Kick Off: Portland's Boyd fires back at naysayers

Welcome to America.

Today’s the day that Scotsman Kris Boyd will be officially presented as the newest Designated Player of the Portland Timbers. And what fans at JELD-WEN Field should enjoy is the fact that he’s a straight talker as he shows in the interview he gave to the Scottish Sun.

"When people look at someone who scores a lot, they think he should be an exceptional player. I'm first to admit I'm not,” he told the newspaper. “I know there have been games when I've been posted missing, and yet walked off the pitch with the match ball. But while people can argue I can't do this or that, no one can say I don't score enough goals as a striker."

For more comments like these, check back at noon ET on MLSsoccer.com for full coverage of the media event, which will be streamed live from Portland.

We hope for Boyd’s sake that he’s ready for Timbers preseason because manager John Spencer is pushing the players hard. This is what left back Mike Chabala had to say: “It’s the toughest training camp I’ve been involved with in my career, and I’ve been playing for seven years now.”

It’s been a busy preseason for FC Dallas, one that has also included the indefinite suspension of one of the club’s midfielders for a violation of team rules. As of yesterday, he had not been reinstated yet.

Houston Dynamo leader Brad Davis has been officially reinstated … to participate in full practices. He was cleared on Monday and is expected to play in Orlando and the Disney Pro Soccer Classic.

In today’s preseason action, there’s a scrimmage between the Colorado Rapids and Hawaii Pacific University.

Speaking of the Rapids, it’s looking good for Colombian defender Luis Zapata, who will learn of Colorado’s final decision only after the Hawaii trip. “I’m happy with him. … He’s very humble,” says manager Oscar Pareja.

The LA Galaxy travel today to Arizona for the Desert Diamond Cup preseason tournament. Yesterday, they were joined by Juninho, whose arrival has manager Bruce Arena excited: “I think his year, with the addition of Marcelo [Sarvas], we have potentially a very good midfield.”

Across the way from the Galaxy, Chivas USA could still have some surprises up their sleeves. At the end of this report, there is talk of a 23-year-old Colombian named José Manuel Nájera and there are also two attacking players in Goats camp from Brazil and again from Colombia.

The expansion Montreal Impact have made decisions on two veteran players, who were hoping to be part of the club for its maiden voyage into MLS: Nevio Pizzolitto and Simon Gatti were officially cut although the Impact will look to keep them in the family. (FRENCH)

Real Salt Lake are keeping their veteran players with the knowledge that there is an urgency to bring home trophies: “I think we owe it to those guys to keep them together to take another run at an MLS Cup and hopefully even our first CONCACAF championship. … As we get older, the window is closing and we have to try to win championships,” says GM Garth Lagerwey.

They believe out in Vancouver, and the high hopes in Whitecaps training camp are contagious. Read what experienced midfielder John Thorrington says about the club’s goals this year: “To go out and just be a force in this league — that's a realistic possibility.”

New England Revolution left back Chris Tierney is very open when it comes to talking about what Jay Heaps is doing compared to the recent seasons under Steve Nicol:

“Jay’s brought in a new level of professionalism that might not have been there before. Stevie definitely had his own style which worked for him for many years, but I think Jay is a little more up-to-date in terms of taking care of the physical side of things and really doing the homework and taking care of the details in terms of going over video and talking to guys individually and making sure we’re in top shape physically. That’s definitely a welcome change for us as players.”

Heaps addressed the situation of forward José “Pepe” Moreno, who is reportedly not heading to New England after the club announced a signed deal: “As far as I’m concerned, he’s going to be here March 1 when his loan starts.”

We’ve rarely seen this sort of extravagance from New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry: He’s planning on reconstructing his London mansion to include a 40-foot high fish tank that will be seen from every floor of the house. Estimated cost: $400,000. Annual maintenance: $19,000.

Henry’s former teammate at the Red Bulls, American defender Tim Ream, is awed by the fact that his team is in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup: “One more win and I will be playing at Wembley [in the FA Cup semifinals]. That would be crazy. If we win one more game I’ll be playing in arguably the best stadium in the world. I am looking forward to that.”

On another Red Bulls note, former RBNY goalkeeper Frank Rost officially announced his retirement over the weekend. (GERMAN)

Everton captain Phil Neville talked about how the club is still coming to grips with losing Landon Donovan at the conclusion of his loan: “He was a breath of fresh air around the place,” Neville said about Donovan. “He immersed himself in the whole club — not just on the pitch but off the pitch as well. We will miss him.”

Another American on Merseyside is Marc Pelosi, who plays for the Liverpool FC youth ranks. How about this for high praise for the 17-year-old: “We would take Marc tomorrow if he becomes available,” says San Jose Earthquakes manager Frank Yallop.

England vs. Brazil is a classic matchup for any soccer fan, especially when it’s played out by people in costume at the Rio de Janeiro carnival. Here’s Wayne Rooney and John Terry going up against Ronaldo and Romário like you’ve never seen them before. (PHOTOS)

Will another English team fall to a more dominant Italian side? That question will be answered when Napoli host Chelsea in a UEFA Champions League knockout-round first leg (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes). Before that Real Madrid play in the cold at CSKA Moscow (noon ET, Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes). Another lunchtime kickoff will be the Serie A match between Bologna and Fiorentina (12:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus). Tonight, Mexican side Cruz Azul host a Copa Libertadores group match against Deportivo Táchira of Venezuela (9:30 pm ET, Fox Deportes).

Lastly, former ESPN color analyst John Harkes is set to get back in the broadcasting booth. Find out where.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Seattle’s Eddie Johnson tells his story on Monday’s edition of ExtraTime Radio

IFC’s Portlandia tackles issue of noobs with help of Timbers Army

Whatever Happened To … ex-Mexican national teamer Juan Pablo García


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