On saura ce soir qui des États-Unis ou du Canada participera à la prochaine Coupe du monde des moins de 20 ans. En effet, les deux pays s’affrontent sur le coup de 18h00 (direct Fox Soccer, sportsnet.ca) pour une des quatre places attribuées à la zone Concacaf (programme complet ici).
Les jeunes Canadiens ont, selon de nombreux observateurs, une de leurs générations les plus talentueuses depuis longtemps. Après un départ raté contre Cuba, les voilà obligés de vaincre leur puissant voisin pour atteindre le seul objectif qui compte à leurs yeux : une place pour la Turquie. Ne paraissant pas inquiet outre mesure, le sélectionneur américain Tab Ramos dit quand même se méfier de la machine canadienne bien huilée.
Loin de ces considérations, Chris Wondolowski sera encore dans les candidats au titre de meilleur buteur cette année. Auteur de 61 roses au cours des trois dernières saisons, il vient surtout de signer un nouveau contrat de quatre ans à San José, doublant ses émoluments annuels, ce qui lui vaut de devenir joueur désigné. Voir des produits locaux, comme lui ou Landon Donovan, obtenir ce statut ne peut être que bénéfique pour la MLS.
Un joueur désigné de plus… mais aussi un de moins, puisque le médian défensif allemand de Toronto Torsten Frings a annoncé sa retraite ce matin. À Seattle, on tente d’attirer Obafemi Martins, mais avant de l’engager il faudra se séparer d’un des trois joueurs désignés déjà sous contrat, possiblement Christian Tiffert dont on a peu de nouvelles.
Eidur Gudjohnsen, Joan Verdú, Nelson Haedo Váldez, Javier Saviola ... it's hard to know which rumors are real and which are mere rumors in the Emerald City.
But the Sounders are clearly up to something, as GM Adrian Hanauer told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday that the club hopes to have news on a Designated Player soon. Earlier Tuesday, Steven Goff of The Washington Post offered up an interesting appetizer:
Seattle Sounders in hunt for Nigerian forward Obafemi Martins? Just a little somethin' I heard today. Thoughts? #mls
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) February 19, 2013
No indication of if that "little somethin'" has legs or not, but Martins is certainly a pedigreed forward who could help Seattle immensely. He's played in all of Europe's "Big Four" leagues and currently is taking a star turn at Levante in Spain's top flight.
What do you think? Would a mercurial Nigerian speedster with nearly 100 career goals for clubs and country be the right fit for the Sounders?
How can the LA Galaxy persuade Frank Lampard to make the leap across the pond? Let him head back to Europe for an offseason loan, according to The Mirror.
The British tabloid claims the Galaxy are willing to let Lampard join a European club for up to three months next winter (sound familiar, LA fans?). The goal is for him to enter 2014 with the best chances of making England's squad for the summer trip to the World Cup in Brazil.
And that's not the only perk Lampard would get from this rumored offer, said to be for $4.5 million annually over two-and-a-half years. According to the report, Lampard would get benefits such as a free house and free flights to the UK.
The 34-year-old midfielder is rumored to want to stay at Chelsea, but his contract with the reigning European champions expires in June and the Blues have yet to make a new offer, leading to plenty of questions around his future.
A Galaxy spokesperson declined to comment on the report.
And bear in mind... it's The Mirror.
Le départ de Lamar Neagle pour Seattle a permis à Montréal d’obtenir une place supplémentaire pour un joueur étranger, ce qui lui en confère onze pour cette saison. Huit joueurs ont actuellement ce statut, le calcul est donc vite fait, il reste trois places disponibles.
Si le club a effectué cette démarche, c’est évidemment qu’il a des intentions de se renforcer avec un joueur ni canadien, ni américain. Le président Joey Saputo l’a d’ailleurs confirmé sur Twitter.
The lastest trade now opens the door to go after a foreigner; will he be from Europe or South America? My bet is South America. Stay tuned.
— Joey Saputo (@JoeySaputo) 28 janvier 2013
Traduction littérale : « Le dernier échange ouvre désormais la porte à courtiser un étranger ; sera-t-il d’Europe ou d’Amérique du Sud ? Je parie sur l’Amérique du Sud. Restez branchés. » Difficile de miser en étant mieux informé...
Évidemment, les supputations vont déjà bon train : les Sud-Américains courent les rues et les stades. De quelle nationalité sera ce renfort (pour les nuls en géo : le Mexique est en Amérique du Nord, l’Amérique du Sud commence en Colombie) ? Aura-t-il l’aura d’un joueur désigné ou sera-t-il aussi inconnu que Felipe lors de son arrivée à Montréal ? Joue-t-il actuellement en Amérique du Sud, en Europe, au Mexique, en MLS ou ailleurs ? Les paris sont ouverts !
Sunday tabloids are for light reading and gossip. So here's a good one for entertainment value.
David Beckham has yet to decide where (or if?) he’s playing in 2013, but if you’re the sort who trusts those loveable UK rags, he’s apparently delivering a handful of fellow English World Cup veterans into MLS to take his place.
According to a report on Sunday in The Mirror, Becks will try to sell Steven Gerrard, Peter Crouch, Ashley Cole and Michael Carrick on the league.
