Kick Off: Drogba turns down Chelsea, sets eyes on LA

Should the LA Galaxy lose David Beckham to Paris-St. Germain this offseason, it seems they already have a replacement lined up.

Rumors have circulated in the past, but for the first time, the representative of Chelsea FC forward Didier Drogba has come out and specifically confirmed the LA Galaxy as a possible destination for the Ivorian striker.

Lending credence to the statement is the fact that Drogba has refused a one-year extension from Chelsea and he has also turned down a loan deal to AC Milan.

The Berliner Kurier in Germany says that Michael Ballack is ready to head to the USA at the end of the current Bundesliga season, claiming his ties to adidas make his arrival very likely. (GERMAN)

Meanwhile, the LA Galaxy were busy wheeling and dealing on Monday, sending backup goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts to the Montreal Impact. While Ricketts’ move may not have been so surprising, there were some eyebrows raised when long-time Sporting Kansas City midfielder Davy Arnaud was shipped to the Impact.

But Arnaud wanted to get back to being a starter: “With the way the [2011] season ended for me personally, I’m at the stage of my career where I still want to be playing regularly. I still feel like I can be a main guy.”

The Impact still have to sort out the situation surrounding their No. 1 Expansion Draft pick Brian Ching. Check the 30-minute mark of this segment from last night’s “Dynamo All Access Show” with Glenn Davis during which Houston manager Dominic Kinnear talks candidly about the Ching situation and the fact that he is yet to speak to Montreal: “Completely stunned and a little bit sick to my stomach when I saw his name come up as their No. 1 pick. … It’s something that I wouldn’t do, but everyone sees the game and the way they run their team differently.”

Kinnear says the relationship history between Ching and Montreal manager Jesse Marsch led him to believe the veteran striker would not have been picked and one writer did a little more digging on that history, bringing to light an excerpt from a blog in which Marsch accuses Ching of being a diver.

As the Galaxy embark on their tour of the Pacific Rim – all the matches will be broadcast on Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes – some are criticizing the prices that promoters are charging for tickets, which may in turn impact attendances.

There will be 2,819 local Jakarta police officers at the first match between the Galaxy and Indonesian select team on Wednesday (7 a.m. ET, Fox Soccer). “We are sending a huge number of personnel to prevent any unnecessary unrest,” says one police chief.

LAGalaxy.com has a recap of Day One of the tour, with photos and video of the MLS Cup champions’ activities in Indonesia, including a meet-and-greet with fans: “Having a global brand is being able to travel and have that support,” says forward Adam Cristman.

Here’s a photo of LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan posing with a local fan in Indonesia. But the photo is less interesting than what Donovan’s T-shirt says on the front: “Route to the CONCACAF Championship.” (PHOTO)

The last MLS team to reach the finals of the CONCACAF Champions League, Real Salt Lake, could be set to lose a key veteran. According to The Washington Post, D.C. United are interested in RSL’s out-of-contract right back Robbie Russell, whose wife is a DC-based attorney.

Another team in search of a new right back is the Seattle Sounders and their replacement for James Riley could come from Costa Rica. Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer says Heiner Mora is “definitely a player we like.”

Honduran forward Georgie Welcome is linked to a possible move to MLS with reports stating that he does not enter the plans of his Mexican side Atlas, a situation reminiscent of fellow Honduran Carlo Costly, who is planning on returning to Atlas. (SPANISH)

The names of 18 MLS players who are expected to be part of the Generation adidas side that will play in the Netherlands have been leaked. Here’s the squad.

The list of players eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Draft is set to be unveiled this week and one name that could be on it is New England Revolution legend Shalrie Joseph, who is set to be out of contract. “We have indicated we want him back and we are working to get that done,” says team president Brian Bilello.

The Dynamo may be getting something done in Central America. Reports out of Guatemala claim that the Orange are chasing winger Marvin Ávila, who plays for CSD Municipal.

The Dynamo will open a new stadium in 2012 and the San Jose Earthquakes are working on getting a new one of their own. The Quakes have plans for state-of-the-art suites “unique in all of Major League Soccer – and even internationally.” Find out more about what makes them special here.

There’s something special about the “da Luz” name at Wake Forest. D.C. United midfielder Austin da Luz will be cheering on his dad during the NCAA women’s College Cup semifinals this weekend. He’s the head coach of the Wake Forest women’s team that has used a goal by the junior da Luz as inspiration on its championship quest.

Speaking of women’s soccer, for the latest on the rough times faced by Women’s Professional Soccer, with sanctioning by the US Soccer Federation at risk, check out this report by ESPNW’s Beau Dure. One former WPS technical director and current coach says: “The league is gonna happen with or w/out USSF support.”

Are the New York Cosmos in MLS going to happen? Sources tell BigAppleSoccer.com that the new Cosmos ownership group has resolved a payment dispute with a local New York youth soccer club which serves as its academy and they are now focused on becoming MLS’ next expansion club: "I still think the Cosmos are a candidate for the 20th franchise," says the insider.

There are several candidates for match of the day on TV today. There’s the Serie A league match between league leaders Juventus and Napoli (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes), the Carling Cup match between Manchester City and Arsenal (3 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Plus) while Barcelona take on Rayo Vallecano in La Liga (3 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes). There’s also a second-leg Copa Sudamericana semifinal between Vélez Sarsfield and Liga de Quito (7 p.m. ET, Fox Deportes).

In Colombia, they are officially confirming that Kansas City assistant coach Octavio Zambrano is the new head coach of second-division side Deportivo Pereira. (SPANISH)

We have featured this hit before, but the “Ai se eu te pego” song continues to be popular among Brazilians, including the trio at AC Milan. Watch Pato, Robinho and Thiago Silva getting in on the act while traveling on a train. (VIDEO)

Finally, Dirty Tackle showcases one of the best tifo displays seen anywhere as Real Madrid fans used a Grand Theft Auto theme for the derby against Atletico Madrid: “All on White.” (PHOTO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Montreal’s moves and a soccer star for SI Sportsman of the Year on ExtraTime Radio

MLS players and pundits pay tribute to Gary Speed

Q&A with David Testo: His sexuality, his career and his new identity


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