Kick Off: Shalrie lands in Seattle, more new faces to follow?

Shalrie’s a Sounder. That’s got a nice ring to it.

The on-off trade of eight-time MLS All-Star Shalrie Joseph from Chivas USA to the Sounders was completed yesterday, as Seattle pounced to make the veteran midfielder their third DP.

“We’re happy to add a player of Shalrie’s experience to our team,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “He’s a player that’s proven himself to be a leader in game situations and a player of his quality can only help us be a better team as we move into this season.”

The deal seemed dead in the water just days ago, as Schmid spoke out about Joseph’s lack of fitness. It seems those comments were part of a well-concieved negotiation plan. And as for Joseph’s position on the field, that could be anywhere, according to Schmid:

“He’s shown he can play centerback on occasion, but that’s probably not my preferred spot for him. I would rather see him in midfield and maybe on the odd occasion up front.”

Wherever he plays, fans lauded the value of the trade as Seattle picked up two second round picks in the MLS SuperDraft and the No. 3 spot in the Allocation Order from Chivas. That last piece of the trade is significant as Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer admitted the Emerald City side will be busy and could make a move for a current USMNT star playing abroad.  

Javier Saviola has been on Hanauer's radar, but Seattle’s GM told fans to be patient on that one, as another MLS side holds Saviola’s discovery rights.

Here are the highlights from Hanauer’s conference call – in which he discussed the possibility of another new DP arriving, Djimi Traoré contract prospects and a potential departure, thought to be DP playmaker Christian Tiffert – from Seattle Times reporter Josh Mayers.

And oh yeah, here’s another rumor involving the Sounders, as former Inter Milan, Newcastle and current Levante striker Obafemi Martins could be heading to CenturyLink. Pace, goals and incredible somersaulting goal celebrations are guaranteed with this guy. (VIDEO)

Its busy up in Cascadia, as just across the Canadian border, Vancouver added a coup of their own on Tuesday, winning the race for Honduran Olympic team captain Johnny Leverón.

“It's hard to find left-footed center backs who can hit a diagonal ball and play balls into strikers and midfielders and Leverón is one we think can do that," Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie told MLSsoccer.com. The ‘Caps beat several top European clubs in clinching Leverón’s signature.

However, the young Honduran defender won’t feature tonight, as the Whitecaps take on the Houston Dynamo in the Carolina Challenge Cup at 5 pm ET. Before that the Chicago Fire take on the Charleston Battery at 7:15 pm ET at Blackbaud Stadium.

Of course, Frank Klopas will be on the sideline for the Fire. Find out the sacrifices he made to finish his career in Chicago. It wasn't cheap.

Speaking of the Dynamo, apparently they’re the home of yet another new arrival in MLS, according to Scottish Premier League side Heart of Midlothian. The Edinburgh club released a statement on their website saying winger Andy Driver has signed for Houston on loan until his contract expires at the end of the SPL season, when he becomes a free agent.

“The winger will join MLS outfit Houston Dynamo on loan until the expiration of his Tynecastle contract,” Hearts said. “The club wishes Andrew all the best as he continues his career with this chance to play in America.”

Moving up to North Texas, FC Dallas made two shrewd signings on Tuesday. Schellas Hyndman signed Brazilian flank player Michel and traded for Houston midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson.

“I think Je-Vaughn adds to what we need as far as balancing our team,” Hyndman said. “We need a central midfielder who can play on both sides of the ball, can attack and also can defend well. He comes in with good experience.”

Elsewhere, down in the second division, former Dallas and Portland midfielder James Marcellin is looking for a contract in New York, along with 200 other hopefuls at Hofstra University.

Chivas USA are still unbeaten in preseason as they ground out a 0-0 tie with South Korean side Gangwon FC on Tuesday, the same result registered by the LA Galaxy on Sunday.  

Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake signed draft pick Devon Sandoval after the physical forward impressed in preseason. If you love Steven Lenhart, then you’ll love Sandoval.

