Kick Off: Finally, Donovan's chance to respond to Friedel

It’s Landon Donovan’s turn to respond.

We never heard the LA Galaxy captain’s reaction to statements made by Tottenham’s Brad Friedel in December, in which Friedel claimed that Donovan took an “easy road” by staying in MLS. While Friedel made sure to clear up the controversy surrounding his comments, the episode has definitely piqued interest in this afternoon’s EPL match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes). 

Another American will be playing in England after Leeds United announced the signing of ex-Columbus Crew winger Robbie Rogers. "As soon as the work permit is complete, he will be an immediate part of our plans and have an opportunity with the first team," said the club’s manager.

The Crew already have Rogers’ replacement, and he’s a Crew fan: Ben Speas of North Carolina, who signed on as a Home Grown player. “I remember seeing Brian Maisonneuve and Robert [Warzycha] and all them and Jeff Cunningham," says Speas. "I’ve been to quite a few games in my time."

The big transfer story from yesterday is the news that the Houston Dynamo have offered former Glasgow Rangers forward Kris Boyd a two-year deal which the Scottish striker is mulling over. This report says he’s heading to the USA to begin talks.

There is plenty of player activity in the world of the LA Galaxy: Bruce Arena has confirmed that Miguel López is heading back to Quilmes and that the club has signed one defender while looking to arrange a loan for another.

From Panama come reports that there will be a final determination made this week on the future of Tauro FC defenders Luis Moreno and Carlos Rodríguez. “Dallas consider these done deals,” according to a Tauro executive. (SPANISH)

Nothing is done for the NASL’s star striker, Etienne Barbara, who is frustrated with the Montreal Impact. Apparently the MLS expansion side filed a discovery claim but Barbara is not happy with the offer being made: “I’ve scored 20 goals and had nine assists, and I won the best player of the league. And for what? For nothing in America. Because I’m stuck with Montreal and they don’t want to pay good money.”

Most of the soccer scenesters in the US are getting stuck in in Kansas City, Mo., where the SuperDraft will take place tomorrow. The city will experience a soccer invasion as the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) formally opens its convention today with 4,000 coaches descending on the city.

Many believe Duke’s US Olympic team hopeful Andrew Wenger will fall to the Vancouver Whitecaps at No. 2. And although there’s lots of talk about Wenger’s versatility, Whitecaps manager Martin Rennie clears up any confusion: “I think he sees himself as more of a defender. If a player has that perspective on themselves, then realistically that’s likely where he’ll end up. He’s also a good person and a good leader.”

Chicago Fire manager Frank Klopas says that his team will pick “the best players available” with their selections as opposed to filling positional needs. “This year we have a good base coming in,” he says.

In Salt Lake City, they’re still fuming over a national TV schedule that has Real Salt Lake featured four times on NBC and not once on the ESPN networks. An RSL executive calls it an “annoyance.”

Here’s one thing that makes Ross Fletcher a great fit as the new play-by-play voice in Seattle: He grew up a Shawn Kemp fan and made a Gary Payton reference during a conference call with reporters.

They’re still celebrating Thierry Henry’s FA Cup goal against Leeds, and The Mirror has a Q&A with the New York Red Bulls star on loan to Arsenal: “It was the first time that I played for Arsenal being a fan.”

Back in Henry’s adopted home of New York City, they’ve announced a massive South American clash between Brazil and Argentina to be played on July 9 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Will either side stick around to play Jurgen Klinsmann’s US national team?

Speaking of the USMNT, they’re toiling away in January camp under Klinsmann ahead of two internationals later this month. Here’s what the German has them doing on a daily basis: Protein shakes and cold plunges are on the schedule.

In Copa del Rey action later today, Sevilla will look to recover from a 1-0 first-leg loss against Valencia (4 pm ET, GolTV). They will hope to join Real Madrid in the quarterfinals after los Merengues defeated Málaga yesterday thanks to a goalkeeper gaffe you can watch a minute into this clip.

There’s also a Carling Cup semifinal match between Manchester City and Liverpool taking place this afternoon (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus).

Lastly, we leave you with a double dose of dirty dancing. First, Sepp Blatter engages in some awkward movements alongside Shakira at the FIFA Player of the Year Gala. Then the French women’s national team, which toured Guadeloupe and Martinique in November, celebrate their exhibition victories with some, um, enthusiastic postgame dancing in front of the locals. (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

MLS SuperDraft: It Starts Here

End of Combine signals new wait for SuperDraft hopefuls

American Exports: Gerzicich & Co. nearing Israeli double


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