Kick Off: Whitecaps go public with Hargreaves interest

Kick Off - Owen Hargreaves

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The Herbalife World Football Challenge match between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Manchester City last night provided an opportunity for media members to speak with Vancouver Whitecaps part-owner Jeff Mallett, who had some interesting news to reveal.

For the first time, Mallett publicly confirmed that the Whitecaps are interested in bringing back former Manchester United star Owen Hargreaves to Canada. “He knows of our interest. He’s a great player. … We’ll make sure, when he makes the decision, that we’re on the option list.”

The Whitecaps had a 1-0 halftime lead against Manchester City but wound up losing the match with just six minutes remaining on a Shaun Wright-Phillips long-distance shot after both teams made a host of subs in the second half. Watch the highlights here to see why Camilo was the Man of the Match. (VIDEO)

Vancouver staff needed to do everything in their power to get the field into playable conditions after the heavy rain that fell in recent days. Even club president Bob Lenarduzzi was busy making a trip to the local Home Depot: “How come you're buying so many squeegees?” they asked him.

The Seattle Sounders are next up to face English opposition in the World Football Challenge when they host Manchester United tomorrow night. Both the Sounders and Man. United trained on corporate grounds yesterday with Seattle working out on the Microsoft campus while the Red Devils practiced at Nike’s world headquarters.

Turns out there’s a story behind Fredy Montero’s baseball celebration on Saturday against Colorado: A Major League Baseball shortstop requested it and the Colombian delivered.

The Houston Dynamo are getting set to face Bolton Wanderers on Wednesday. Although former Dynamo star Stuart Holden defends Bolton’s colors these days, he really bleeds Dynamo orange: “I come watch every game when I'm in town. I watch every game online at 2 in the morning. … I’d love to return to Houston.”

New England Revolution midfielder Ousmane Dabo wanted to return to full fitness, but it wasn’t happening. So he retired on Monday to allow the Revolution get someone else: “I’m not like this, I’m not a cheat, you know. And I don’t want to get paid like I’m here on holidays. I hate that.”

FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman confirms that the club is “absolutely” interested in Portland forward Kenny Cooper but it’s a question of “what are they wanting?”

Hyndman’s squad will be playing its next three games in three different countries: Canada, USA and El Salvador. The manager looks ahead to his two upcoming MLS opponents: “Toronto has made such massive changes. We can’t even use a scouting report on them because we don’t know what’s going on. … New York, they're probably the most talented team in the league. Some days, that talent rises to the top. Other days that talent needs to give more.”

If you don’t believe Hyndman regarding Toronto FC’s new look, read what TFC’s players say: “We were all like, ‘My name is Leandre [Griffit]. How long have you been here? Ah two days. Oh me, just one day.’”

New Designated Player Torsten Frings is seen at Toronto FC practices talking to teammates and imparting advice during breaks. He feels that his primary role is “to help morale. I’m here to build confidence.”

Both Griffit and Andy Iro are eager for their fresh starts after admitting they were not in the good graces of Columbus Crew manager Robert Warzycha.

Another manager, the New York Red Bulls’ Hans Backe, has issued a warning about protecting his young forward starlet, Juan Agudelo, from the hype machine surrounding him: “Surrounding him, the expectation is too much. It’s too early, and he’s too young.”

One of Backe’s young players, Austin da Luz, was traded to D.C. United yesterday and admitted that it’s tough for a young player to earn playing time for the Red Bulls: "It's a tough team to break into. … I think the atmosphere, the attitude, is sort of 'win now,' and that's not always conducive to developing young talent. I think I maybe fell victim to that a little bit.”

Another of the young players on the Red Bulls is John Rooney, brother of Wayne Rooney, the Manchester United star who will visit the apartment he shares with Corey Hertzog and Marcos Paullo next week ahead of the All-Star Game. Here’s one thing you didn’t know about John, courtesy of assistant coach Mike Petke: “If I had to pick a handful of guys to go into a dark alley for a brawl, he'd be on the list.”

Another interesting tidbit from Backe, who is also the All-Star head coach. At the end of this next article, he concedes that the Red Bulls will not win the Supporters’ Shield this year: “Even if I wanted to win the Shield, but that is gone.”

The Women’s World Cup is also gone but fans will get a large dose of their favorite players today across several mainstream TV appearances on Good Morning America, the Today Show and the Late Show With David Letterman.

There were many takeaways from the recently concluded women’s tournament and US manager Pia Sundhage agrees: The USA must add technical sophistication to athleticism moving forward.

San Diego may have been one of the top markets for viewership of the World Cup final, but the city is not about to see Chivas USA move there as a result: “Not at all. Completely, 100 percent no,” is what part-owner Jorge Vergara said.

Lastly, what do MLS players like to do on their day off when they visit Los Angeles? Go to Disneyland with Juan Pablo Ángel, of course. See who's wearing the Mickey ears with JPA. (PHOTO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Hans Backe explains rationale for his All-Star selections on ExtraTime Radio

Rookie Servando Carrasco proud of girlfriend Alex Morgan

Juventus confirm 27-man roster for World Football Challenge


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