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18 December 4:23 pm

South Korean legend Lee Young-Pyo said last week that he was "99 percent sure" 2013 would be his last season of professional soccer. And that leaves the Whitecaps in something of a bind, considering that Lee wasn't just a standout defender, but also led the team in chances created in 2012.

Enter mystery man Andres Fresenga. The Uruguay-based Canadian U-23 international (yeah, he was the dude who shut down Brek Shea in Olympic qualifying) is reportedly set to join Martin Rennie's squad in January for an extended trial.

“I had sent Tony Fonseca an email to congratulate him on his new position as CSA technical director and, all of a sudden, the next day, I got an e-mail from Vancouver that stated that they were looking for a right back and that Tony had recommended me,” Fresenga told RedNationOnline.ca. “So I’m going to take advantage of the opportunity and hopefully it works out. I’m going on trial in January, but, if everything goes as planned, it will be a year long loan. They want to see me because outside of my playing with the U23s, they have not really seen me play. The trial will start the first week of January.”
 
It could be a double win for Vancouver if Fresenga is up to the job. Not only would he help take some miles off of Lee's legs in 2013, but he'd help give a bit more Canadian flavor to a team that was sorely lacking in that department last year.
18 December 4:05 pm

Ok, so Rustu Recber only played four games for Barcelona, and that was nearly a decade ago. But still ... Barcelona. You clicked.

Anyway, our good friends at TheBrotherlyGame are reporting that the longtime Turkey No. 1, who actually retired this summer at the age of 39, has been in talks with the Union about a switch to MLS. And that he's already rejected one offer, but is open to something with, perhaps, another zero attached.

It would mark the second time in three years that Philly have brought in a veteran international netminder. Back in 2011 it was Colombian Faryd Mondragón, who went on to lead the Union to their first, and to date only, playoff appearance.

What bearing this would have on Zac MacMath, who struggled in his first season as a fulltime starter, remains to be seen. But it's clearly a spot that could be upgraded.

The Union have already added veteran central defender Jeff Parke, as well as forwards Sébastien Le Toux and Conor Casey this offseason.

EDIT: Of course, this isn't the first time that Recber has been linked to an MLS side. As BrotherlyGame mentioned, there were rumors floating around Turkey that the Galaxy had designs on getting his signature.

As always with these types of things, you have to bring your own grain (shaker) of salt.

17 December 8:20 pm

Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson isn't exactly a shy guy. Especially on Twitter. He's apologized one more than one occasion for being a little too, well, a little too honest on the social-networking site.

But you can often read between the lines as to what's going on even when Paulson's being less than forthcoming. So please take the following with the appropriate grain of salt.

On Sunday, Mix Diskerud's father and agent told MLSsoccer.com that Timbers head coach Caleb Porter had contacted his former US Under-23 midfielder and discussed the possibility of the Norwegian-American joining his building project in Portland.

Then on Monday the news broke from the league office that Mobi Fehr — another foreign-raised US youth international — had signed with the league and that the Timbers have an 83.1 percent chance of landing the Tokyo-based central defender in a weighted lottery on Tuesday.

Call me crazy, but it seems like Paulson, in a tweet earlier on Monday, seemed to suggest the latter possibility being a lot more likely. Or maybe there's something else going on entirely.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall in Portland.

17 December 3:10 pm

Parmi les rares clubs de MLS à ne pas encore avoir d’entraîneur pour la saison prochaine, l’Impact de Montréal. Plusieurs noms ont été cités, dont celui du Suisse Martin Andermatt. Pour en avoir le cœur net, j’ai contacté l’intéressé.

Il a eu l’amabilité de répondre, et la forme de son message témoigne de sa bonne éducation. Je vous épargne les formules de politesse, voici l’essentiel de ce qu’il a écrit (traduit de l’allemand) :

« C’est un grand honneur pour moi et une formidable confirmation de mon travail d’entraîneur d’avoir été mis en lien avec un club aussi intéressant que l’Impact de Montréal. Je suis dans le métier depuis longtemps et il n’est pas dans ma nature d’effectuer une déclaration chaque fois qu’un journal émet un commentaire à mon sujet. »

Il faut dire qu’Andermatt, sans club actuellement, est annoncé un peu partout par divers journaux suisses et allemands : outre Montréal, il y a son ancien club Bellinzona, mais aussi Berne (qu’il a entraîné entre 2006 et 2008), Zurich et Dresde.

L’ancien international suisse, titulaire de la licence d’entraîneur UEFA Pro, ne serait pas dépaysé à Montréal puisque dès son enfance, il a vécu dans un environnement où se côtoyaient plusieurs cultures.

17 December 1:00 pm

It's that time of year again.

A time for giving, for spending time with loved ones and a time for all 19 MLS clubs to try and one-up each other in the form of holiday e-cards. 

Sporting KC dropped the video above this morning, going sentimental with players and fans after last year's classic rendition of Jingle Bells. Very cool. 

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, that really is Robb Heineman's desk treadmill. The guy's an animal. 

16 December 4:00 pm

Hitting the "undo" button on unpopular transactions is so in these days.

A week after the Philadelphia Union traded for Sébastien Le Toux, bringing the fan favorite back to PPL Park, it looks like the Vancouver Whitecaps could be considering a similar move.

According to Marc Weber at The Province, Davide Chiumiento was back in Vancouver this weekend and even had lunch with 'Caps head coach Martin Rennie to discuss a possible return to MLS.

