Kick Off: All the latest MLS transfer rumors as silly seasons draws near

Kick off Juan Agudelo

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USA TODAY Sports

Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.

1. AGUDELO DROPS A HINT

What’s happening with Juan Agudelo? Well, on Friday the striker tweeted a message that would seem to suggest he could finally be on the move. However, that message quickly disappeared again. Did Agudelo just jump the gun a bit on the news? We’ll have to wait and see. However, it seems that if Agudelo does leave the New England Revolution, he’ll be doing so on good terms, something that could one day pave the way for a return.

2.  RETURN TO SEATTLE

It was quite the year for Brad Evans. The Seattle Sounders handyman quickly worked his way up the US national team pecking order and decided to commit to the Emerald City team long-term, saying, “I’ve come to love the city of Seattle. I call it home now…” It seems like he’s not the only one who feels that way either, as rumors suggest Mario Martínez is planning on returning.

3. I LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER

Philadelphia Union head coach John Hackworth has been speaking about the decision to let Michael Farfan join Cruz Azul, a choice Hackworth said was a hard one because of the strong personal relationship they had developed. However, attention now turns to finding a replacement, and as Hackworth says, “We have a plan that was put in place a while ago and we’ve built up some resources for players in terms of quality.”

4. CHIVAS USA TO FINALLY GET THEIR MAN?

After years and years of rumor and speculation, could 2014 finally be the year that Chivas USA capture Adolfo Bautista? According to reports, “El Bofo” is set to sign a one-year contract with the club.

5. TIMBERS SET FOR MOVES

The Portland Timbers ended an incredible year by securing a space in next season's CONCACAF Champions League, a feat that could present the club with a huge challenge heading into the second half of 2014. It seems they’ll have to face it without José Valencia as well.

6. PERUVIAN SET FOR MYSTERY CLUB?

Could a former D.C. United target be on his way to MLS? According to some reports, Peruvian winger Jorge Bazán could be set to join a currently unnamed MLS club. United were also linked with another player over the weekend, but it turns out the club was simply the unknowing participant in Puebla striker Matías Alustiza’s Day of Holy Innocents prank.

7. TALKING UP TORONTO

Toronto FC defender Steven Caldwell is currently back home in Britain and took some time to join Sky Sports and chat about his time in MLS with the Canadian club. The Scottish international was full of praise for the league and how things are shaping up in Toronto, stating, “If we can get things right on the pitch, it will be a fabulous place to be playing.

8.  FOREIGN AFFAIRS

BusinessOfSoccer.com has put together an insightful piece looking at how each club utilizes American and foreign players, as well as looking at the salary division amongst those groups. So, which clubs have the most foreign players? The answer may surprise you.

9. THE CONSULTANT

With the hiring of Brian Ching as managing director, the Houston Dash had already announced one major signing. But on Friday, the NWSL club announced another major coup with the news that former US women's national team coach Tony Dicicco will join as a consultant as the team continues to search for its first head coach.

10. THE NEXT BIG THING?

You may not have heard of Charlie Horton, but could the 18-year-old goalkeeper be the next big thing in American soccer? Horton currently plays for English League One side Peterborough, a team developing a knack for improving players and selling them onto the Premier League.

11. KEEPING TABS ON THE KIDS

Tab Ramos was recently named youth technical director for U.S. Soccer and the former USMNT and MLS star – who was recently voted to the US all-time best XI – has been speaking more about what that role means and how all the best players will get their chance with the national team.

12. THE BEST XI?

As part of their centenary celebrations, U.S. Soccer recently released a list of the all-time best XI US players. However, while the players selected were all fully deserving, it was a list that some argue failed to take into account much of U.S. Soccer’s 100-year history. While we’re on the subject of best XIs, here’s a most Improved XI in MLS, courtesy of SoccerByIves.net.

13. SNEAK PEAK AT THE STUBHUB

StubHub Center played host to a friendly between Mexican sides Club Tijuana and Club América on Saturday, leaving some confused as to why the Galaxy would allow their future CONCACAF Champions League opponents a chance to scout the ground. The game itself finished 3-3 and gave some US players, such as Herculez Gomez, a chance to try and impress in Jurgen Klinsmann's back yard.

14. SOME LIGHT READING

While soccer continues to grow in the United States, so too are magazines about the sport. Here, The New York Times takes a look at three publishers experiencing various levels of success. Of course, not all magazines are in print. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the latest edition of Overlap, available for free right here.

15. THE GIF THAT KEEPS ON GIVING

As we approach the end of 2013 its worth remembering some of the funniest moments from the year just gone. As such, here are 13 of the best, presented as GIFs for your viewing pleasure.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

No. 2 Story of the Year: MLS Expansion

No. 3 Story of the Year: Robbie Rogers returns

Moment of the Year: SKC win MLS Cup

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