blog

Blog

14 December 10:36 de la tarde

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.

14 December 9:19 de la tarde

Credit this one to BigAppleSoccer.com, who've been all over the New York coaching situation since the days of Eddie Firmani taking mid-afternoon naps at his desk.

Acccording to crack BAS reporter Kristian Dyer, the Red Bulls are on the verge of naming Scotsman Gary McAllister the new bossman, in a move that could come as soon as next week.

Should this come to pass, it'll be no surprise. McAllister has been the frontrunner since early November, back when Hans Backe's contract wasn't renewed. He's reportedly close with new RBNY sporting director Andy Roxburgh, and has had previous managerial runs with Coventry City and Leeds United, as well as a caretaker stint with Aston Villa.

McAllister would become the sixth head coach - including two-time interim boss Richie Williams - since Red Bull took over the franchise in 2006.

14 December 8:27 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.

14 December 7:38 de la tarde

The "As the Beckham Turns" soap opera took its latest twist on Friday with the former LA Galaxy star apparently shutting the door on a reported move to Australia.

Perth Glory owner Tony Sage told the A-League's official website that he ran into Beckham in London during a performance of the Spice Girls' new stage musical (obviously) and — let's give the man some credit — had the stones to corner him with the Big Question.

"I got the chance to chat to David and, of course, I asked him about coming to Australia," Sage told footballaustralia.com.au. "He looked me in the eye and basically said, 'That would be nice, but it's too far away from my businesses.'"

The former England captain and two-time MLS Cup winner had been linked to Perth, while rival A-League clubs Melbourne Heart and Central Coast Mariners also expressed interest in bringing the 37-year-old Down Under. But Sage doesn't see any of that working out.

"It would have been great to have him at Perth Glory, but it looks like that won't be happening," he said. "I just don't think he'll be coming to Australia, full stop."

So where to, Becks? Those reports of a return to England — or France, or China or the Middle East — are all still floating around.

14 December 6:17 de la tarde

servilleta messi

Antes que nada, ¡feliz cumpleaños Servilleta!

Y lo pongo cual nombre propio, porque ese cuadrado de papel inventado por Arthur Scott lo merece. El 14 de diciembre del año 2000, una servilleta fue el primero de los compromisos contractuales del FC Barcelona, con uno de los jugadores más brillantes que jamás haya vestido esa camiseta, Lionel Messi.

Hoy hace exactamente doce años Carles Rexach, por entonces director deportivo del club catalán, se reunió con Miguella y Horacio Gaggioli, representantes de jugadores, para comprometerse en nombre del Barcelona para firmar al pequeño jugador argentino de 13 años.

Messi se había probado en La Masía meses antes, y había dejado una impresión favorable ante los ojos del club. Sin embargo, su tamaño fue una traba que se puso en un comienzo por parte de la dirigencia encabezada por Joan Gaspart, por entonces recién nombrado presidente del Barça, quien tenía como objetivo firmar a un futbolista de renombre para remplazar a Figo.

Cuando varios clubes escucharon acerca del pequeño futbolista maravilla, se empezaron a interesar por sus servicios, por lo cual Rexach se comprometió a pagar por su tratamiento hormonal y llevarlo al Barcelona.

"En Barcelona, a 14 de Diciembre del 2000 y en presencia de los Sres. Minguella y Horacio (Gaggioli), Carles Rexach, Secretario Técnico del F.C.B., se compromete bajo su responsabilidad y a pesar de algunas opiniones en contra a fichar al jugador Lionel Messi siempre y cuando nos mantengamos en las cantidades acordadas", reza el papel que se conoce como el 'primer contrato' de Lionel Messi.

¡Feliz cumpleaños Servilleta! Y feliz aniversario al Barça, por seguirle la corriente a Rexach, y permitirnos disfrutar de la magia de Lio.

14 December 4:41 de la tarde

Les bilans de l’année club par club se poursuivent à la vitesse de l’éclair, alors il est à nouveau temps de vous en offrir quelques résumés.

