Kick Off: Donovan talks life, Cambodia and USMNT at USC

Kick Off - Landon Donovan

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So what will Landon Donovan be up to while the LA Galaxy get set for the start of the 2013 MLS season and the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals?

Apparently, it’s 10 days in Cambodia.

Thanks to a budding journalism student at USC, Jesse Xiao or @Xman818 on Twitter, we got a window into Landon Donovan’s guest appearance at a sports journalism class on Wednesday. The US soccer star, who is due to return to the Galaxy in the last week of March, has not spoken publicly in many weeks, but revealed a great deal in his chat with students. Read the Twitter feed of his comments here.

One of the most revealing lines from Donovan concerned the US national team: "Yes, I do have an interest in playing for the USMNT again, if given the opportunity, I would"

While it may be 75 degrees in Cambodia, it was snowing in Tucson, Ariz., yesterday during the Desert Diamond Cup. The Seattle Sounders dispatched RBNY 2-0, while Real Salt Lake had a magical late comeback to down the Revolution 3-2. Now the Sounders and RSL will play for the tournament title on Saturday (9 pm ET on NBC Sports Network).

MLSsoccer.com’s Jonah Freedman caught up with Seattle’s newest acquisition, Shalrie Joseph, after the match and the MLS veteran calls his latest move “a dream come true.” The reason is simple: “I’m at the tail end of my career and I want a chance to win a championship. I think this is the team that’s giving me the best chance to win.”

If you thought that Daigo Kobayashi’s scorpion kick goal from last Saturday couldn’t be matched in the Carolina Challenge Cup (watch it here at 1:10 of this video), Wednesday’s Matchday 2 gifted us another two wonder goals.

Houston’s Adam Moffat fired one of his patented long-distance bombs to help the Dynamo beat Vancouver, while Alex unleashed another highlight-reel goal in stoppage time as the Fire downed a spirited Charleston Battery side 2-1 for their second straight win in the tournament.

Back to the Dynamo, their newest acquisition, Scottish winger Andrew Driver, spoke for the first time about his move to MLS with Glenn Davis on Soccer Matters. Listen to the audio here. (AUDIO)

And the Whitecaps apparently also have a new signing to look forward to. According to reports from England, Nigel Reo-Coker has agreed to a four-year contract with the Whitecaps, bypassing moves in England and Russia to join the Canadian side.

The reigning Canadian champions, Toronto FC, may have found a keeper in forward Ashton Bennett, whose brace salvaged a 3-3 tie in a preseason match against Sporting Kansas City in Orlando. Watch his postgame interview here. (VIDEO)

In the Portland Preseason Tournament, Wednesday proved to be a showcase mainly for reserves in the case of the three MLS participants. The San Jose Earthquakes couldn’t get past a scoreless draw against Sweden’s AIK, while the hometown Timbers dropped a 1-0 result to FC Dallas. But there was a bright spot for the Timbers: Find out who manager Caleb Porter singled out for his performance in the loss. (VIDEO)

The Canadian Under-20 national team can also be happy despite their loss to Cuba on Monday. With Cuba also mowing down Nicaragua 3-0 on Wednesday, Canada know that a draw on Friday is enough to get them through to the quarterfinals. Here’s a video update from the Canadian U-20 camp in which manager Nick Dasovic warns against thinking it’ll be easy vs. Nicaragua. (VIDEO)

The news was even better for the USA Under-20 team, who learned they’re already through to the quarterfinals after Haiti lost Costa Rica. A victory in the quarterfinals for either the USA or Canada and they book a place at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

One player Tab Ramos and the Under-20s were hoping to have playing for them in Mexico is Liverpool’s Marc Pelosi, who instead was having surgery to repair “a nasty fracture” to his tibia. The English club provided the latest update here.

Staying in CONCACAF, the regional body announced on Wednesday that the Rose Bowl in Pasadena will host the Mexican national team’s opening match in the 2013 Gold Cup. El Tri manager José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre was on site for the announcement and made it clear: "We're not coming here to play in the tournament; we're coming here to win it, to defend our title," he said. "In Mexico, there is only one national team."

Was that a dig at the US national team? Regardless, today USMNT fans can feel good about the fact that Jermaine Jones scored another UEFA Champions League goal, this one against Galatasaray in Turkey. (VIDEO)

Meanwhile, the senior Canadian side looks set to travel to Qatar for a friendly against Belarus in March.

FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi may be doing some jet setting of his own to Chicago later this summer. According to a report, there are talks of a “Messi & Friends” exhibition to take place in Chicago on July 6.

Messi’s exhibitions is an example of soccer benefiting kids. That’s not the story coming out of the tragic events in the Copa Libertadores yesterday: A 14-year-old high school student from Bolivia died during the San Jose vs. Corinthians matchup when a firecracker struck him and “penetrated the cranial cavity. Death was instant."

Match-fixing has also been a recent news topic in soccer and The Colbert Report tackles the subject head-on with ESPN analyst Alexi Lalas. How do you fix a game? “It’s easy,” says Lalas. Watch the video here of his appearance – his third all-time – here. (VIDEO)

Lastly, remember Digital Takawira, who played for Kansas City back in the day? SportingKC.com caught up with him (including a photo) and he admits his 13-year-old son also does the “Digi Crawl” that became a staple of his father.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

CONCACAF still keen on 16-team Copa America in 2016

Season Preview: Will the revamped Rapids compete in 2013?

Fire’s MacDonald says he’s a different player this year


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