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Seattle Sounders FC

14 January 2:51 de la tarde

Le marché des transferts entre la MLS et l’étranger a été très actif depuis le retour de vacances, que cela concerne des arrivées définitives, des prêts, des départs, des rumeurs ou des joueurs désignés.

Ainsi, deux nouveaux joueurs désignés sont arrivés sous forme de prêt. Portland pense avoir trouvé son maître à jouer en Diego Valeri, en photo ci-dessus sous le maillot de son ancien club, Lanús (Argentine). De son côté, DC United a été chercher à Bahia (Brésil) l’attaquant Rafael, deuxième plus jeune joueur désigné de l’histoire de la MLS. Autre prêt, celui à Montréal du milieu italien Andrea Pisanu par Bologne.

Alors qu’il a laissé partir Kevin Hartman, Dallas lui a trouvé un remplaçant en la personne de Raúl Fernández, gardien de l’équipe nationale du Pérou acquis à titre définitif aux Français de Nice. Autre international qui fera ses débuts en MLS, le défenseur équatorien Diego Calderón quitte le LDU Quito pour Colorado. De son côté, Vancouver a ramené sur le continent le géant américain Brad Rusin, qui avait tenté sa chance au Danemark. Le principal transfert interne du début d’année est le passage de l’Estonien Joel Lindpere de New York à Chicago. Notons aussi que Tyson Wahl, laissé libre par Colorado, a signé à Columbus.

Le départ qui a surpris bien du monde est celui d’André Hainault, qui quitte Houston pour rejoindre Ross County, mal classé en D1 écossaise. Le fait que Roger Espinoza rejoigne aussi les îles britanniques, et plus précisément Wigan, était en revanche attendu depuis longtemps. Son coéquipier Graham Zusi s’entraîne pour sa part à West Ham. Andy Najar (DC United) a réussi son entrée en matière à Anderlecht (Belgique), où il est prêté pour un mois. Fredy Montero a déjà dit au revoir à ses coéquipiers, même si son départ de Seattle n’est pas encore officiel. On l’annonce à Millonarios, en Colombie, pays où pourrait aussi aboutir Carlos Valdés (Philadelphie).

09 January 12:05 de la tarde

Ça y est, le calendrier de la saison régulière 2013 est sorti ! Je vous invite à le consulter ici.

Le coup d’envoi sera donné le 2 mars à 16h00 avec Philadelphie - Kansas City. Le format de compétition est identique à celui de 2012, avec l’inversion du lieu des rencontres entre les clubs qui s’affrontent une seule fois.

Le week-end des 16 et 17 mars promet d’être particulièrement palpitant puisque huit des neuf rencontres au programme opposeront des clubs rivaux. Parmi elles, l’incontournable Seattle - Portland,  mais aussi New York - DC United, Dallas - Houston ou encore Montréal - Toronto.

Comme de coutume désormais, il sera possible de regarder en direct chacune des 323 rencontres, que ce soit à l’antenne des partenaires de télédiffusion nationale, sur des chaînes de télévision locales, via le bouquet Direct Kick ou MLS Live. Certaines rencontres retransmises par ESPN et ESPN2 seront même en 3D !

L’élaboration du calendrier a été effectuée en veillant à ne pas entrer en conflit avec les matchs des éliminatoires de la Coupe du monde. En été, les coups d’envois seront rarement donnés avant 16h00, pour éviter qu’un soleil de plomb n’assomme le stade.

Au soir du 27 octobre, après 35 semaines de compétition et 34 matchs pour chaque équipe, le classement final de la saison régulière sera établi. Pourra alors commencer la phase finale de la compétition, qui durera une semaine de plus que l'an dernier puisque la finale de la Coupe MLS se jouera le 7 ou le 8 décembre.

08 January 6:03 de la tarde

If you didn’t catch the trailer for American Football after it was accidentally posted in November, it's time to fire up that internet connection and block out six-and-a-half minutes.