Pour sa deuxième saison en MLS, Vancouver a trouvé une stabilité défensive et a commencé fort, accumulant un viatique qui lui a permis de se qualifier pour la phase finale malgré une deuxième moitié de championnat catastrophique. Et pour cause : de manière incompréhensible, le club a laissé partir plusieurs joueurs clefs. Pour Martin Rennie, l’explication est davantage psychologique que sportive. Oserait-il commencer 2013 avec le groupe qui a fini 2012 ? Pas sûr…

Modèle inverse à Houston qui, jusqu’en juin, a confirmé que sa place en finale de la Coupe MLS 2011 était peut-être usurpée. Mais tout a changé avec l’ouverture du BBVA Compass Stadium, l’éclosion de Will Bruin, l’arrivée de Boniek Garcia et le passage au 4-3-3. Les Texans ont fait oublier leur réputation d’équipe ennuyeuse et ont atteint, méritoirement cette fois, leur deuxième finale consécutive. Et les perspectives sont excellentes, puisque tous les titulaires sont sous contrat pour l’an prochain.

En début de saison, Chicago était optimiste sans toutefois savoir vraiment comment il allait réussir sa saison. Malgré le départ de joueurs clefs, comme Pappa, le présage s’est doublement vérifié, notamment grâce à un recrutement bien mené tant en hiver qu’en été. Les arrivées de Berry, Freidrich, Rolfe, Fernandez et MacDonald ont amélioré l’équipe néanmoins encore un peu courte pour jouer le top. Des automatismes améliorés l’an prochain suffiront-ils ?

Seattle a vécu sa première saison sans trophée depuis son passage en MLS. Les supporters en veulent davantage mais ont été plus de 96% à voter pour que le directeur général Adrian Hanauer reste en place. Bien que déçu des résultats, Sigi Schmid pense que l’équipe a progressé. C’est vrai que par moments, Seattle a montré du jeu de très haut niveau, encore relevé par le retour réussi d’Eddie Johnson : pour 2013, les ambitions peuvent être élevées… et les attentes aussi !

Je recommencerai cet exercice à quelques reprises dans les prochains jours jusqu’à ce que le tour d’horizon de tous les clubs soit terminé. Rendez-vous ici pour retrouver sur la même page un lien vers tous les textes et les dates de parution des prochains bilans.

13 December 8:16 de la tarde

Chivas USA a un nouvel entraîneur : José Luis Sánchez Solá, alias Chelis. Ce sera sa première expérience en la matière en dehors du Mexique. Il a commencé sa carrière à Pubela, en 2006, où il a été renvoyé plusieurs fois… avant que le club ne lui demande de se remplacer lui-même, à l’insistance des joueurs !

Ça en dit déjà beaucoup sur cet entraîneur truculent, qui a même fait une apparition dans une publicité du Parti révolutionnaire institutionnel, le parti de l’actuel président mexicain Enrique Peña Nieto.

Chelis aura intérêt à obtenir rapidement des résultats avec Chivas USA, faute de quoi ce sera lui et non ses joueurs que les caméras suivront pour voir du spectacle. La vidéo ci-dessous, datant de 2008 sur la chaîne TV Azteca, nous promet en tout cas beaucoup d’animation sur le bord du terrain… Je dois dire que son amour pour les poteaux de corner me plaît déjà particulièrement.

13 December 6:48 de la tarde

Merritt Paulson started hyping it earlier this week, but not until today were we treated to the unveiling of both the club name and crest for the new women's pro team in Portland. 

Portland Thorns FC. It's certainly no CD Aguiluchos, but then again, what is? 

What are your thoughts on the name and crest? Drop 'em in the comments below. 

13 December 1:24 de la tarde

All MLS fans are familiar with the feelings Rafa Márquez elicits. He couldn't help his team win, he undermined them in crucial moments. Most people would say he wasn't worth his Designated Player status.

But that's all over now. Rafa is on his way back to Mexico, after negotiating his release from the Red Bulls and signing a two-year deal with Club León on Thursday that officially ends his tumultuous two-and-a-half seasons with the New York Red Bulls that yielded no trophies, several suspensions, and a lot of headaches.

Still, when we read your comments at the bottom of Monday's report that the move was due to go down, even we were surprised with the amount of vitriol Márquez received, especially from Red Bulls fans! Which got us to thinking:

Is Rafa the biggest villain in MLS history? Vote in the poll to the right, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.