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Leg 1
11/23 FINAL
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0SEA
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11/30 9:20pm
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LA
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11/23 FINAL
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11/29 3:00pm
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Eastern Conference Championship

Kick Off: Vancouver set sights on former EPL defender?

Kick Off - Lee Young-Pyo

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New Vancouver Whitecaps manager Martin Rennie is reportedly getting ready to make his first signing and it looks to be an international player who plied his trade in the English Premier League.

Multiple reports state that ex-Tottenham Hotspur defender Lee Young-Pyo is set to become a new Whitecaps fullback.

Meanwhile, Chicago Fire manager Frank Klopas said he plans to add two forwards and two midfielders during the offseason, indicating that he will be pursuing player opportunities through club partners Atlético Madrid during meetings that will be held in the first week of December: “Whether it's in this window or the next one or down the line I think there will be opportunities where we will bring in players.”

Fans hoping to see former Real Madrid star José María “Guti” Gutiérrez in MLS will be disappointed to read this statement he gave to a European press agency: “If I continue to play it will be in an Asian country that I like.” (FRENCH)

One foreign star who might be considering MLS is AC Milan forward Pippo Inzaghi. Italian daily Corriere dello Sport says that he is likely to depart the Italian champs in January with MLS, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and a final European challenge seemingly emerging as the primary options. (ITALIAN)

The Montreal Impact want to assure their fan base that they have “names, big names we’ve been talking to,” but sporting director Nick De Santis that other moves to build the team core will come first: “But if [signing a big name] has to happen later because we need to take our time ... then so be it."

The official list of Re-Entry eligible players is expected sometime today and D.C. United’s Santino Quaranta is surprised to be on it. He says he felt a new deal at a reduced salary could be worked out but he claims he didn’t hear from manager Ben Olsen until Tuesday: “It’s disappointing. Done deal, see you later. It’s puzzling. It hurts. You put so much into your organization,” he told The Washington Post.

Joining Quaranta in the Re-Entry Draft will be MLS all-time leading scorer Jeff Cunningham, who will not be returning to Columbus. It’s the same fate met by 13-goal forward Andrés Mendoza: “We have nothing against Andrés as far as scoring goals, but we are looking for a striker who can do a little more than that, especially off the ball,” says Crew manager Robert Warzycha.

The moves continued on Tuesday with Paulo Nagamura heading to Sporting Kansas City, Jeremy Hall moving to Toronto FC and Robbie Russell securing a trade to D.C. United where he will rejoin his wife, who is an attorney in the nation’s capital.

Real Salt Lake’s GM admitted it was “going to be nearly impossible” to keep Russell in 2012 due to salary budget limitations.

Meanwhile, Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes is genuinely excited about landing Nagamura and says he is “going to fit in perfectly.” He also has no concerns about the foot injury that forced Nagamura to sit out the latter part of 2011 with Chivas USA: “Between our medical and training staff, I have no problem saying he will be stronger here than he was [with Chivas].”

In sending backup goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts to the Impact earlier this week, LA manager Bruce Arena says he traded away “one of the top two or three goalkeepers in the league.” Where does that leave Galaxy starter Josh Saunders?

The question everyone has about the LA Galaxy is whether David Beckham will be with the team when they visit President Barack Obama next year. The invite came via a phone call from the President to Arena, who is in Indonesia.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber is unsure whether Beckham will be back. He is quoted as stating: “I hope he remains in Major League Soccer and continues his career in the United States, sitting here today I'm not sure that will happen.”

One of the highlights from the list of 2012 home opener dates released by the league yesterday: D.C. United did not officially identify their home venue for next season. A D.C. spokesman confirmed the club is in negotiations for a short-term lease at RFK Stadium.

In other league news, Garber hinted at the possibility of a new soccer channel that could be launched by MLS in the future. According to this report, “Garber said the league will eventually be successful and popular enough to launch its own stand-alone soccer channel similar to News Corp's Fox Soccer Channel.”

Today’s TV highlights feature the US Under-17 national team taking on their counterparts from France (7 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer), while Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace will determine the final team to make it to the Carling Cup semis (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Plus). In Europa League action it will be Celtic vs. Atlético Madrid (1 p.m. ET, GolTV) and Tottenham Hotspur vs. PAOK (3 p.m. ET, GolTV).

The tributes continue after the death of Wales national team manager Gary Speed. He was honored at several stadiums on Wednesday including at Nottingham Forest, where his former club, Leeds United, played a second-division match and fans chanted his name. (VIDEO)

On the lighter side, we enjoy players who can sing here and here’s Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart obliging us with “Wonderwall” by Oasis. (VIDEO)

NFL star Ndamukong Suh is singing the blues after receiving a two-game suspension for stomping on an opponent while playing for the Detroit Lions. His dad, who played soccer in Europe, is using fútbol to try to help Suh: "I told him, 'Do you remember when you were playing soccer at 7 or 8 years old? Remember when the kids used to bounce off of you and the refs would call the penalties on you? That's the same thing that's happening right now.’”

Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik must have learned his lesson after scoring on a penalty kick and celebrating by trotting down a flight of stairs only to be forced to retake the PK when he resurfaced. Maybe he tired on the way up, because he missed the second attempt. (VIDEO)

Lastly, former MLS player Byron Alvarez, who is now an indoor player for the Missouri Comets, decided to make his marriage proposal at halftime of a match played last weekend. But he never told his coach. “I knew I would be a little bit late to the locker room [at halftime]. … I knew that coach wouldn’t be happy, so I went out and proposed to Jenni and came back and told him I had to do an interview.”

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Complete list of MLS 2012 home opener dates

Chicago Fire dispel Marco Pappa transfer rumors

Montreal midfielder Davy Arnaud says timing was right for new challenge in MLS


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