Kick Off: Is Torsten Frings on his way out of Toronto?
Torsten Frings’ days could be over in Toronto, depending on who you believe. That‘s the rumor making the rounds this morning, after Frings returned to Ontario from Florida last week for “personal matters.”
Canadian Soccer News managing editor Duane Rollins (@24thminute) tweeted this out this morning: “Hearing a very strong rumour that
#TFC is going to release Torsten Frings today or tomorrow. #MLS Will update as I know more.”
If true, the move would spell the end for the injury-hit German Designated Player, as Ryan Nelsen shuffles his pack after a recruiting trip to Europe for potential new players over the past few days. Watch this space as the story unfolds up in Toronto, as Nelsen prepares for his first season in charge.
And this time next week, MLS opening day will be just one day away. Clubs across the league are getting busy, real busy.
A flurry of new signings arrived on Thursday with ex-Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker inking a long-term deal in Vancouver, Colombian star Olmes García arriving at RSL on a five-year contract and plenty of other new arrivals signed on the dotted line as preseason camps come to a close.
Arguably the biggest name to arrive was Reo-Coker, who left offers from England and Russia on the table for British Columbia. And ‘Caps head coach Martin Rennie believes his new midfielder can reach even greater heights in MLS.
“It makes me laugh when people talk about his untapped potential," Rennie said. "A 28-year-old player who captained Aston Villa, Bolton and West Ham and played in the Premiership at the age of 18 and captained the England Under-21s. ... I think he's fulfilled his potential. He still believes and I believe that he hasn't hit his peak yet and time will tell if that's true or not.”
While a player still full of untapped potential is RSL’s newest attacking option, García. The striker signed from Colombian side Deportes Quindío and although Jason Kreis doesn't expect him to make big impact right away, he believes García is the real deal: "He’s got good size, very good speed, and was pretty smart in his tactical awareness. He is a player that has an amazing potential for us.”
Elsewhere, Carlos Ruiz is settling back in to MLS, after D.C. United picked up the veteran striker. See what Ruiz has to say about the move in this Q&A. United didn’t stop there as veteran midfielder John Thorrington also signed for the capital club, giving Ben Olsen a wealth of experience.
Meanwhile, the Colorado Rapids added two rookies to their roster and have been tinkering with a few tactical moves as Oscar Pareja’s men get ready for the season to begin.
Speaking of tactics, across the Rocky Mountains RSL’s Ned Grabavoy speaks about his views on how the beautiful game should be played on ESPN Radio. (LISTEN)
Shalrie Joseph has been speaking out about why he moved to Seattle. "I’m at the tail end of my career and I want a chance to win a championship,” Joseph said. “I think this is the team that’s giving me the best chance to win.”
LA will be hoping Landon Donovan can help them to a third-straight MLS championship. In case you missed it, the Galaxy’s star attacker spoke out about that and his hopes of still playing a part for the USMNT in World Cup qualifying, in that interview at USC. Watch the clip of Donovan talking about his US future here. (VIDEO)
One team hoping to get back to MLS Cup for the first-time since 2010 is FC Dallas. Can they do it? Matt Doyle and Dan Haiek break down FCD’s chances on the Scouting Report and check out our latest team-by-team preview on Dallas. Without Brek Shea, what does their depth chart look like? Something like this.
Maybe if they keep busting out awesome soccer tennis skills like this, then Dallas will go all the way in 2013. Maybe.
FC Dallas are in Portland right now, as they prepare for the final game of the Portland Preseason Tournament on Saturday. They take on San Jose at 5:30 pm ET before hosts Portland take on AIK at 8 pm ET.
The Quakes are preparing to defend their Supporters’ Shield title and Frank Yallop sat down with the guys from NBC Pro Soccer Talk to answer a few questions. When will Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon both be fit?
Down at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic, Philadelphia Union boss John Hackworth was baffled with some questions put to him.
Philadelphia announced they'd let three preseason signings go yesterday, Hackworth was a bit "hacked off" that he had to explain the moves: “It’s interesting that we’re talking about the preseason and getting ready for opening day and you guys are more concerned about three guys that are not on our team and not in the picture.”
But back to the action at Disney, and after a week without games the action gets underway as the tournament climaxes with the final on Saturday. The Montreal Impact take on Columbus in the final (live online via ESPN3 at 8 pm ET,) and Sporting KC battle with the Union in the third-placed match (live on ESPN3 at 6 pm ET).