The trailer is for an unfinished feature documentary on the Seattle Sounders FC, produced by Levy Films. And, well, the footage is incredible, truly capturing the beauty of the sport. It was shot in a way that makes you feel like you're part of the team – you hear personal struggles from some of the Sounders squad and are even witness to a post-game schooling from head coach Sigi Schmid. 

It’s an intimate look at the Seattle Sounders and will surely leave you wanting more. That is, unless you're a diehard Timbers or 'Caps fan.

Hopefully, Levy Films will finish the full doc soon, but it looks like the 2013 MLS season might kickoff before the film. But it seems it will be well worth the wait.


Original Video- More videos at TinyPic

03 January 8:31 de la tarde

Fredy Montero maybe never knew it or others purged it out of him: But like it or not, no matter what the formation may show on any given matchday, Montero is an old-school No. 10.

A No. 10 as in a supremely skilled, game-breaker. They may not be the fastest, the tallest or the strongest, but they're capable of that stroke of genius that other players can only dream about.

No. 10s are hot and cold. They're often enigmatic and maddening. They need freedom because they don't fit a specific mold. They can't be judged by the same measure as other players. They're different.

Well, since Montero was counted on for goals (he did score double-digit goals in each of his four seasons), we could instead use the "No. 9.5" label that Michel Platini once coined for Italian Roberto Baggio: the No. 10 who also finds the back of the net.

Whichever label fits him best, it's no secret that tweeners like Montero are dying a slow death in modern soccer, which is increasingly based on athleticism and production. The sport has very little patience any more for the artisans, whose production may not always be reliable or punctual, but whose craft is inimitable.

If Montero's return to Colombia does materialize, MLS will have lost one of its artisans -- the author of some of the best goals in league history. True gems. But these days the Sounders are not interested in art and pretty pictures. They want goals. Goals that win them trophies.

Montero's exit, if it happens, would follow that of No. 10's Sebastián Grazzini (Chicago Fire) and Davide Chiumiento (Vancouver Whitecaps), who departed during the 2012 season. Toronto FC also sent attacking catalyst Joao Plata back to Ecuador in midseason.

Meanwhile, as creative types like Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union) and Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers) suffer through existential crises (where and how do they fit in MLS?), there have been rumors of another potential return to Colombia for FC Dallas playmaker David Ferreira.

Real Salt Lake are desperately trying to cling to their No. 10 Javier Morales and the New York Red Bulls looked far and wide before landing 37-year-old Brazilian Juninho Pernambucano.

Who's left out there? Columbus have their fingers crossed that a healthy Federico Higuaín can regain his form, while Colorado hope Martín Rivero can actually find his.

Before we get too alarmed, what we may very well be witnessing could just be a transition phase in MLS. A changing of the guard. The slighter, softer Montero's making way for a new breed of modern gamebreakers who are built stronger (see Sporting's Graham Zusi), bigger (see Toronto's Luis Silva), tougher (see Philly's Michael Farfan) and show up every game.

But finding another Farfan is easier said than done. Good luck, Seattle.

03 January 11:34 de la mañana

Rest assured, the flood of Honduran players to Major League Soccer hasn't reached the high-water mark just yet.

According to comments from the player himself, the Seattle Sounders are closing in on the signing of CD Victoria defender Wilmer Crisanto, who they've been pursuing for some time if the reports are to be believed.

Here's what the right back (above) had to say to Cronometro: "It is a matter of my salary, they already told me what I was going to earn in Seattle. I asked my agent to try to get a little more but if he's not able to, I'll have to settle for what they offered me, I'm not asking for much."

Of course, nothing is official until the final shoe drops, but the 23-year-old sounds pretty confident that he'll be the latest Catracho to land in MLS.

The other tidbit to come out of the article concerns Crisanto's teammate at Victoria and with the Honduran Olympic team, José Velásquez Colón. According to the story, the center back is preparing to embark on a trial with the Sounders after a successful year for both club and country.

What do you think? Have Hondurans taken over from Colombians as MLS' biggest import?

02 January 6:22 de la tarde

Si en años recientes, la MLS ha sido uno de los destinos preferidos de los futbolistas colombianos, hoy podemos hablar acerca de una “operación retorno” de muchos cafeteros hacia su país.

