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International

22 May 1:45 de la tarde

When his Colorado Rapids fell behind early in last weekend's match against Sporting Kansas City, manager Oscar Pareja kept his composure. He was confident in his players and their ability to fight their way back to salvage a result in the game.

Then again, Pareja knows a thing or two about playing under pressure.

Twenty years ago, Pareja was the star and captain of Independiente Medellin in Colombia, which at the time, was associated with the drug czar Pablo Escobar. In ESPN columnist Rick Reilly's latest column, Pareja tells the story of the time he received an invite to play against Escobar in his government-built prison – an offer he couldn't really refuse, for all the obvious reasons. It's not an easy story for Pareja to tell, but Reilly's column is a worthy read.

11 May 4:50 de la tarde

Earlier this week, MLSsoccer.com profiled Earthquakes right back Steven Beitashour as a player that could be on US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann's radar.

Turns out, Klinsmann and US Soccer may have to move sooner rather than later if that's the case.

Beitashour, who led the Quakes last year with seven assists and already has four to his name in 2012, holds dual US-Iranian citizenship. According to Centerline Soccer's Robert Jonas, the San Jose native has been contacted by the Iranian national team, but not yet by the United States:

So it appears for the time being, Beitashour will hold out for a call from Klinsmann. But if the coach dawdles in calling up the third-year defender, Beitashour could easily be added to US Soccer's list of ones that got away.

Power 5: Steven Beitashour on Klinsmann's radar?

11 May 1:29 de la tarde

En la edición de esta semana del podcast Tiro Libre tuvimos como invitados a dos jugadores colombianos de experiencia que tienen algo en común: ambos han vestido los colores de su selección nacional… pero hace tiempo.

Tressor Moreno y Nelson Rivas ahora le ofrecen su talento a la MLS y ambos jugadores no pierden la esperanza de que el seleccionador de Colombia José Pekerman le de una miradita a lo que pasa en la MLS.

ESCUCHA: MORENO Y RIVAS EN TIRO LIBRE

Moreno es una de las razones por las cuales su equipo está en los primeros lugares de la liga, por encima del Galaxy de Beckham, Donovan y Keane, entre otros. Por su parte, Rivas jugó su primer partido para Montreal el fin de semana anterior, en un juego donde el club de expansión sorprendió a los líderes del Este, Sporting Kansas City, con un contundente 2-0 como visitantes. El defensa colombiano fue señalado por la prensa como uno de los mejores de su equipo.

Aun así, si ambos colombianos llegarán a mantener su ritmo y a ser los mejores en la MLS, ¿les llegaría el llamado?

Colombia es un país particularmente conocido por no reconocer el nivel de la MLS, lo cual es gracioso cuando se toma en cuenta que es el país que más ofrece jugadores internacionales a esta liga. Países como Honduras, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Irlanda y por supuesto Estados Unidos, entre otros, miran al talento de sus países en la MLS y lo convocan. ¿Por qué no Colombia?

Este tema se puede ir para largo, entonces paro ahí, pero los dejo con la encuesta: ¿Crees que Tressor Moreno y Nelson Rivas tengan chances de regresar a su selección?

25 April 1:10 de la tarde

As Real Madrid and Brazil star Kaka ticks over the 10 million followers mark on Twitter — a quite remarkable feat — which other athletes generate the most interest from fans, journalists and other professionals worldwide?

Four out of the top five followed athletes are soccer players, once again proving soccer's global appeal. This is what Kaka had to say:

Here are the top five followed athletes on Twitter on the planet:

1. Kaka – 10,014,735 million

2. Cristiano Ronaldo - 9,015,170 million

3. LeBron James - 4,340,534 million

4. Neymar - 4,102,275 million

5. Wayne Rooney - 3,942,544 million

19 April 11:58 de la mañana

LeBron James’ love for Liverpool keeps growing, so much so that he's now launched his very own Liverpool FC sneaker, the Nike LeBron 9 low.