Vancouver sold the popular attacking midfielder to FC Zürich in July for what was deemed "family reasons" at the time. But it's no secret that the 'Caps missed the Swiss-Italian's attacking spark after he departed, especially as they limped into the playoffs by winning just once in their final 10 games.

Chiumiento didn't do much to calm the rumors, if you check his Twitter feed. His fans certainly would welcome his return, too, judging by the responses he got.

We'll keep tabs on this one, as Whitecaps fans would certainly be ecstatic to welcome Chiumiento back to BC Place, stat.

15 December 9:37 pm

The dots have been slowly coming together over the past few months and now we've got a face and a name to put to them.

The new eight-team American women's league that will begin play in the spring will be called the National Women's Soccer League. But you can just call it the NWSL for short.

Those eight teams that comprise the league are a nice combination of old-school WUSA and WPS names and a few new faces: Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Kansas City, Portland Thorns FC, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit, Western New York Flash and Seattle, which has yet to announce its team name.

US Soccer made the announcement on Saturday and also unveiled the NWSL's logo — an appropriately patriotic red, white and blue crest with a silhouetted player in action. Kind of a nice homage to the NBA's logo, no?

About the only thing left we're wondering is, who is that on the logo? We know the NBA's shield features Jerry West (the guy's nickname is "The Logo," for crying out loud!). The anonymous player has a pony tail, so it's clearly not short-sheared Abby Wambach. Alex Morgan, perhaps?

Here's hoping the NWSL goes on to a long, successful run as the premier women's league in North America. It's got some decent backing, too — US Soccer will subsidize the salaries of up to 24 US national team players, while the Canadian Soccer Association and Federation of Mexican Football will each do the same for up to 16 players.

In the meantime, while you're waiting for the official league website to launch, check out the NWSL's official Facebook page at facebook.com/NWSLsoccer or follow it on Twitter @NWSL_soccer.

15 December 1:54 pm

Have FC Dallas fired newly retired former captain Daniel Hernandez just three weeks after naming him an assistant coach? That what's being reported by the folks over at 3rd Degree, who say they've got confirmation from Hernandez himself.

If it's true, it's a puzzling move given how much faith Schellas Hyndman has put in the Texas native over the years, dating all the way back to their time together at SMU.

Check back later for details on this one as they emerge.

15 December 12:35 am

Une nouvelle semaine agitée sur le marché des transferts s’est conclue ce vendredi avec la deuxième étape du Processus de repêchage à l’issue de laquelle pas moins de 14 joueurs peuvent préparer leurs bagages pour une nouvelle destination… alors que ceux qui n’ont pas été repêchés vivent désormais dans l’incertitude totale quant à la suite de leur carrière.

Le Toronto FC compte sur Danny Califf pour renforcer sa défense centrale. Pour être sûr d’attirer l’ailier Colin Clark, qui n’avait plus d’avenir à Houston, le LA Galaxy a négocié avec Chivas USA pour prendre sa place de deuxième club à sélectionner. Parmi les autres recrutements à retenir : Conor Casey à Philadelphie, Chad Barrett à New England ou Paulo Jr à Vancouver. Mais le club le plus actif a été nul autre que San José, qui a mis la main sur trois joueurs.

Les clubs se sont aussi renforcés en dehors de cette séance planifiée. Très actif pour une deuxième semaine consécutive, Portland est allé chercher Ryan Johnson et Milos Kocic à Toronto, est sur la piste de Mikkel Diskerud et souhaite attirer un important renfort offensif. L’autre animateur de la semaine a été Kansas City, qui a mis la main sur les défenseurs centraux Ike Opara (San José) et Yann Songo’o (Pobla de Mafumet) tout en prolongeant le contrat de Matt Besler, pourtant convoité à l’étranger, et a été chercher Benny Feilhaber (New England) afin de pourvoir au départ annoncé de Roger Espinoza.

Parmi les autres transferts notables, l’arrivée du milieu défensif Peter Luccin (Lausanne) à Dallas. L’ancien de Marseille, du PSG et de l’Atletico Madrid a cependant peu joué ces dernières années. Edson Buddle, qui n’a pas vraiment réussi son retour en MLS, quitte le LA Galaxy pour Colorado. Mais le départ qui a beaucoup fait parler cette semaine, c’est celui de Rafael Marquez, qui quitte New York et la MLS sans y laisser de souvenirs impérissables.

14 December 10:36 pm

Brazilian set-piece maestro Juninho Pernambucano has been linked to the New York Red Bulls for a couple weeks now, and the latest tidbit out of Brazil seems to indicate that the Red Bulls are stepping up their interest in the veteran midfielder.

This report from Globo Esporte [PORTUGUESE] quotes the player's agent, José Fuentes, as saying that New York have "pre-registered" Juninho. The language used by Fuentes, who explains the move gives the Red Bulls exclusive rights to negotiate with the player, seems to indicate that the Red Bulls have placed a Discovery Tag on Juninho.

The article also states that Juninho has not reached a decision on his future yet, but could announce his decision as early as next week. It should also be noted that the Discovery Tag applies only within MLS, so Juninho is still free to negotiate and sign with other Brazilian and foreign clubs.

Though he will turn 38 at the end of January, Juninho still seems to have some life left in his legs, having scored 13 goals in 49 apperances across all competitions in 2012. And who could say no to having a free-kick taker of this caliber (at least as good as David Beckham, I would argue) bending them home in MLS?

This should be an interesting one to follow, especially since Red Bull director of global soccer Gérard Houllier is familiar with Juninho from their time together at Lyon, so check back at MLSsoccer.com throughout the weekend and next week for more updates.