The Carolina Challenge Cup concludes on Saturday as well, with Chicago and Vancouver playing at 5 pm ET and Houston facing hosts Charleston at 7:15 pm ET. While out West, Seattle take on Real Salt Lake in the Desert Diamond Cup final.
LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane usually does most of his talking on the pitch. But that’s changed a little with David Beckham gone and Landon Donovan out of the picture, for the time being, at LA. The Irish skipper gave several insightful interviews this week. Two came from the Sporting News and Brian Straus, as Keane spoke of the league’s recent success and what the future holds.
“There are a lot of players in England that I speak to now, youngish kind of players, that want to come over here and play over here,” the Irish star said.
Keane also sat down to speak bluntly about his plans for the future, stating “I dread the day I have to retire from football. I mean, I dread it.” He also spoke in his trademark honesty about the years ahead and captaining LA: “I’ll be the same as I was last year and the year before. It won’t change.”
And this week during LA’s 6-2 preseason win over Club Tijuana, Keane’s old friend and distant relative Morrissey dropped in to compare chins and talk soccer.
So from one ex-Tottenham player to some current ones, as two American Exports tasted Europa League success on Thursday. Brad Friedel and Clint Dempsey both contributed as Spurs scored a dramatic last-gasp equalizer to make it through to the last 16 of the Europa League at the expense of Lyon.
See how all the other Exports got on elsewhere in Europe.
Staying across the pond, there are plenty of games on the TV this weekend with the EPL back in full flow after last weeks FA Cup action.
Brek Shea could feature for Stoke City against Fulham tomorrow (7:45 am ET, ESPN2), after being named in the Potters squad for the first time since his January move. Boss Tony Pulis has been impressed with the USMNT wingers fitness ahead of the trip to Craven Cottage.
"I think Brek has been out for three or four months with an injury, so this is almost like a preseason for him, but he is a fit lad I have to say.”
Fox Soccer Channel has QPR hosting Manchester United at 10 am ET and at the same time on Fox Soccer Plus, Brad Guzan’s Aston Villa face Arsenal at the Emirates.
The U-20 World Cup qualifying continues today, as the US U-20 side takes on Costa Rica (Fox Soccer Channel, 6:30 pm ET).
US midfielder Benji Joya revealed the hostile atmosphere in Mexico is spurring the team on: “Them talking smack isn’t going to affect us at all. We’re going to come out and do the same thing we’ve been working on, and get the three points.”
While Soccer America hints at changes for the US team and has a full schedule of the U-20 CONCACAF qualifying tournament.
Canada prepare for a battle with Nicaragua for the final quarterfinal spot at 9 pm ET. Watch here. VIDEO
The USWNT are heading out to the Algarve Cup in Portugal next month, but ‘keeper Hope Solo won’t be there as she may need wrist surgery.
Down in the NASL, commissioner Bill Peterson spoke to the Examiner at lengths about the plans for the league and what he made of the MLS/USL Pro merger. Intriguing. Also he hinted at the future expansion of NASL and which cities may get a franchise.
“Although we're spending time on the West Coast and we plan to expand to the West Coast, we've avoided creating any artificial priorities or deadlines," Peterson said. "There are a number of great cities in North America where NASL can thrive, including a couple in New England.”
Peterson added: “Our focus is on how many people can we entertain in Indianapolis, in Fort Lauderdale, in Tampa and in San Antonio.”
In other news on the college scene, Louisville could have a brand new soccer specific stadium.
And former MLS Cup champion and current University of Washington assistant coach Craig Waibel arrived to the Twitter world with a bang. Check out perhaps the best first Tweet ever written.
There has been plenty of banter about the upcoming season and MLSsoccer.com’s Fantasy Soccer: Manager. Our very own Andrew Wiebe has set up the ExtraTime Radio League. Join here to get involved with the tittle-tattle of MLS Fantasy and see if you can beat the “experts.”
What price would Luis Suarez be worth in the MLS Fantasy game? Quite a lot if he keeps scoring goals like this incredible free kick in last night’s Europa League win.
Another diminutive South American who isn’t bad at soccer is Lionel Messi. You could be catching up with the Argentine star as he and his mates are apparently heading to the US on tour this summer.
And finally, what kind of thanks is this. Tegan McGrady shone for the US women's Under-17 side, but has been suspended from high school soccer for playing for her national team instead. Incredible. Who makes this stuff up?
ExtraTime Radio: Sigi Schmid on Tiffert's uncertain future, Joseph's arrival
The Throw-in: No.1 pick Farrell has inside track to stardom
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