However the minority owner in LFC seems to have made some big design flaws before the shoes expected release on May 5, the day of Liverpool's FA Cup final match against Chelsea.

The famous “Liver” bird which is the symbol of the city of LIverpool, is placed on the heel of the shoe….but it looks more like a dragon. And emblazoned on the sole of the shoe are 18 logos of Premier League trophies. Yet Liverpool have never won the EPL title.... but they have won the English league title 18 times; which is a completely different trophy.

The original story announcing the sneaker release on the New England Sports Network (NESN) has been removed, after angry responses from Liverpool fans about the botched design.

Back to the drawing board, LeBron.

(Images from NESN.com)

04 April 1:56 de la tarde

This ex-soccer player could perhaps rival the star of the cult Dos Equis commercials as the "most interesting man in the world."

German goalkeeper Lutz Pfannenstiel is now an international scout for Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, yet his playing career, which included a stint with current MLS outfit the Vancouver Whitecaps, wasn’t quite as conventional.

He was signed by 25 teams in 13 countries and to date is the only professional to have played in all six of FIFA’s confederations.

He was declared dead while on the pitch when playing for Bradford Park Avenue and was also locked up in a Singapore jail. He has spent five days in an igloo in a German ski resort, during which his antics were streamed live over the internet. He was also, believe it or not, a member of the "crazy gang" at Wimbledon and was stripped naked by Vinnie Jones and his teammates during a jog through London on a cold November morning in his first few days with the club.

Pfannenstiel spent time playing in North America with Vancouver in 2007, making four appearances, while also turning out for the Calgary Mustangs in 2004.

His title as an international scout for Hoffenheim means that current US national team players Danny Williams, Fabian Johnson and U-23 player Joe Gyau are all know to the eccentric German.

If those three have careers half as interesting as Pfannenstiel's, then we are all in for a real treat.

Stay thirsty my friends.

28 March 5:41 de la tarde

Maybe this new proven goalscoring tactic could become commonplace in MLS? Fans of goal-shy Montreal, Toronto, New England, Chivas and D.C. may want to look across the Atlantic to see how one group of fans helped to turn their side into a goalscoring machine....well they scored once at least.

Fans of German side Magdeburg took a different approach to their team's scoring drought. Instead of booing and hurling abuse at players and coaches, fans of the Regionliga Nord side (Germany's fourth tier) made the task a little easier for their team.

Supporters assembled behind the goal their beloved team was attacking, holding up giant colorful arrows to point their team in the direction of the opponents goal!

And remarkably it worked.

American forward Chris Wright scored the bottom club's first goal for five matches and ended their 558-minute goal drought. However his equalizer wasn't enough for a point as the home side slumped to a 2-1 defeat and remain rooted to the bottom of the standings, scoring just 16 times in 25 league games.

Either way, it’s a novel approach from the German fans. A for effort.

02 March 3:33 de la tarde

De vuelta en Orlando, Fla. para el juego pretemporada entre FC Dallas y Toronto FC, me topé con Zarek Valentin, el defensa del Montreal Impact que nos compartió su alegría por la victoria que obtuvo con el equipo preolímpico de Estados Unidos sobre México en un crucial amistoso esta semana… pero ojo, se le está olvidando el español por estar aprendiendo francés.

02 March 10:36 de la mañana

It was a boldface lie. Ferrell has turned around and shot a film entirely in Spanish … So what better place than Mexico vs. Colombia to promote the flick alongside stunning actress  Genesis Rodriguez? With Ferrell’s attendance at a Mexican national team match, we put his Spanish and his loyalty to the US colors to the test.

02 March 1:37 de la mañana

Do you know what I love more than ice cream and Sacha Kljestan's moustache? Eric Wynalda talking US Soccer. 

Sure, you or I may not agree with a lot of what he has to say but you can't argue that he's always entertaining. Hear what the US World Cup veteran had to say about the Yanks' big win over Italy yesterday on today's episode of Kick's The Mixer. Come for the Wynalda, stay for the Conrad.