Kick Off: Henry calls Sporting the "best team in the league"
San Jose may have the points and the MVP candidate, but Thierry Henry is looking elsewhere for what he considers the best team in MLS.
Ahead of Saturday's Eastern Conference clash against Kansas City at Red Bull Arena (7 pm ET, MLS Live), Henry made sure his admiration for Peter Vermes' side is well known, calling Sporting "the best team in the league at the moment."
“They go forward together, they defend together. They put their body on the line or they’re blocking shots," Henry said. "They’re very aggressive in a good way and have a good attitude. You have to give a lot of credit to their boss; he’s been doing a tremendous job for more than one-and-a-half years."
Fellow Designated Player Tim Cahill, who will be in the lineup on Saturday despite a taxing travel schedule with Australia for World Cup qualifying, echoed his teammate's thoughts.
“I’m a big fan of their team, the way they work as a team,” Cahill said. “There’s no individuals, they work very hard, they know how to grind a result and they’ve got a few classy players that can whip a ball in."
On 59 points, Sporting KC sit atop the Eastern Conference and boast a draw, 0-0, against New York at home as well as a 2-0 victory at Red Bull Arena in September. One of the talking points from that game was Henry's head butt on Kei Kamara during stoppage time, a play that eventually resulted in a one-game suspension. It was the second incident between Henry and SKC in the past year, but Kamara says he's already over it.
"Everybody wants to win," Kamara said on Tuesday. "He's a competitor. Maybe I was [ticked] off at the situation before, but I'm over it. He's somebody that I respect a lot. I look up to him a lot, what he has done in his career. So for me, it's just one of those [things]. He's just being a competitor. He wants to win."
In other New York news, check out this examination of former Red Bulls general manager Erik Solér's recent dismissal.
One European who hopes to stick around Major League Soccer is Chicago defender Arne Friedrich. Friedrich has enjoyed a standout year in the middle of the Fire backline and head coach Frank Klopas confirmed the club would like to bring him back, but there's nothing concrete in the Windy City yet.
"I already spoke to the club and there's a chance, but there's nothing to [announce] so far," Friedrich said. "I love the city, I love the club. I've got some very good friends in this town, and the club has been very professional. There's nothing to complain about."
Along with Sporting KC, Chicago is the only other Eastern Conference team to have a playoff spot locked up with two games remaining. D.C. United could join them with either a draw or a win Saturday against Columbus (7:30 pm ET, MLS Live).
The Seattle Sounders are already in the playoffs, but they're focused on securing the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. Find out how they can do it here.
Real Salt Lake are in a similar position, but they've got more to worry about that Seattle, namely sealing their place in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals against Herediano.
Meanwhile, Seattle's Cascadia rivals will meet Sunday (7 pm ET, MLS Live) with plenty on the line. For the Timbers, it's an opportunity to clinch the Cascadia Cup while putting their road woes behind them. For Vancouver, it's a chance to seal a playoff spot with three points.
Down the coast in San Jose, the Earthquakes are in line for a once-in-a-lifetime experience on Sunday when the LA Galaxy come to Buck Shaw Stadium (7 pm ET, Galavision). If the Quakes win, what would be a third win vs. LA in 2012, they will seal the Supporters' Shield just hours after breaking ground on their new stadium. And with Chris Wondolowski just two goals away from tying Roy Lassiter, there could be even more history in the making.
Could Wondo be among those Jurgen Klinsmann calls up for the Russia friendly officially announced by US Soccer on Thursday? The US will travel to Krasnodar on Nov. 14 to take on Andrei Arshavin and his teammates, and local fans have promised to be welcoming.
That game will be a warm-up for 2013, which one SI.com columnist says will push both the US and Mexico. Check out the players whose stock rose the most against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala, as well as those who experienced the biggest drop.
Goal.com spoke to US center back Geoff Cameron, who is certainly enjoying his new life at Stoke City.
There's not a whole lot to enjoy in Canada at the moment. Stephen Hart resigned his post a national team manager on Thursday. One columnist argued the CSA must appoint a "dynamic" technical director to correct the national team's issues, while another says Canada's 8-1 loss to Honduras will usher them into obscurity.
Looking elsewhere in CONCACAF, Andy Najar is thrilled that Honduras' World Cup dream remains alive, while Houston's Jamaica contingent says it's Brazil or bust.
Finally, former D.C. forward and current Melbourne Victory striker Danny Allsopp suddenly announced his retirement.
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