Kick Off: LA's Berhalter calls out Dynamo's MVP bluff

Kick Off - Gregg Berhalter

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Remember how the Houston Dynamo said they feel they can win without injured MVP candidate Brad Davis yesterday? Well, LA Galaxy defender Gregg Berhalter is a skeptic: “Until he's not playing, until he's not on the field in the final, we're still thinking he's going to play, most likely,” he said.

Meanwhile, the MLS Cup trophy made its arrival at the Santa Monica Pier yesterday and former champions Alexi Lalas and Mauricio Cienfuegos were there to greet it LA-style, accompanied by two models and a convertible. (VIDEO)

Staying in LA, the Galaxy's Omar Gonzalez became the youngest winner of the Defender of the Year award yesterday. Stay tuned today as the best XI squad is unveiled as well as the season’s top referee.

Both of today’s awards will be unveiled by MLS Commissioner Don Garber in his annual media teleconference call with reporters ahead of MLS Cup. You can also listen in for all the breaking news from the media call by checking back with MLSsoccer.com for the live stream beginning at 2 p.m. ET.

Gonzalez is not the only MLS defender frustrated by the fact that US boss Jurgen Klinsmann has ignored him. Here’s how Vancouver's Jay DeMerit feels about his own situation: “To have a new manager come in and not pay attention to me was a little bit frustrating.”

The Philadelphia Union officially said goodbye for the offseason yesterday, stating their intentions to add experienced players to the squad in two key areas: striker and defender.

Meanwhile, the Union's Sébastien Le Toux is positioning himself to be the full-time forward next year. “I already talked to [Peter Nowak] about that,” Le Toux said. “I like most to play on top.”

According to the man who helped Le Toux arrive to the United States, the Frenchman has his green card and is in the process of being naturalized. “He could, if it’s his objective, play with the US national team,” Paul Durand tells L’Equipe. (FRENCH)

Winning. Charlie Sheen made it fashionable and the New England Revolution are making it their mantra after announcing some front-office personnel moves: “I want to make sure we’re putting in the work to get the best chance possible to win in whatever we do — whether that’s winning in a draft, winning on the field, winning on an international transfer, whatever that may be,” said Brian Bilello, who was moved up to team president.

The Seattle Sounders plan to exercise the option on Erik Friberg’s contract next year as they seek to keep the core of the US Open Cup title-winning squad intact. However, GM Adrian Hanauer hints at a potential move: “On occasion, the way the system works, you do have to get rid of a highly compensated player or a young player that has a lot of potential that you can sell and use that money as allocation money.”

Reports from Mexico indicate that officials from Atlas have already spoken to Rafa Márquez and the two sides are attempting to work out a six-month loan deal that would allow the New York Red Bulls Designated Player to remain fit and help his former club avoid relegation. (SPANISH)

A separate article says that Club América are trying to find a new home for forward Ángel Reyna, who called out the club’s captain and his fellow teammates in recent months. Apparently, the team’s preference is to place him in MLS. (SPANISH)

Veteran midfielder Peter Vagenas wants to be back for preseason training with the Vancouver Whitecaps in January. But he doesn’t want to be a back-up: “The moment I consider myself a depth player will be the moment I hang it up and try something different. I want to play as much as I did when I was 18 — probably more.”

San Jose Earthquakes defender Nana Attakora hopes that his career receives a boost after his shock call-up to the Canadian national team in place of injured Toronto FC midfielder Matt Stinson: “When I got the call, I was on my way to see my agent, so it came at a good time. This will allow me to keep myself fit and get my head back where it should be.”

Remember how Chris Wondolowski was an MLS Reserve League top scorer before becoming an MLS Golden Boot winner? FC Dallas forward Ruben Luna hopes for the same fortune after scoring another four goals in a Reserve League match yesterday and finishing as the leading marksman among reserves.

American Mike Grella also scored four goals yesterday in England. The goal outburst came in a Johnstone Paint Trophy match for the former Leeds man.

Nigerian-American and former New York Red Bulls draft pick Jide Ogunbiyi is penning an article from Denmark, where he plays for Viborg FF. In it he talks about the dating scene and an incident involving an angry mob of Viborg fans following a loss. By the way, if the Red Bulls are interested in him again, so is he.

Carrying a message of anti-violence and social change is Vancouver’s Jeb Brovsky, who’s heading to India for three weeks for non-profit work: “This is my life's mission and I'm going to dedicate myself to it,” the Notre Dame grad says.

No fair play here. Former Chicago Fire manager Carlos de los Cobos is being accused of asking players to fake injuries during a 2009 Gold Cup match against Costa Rica when he was at the helm of the Salvadoran national team. (SPANISH)

It could shape up to be a magical Olympics for the Galaxy's David Beckham as the schedule and venues for London 2012 were unveiled today. Great Britain will play their opening match at Beckham’s former home, Old Trafford.

Bold move by Newcastle United in England: They rename legendary St. James’ Park to SportsDirect Arena, a change which is causing a lot of discussion among the purists.

There’s controversy in Chile after five national team players were caught breaking curfew and found in “a state not deemed adequate for the Chilean national team, for a professional player,” said manager Claudio Borghi. This report in Chile says that the other players on the team met with the five and gave them a piece of their mind.

On the contrary, it’s been a quiet lead-up to the USA vs. France international friendly that will be played tomorrow in Paris. Watch this video about US defender Oguchi Onyewu returning to where it all started. (VIDEO)

Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers took a photo earlier today of the USMNT’s visit to the Palace of Versailles, which blew him away. Check out the photo here. (PHOTO)

As we await all the international action on Friday, fans will have to settle for Brazil vs. Gabon (1 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes) and the England vs. Iceland Under-21 Euro qualifying match on Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes (2:30 p.m. ET). There’s also the second leg of the Copa Sudamericana quarterfinal between Vélez Sarsfield and Santa Fe after their 1-1 tie in Colombia (7 p.m. ET, Fox Deportes).

Former Houston Dynamo president Oliver Luck tasted his fair share of international soccer with his son, projected No. 1 NFL draft pick Andrew Luck, during their drives around Europe, where the senior Luck played American football. They caught plenty of UEFA Champions League matches, according to the lead of this story.

The following video is sure to elicit a laugh. Catch the fan in the background making a mockery of this live report on Sky Sports News. (VIDEO)

We usually make a mockery of the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History and Statistics), but it’s worth noting that they’ve listed Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Dwayne De Rosario, Álvaro Saborío, Carlo Costly and Raf Márquez in their starting list of 92 players for the title of “Most Popular Player of 2011.” See the complete list here.

Still one of the most popular players in the world is Ronaldinho, who was autographing a jersey for Snoop Dogg, who was also donning a Flamengo jersey after a show in Brazil. (PHOTOS)

Lastly, wrestling fans from the late 1980s will remember The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase. Well, read this blog entry and you’ll see how his son apparently came real close to making the US national team.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Lee Nguyen on the verge of signing a contract in MLS

Climbing The Ladder: Which MLS team used the most MLS talent this season?

MLS Cup Top 50 Moments: #11 Kevin Hartman’s gaffe defined MLS Cup ‘99 but not his career


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