Playoffs Scoreboard

Recap
Leg 1
11/23 5:00pm
LA
SEA
ESPN
Recap
Leg 2
11/30 9:00pm
SEA
LA
ESPN
Western Conference Championship
Recap
Leg 1
11/23 1:30pm
NY
NE
NBC
Recap
Leg 2
11/29 3:00pm
NE
NY
NBCSN
Eastern Conference Championship

Kick Off: Move to Everton has Donovan in Toffee mood

LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan is pretty happy he’s heading to Everton on a two-month loan.

How do we know? Everton captain Phil Neville tweeted “USA USA USA USA USA USA USA USA!!!!” to which Donovan replied: “Haha. Can't wait to see you pal...I miss you guys!”

While 31-year-old LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane opted to decline loan opportunities presented to him in order to rest, the 29-year-old Donovan felt differently about the chance to join Everton, calling it “too good to pass up.”

Portland Timbers color analyst Robbie Earle feels that USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann may have had a role in Landon Donovan heading to Everton. ESPN analyst Shaka Hislop says this is a chance for Donovan to test himself against some of the best which “he hasn’t done enough of.” (VIDEO)

Donovan is not the only player attracting international interest. ESPN Deportes reporter Fernando Schwartz says that Mexican giants Club América are chasing MLS Defender of the Year Omar Gonzalez as a defensive reinforcement ahead of their upcoming Mexican season. (SPANISH)

Another MLS player rumored to be going to Club América is Rafael Márquez, who made an appearance on ESPN Deportes show Jorge Ramos y Su Banda during which he admitted his agent is speaking with Brazilian side Flamengo: “I spoke to NYRB at the end of the season that if the offer is really good that we would take a decision together.” (VIDEO / SPANISH)

The Seattle Sounders have their sights firmly set on 2012 but they still haven’t swallowed that 7-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United in a summer exhibition earlier this year.

Sounders owner Joe Roth revealed that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson broke a “gentleman’s agreement” by subbing in star forward Wayne Rooney at halftime. The Englishman scored three of the Red Devils’ six second-half goals in the rout. It prompted Roth to refer as the Manchester United legend as “Sir Alex Whatever-His-Name-Is.”

Staying with the Seattle Sounders, GM Adrian Hanauer covers a lot of ground in this Q&A with the Seattle Times, including the Terry Boss situation (“definitely unexpected”) and the Mauro Rosales contract (“it's likely it will end up being a DP contract”).

While one team may still be bitter about Manchester United, one team is seeking to emulate them. And it’s probably not the club you expected. Check out the last graph of this piece about the impact of the Toronto FC academy and other MLS academies in Canada: "We want to be the Manchester United of MLS,” said former TFC player and current academy coach Jim Brennan. “It's hard work and it takes time to get there, but all the resources that we have are going into the club to make it bigger and better.”

The Timbers are relying on Jose Adolfo Valencia’s ambition to drive him to success in MLS. Here’s what manager John Spencer said about the youngster who becomes the club’s second designated player: “He's a young ambitious player and sees himself succeeding (in MLS) and then moving on to Europe. If a player has those sort of ambitions, it's a good thing for us.”

Former US youth national team player Lee Nguyen, who made the move to MLS to get in the USMNT picture again, found out he will be playing for the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2012. But you sense the hint of disappointment that he didn’t wind up in his hometown of Dallas: “It would have been nice to play in Dallas, but I knew they had a slim chance and I wasn’t expecting it.”

We weren’t expecting this: The story has yet to emerge regarding the reasons for Edson Buddle’s dismissal from German second division club Ingolstadt until after the winter break. He was not on the matchday roster over the weekend.

Of all the player news to come down yesterday, the greatest story is provided by Columbus Crew homegrown signing Matt Lampson who has battled cancer and once weighed 270 pounds because of steroid treatments. The goalkeeper remembers the times when he couldn’t even get through warm-ups.

Here’s a novel concept for an article: the “MLS Team Ambition Rankings.” Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl ranks them and LA, Seattle and New York are Nos. 1, 2 and 3 on the list.

TSN’s Gareth Wheeler takes a stab at examining the reasons that make MLS MVP and Canada Player of the Year Dwayne De Rosario “an underappreciated athlete.”

Here's another name for MLS fans to keep track of in this offseason: out-of-contract goalkeeper Manuel Heredia, who recently played for Sporting Cristal in Peru, is on vacation in the USA in the hope of landing a contract. “A good possibility exists that he plays next year in the United States,” said his agent. (SPANISH)

A good possibility exists that there could be no English teams in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League after Chelsea and Arsenal landed Serie A powers Napoli and AC Milan respectively in the Round of 16 draw held earlier today. Real Madrid vs. CSKA, Leverkusen vs. Barcelona, APOEL vs. Lyon, Inter vs. Marseille, Zenit vs. Benfica and Basel vs. Bayern Munich.

You can watch Bayern today as they take on Lukas Podolski and FC Koln in an ESPN Deportes Friday Bundesliga broadcast (2:30 p.m. ET).

In the Europa League it will be Jozy Altidore and AZ Alkmaar against Sasha Kljestan and Anderlecht in the Round of 16. Here’s the complete draw, including a tasty Lazio vs. Atletico Madrid and a classic between Ajax and Manchester United.

Lastly, to get you in a SuperDraft mood heading into the holidays, here’s the first mock draft we’ve seen by FoxSoccer.com’s Ives Galarcep. Stay tuned for the MLSsoccer.com mock draft coming up in the first week of January.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Gabe Marcotti and Merritt Paulson on the latest edition of ExtraTime Radio

The Throw-In: A Christmas wish list for every MLS club

RSL manager Jason Kreis gets German Bundesliga tour organized by Jurgen Klinsmann


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