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Sun. Dec 7th at 3:00pm EST · ESPN · UniMas · UDN · TSN1 · RDS2
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Final

Kick Off: New Designated Player in talks with LA Galaxy? Does Frank Lampard fit the bill?

Here are the Top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.

1. LAMPARD POSTPONES WEDDING, MOVE TO LA IMMINENT?

So is it just a coincidence that Frank Lampard has reportedly postponed his wedding this summer? He was set to get married on June 12, but now it seems those plans are on hold, as the Daily Star reports that LA Galaxy have offered the Chelsea midfielder a two-year contract with improved terms of $6 million a year.

2. ARENA EXPECTS NEW DP TO ARRIVE IN EARLY MAY

And on Saturday evening during the FC Dallas vs. LA broadcast, NBC’s lead MLS announcer Arlo White fueled the fire further. “Really interesting talking to Bruce Arena yesterday," White explained. "We asked him about the possibility and time frame of a Designated Player ... and he said it should be finalized in the next couple of weeks. Perhaps early May.” So that time frame would certainly fit in nicely with the end of the EPL season and Lampard’s contract ending.

3. LAMPARD, KAKÁ, ARSHAVIN … WHO IS IT?

But with Bruce Arena’s comments pretty open ended, it may not be Lampard heading to LA in May. Kaká’s name is still being thrown around and Andrei Arshavin has been linked with a move to MLS recently, as his contract at Arsenal runs out in May. But is seems as though Arshavin prefers to stay in Europe. “I'd consider if there is an offer from another Premier League club. I'm open from Germany or Spain, if there was an offer there or Russia," the Russian said.

4. DALLAS LATE SHOW TURNS UP AGAIN, JOHN HIT BY BOTTLE

After beating the LA Galaxy 1-0 with a late goal, FC Dallas remain top of the pile in the West with five wins from seven games in 2013. But after George John scored the game-winner, he was taken down by one of his own. As John wheeled away to celebrate the winner in front of his own fans, a bottle thrown by someone in the home section struck him in the head. “I wasn’t quite sure what happened, if I ran into the post or what,” John said. “But then I looked down and saw a beer bottle and I was like, 'That had to of hit me.'”

5. TIMBERS ON THE CHARGE

The Portland Timbers continued their charge up the Western Conference table with their second straight win at home on Sunday. Captain Will Johnson curled in a free kick to seal the 1-0 win over San Jose, and Caleb Porter’s men seem to be finding their feet. Porter has even developed a telepathic understanding with his players. “I texted [Johnson] a few things and I said, ‘Why don’t you smack a free-kick goal today,’” Porter said. “And when he hit it, I couldn’t believe it.”

6. GORDON ISSUES APOLOGY AFTER HOMOPHOBIC SLUR

San Jose forward Alan Gordon was trending on Twitter this morning, but for all the wrong reasons. Gordon was heard using a homophobic slur directed at Will Johnson during the Earthquakes loss in Portland. Gordon, who was later sent off for a second yellow, issued the following statement. “I sincerely apologize for what I said in our game tonight," Gordon said. "Although I said it in the heat of the moment, that language has no place in our game. That is not my character, but there is still no excuse for saying what I said. I made a mistake and I accept full responsibility for my actions.”

7. GOLAZOS GALORE

The weekend brought several great goals, with Dominic Oduro, Marco Di Vaio, Will Johnson and Olmes García all scoring screamers. You watch all this weekends goals on the MLS Goal Timeline. Enjoy, it’s hard not to! And make sure you vote for the Goal of the Week, the contenders will be up on MLSsoccer.com later today.

8. DYNAMO SET RECORD FOR HOME WINS

The Houston Dynamo may never lose at home. Dominic Kinnear’s side recorded a 2-1 win over Chicago on Sunday, which set a new MLS record for games unbeaten at home. The unbeaten streak stands at 35 games in all competitions, which dates back to July 2011. The secret? “We just have a good team,” Kinnear said. “It’s about consistency. I think we have always had a good team, have always played well at home.” Simple. Thanks for the clearing that up, Dom.

9. TOP 3 PERFORMERS IN WEEK 7

Well, there are certainly plenty to choose from this weekend. Free-kick hero Will Johnson, Brad Davis delivering yet another win for Houston and a screamer from Dominic Oduro … who gets your vote?

10. US UNDER-17S MISS OUT ON WORLD CUP

It was a disappointing Sunday for the US national team youngsters, as the U-17s failed to reach the World Cup for the first time in history. Richie Williams’ side lost to Honduras 3-1 in Sunday’s CONCACAF U-17 Championship quarterfinal. The US had previously qualified 14 straight times since the tournament began in 1985, and Soccer America asks: Is it time to shut down the U-17 residency program in Bradenton, Fla.?

11. US WAITING ON CUBA TO RELEASE THE “HONEY BADGER” 

During halftime of Seattle’s 0-0 draw with New England on Saturday, Jurgen Klinsmann discussed Osvaldo Alonso’s situation with the UMSNT. "We need [Cuba's] help in a certain way to get him cleared,” Klinsmann said. “You know you just hope you can make something happen for him.” And Alonso is on board: "My only hope is that through the work that is happening right now that I'll have a chance to play for the national team."

12. ALTIDORE SETS RECORD WITH HAT TRICK

Jozy Altidore’s breakout season in Holland just keeps getting better. The bustling AZ Alkmaar striker scored a nine-minute hat trick on Sunday, to set a new record for the number of goals scored by a US player in the European top flight in a single season. Altidore now has 28 goals in all competitions this campaign.

13. EXPORTS SHINE IN MEXICO … NOT SO MUCH IN EPL

Exports across the globe had varying fortunes, as Kei Kamara gave away a late penalty when Norwich were beating Arsenal 1-0 at the Emirates. Kamara — who received praise from Ars 360 tomorrow night and .... " So watch out for those interviews later today, as Rogers speaks out to the US audience.

15. SCORPIONS OPEN NEW HOME

A sellout crowd of more than 8,000 broke in Toyota Field on Saturday as the San Antonio Scorpions opened their home campaign in the NASL against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. (Scroll down to watch replay of full game) The impressive soccer-specific venue will be the envy of many across the second and third tiers of US soccer. Take a glance at some photos and watch this video from fans.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

The Throw-In: Fans in North America are defensive  and have a thicker skin than they realize

Practice makes perfect for Johnson, as he fires Portland to victory

MLS Goal Timeline: See all the goals from Week 7


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