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Designated Player

25 April 3:38 de la tarde

La amistad y cercanía de los jugadores de Seattle Sounders Fredy Montero y Osvaldo Alonso va mucho más allá de la cancha. Eso no es noticia para nadie, ya que se trata de dos de los jugadores latinos de más duración en la franquicia esmeralda.  

Sin embargo, en una entrevista con Félix Fernández de Republica Deportiva durante las pruebas de Sueño MLS en esa ciudad, el colombiano y el cubano revelaron la particular historia de cuando se conocieron, de su rápido acercamiento por el idioma y la cultura que los rodeaba, siendo ambos los únicos jugadores de habla hispana en el equipo.

En las palabras de Montero: “Un día yo vi a un muchacho flaquito, blanquito, sentado en el hotel y dije ‘este es americano también’ y lo miro y él me dice a mi: ‘¡tu eres el colombiano!”

Aquí la entrevista:

22 April 12:16 de la tarde

Michael Ballack était l’invité de l’émission Das Aktuelle Sportstudio à la ZDF (chaîne publique allemande) où il a donné une longue entrevue d’un quart d’heure, ponctuée de nombreux témoignages. Il y a évoqué son parcours de ces dernières années en club et en équipe nationale, mais aussi la suite de la carrière.

L’ancien capitaine de la Mannschaft a confirmé que son avenir ne se situerait plus à Leverkusen, mais a rassuré : « Le feu brûle encore ». Sa motivation à jouer encore au plus haut niveau est intacte et il a été interrogé sur la possibilité de jouer en Major League Soccer.

Il n’a pas caché son intention de traverser l’Atlantique et a paru assez gêné quand on lui a demandé s’il y avait des offres concrètes. « Je ne peux rien révéler d’exclusif », a-t-il souri, confirmant quand même qu’il y avait eu des discussions et qu’il était intéressé.

Vous voulez l’entendre de sa bouche (en allemand) ? Voilà son passage complet à l’émission, et la vidéo démarre au moment où il est interrogé, de manière très précise, sur la MLS :

18 April 9:54 de la mañana

David Beckham has gone one step closer to making his dream of appearing for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics a reality.

On Wednesday head coach Stuart Pearce and the Football Association announced that an initial squad list of 191 players has been whittled down to 80, with Beckham making the cut. Wales’ Gareth Bale and Craig Bellamy and Englishman Joe Cole also made the list, however any player playing for England at Euro 2012 will not be selected.

The LA Galaxy man reminded fans in the US and worldwide what he is still capable of, with a wonder goal against the Portland Timbers during his side’s 3-1 win on Saturday.

Beckham — who grew up in East London where the games will be held — is keen to be part of Great Britain’s Olympic soccer squad, after helping the team’s successful bidding process way back in 2005.

The draw for the tournament will take place next Tuesday, April 24, as Beckham and the United Kingdom hope for a kind draw on home soil.

Teams Qualified for Olympic Soccer Tournament: Great Britain, Brazil, Belarus, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico, Uruguay, New Zealand, Honduras, South Korea, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Gabon, Morocco, Egypt, Oman or Senegal (AFC-CAF Playoff taking place on 23rd April)

09 April 3:34 de la tarde

They came and went within a year, but there's a crop of South American forwards who have found themselves right at home in their continent of origin after a mixed experience during their stints in MLS during the 2011 season.

The likes of Milton Caraglio (New England's first-ever Designated Player), Cristian Nazarit and Diego Chaves may not have set MLS alight during their year-long stay here (less in the case of Caraglio, who arrived in August but was gone by December), but having returned to South America, these young players have found more success.

Two of the players — Caraglio and Chaves — opted to head to Chile instead of their native countries, and have been richly rewarded for doing so. Caraglio tallied for newly promoted Rangers over the weekend to take his total for the season to four and help them continue a run that sees them in playoff contention. Chaves — perhaps the most successful of the group in MLS with six goals in 2011 — has a pair of goals to his name with Palestino over nine matches.

Cristian Nazarit opted to return to his home country, Colombia, after playing just 624 minutes and scoring two goals for Chicago in 2012. Two months into the Colombian season, the 21-year-old — a teammate of former Philadelphia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragón — has four goals to his name for Deportivo Cali, including a late winner over the weekend that gave los Verdiblancos a third straight league win.

Chaves' former Chicago teammate, Gastón Puerari, has found less luck back home, however. He has played a handful of minutes for Defensor Sporting and is yet to net a goal in either the domestic league of Copa Libertadores.

