Kick Off: Ballack's agent takes dig at Red Bulls brass

Kick Off - Michael Ballack

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Michael Ballack will be in MLS this summer.

That much we know from a Goal.com interview with his agent Michael Becker: “I'm sure you'll see Michael playing somewhere in MLS at that stage.”

But that’s not the only statement made by Becker in the interview. Among others, he criticizes NYRB sporting director Erik Solér for considering Ballack a holding midfielder and rating Aston Villa’s Stephen Ireland ahead of the German. In a previously edited version of the article, Becker referred to Soler as “clueless.”

“It seems that Solér already made massive promises to Stephen Ireland in October. This is an unbelievable incident,” Becker said. “Why would you go for a no-name player who no one knows, who hasn't started in months, when Michael Ballack is available?”

The Spanish-language version of the same article cites the Montreal Impact, Chicago Fire and Philadelphia Union as the other possible destinations. (SPANISH)

Another former German international, Arne Friedrich, makes his first appearance in front of US media after his first training session with the Chicago Fire later today.

MLS Defender of the Year Omar Gonzalez would be another summer arrival in MLS as he recovers from his injury and returns to the LA Galaxy. The Los Angeles Times caught up with Gonzalez and he shared details of his knee ligament injury, including the most painful part of the ordeal: injecting himself in the stomach with a blood thinner on the flight back home.

This Washington Post article reveals that the supporters vote for the Seattle Sounders GM position, currently occupied by part-owner Adrian Hanauer, will be held in November. The vote mechanism was installed by another member of the ownership group, Drew Carey, who has high expectations: “[We not only want to] win the MLS Cup, but be competitive worldwide — be the top team in the world.”

Jurgen Klinsmann shares the same ambition. He doesn’t want to be an outsider in 2014 as he says in this Q&A with ESPN.com. And he also makes an interesting statement when asked about a possible rift with LA Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan in his final answer of the piece.

Look who was named captain of the US Olympic team that’s getting set for qualifying in Nashville, Tenn.: “Leading by example. That’s something I’ve gotten much better at over the last couple of years. I wasn’t always great at that.”

Read about why this Yahoo Sports column believes that “the best sports follow on Twitter may be Juan Agudelo.”

Agudelo and the USA better qualify for the London Olympics this summer (CONCACAF qualifying kicks off this Saturday) because Kellogg’s is clearly banking on the New York Red Bulls starlet with a recent commercial shoot in Hoboken, N.J.

Even with a league match on NBC Sports Network scheduled for Friday, the Houston Dynamo have reportedly released both Jermaine Taylor and Je-Vaughn Watson for Jamaica’s friendly match against Costa Rica tomorrow.

There could be a loan deal in store for 2011 No. 1 SuperDraft pick Omar Salgado. "If he thinks a loan is better for me, then so be it and I'll go with that," Salgado said about the final decision that will be made by manager Martin Rennie.

Speaking of Vancouver, here are two signings the club has made that you likely haven’t heard about.

Meanwhile, FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman revealed specifics regarding the leg injury that star playmaker David Ferreira is battling.

If you want to understand just how profound the effect that Ferreira has on FC Dallas, this excellently researched infographic is all you need to look at.

In San Jose, Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch has backed off his criticism of referee Chris Penso for awarding the penalty kick for his challenge on Houston’s Brian Ching on Saturday. If you haven’t seen it, watch the play here and judge for yourself. (VIDEO)

Fans will find this an interesting read. Fox Soccer Report analyst Bobby McMahon points out that “as far as soccer is concerned, Canada outguns the US on a consistent basis.”

Circle the date of May 23. That’s when Sporting Kansas City will find out if they’ve beaten out the NHL’s Boston Bruins and MLB’s Texas Rangers for the title of “Team of the Year.”

Jason Kreis and his Real Salt Lake players came away impressed by the fan turnout on opening day: mainly that supporters showed up well before kick-off and chanted the new “Believe” team anthem in unison.

There’s some good news about Fabrice Muamba’s recovery from a cardiac attack suffered on the field at White Hart Lane last weekend. Find out the progress the Bolton player has made here.

It’s going to be a challenge to keep up with all the international action on TV today. There’s the second leg of the Coppa Italia between Juventus and AC Milan (3:45 pm ET, GolTV), a La Liga match featuring Barcelona (4 pm ET, ESPN Deportes) and a Blackburn vs. Sunderland EPL match (4 pm ET, Fox Soccer).

Vancouver Whitecaps fans will want to watch Barry Robson and Middlesbrough battle West Ham (3:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus). And, a Copa Libertadores doubleheader on Fox Deportes kicks off at 7 pm ET.

After an intern was shot with an air rifle, a smoke grenade went off at the training ground of Premier League giants Chelsea. This time a player was shown the door as a result.

Judging by the number of views on this YouTube video, not many have seen the prank pulled on Sporting Kansas City’s C.J. Sapong when he watched his Rookie of the Year award shatter into pieces. (VIDEO)

Lastly, you wouldn’t expect to see world stars enacting these shenanigans. See what Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribéry and Toni Kroos did to determine who would take this free kick. (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Davy Arnaud and David Estrada on the latest edition of ExtraTime Radio

Chicago Fire owner willing to spend “Robbie Keane money” on right player

Cast your ballot for the AT&T MLS Goal of the Week


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