Kick Off: Klinsmann's first CONCACAF road test tonight

Kick Off - Jurgen Klinsmann

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Facing the likes of Italy and France is great. Beating Slovenia on European soil is an achievement. But it’s not CONCACAF.

US national team fans will get a chance to see how head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his 4-3-3 manage the task of a road match against one of CONCACAF’s feisty up-and-comers in Panama tonight (8:30 pm ET, ESPN3, Galavision, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com).

USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones is not making long-term plans to hold on to the US national team’s captain’s armband for long: “Carlos [Bocanegra] is my friend. He can have it back,” he said yesterday.

All three MLS players are expected to start for Panama based on the projected starting lineup for los Canaleros.

Back to MLS, Seattle Sounders owner Joe Roth visited practice yesterday and made some interesting comments on the squad – “We have the best midfield in the league as it is.” He also mentioned a change he’d like to see in MLS rules to allow a club to keep its core together: “When I was growing up in New York, you never saw players traded. Players played an entire generation for the Yankees, the Dodgers, the football Giants. I think that's a missing component in today's sports.”

After making it official that Philadelphia will play host to the MLS All-Star Game on July 25, MLS Commissioner Don Garber spoke about the league’s thinking in selecting the international opponent: As long as [English] clubs continue to look to the United States, and have strong fan bases, we'll probably continue to look to England. I will say, though, that our view is to South America and Mexico some time in the future.”

Sporting Kansas City’s owner Robb Heineman has let fans know that barring “something dramatic,” there will be no DP acquisition in the current transfer window.

Staying with SKC, the club admits that the departures of veteran Davy Arnaud and Omar Bravo has left a void. “There is a big leadership gap, but I also feel like there are a few guys that are ready to step up, myself included,” said All-Star defender Matt Besler.

Colorado Rapids owner Stan Kroenke has stepped up with a bid for baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, according to reports.

Expect news out of Rapids camp today on a “new addition,” according to club president Tim Hinchey.

It’s official. Ex-Rapids coach Gary Smith has been named the new manager at Stevenage in England’s third division.

Get the health update on Rapids forward Conor Casey, who hopes to be ready to take the field sometime in March.

Here’s Brian O’Connell, who covers the Revs beat, with some historical perspective on trialist Jeremiah White, who is now trying to make the team that drafted him some 3,000 days ago.

The Columbus Crew’s most prominent new addition was finally at practice and was welcomed with applause from his new teammates. The questions revolve around whether he will be the next Guillermo Barros Schelotto: “[Milovan] Mirosevic is stronger. He likes to use his head more and is faster. Guillermo was more technical and can put the ball where he wants,” is how Sebastián Miranda sets them apart.

Read about the FC Dallas forward who is already getting some pub after scoring 13 goals in 13 games for the club’s Development Academy team.

Did you know that San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch is coming out with his own line of goalkeeping gloves at the end of this month? His company is mentioned here.

In the case of New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara, he was already signed up to take the tests to become a New York City firefighter before he was taken in the MLS draft. “It's something I'd still love to do at some point, but hopefully I'll have a long enough career where I'll be too old to be a fireman.”

Here is the list of 13 trialists that will hope to make the New York Red Bulls roster, including six midfielders. Tom Williams is among them.

Staying with the Red Bulls, this report claims that the club is looking to expand its academy program to include a residency program.

Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake players get together today for physicals ahead of their first practice session on Friday.

SuperDraft pick Sebastián Velásquez, who hails from a junior college, is expected to be there. Watch this video and get a first glimpse at some of his moves. (VIDEO)

Interesting comments made by Vancouver Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi, who in addition to stating that, “We don’t have a budget for a Designated Player,” also makes mention of the area that the club is likely to upgrade: “Probably, the midfield is an area we would want to do that.”

One of the Whitecaps’ former Designated Players, Mustafa Jarju, has returned to his former Belgian club RAEC Mons and acknowledged his problems with the Whitecaps: “Football in Canada is the same like football in Belgium but there, I had problems with the president [Bob Lenarduzzi] and the coach [Tom Soehn] because of my trips to the [Gambian] national team. I am sorry that I had to leave Mons, but now everything is in order.”

Mexican side Club Tijuana have snapped up another Southern California product who came up through the Chivas USA system. The signing is mentioned at the end of this article as the player joins Edgar Castillo, Greg Garza and Joe Corona at Xolos.

Speaking of Mexico, the Montreal Impact won their second exhibition of the season, a 1-0 win over Estudiantes Tecos. Watch Justin Braun’s goal in this highlight reel, which finishes up with comments from Jesse Marsch and Braun. (VIDEO)

Fans in Austin, Texas, must be happy. The Austin Aztex are back and they’ll be managed by former Houston Dynamo forward Paul Dalglish.

It’s already here. The return leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinal series between Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona (4 pm ET, GolTV and ESPN Deportes). The Blaugrana have the 2-1 edge and host the 2nd leg. And we’ll see if American Jonathan Bornstein gets in the game for Tigres UANL when they travel to face Unión Española in a Copa Libertadores preliminary match (4:30 pm ET, Fox Deportes).

There’s also the Carling Cup semifinal second leg between Liverpool and Manchester City (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer) with the winner heading into the final against Cardiff.

In addition to Panama vs. USA tonight, Mexico will play Venezuela on Univisión (9 pm ET). Chivas de Guadalajara starlet Marco Fabián sees it as a chance at redemption. This Houston Chronicle article explains.

One of the stories of early 2012 has to be Spanish third-division side Mirandés advancing to the Copa del Rey semifinals after ousting Espanyol on a 92nd-minute goal. Mirandés player Pablo Infante, who works in a bank by day, had a goal and assist on the evening. The highlights are up on YouTube. (VIDEO)

Hey, Arsenal fans: Your team may not be able to win a trophy in the last couple years, but your players sure can sing. Here’s R&B specialist Jack Wilshere singing Usher. (VIDEO)

The US women have advanced to the semifinals in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying in Vancouver with a 4-0 win over Mexico and will now face Costa Rica for a ticket to London on Friday. Carli Lloyd led the way with a hat trick. Watch the highlights here. (VIDEO)

According to this article, the American women had the word “Liebe,” German for “love,” written on their arms for the match in honor of the injured Ali Krieger, who has a tattoo of the word on her arm.

There may be a sequel to Tuesday’s USA vs. Mexico Olympic match, except on the men’s side in a few weeks. According to veteran soccer writer Steve Davis, there are rumblings of a US Under-23 vs. Mexico Under-23 match prior to qualifying.

Ex-US Under-20 goalkeeper Samir Badr has signed on with the leading club in Egypt’s top-flight. Yanks Abroad reports that it’s a three-and-a-half-year deal.

Lastly, an entertaining video from FC Dallas regarding the “Kicking Problem” that plagues second-year player Bobby Warshaw. It led to a petition in the team locker that you can see here. But Warshaw is unrelenting: “If you come into the middle it’s going to be a rough life.” (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Michael Parkhurst making a case to stay on Klinsmann’s radar

Donovan vs. Dempsey: More people identify with LD based on the numbers

An American abroad raises a trophy in Israel


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