Of course, the report also makes the tired suggestion that MLS would be “an ideal destination for them to finish their careers.” That said, the entire quartet is around the same age Beckham was when he made the jump over from Real Madrid six years ago.
In the same report, another Englishman, Jermaine Pennant, suggests that a Stateside move could revive his stalled out career.
“Playing in America is a strong option for me,” he is quoted as saying. “You only have to see the caliber of players there of past and present to see how the league is improving. It is getting stronger with every year.”
The 30-year-old winger – who never delivered on his promise when he debuted for Arsenal as a teenager – has never really quite fit in anywhere. Add to that his history of disciplinary and legal problems, and you have to wonder if any MLS team would take the bait. Then again, Luke Rodgers worked here for a time...
We now return you to your regularly scheduled Sunday.
If reports in Germany are to be believed, the Chicago Fire were close to adding another German warhorse to their roster, only for Borussia Dortmund to commit to captain Sebastian Kehl for one more year.
There's been speculation in Germany that Kehl's place in the Dortmund team is at risk with Nuri Sahin returning from Real Madrid on loan, but Bild reported Wednesday that manager Jürgen Klopp will exercise the club's option on the midfielder, preventing the 32-year-old from linking up with Arne Friedrich in the Windy City.
Had the Fire been able to land Kehl – assuming their rumored interest was indeed concrete – he would have provided a direct replacement for Pável Pardo, who announced his retirement last week. As it stands, Pardo's place will most likely be filled by Jeff Larentowicz, acquired from Colorado in a trade prior to the MLS SuperDraft.
What do you think? Would Kehl be a good fit in MLS? Do the Fire even need another central midfielder after a busy offseason?
UPDATE: Word from the Fire makes this one almost certainly the work of an enterprising agent rather than actual interest in Kehl.
Asked Frank Klopas about Sebastian Kehl this morning. Said there was no approach and "we have enough central midfielders". #cf97
— Andrew Wiebe (@AndrewWiebe_MLS) March 3, 2012
If reports out of England are to be believed, Norwich City fans might want to familiarize themselves with heart-shaped hands and Chipotle.
On Wednesday, Sky Sports reported that, according to sources, the Canaries have made an offer for Sporting Kansas City's Kei Kamara. When contacted by MLSsoccer.com, Sporting KC declined to comment.
Kamara, a Sierra Leone international, already trained at Stoke City this offseason and "is believed to be in the last year of his contract," per the report.
Since arriving in Kansas City at the tail end of the 2009 season, the 28-year-old striker has become one of MLS' most-imposing wingers, scoring 30 goals and dishing out 18 assists in his three full years with the club.
What do you think? Should Kansas City be open to selling Kamara? How would he fit in the EPL?
If the reports are true, Vancouver are looking to the Land of the Rising Sun to help bolster their midfield.
According to Sponichi Annex, Daigo Kobayashi, currently with Shimizu S-Pulse in the J-League, is poised to sign with the Whitecaps sometime this week.
The 29-year-old has more than 10 years experience as a professional while logging time with Tokyo Verde, Omiya Ardija, Stabæk, Iraklis Thessaloniki and S-Pulse.
The 'Caps also have Japanese midfielder Jun Marques Davidson and South Korean defender Young-Pyo Lee on their books, so they're no stranger to shopping on the Pacific Rim. With the exit of Barry Robson this week, there's room in the Vancouver midfield for a string-puller like Kobayashi, who wears No. 10 for his club side and has one cap with the Japanese national team.
EDIT: Marc Weber of The Province confirmed the move on Tuesday afternoon, followed by this tweet from the official Vancouver account:
CORRECTION: D.C. United has not yet clinched Carolina Challenge Cup championship. I apologize for the confusion. #MLS
— Andrew Wiebe (@AndrewWiebe_MLS) March 3, 2012
US international Robbie Rogers’ contract with Leeds United has been terminated by mutual consent, so what does that mean for the winger’s future? Could a return to MLS be in the cards?
The Columbus Dispatch has some early details for those wondering. For now, though, Rogers' agent is staying mum on the subject of potential destinations for the former Crew star.
The 25-year-old joined the Championship side 12 months ago after a successful trial period, but a head injury and ankle injury limited his involvement to just one start and three further appearances as a sub.
Rogers left MLS on a free transfer after five seasons with the Crew and is free to sign with any team overseas, but his rights belong to Columbus after the club made the left-footed winger a qualifying offer after the 2011 season.
Should Columbus bring him back? Or should Rogers look for another landing place in Europe?
In an interview with EuroSport.com, French defender Pascal Chimbonda admits to following MLS and says he’d like to play in the US.
“I would like to play in the USA, this is a dream,” Chimbonda said. “I feel close to this culture and I appreciate it.”
Chimbonda is currently without a club since he left Doncaster the end of last season and hopes to give his career a jump start during this transfer window – and from the sound of it, the US seems to be his top choice.
When asked about the possibility of joining his former teammate Thierry Henry in New York, Chimbonda’s answer only emphasized his desire to join any team in MLS.
“There are other clubs in MLS,” Chimbonda said. “I know some clubs are looking for good defenders. I’m 33 and a right side, you are far from being cooked at this age.”
What team do you think would the best fit for Chimbonda? Would you welcome him to MLS?