Kick Off: West is best, says Dallas manager Hyndman

Kick Off - Schellas Hyndman

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Back to work.

FC Dallas are one of several MLS teams opening preseason training camp today and manager Schellas Hyndman has a strong feeling about what’s in store in 2012: “The last three years, I think you've seen the west has dominated the MLS. I'd expect that to happen again. We've just got to be prepared to play the teams in the west and recognize that’s our real opponents.”

That works out just fine for the expansion Montreal Impact, who start their MLS adventure out east. They also open camp and have invited five players from the NASL side to try out for the squad. One of those names is former captain Nevio Pizzolitto, who even took a ball with him on his recent honeymoon in Hawaii: "Having the ball to kick around, even by myself, was really important. You can't go long periods, especially in the offseason, without touching the ball."

New England Revolution manager Jay Heaps is not wasting any time either as the New England Revolution get together for the first time today: “We’re going to hit the ground running. We’re going to have a training session in the afternoon. I don’t want a day to go by where we don’t get better.

The Washington Post is wondering where D.C. United’s new signings are as the club also opens camp. They have 19 players under contract and nine slots to fill. “Some things take longer than others,” club GM Dave Kasper says.

Chivas USA got to work on Sunday for the first time and manager Robin Fraser will be tapping into his former club for some depth with two players reportedly joining the Goats from Real Salt Lake.

Meanwhile, the Portland Timbers are on a “Dribble Oregon” tour, making new fans in Salem, Ore. “We want to be Oregon’s team, not just Portland’s,” the club says.

With reports from South America claiming the New York Red Bulls are searching for a new central midfielder – Bolivia’s Pablo Escobar is named – this report rules out Chelsea’s Frank Lampard and Inter Milan’s Dejan Stankovic … for now.

Meanwhile, Red Bulls fans may be surprised to hear that Danish winger Brian Nielsen is reportedly set to return for another six months, according to this article in Denmark. (DANISH)

MLS clubs can start lining up for former France international Djibril Cissé after Lazio’s French forward made it clear where his future lies: “Playing in the United States is in my plans for the future. It’s a country I adore.” (FRENCH)

In other news from Europe, San Jose Earthquakes’ out-of-contract defender Nana Attakora is in preseason camp with German side Union Berlin in an effort to impress and earn a contract. (GERMAN)

Remember former Middlesbrough forward Hámilton Ricard? The Colombian striker reportedly had a move to MLS fall through and he’s back in Colombia. (SPANISH)

This report from the weekend claims that MLS all-time leading scorer Jeff Cunningham may be playing in Guatemala. (SPANISH)

As we wait for news on former Toronto FC defender Demitrius Omphroy’s next move, he’s keeping busy in the recording studio with some elite company. (VIDEO)

Hard at work on the soccer field these days is Jurgen Klinsmann and the US national team ahead of Saturday’s friendly match against Venezuela. They scrimmaged the US Under-23s on Friday (watch the highlights here) and Klinsmann tells FIFA.com he’s been working the players hard: “They are beginning to notice that the harder they train, the fresher they feel,” Klinsmann says.

The US national team call-up has meant a lot to Seattle Sounders center back Jeff Parke. It’s been a long road back from the 10-game suspension he endured while with the Red Bulls in 2008: "To be at the very bottom and work yourself to the top. … You have to start all over and reestablish your name and your character."

It couldn’t have been a fun weekend for Argentine legend Diego Armando Maradona, who was hospitalized for kidney stones after managing his Al-Wasl side on Saturday in the United Arab Emirates.

Staying abroad, in case you missed Landon Donovan’s pinpoint assist on Everton’s equalizer at Aston Villa on Saturday, here’s the video of the play by the LA Galaxy captain. (VIDEO)

Red Bulls star Thierry Henry did not have as much fun as Donovan following Arsenal’s 3-2 loss at Swansea. With the key giveaway on the game-winning goal for Swansea, Henry was later spotted having words with a fan … a Gunners fan. “No matter what, you should support your team,” is the message Henry was apparently trying to get across.

The international soccer action on TV today features EPL leaders Manchester City traveling to take on relegation candidates Wigan Athletic (3 pm ET, ESPN Deportes). Meanwhile, from the Italian Serie A it’s Napoli vs. Bologna (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Deportes).

It’s a big week for US World Cup forward Edson Buddle, who is on trial at Everton this week in the hope of rekindling the attacking connection he formed with Donovan in LA.

With Gary Cahill’s move to Chelsea practically sealed, Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle is optimistic about landing New York defender Tim Ream as Cahill’s replacement. "He is a player that we would love to bring to the football club and hopefully in the next few days that can come to fruition," Coyle said.

There’s been an arrest in Scotland in the case of the man who allegedly targeted American Maurice Edu with racial abuse on Twitter.

Some of the most well-known names in soccer, including Robert Pires, Hernán Crespo and Fabio Cannavaro, are heading to India to be part of a new soccer league modeled on cricket's Indian Premier League and, accoring to the organizers, Major League Soccer.

Lastly, USMNT midfielder Benny Feilhaber shows a great deal of courage to tell the world he’s a Baltimore Ravens fan when they play the New England Patriots for a ticket to the NFL’s Super Bowl. He plays for the New England Revolution in MLS and the club’s owner is the Patriots’ Bob Kraft. “Me being a Ravens fan was supposed to be a bit under wraps,” Feilhaber says.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Montreal’s Jesse Marsch says Impact prepared to make “pretty big move”

Colombian forward Velásquez takes unconventional route to MLS and Real Salt Lake

American Exports: Landon Donovan earns praise for Everton heroics


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