indicated that he expects Martinez back for a full season.
"Mario Martínez, who came to us in midseason but was in and out," Schmid said. "With him being around a whole season, I think he has a chance to make a major step forward as well."
A move to Turkey was probably not the step forward that Schmid had in mind. We'll see what the club says about this one.
The question is often posed: Could soccer ever overtake the NFL in the hearts and minds of Americans?
Well, a recent ESPN ranking just dropped another hint that maybe it's not so far-fetched.
On December 25 the US sports network published its "Cross-Sport Power Rankings" for 2012. It's a list of the 20 athletes who stood out more than all the others.
A look at the Top 10 shows a single NFL player (NY Giants' Eli Manning), just one professional baseball player (Detroit's Miguel Cabrera) and two soccer players: Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.
The only other sport with two representatives in the Top 10? The NBA.
Watch your back next year, LeBron.