Kick Off: Is LA the best team in American soccer history?
In 2011, the LA Galaxy had to run off on a postseason tour after MLS Cup and never had their moment to celebrate with their fans. Not this year.
LA held their MLS Cup victory celebration at the Home Depot Center last night with more than 3,000 fans in attendance. Here’s the speech by manager Bruce Arena (they chanted “Bruce Almighty”), captain Landon Donovan addressed the crowd (“10 more years” for him) and so did David Beckham (“one more year”).
But it was former MLS player and current Galaxy vice president Chris Klein who made the statement that is likely to create the greatest stir: "I think we're looking at the greatest team in American soccer history," he said. Some fans around the league might debate that.
And right back Sean Franklin didn’t back down from his claim that the LA Galaxy are the best pro sports team in LA: “A lot of people base great teams on how many championships they have. I think we're giving the Lakers a little bit of a run for their money," he told the Los Angeles Times.
There was a little drama as well. Christian Wilhelmsson, who became a starter for the Galaxy, was reportedly not present at the victory celebration. This report out of Sweden suggests his contract future is uncertain. (SWEDISH)
Something else that’s still up in the air is whether LA Designated Player Robbie Keane will be going on loan this offseason. "I haven't even thought of it, to be honest with you," Keane told the Press-Telegram. "It's not certain now. I'll think about it in a couple of weeks."
All the Galaxy players can now head on vacation. That’s because the offseason tour that was long talked about is not happening now.
No doubts about Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Draft happening this Friday. The list of eligible players was released yesterday, although several clubs will still be looking to reach an agreement with some of the players before Friday. Colorado is one of them.
Meanwhile, the first day of the trading season got off to a bang yesterday. There were a number of moves: Sporting KC’s Michael Harrington went to Portland, the Timbers shipped Kosuke Kimura to New York, defender Eric Brunner is now a Dynamo player, Justin Braun and Aaron Maund switched teams, Vancouver’s Atiba Harris was sent to Colorado and those rumored RSL trades materialized. Will Johnson is now a member of the Timbers, while MLS veterans Jámison Olave and Fabián Espíndola will be wearing Red Bulls colors.
It turns out there was “a lot of disagreement” among team officials about which players would be sacrificed on this “day of reckoning.”
As far as the Red Bulls are concerned, they may be far from done wheeling and dealing. Veteran writer Ives Galarcep says the club is shopping top scorer Kenny Cooper.
By virtue of the new acquisitions, the Red Bulls are quickly changing face and former NY defender Tim Ream likes what he sees. Read what he tells Goal.com about the club’s new direction and the recent coaching change.
There may be a change in goal for the LA Galaxy if the rumors are to be believed. Steve Davis at NBC Pro Soccer Talk says that the two-time champions would love to snag Dan Kennedy from Chivas USA.
Interesting moves by D.C. United, who have decided to keep one forward and try to move another. The Washington Post says that Hamdi Salihi does not figure in D.C.’s plans for 2013, but the often-criticized Lionard Pajoy will be staying.
Pajoy’s former team, the Philadelphia Union, could be going “Armani” in 2012. As in Argentine forward Leandro “Beto” Armani. Find out more from The Brotherly Game here.
Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler would seem to have interest from English side Queens Park Rangers, Birmingham City and a “team out of Belgium.” Down the Byline has the details.
The Houston Dynamo were also busy just 48 hours after their MLS Cup disappointment. They made a decision to part ways with one player and will be trying to re-sign three others. Meanwhile, the contract of veteran Brian Ching, who is contemplating retirement, has a twist to it.
In Chicago, they’re wondering whether the Fire have taken a serious gamble by not picking up the option for left back Gonzalo Segares.
Meanwhile, Sacramento looks to be betting on soccer. Yesterday a new expansion team in the minor-league USL was launched with the hope of landing in MLS in the future.
The mayor of nearby Elk Grove, Calif., who reportedly met with MLS Commissioner Don Garber at MLS Cup, says that "there's an interest in bringing [an MLS] team to our region."
If there’s an interest in watching some live games today, you’ll have your pick. First, there’s Italian Cup action with Catania hosting Cittadella (12:30 pm ET, beIN Sport). That will be followed by UEFA Champions league matches: Real Madrid vs. Ajax (2:30 pm ET, Fox Deportes), Borussia Dortmund vs. Manchester City (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer) and AC Milan vs. Zenit St. Petersburg (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus).
Also on the international scene: Sad news from the Mexican soccer world. Pachuca’s former starting goalkeeper, Colombian Miguel Calero, has been declared brain dead. MLS fans will remember him from those epic Houston-Pachuca matchups a few years back (see photos here).
Tragedy happened in the Netherlands, where an assistant referee lost his life after an attack during a youth soccer match. Read about the incident here.
We wrap on a happier note with some holiday cheer: an MLS-style Christmas tree with just the right topping. (PHOTO)
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