Kick Off: Olsen gives All-Star armband to De Rosario
Ben Olsen has the cream of the crop at his disposal on the MLS All-Star team, but only one player can lead.
How about Landon Donovan, the captain of the LA Galaxy? Or perhaps Thierry Henry, the heart and soul of the New York Red Bulls? Maybe Chris Wondolowski, easily the MVP of the league thus far this season?
Or how about Dwayne De Rosario, the captain at Olsen’s D.C. United team and the hero of the 2006 All-Star Game against Chelsea? He’s the one Olsen will hand the armband to on Wednesday, when the All-Stars suit up against the Blues once again, this time at PPL Park.
It also appears that Olsen will have David Beckham as an option, despite rumors that the LA Galaxy star would miss the match because of his obligations surrounding the London Olympics, beginning later this week. But the league confirmed on Monday that Beckham will be available to play on Wednesday night.
The stars from Chelsea arrived in Philadelphia on Monday and worked out for the first time there behind mostly closed doors. But it was tough to miss star striker Fernando Torres, who has joined the team after missing the first two games and could suit up against the All-Stars.
The four players from the San Jose Earthquakes and Vancouver defender Jay DeMerit did not suit up during the All-Stars’ practice on Monday, but they’re expected to join the team for Tuesday’s practice at PPL Park. Among them will be league veteran Ramiro Corrales, who makes his first All-Star appearance after a long MLS career. He’s profiled in the Sporting News here.
The All-Star Game will shine a light on host city Philadelphia, and the City of Brotherly Love has embraced its role in the days leading up to the big event. Here’s a look at what the event means for the city.
Philadelphia Union interim head coach John Hackworth will play a pivotal role on Wednesday as Olsen’s assistant coach, but he had some team business to attend to on Monday with the media. In the wake of Freddy Adu being left off the travel roster over the weekend against the New York Red Bulls because of a team decision, Hackworth shot down rumors that Adu is on the trading block.
There’s also big news today surrounding former Union coach Peter Nowak, who is reportedly suing the club in District Court over unpaid severance money that he claims the club was contractually obligated to provide after he was terminated last month. Philly.com’s Jonathan Tannenwald has the full report here.
If somehow you missed the news involving the New York Red Bulls and Tim Cahill from Monday, we’ll try and sort it out. The news broke that Everton have agreed to send the 32-year-old Australian to the Red Bulls for a “nominal fee,” and said as much on their club website.
Done deal, right? Not yet, according to the Red Bulls, who promptly released their own statement that was basically a non-statement, since the club doesn’t comment on players who aren’t their own.
Plenty of people spoke out the situation after the news broke, including current Preston North End caretaker manager David Unswell, who offered a less than stellar review of Cahill’s recent play: "I'm not overly surprised. I don't think his form over the last six months has been what it used to be.”
Everton fans took to Twitter to voice their opinions, with most calling Cahill both a “legend” and a “bargain.” And what about the idea of Cahill and Henry together? Here’s one fan: “Just remembered Tim Cahill will be playing with Thierry Henry in New York. … Not bad viewing if I say so myself!”
Tuesday marks a busy night of international friendlies in MLS, with a host of teams in action against European sides from coast to coast. Let’s start with the big news in Montreal, where new signing Alessandro Nesta will make his debut against French side Lyon at Stade Saputo.
On to Columbus, where the Crew take on a Geoff Cameron-less Stoke City, and Crew defender Chris Birchall faces an interesting challenge: His best friend suits up for Stoke.
Sporting Kansas City are also in action against French side Montpellier, and here’s the preview.
On to Colorado, where the Rapids are at home for the first time since the fatal shooting in an Aurora movie theater last Friday. There will be a moment of silence for the victims at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where the Rapids take on Swansea City.
And the Portland Timbers are back in action on Tuesday against Aston Villa, as the Villains wrap up their three-game US tour in the Rose City. It’s not just any friendly for the lowly Timbers, who are looking for ways to snap out of a slump in league play and got this ultimatum from interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson: “Everyone is replaceable.”
And last but not least, Tottenham Hotspur are in Los Angeles to take on the Galaxy, who will play without both Donovan and Beckham while they’re on All-Star duty. Spurs players met the media on Monday to preview the game and offer their thoughts on European players’ changing opinions of MLS.
Let’s bounce around the league, beginning with Álvaro Fernández in Seattle. He spoke to the media on Monday about those Deportivo Cali rumors and what might come next for one of the Sounders’ biggest stars.
The dust has only recently settled on last week’s huge trade that landed Eric Hassli in Toronto, but TSN’s Luke Wileman takes his shot at breaking down the deal and what it means for the big Frenchman’s time in Toronto.
And what about Martin Rennie, the man who dealt Hassli out of Vancouver? It seems that despite a busy first few months on the job and working the phones, he could be on the verge of yet another deal to help out the ‘Caps.
One quick glimpse outside MLS finds a former great on his way back to the US in the form of Jeff Cunningham. The league’s all-time leading scorer has signed a deal with the San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL.
And last but not least, the US women’s Olympic team opens play on Wednesday, and there’s perhaps no bigger star for the club this time around than Hope Solo. How do you know? She has a memoir coming out detailing her life, and it’s timed perfectly with her arrival on the Olympic stage.
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