So, what is it that has set these players apart in South America? Is MLS now a more difficult league to play in? Is the style of play in South America more conducive to their respective games? Or maybe it just wasn't cost-effective (always a factor in MLS) to keep them? Take your pick.

02 April 2:17 de la tarde

After being subbed off at halftime against the New England Revolution on Saturday, it appears superstar LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham is no longer worthy of a full 90-minute performance. I don't know, man. Ask Bruce Arena about it.

But no matter how LA are doing on the field, one thing remains clear: Beckham is still in the conversation for "Dreamiest Man in MLS." I dare you not to get lost in those eyes.

And don't worry if you can't, because you are not alone. Apparently the poor people at Burger King can't manage it either. Or at least that's what this new commercial would have us believe.

In reality, I'm skeptical that one could remain smitten by a man who says "smoovie." But it's still a funny ad, and Beckham is still a dashingly handsome man. Seriously, just look at the guy...

20 March 5:00 de la tarde

El Káiser vestirá el rascacielos más prominente de la Ciudad de Nueva York con los colores de su club.

El defensa del New York Red Bulls, Rafa Márquez, iluminará el Empire State Building con los colores del equipo, el viernes, 23 de marzo previo al partido en casa ante el Colorado Rapids de este domingo.

A Márquez se unirá el Presidente de Negocios Operacional, Chris Heck, en un evento donde Rafa “subirá el switch” e iluminar una de las torres icónicas del mundo con los colores blanco y rojo representativos del equipo.

Los Red Bulls arrancan la temporada en su estadio ante Colorado Rapids este domingo, 25 de marzo a partir de las 4 pm ET.

20 March 11:55 de la mañana

La MLS se germanise. Quelques jours après la signature d’Arne Friedrich à Chicago (il participe à son premier entraînement ce mardi), on annonce aujourd’hui que son compatriote Michael Ballack traversera l’Atlantique cet été.

Michael Becker, agent de l’ancien capitaine de l’équipe nationale allemande, a déclaré que son client « souhaitait évoluer en Major League Soccer » et a même pointé une destination de préférence : New York. Sauf que le club semble lui préférer Stephen Ireland (Aston Villa)… Des déclarations qui ne manquent pas d’animer les débats sur les réseaux sociaux.

Le milieu de terrain de Leverkusen intéresse d’autres clubs de MLS. Il y a quelques semaines, son nom revenait notamment parmi les sérieux prétendants à une place de joueur désigné à l’Impact de Montréal, qui n’est certainement pas seul sur les rangs.

Un autre Allemand fait déjà les beaux jours d’un club de MLS : Torsten Frings, à Toronto. Cependant, en sauvant ce qui ressemblait à un but tout fait ce samedi à Seattle, l’ancien joueur de la Mannschaft s’est blessé : il sera hors-circuit pour quatre à six semaines. Une absence qui risque de peser lourd en demi-finale de Ligue des champions contre Santos Laguna.

15 March 9:27 de la mañana

Here's a morning pick-me-up for all of you LA Galaxy fans still reeling from last night's CONCACAF Champions League loss to Toronto FC: a 47 minute-long documentary on David Beckham's time in LA.

You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll marvel at the circus that was the 2007 LA Galaxy season. Pull the curtains closed and press 'play'.

13 March 3:51 de la mañana

Después del partidazo que los Portland Timbers le ganaron a Philadelphia Union en su debut en la temporada 2012, me topé con José Adolfo “El Trencito” Valencia, el joven delantero colombiano que tuvo que ver sentado (y con muletas al lado) el encuentro. Sonriente por el triunfo de su equipo, pero triste de no poder participar, el Trencito le mandó un saludo a su afición y nos dio un pequeño informe del progreso de su lesión y su vida en Portland. Aquí va:

03 March 8:56 de la tarde

Middlesbrough midfielder Barry Robson won't join the Vancouver Whitecaps until this summer, but his future coach, teammates, and fans must be salivating.

For the second match in a row, the Scot -- who recently returned from a longterm injury -- put in a dominating performance in a 3-1 win away to Portsmouth. He opened the scoring from the penalty spot, and his freekick set up Boro's second.

Boro are now level on points with Blackpool for 4th place in the English Championship, with a game in hand. That means they're definitely in the hunt for promotion to the EPL.

If Robson is on similar form when he joins the Whitecaps, who already boast some impressive firepower -- have you seen them in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic? -- he could be the integral midfield piece to drive them into the playoffs.

Hell, at this rate, he might be the driving force to help them finish atop the Western Conference, as my colleague Simon Borg thinks they will. I laughed him off when he first said it. I'm only semi-chuckling now.