El primero en partir oficialmente fue Hernán Pertuz. El barranquillero fue presentado hace dos semanas por el Deportivo Independiente Medellín, tras dejar las filas del FC Dallas; equipo en el que estuvo el año pasado junto a David Ferreira, Jair Benítez y Fabián Castillo.

Otro que ya dejó la MLS definitivamente para la próxima temporada es Miguel Montaño. El delantero de 21 años de edad fue puesto en libertad por el Montreal Impact y ahora engrosará el ataque del Cúcuta Deportivo. Montaño llegó a la MLS en 2010 a Seattle Sounders, y estuvo a préstamo el año pasado con el Deportivo Cali.

En el campo de los rumores, varios nombres de primer nivel encabezan la lista de jugadores que podrían volver al fútbol colombiano.

A continuación analizo los puntos a favor y en contra de cada una de las siguientes situaciones; asimismo, presento en mi opinión la viabilidad de las transacciones en una escala de 1 a 5, siendo 5 la posibilidad más alta para un posible traspaso.

   
Juan Pablo Ángel

El exdelantero de los New York Red Bulls, y más recientemente Chivas USA, que lo dejó en libertad en noviembre pasado, podría llegar al club de sus amores, Atlético Nacional.

A favor: Se encuentra sin contrato actualmente. Nacional es el club donde nació futbolísticamente, y en más de una ocasión ha declarado su deseo de volver. Un inminente retiro en los verdes garantizaría un cierre de ensueño para la carrera de JPA.

En contra: Ha pensado en retirarse del fútbol luego de la campaña 2012. Igualmente, ha dicho que su familia está muy tranquila viviendo en Los Ángeles, razón por la cual aceptó en agosto de 2011 jugar para Chivas USA cuando Robbie Keane llegó al LA Galaxy. En ese momento el cupo de jugador franquicia de Ángel en el cuadro galáctico era necesario para la contratación del irlandés.

Viabilidad de traspaso: 4

    
David Ferreira

El volante creativo del FC Dallas, quien se dio a conocer internacionalmente en el América de Cali, ha sido vinculado con el Junior de Barranquilla. El MVP de la temporada 2010 de la MLS, estuvo más de un año sin actividad, luego de una lesión al comienzo de la temporada 2011, en abril.

A favor: En el Junior están buscando un “10” tras la salida de Giovanni Hernández al Medellín. La firma que representa a Ferreira cuenta en su cartera con varios futbolistas que juegan en Colombia, y tiene vínculos estrechos en el país.

En contra: FC Dallas apoyó ciegamente a Ferreira durante su lesión hasta su regreso en julio de 2012, donde no dudó en devolverle a la alineación titular. Es un líder indiscutido en el equipo texano, y es uno de los baluartes del medio campo en la MLS.

Viabilidad del traspaso: 1

     
Fredy Montero

Uno de los nombres que más ha sonado es el del delantero del Seattle Sounders, Fredy Montero. El exjugador del Atlético Huila y Deportivo Cali, podría llegar al actual campeón de la Liga Postobón, Millonarios, en préstamo por seis meses.

A favor: Posibilidad de jugar Copa Libertadores con el club de Bogotá, y buscar acercamientos para volver a la selección Colombia, de la cual no hace parte desde 2009. Además, las fuertes críticas a las que ha sido expuesto en Seattle, donde no superó las altas exigencias que el equipo depositó en Montero el año pasado, podrían impulsar el préstamo.

En contra: A pesar de las críticas, Montero es un ídolo en Seattle. Como todo un Rock Star es recibido en cada partido por los fanáticos de los Sounders, y su salida podría significar un golpe fuerte al club. De la misma manera, Montero, está muy cómodo en los Estados Unidos con toda su familia, y acaba de contraer matrimonio en diciembre con su novia estadounidense.

