Kick Off: Could Sounders linchpin Alonso get USMNT call?
What if Osvaldo Alonso played for the US national team? Suddenly that just might be a possibility.
The Seattle Sounders midfielder spoke to the media on Tuesday about the news that he received his US citizenship last week, and that there’s a chance he could get his chance to play for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann's side.
Of course there's a logjam at the holding midfielder spot right now, and there's an issue because Alonso played for his native Cuba in the 2007 Gold Cup before defecting, but as head coach Sigi Schmid says, Alonso’s new US citizenship “opens up new doors for him and new options."
"I'm not allowed to play anymore with Cuba, so I think I'll have the opportunity to play with the US national team," Alonso said. "If the opportunity comes, it's something I want to do. I'm very happy for that."
Alonso returns to action tonight against Sporting Kansas City (10 pm ET, stream on MLS LIVE) after finishing up his two-game suspension, but there’s no guarantee that alone will halt Seattle’s six-game winless streak. Says Schmid: "For us, it's an important game just because of our performance in the last game. How you come back is an important indicator for your team.”
There’s also news on the SKC side indicating that center back Matt Besler will sit out Wednesday’s game, and midfielder Bobby Convey might not go either. Striker Kei Kamara, however, should be able to play after returning from his native Sierra Leone, but likely will not start.
The Sounders-Sporting KC game is just one of five midweek matchups in MLS on Wednesday, including a game at Rio Tinto Stadium pitting the league’s top team this season against the reigning champs. The LA Galaxy are in town to face Real Salt Lake in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Championship (9 pm ET, stream on MLS LIVE), and RSL head coach Jason Kreis took the opportunity to compare and contrast the two clubs' philosophies.
“They spent a lot of money on three players and we have tried to spread our money a little bit more evenly." the RSL head coach said. "I think it’s very interesting to have such a clash in philosophies, and I’d like that to be something that the league considers going forward; how they can structure rules and such to give teams a choice in how they want to build their team"
There’s lineup news for this one as well, as it appears Javier Morales could get the start for RSL and Marcelo Sarvas could be a huge factor for LA again after he keyed the team’s 1-0 win over Portland over the weekend.
And although he won’t play for LA on Wednesday, Irish international Robbie Keane could be a go this weekend after Ireland crashed out of the group stage of Euro 2012 earlier this week.
Toronto FC return to action in Houston on Wednesday (9 pm ET, stream on MLS LIVE) in search of their first win under new head coach Paul Mariner, but they’ll be unsurprisingly shorthanded at kickoff. That’s because the team has sent the three players arrested earlier this week for public intoxication at a club in Houston back to Toronto. Said Mariner: “It looks like we had — well, I'm not going to use the words that just came into my mind, but some people chose not to be on their best behavior, let's put it that way."
Mariner spoke with ExtraTime Radio on Tuesday about his mission on the field since taking over recently, and admitted that his first game as a head coach last week made him feel as nervous as his early days as a player. Listen to the interview here.
The news on the Houston side these days seems to be all about defender Geoff Cameron, who is the rumored target of a group of international teams after his recent showing with the US national team. When asked about the news that reps from Everton, Schalkle 04 and Stoke City were all on hand during the team’s win over FC Dallas last weekend to scout him, Cameron put it bluntly on Tuesday: “I’m trying to stay focused and play [in Houston] right now.”
Cameron will most certainly start on Wednesday, but how will the rest of the lineup look? That seems to be anyone’s guess, since head coach Dominic Kinnear might be keen to shake a few things up due to injuries.
The San Jose Earthquakes are on the road at the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday (9:30 pm ET, stream on MLS LIVE), and they finally have some reinforcements. Chris Wondolowski is back from US national team duty and, perhaps just as importantly, defender Victor Bernardez and winger Shea Salinas are back from injuries sustained in April.
There’s also good news for young players in San Jose, as it was announced on Tuesday that the San Jose City Council unanimously approved a deal for a new adult and youth soccer complex. The decision clears the way for four recreational fields to be built adjacent to the Quakes’ planned new stadium.
At least some of the news for the Rapids, meanwhile, surrounds a young man who just graduated high school. The club on Tuesday unveiled new Homegrown signing Shane O'Neill, who signed a three-year deal with the team after starring at Fairview High School in Boulder. Said O’Neill: "I think once I get my first paycheck, that will be exciting.”
The Montreal Impact are back on the road after opening up Stade Saputo last weekend, and they’re certainly far from home. They take on Chivas USA (10 pm ET, stream on MLS LIVE) with an eye on a second straight win, and the key could be the man who on Tuesday was named the MLS Player of the Week: midfielder Patrice Bernier.
Bernier hasn’t exactly been a go-to guy for the Impact this season, but his resolve has left an impression on head coach Jesse Marsch: “He has handled himself extremely well, at the highest level of any player I've ever been around.”
The news on the Chivas USA injury front isn’t great heading into this one, as a number of players could miss the match due to various knocks. It appears forward Jose Errick Correa and midfielders Nick LaBrocca and Miller Bolaños likely won’t play while sidelined with hamstring issues, and winger Ryan Smith could be a question after sustaining a possible concussion during a reserve game on Monday.
And last but certainly not least for Wednesday night is an interesting East-West clash between the New York Red Bulls and host Vancouver Whitecaps (11 pm ET, TSN and stream on MLS LIVE) that will miss a little star power. RBNY hero Thierry Henry and midfielder Rafa Márquez are both no-go’s after they skipped the trip entirely.
The Whitecaps will play this one without suspended youngster Darren Mattocks, who last weekend picked up two yellow cards and a trip to the showers during a costly one-minute stretch during the team’s win over the Colorado Rapids. Mattocks owned up to his mistake on Tuesday, and chalked it up to a learning experience.
Let’s switch away from the Wednesday schedule for some news around the league, starting with D.C. United. It looks like Ben Olsen’s club is keen on keeping Designated Player Branko Boskovic in town, and that the two sides are in the beginning stages of negotiations for a contract extension.
There’s no such luck for German import Kei Herdling, who will be sent packing two weeks ahead of schedule by the Philadelphia Union after the club decided not to renew his loan deal.
In Euro 2012 action, both England and France advanced to the quarterfinals yesterday by different routes: England steaming straight ahead, and France backing in with a 2-0 loss to Sweden. The biggest storyline of the night was Ukraine's disallowed equalizer against England on a ball that appeared over the line before being cleared by John Terry. FIFA president Sepp Blatter took to Twitter to throw in his two cents about the suddenly hot-again goal-line technology debate: "After last night's match #GLT is no longer an alternative but a necessity."
The Ukrainian camp was understandably upset about their tough luck, with head coach Oleh Blokhin telling media: “Essentially, we conceded a pretty absurd goal, and scored a clean, well-earned one, but it didn't count.”
KICKTV’s Jimmy Conrad took to the streets of Kiev for what turned out to be the last game for the hosts, and Jimmy’s last night abroad. [VIDEO]
And last but certainly not least, how about some silly season stuff? Here’s where we find the rumors of Brazilian icon Kaká heading to the New York Red Bulls picking up steam. Amid news that the former FIFA World Player of the Year could be headed back to AC Milan in exchange for striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, we have Kaká's, agent Diogo Kotscho, telling the New York Post that his client is interested in MLS. “What I can say to you right now is that Kaká [has]a dream to live in US and play in MLS,’’ Kotscho told the Post. “If isn’t now, in the future probably he will join MLS.’’
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