Kick Off: East foes SKC, RBNY battling on DP market

Anything you can do, I can do better.

That’s what it feels like in MLS’ Eastern Conference, where contenders Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls are going blow-for-blow in the offseason just as they’re expected to do on the field in 2013.

A day after the New York Red Bulls announce the signing of Juninho Pernambucano, Sporting Kansas City continues their aggressive player acquisition campaign with the announcement of a Designated Player today.

Reports from South America indicate that the big name is likely to be Argentine-born striker Claudio Bieler. Here’s the early reaction of one KC blog to the rumored move.

This latest move comes within 24 hours of SKC learning that Roger Espinoza’s move to Wigan is a fait accompli with a UK work permit finally coming through for the Honduran international.

While Sporting may claim the headlines for a day, the Red Bulls may not be too far behind with a DP of their own. Reports from France say the club is closing in on PSG striker Peguy Luyindula, a friend of Thierry Henry, who is seeking a release from the free-spending French giants. (FRENCH)

One former Red Bulls DP is still making news in the USA. Rafa Márquez has joined Club León of the Liga MX and he says it will give him a better chance to get back on the Mexican national team because “the level of Mexican soccer is greater than that in MLS.” (at 01:40 mark in this video).

Some are coming and some are going. LA Galaxy Designated Player Robbie Keane says he’ll only contemplate a potential loan move to England if his Achilles injury gets better.

Don’t expect Vancouver forward Kenny Miller to be heading out on loan this offseason. Whitecaps manager Martin Rennie says, “Generally speaking, I don’t really see too much benefit in it.”

An MLS team may soon be benefiting from another Honduran international player joining the league. Olimpia defender Juan Carlos García is apparently on an MLS club’s radar as teams from other countries also line up to bid for his services with six months remaining on his contract back home. (SPANISH)

One MLS transaction that is sure to happen today: Ex-US Under-17 defender Mobi Fehr will be available to three teams via lottery. Find out which teams are in the running and who has the best shot of landing him.

Yesterday the Columbus Crew signed Danny O’Rourke, who says “I just want to win and win in Columbus.” But the Crew may have a tougher time bringing back two of their international players in 2013.

An MLS legend could be heading to the NASL. A Big Apple Soccer report says that the New York Cosmos have expressed interest in signing goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who last played for FC Dallas in 2012.

Those people thinking that the NASL is a step down from MLS may have to review that position if the vision of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers president materializes. Here’s what he says about the NASL’s long-term goals: “I think our league will be recognized on its own as being a league that’s strong enough to be on the same level as MLS.”

The US national team is firming up long-term plans of its own for 2013 with the announcement that they’ll be hosting Canada in Houston in January. Could it mark Geoff Cameron’s return to the city he once called home?

Hear more from Jurgen Klinsmann’s meeting with reporters on the eve of MLS Cup and a story he tells about German goalkeeping great Oliver Kahn. Is there a player on the USA who’ll be going through what Kahn did in 2014?

Could Seattle be on the list to host a friendly or World Cup qualifier in the future? If they do, the game better be a good one, according to Seattle Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer: “We don’t just want to bring any old game here. If we bring a game, we want it to have some meaning and be a game that our fans are really going to enjoy.”

One player who probably hopes to be playing against the US in that first CONCACAF Hexagonal World Cup qualifier against Honduras is D.C. United’s Andy Najar, who is currently training at Anderlecht. But the Washington Examiner seems to believe that there could be a tug-of-war brewing between the two clubs for Najar.

Snoop Dogg speaks and we listen. One of the USA’s celebrity soccer fans pronounces himself on where he wants to see David Beckham end up. Will he have any inside knowledge?

What’s he wearing? No, we’re not talking about Snoop, but American midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who was clearly not showing off his wardrobe on this radio appearance with Andrés Cantor. (PHOTO)

As far as international action on the tube today: Check out the Italian Cup match between Internazionale and Hellas Verona (3 pm ET, beIN Sport).

If you have a little too much time on your hands this holiday season, here’s a game that may be worth putting on the calendar: Bob Bradley’s Egypt play Qatar in Doha on Friday, Dec. 28. Bradley just announced his squad.

Lists, lists and more lists. It’s what happens at the end of the year. So how about a list of the top 20 players in MLS today courtesy of Late Challenge.

We’ve seen soccer fans do “The Poznan” in stadiums across Europe. But never thought we’d see it in a theater. (VIDEO)

Staying in Europe, have you ever wondered how the top clubs handle tactics? Well, thanks to the garbage-pickers of Brazil’s Globo, here are the print-outs of the corner kick tactics that European champs Chelsea planned for beating Corinthians in the FIFA Club World Cup. These crumpled papers were found by media in the locker room trash. (PHOTOS)

For fans counting the days until Lionel Messi is done with his FC Barcelona contract and ready to come stateside, he has just signed a contract extension through 2018. By the way, the release clause in the contract would cost any suitor $250 million.

It’s never too early to cash in on fame. In fact, 10-year-old Romeo Beckham, son of former Galaxy star Beckham, is already headlining a high-end Burberry campaign. (VIDEO)

But even if you don’t have the cash to shell out on Romeo’s trench coat during the shopping season, you can still be happy this holiday. Just listen to this Christmas classic “Feliz Navidad” inspired by Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema. Should brighten up your morning. (VIDEO)

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