Viabilidad del traspaso: 3

      
Carlos Valdés

En un principio se habló de la vuelta de Carlos Valdés, capitán del Philadelphia Union, a Independiente Santa Fe, en calidad de préstamo. El club de la capital colombiana quiere a Valdés durante el primer semestre del año, periodo en el cual se medirán en la Copa Libertadores, pero el Union no está convencido con el tiempo que piden en Bogotá.

A favor: Valdés buscaría mantenerse en forma durante el receso invernal de la MLS, para ser de nuevo convocado a la selección Colombia que reanudará las eliminatorias suramericanas el 22 de marzo ante Bolivia.

En contra: Philadelphia Union lo cedería solamente hasta el inicio de la temporada regular de la MLS, que arranca el 2 de marzo.

Viabilidad del traspaso: 2

    
Ustedes mismos saquen sus conclusiones, y aunque no veo fácil ninguno de los traspasos, tampoco se me hacen imposibles. Sin embargo, a mi modo de ver, el que tiene más posibilidades de ser repatriado a Colombia, es Ángel, a no ser que anuncie su retiro del fútbol profesional.

27 December 5:06 de la tarde

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?

22 December 1:37 de la tarde

Bryan Meredith may have managed the Save of the Year in Seattle, but he was surplus to requirements once the season ended. According to Sigi Schmid and the Sounders staff, the 23-year-old needed a bit more seasoning between the pipes.

It was clear that wasn't going to come in Seattle, where Michael Gspurning is the unquestioned No. 1 and Marcus Hahnemann appears primed to return as the most-experienced No. 2 in MLS. And although he made 10 league starts in 2012, it looks like Meredith has already found a way to rack up the playing time he needs to continue developing, as the former Monmouth 'keeper joined Swedish second-division side IK Brage on the two-year deal.

"That was the biggest thing, the opportunity to get games," Meredith told the Kitsap Sun.

19 December 1:20 de la tarde

Osvaldo Alonso's trip to Upton Park been called nothing more than a training stint, and in MLS we're more than used to those.

Now, however, it's not just the British press making mountains out of what were previously thought to be molehills. According to a report in eatsleepsport.com, West Ham manager Sam Allardyce intimated that a bid could be forthcoming if he decides that the Honey Badger fits his side's needs:

"We always need a bit of help as a manager," Allardyce reportedly said. "We're never going to turn one down are we? Or two! You've always got to try. If there's anybody there who can enhance or better the team, then we would like to go for them."

Grain of salt alert: First, this is the UK press (no elaboration needed). Second, Allardyce never specifically says that there'll be a bid coming. He's mostly just giving a very political, yet very obvious answer to a pretty straight forward question.
 
Ozzie would absolutely help the Hammers, by the way. And I'd be shocked if they weren't impressed by him. But ... grain of salt, people. Grain of salt.
 
 
14 December 7:27 de la tarde

First of all, go ahead and bookmark this site right here: CLICK ME! It's an invaluable resource for anybody who cares about US soccer in general, and the US Open Cup in particular.

And if you don't care about the US Open Cup ... what the hell is wrong with you? It's one of the world's oldest tournaments, features huge upsets pretty much ever year, and is a breeding ground for future MLS stars. Yeah, the MLS Cup and Supporters' Shield may get your juices flowing a little more, but a cup's a cup. Anybody should be ecstatic to win one.

And it looks like, in 2013, the Sounders will have two shots to get back to the mountain top.

Not only are the big boy Sounders automatically drawn into the competition (along with the other 15 US-based MLS teams), but the Sounders U-23s have earned themselves a spot as well. There's no official announcement as of yet (US Soccer tends to take its time with USOC-related stuff), but according to TheCup.us' sources, Seattle's U-23s are in it by virtue of a first-place finish in the PDL's Northwest Division.

Second in the Northwest Division, by the way? That'd be the Portland Timbers U-23s, who are in the Cup (announcement pending!) for the second straight year.

So it looks like we could have two separate cases of fratricide, should the brackets work out just so. And should Cal FC not crash the party this time around.

EDIT: And our good friends at SounderAtHeart just sent us this:

So yeah, US Soccer may not have confirmed yet. But this one sure looks like it's good to go.