RSL are in action tonight in the Desert Diamond Cup, as they face New England at 7 pm ET, while Seattle square off against the New York Red Bulls at 9 pm ET. Watch both games live on MLSsoccer.com here.

Up in Portland, Caleb Porter and his staff are in overdrive as they prepare for his first season in MLS. 

Owner Merritt Paulson is heavily involved and he announced the signing of former Arsenal, Manchester United and French International defender Mikaël Silvestre pending visa and league approval. While West Ham United striker Frederic Piquionne is on trial with the Timbers.

The former Lyon and Portsmouth striker should feature for the Timbers tonight, as they face FC Dallas at 10:30 pm ET in the Portland Preseason Tournament. San Jose play AIK Stockholm at 8 pm ET.

Staying put in Portland, check out our latest team-by-team season preview at MLSsoccer.com with the Timbers under the microscope. With plenty of new arrivals in the offseason, be sure to glance at Portland’s depth chart too.

Seeing which players ended up where and how often they’ll play will definitely help you with your MLSsoccer.com Fantasy team. In the latest MLS Fantasy 101, find out how easy it is to join or create a fantasy soccer league. Sign up, you’ll love it.

Talking about love, Montreal Impact captain Davy Arnaud is delighted with his decision to join the league’s newest team in Quebec. Arnaud spoke openly about moving from Kansas City, his home for 10 years, and the new season ahead with Montreal.

From Montreal to Toronto, and yesterday it was announced the US women's national team will play an exhibition match against their Canadian counterparts on June 2. The meeting will be the first encounter between the two nations, since the fiery encounter at the London 2012 Olympics, where the US prevailed 4-3. This morning Dutch media are claiming the USWNT will face the Netherlands on April 9 in Holland. 

And speaking of the US, Jurgen Klinsmann’s Nats will be roared on by a sellout crowd in Colorado for their World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica. Dick's Sporting Goods Park will be full to the brim for the huge March 22 matchup.

Klinsmann could have some surprise new recruits on his roster for the clash in Colorado, with two Argentine-Americans on the German’s radar

A USMNT player made a name for himself last night, as Edgar Castillo created the game-winning goal for Club Tijuana in their historic Copa Libertadores victory over Fredy Montero’s Millonarios side.

Across the pond, Canadian exports had a good showing on Tuesday. Atiba Hutchinson’s PSV went back to the top of the Eredivisie. Check out how all the exports got on here.

Hoping across the border from the Netherlands to France, David Beckham has been training and preparing for his first match for PSG. And he brought along son Brooklyn to train with Les Parisiens during his break from school in London. Pretty cool babysitter.

Beckham’s old MLS mate, Thierry Henry, has vowed to have a word with the ex-LA Galaxy star about recently flashing a posterior that wasn’t his own in this H&M ad.

Henry said: “I am disappointed. It is kind of weird. I don’t know why he did that. He should be in shape. I need to talk with him about that.”

There’s plenty of soccer on the telly today, as UEFA Champions league action continues. The big one is AC Milan hosting Barcelona (2:45 pm ET, Fox Soccer) at the San Siro, while Jermaine Jones’ Schalke 04 side face what’s sure to be a hostile reception in Istanbul against Galatasaray in the last 16 (2:45 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus). 

In England the big news today surrounds Manchester United’s chief executive David Gill, who announced he’s stepping down at the end of the season after almost two decades with the Red Devils.

The fighting in Syria continues and a soccer player's life has been claimed. Find out what happened when a mortar fell on a stadium in Damascus.

And finally, this goal caused uproar in the match between César Vallejo and Union Comerico in Peru. Sportsmanship was a nationwide debate after the striker tapped the ball past a ‘keeper flailing around in agony. What do you make of it? VIDEO

MLSsoccer.com Musts

ExtraTime Radio: Kenny Cooper on leaving New York

Scouting Report: Portland Timbers season preview

American Exports: U-20 LB has eye on Chivas


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