Kick Off: Landon Donovan's retirement plans, DeAndre Yedlin rumors, MLS transfer deadline day
Here are the top 15 stories we’re following today:
1. LANDON'S RETIREMENT ANNOUNCEMENT
Landon Donovan, who most consider the greatest American soccer player of all-time, announced on Thursday that he will retire at the end of the MLS season. "My gut just told me it was right and it was the right time," he said. The countdown of his final 15 regular-season MLS matches begins on Friday with a nationally televised match against his former club, the San Jose Earthquakes (10:30 pm ET, NBCSN, free stream on NBCSports.com).
Donovan's decision made global headlines, from Spain to Brazil, illustrating just how popular and he has been to the growth of the sport in the United States. As the news filtered through, the tributes flowed in. The likes of Tim Howard, Sunil Gulati, Claudio Reyna, Dax McCarty, and Maurice Edu, among others, expressed their gratitude. And Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath won the day with his wonderfully self-deprecating tweet.
3. ARENA BROUGHT TO TEARS
No coach has had as big an impact on Donovan as Bruce Arena, and vice versa. The LA Galaxy boss couldn't hold back the emotion as he described what Donovan meant to him.
4. ALL HE'S DONE IS...
Over his 15-year career, Donovan has set records for goals, playoff goals, MLS All-Star appearances, and MLS Cups (tied). Here are the top 10 moments of his MLS career (so far), according to the editors at MLSsoccer.com. It's all so impressive, the Galaxy might consider erecting an LD statue some day.
5. DEADLINE DAY ROUNDUP
It’s always one of the most hectic days on the calendar: the last day of the MLS transfer window. Amid the All-Star hoopla and the Landon news, you may have missed a few of the comings and goings. Andrew Weibe gets you caught up with a full roundup and ranking of all the moves that happened.
6. SPURS CLOSING IN ON YEDLIN?
Seattle Sounders star DeAndre Yedlin has been in the transfer news ever since the World Cup. According to Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep, he's on the verge of joining Barclay's Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. No word from the Sounders, but the report claims he will finish out the 2014 MLS season before making the move. So he'll definitely be around for the upcoming home game against the Houston Dynamo (Sunday, 10:30 pm ET, ESPN2).
7. FC DALLAS SIGN DEFENDER CABRERA
In need of defensive reinforcements, FC Dallas added Paraguayan defender Walter Cabrera on Thursday, signing the 24-year-old on loan from Paraguayan club General Diaz. Head coach Oscar Pareja believes that Cabrera "fits very well into our style of play." Dallas take on the Colorado Rapids on Saturday (9 pm ET, MLS LIVE).
8. RSL TARGET SAYS FAREWELL TO UNION ESPAÑOLA
There's nothing official from either club yet, but Argentine striker Sebastian Jaime sure seems set on a move from Chilean club Union Española to Real Salt Lake. The Chilean league itself all but confirmed a deal earlier in the week, and now the player himself has written a farewell letter to his fans.
9. DC ACQUIRE ESTRADA FROM SOUNDERS
The injury problems in attack continue to pile up for D.C. United – with Michael Seaton and Conor Doyle the latest to be ruled out – but the capitol side picked up another option by trading for David Estrada from the Seattle Sounders. Estrada could feature when United travel to Real Salt Lake on Saturday (10 pm ET, free stream on MLSsoccer.com).
10. KLJESTAN OFF BEFORE IT WAS ON
When the LA Galaxy called a press conference for Thursday, many assumed it was to announce the signing of Anderlecht midfielder Sacha Kljestan was on the move to SoCal. But Kljestan himself put to bed those rumors. (By the way, check out the Superman background on his twitter page.)
11. JJ STILL NOT OFF THE TABLE FOR CHICAGO
It was a quiet transfer window for the Chicago Fire, but head coach Frank Yallop insists that the club is still eyeing Jermaine Jones. The USMNT midfielder remains at Besiktas for the time being, while Yallop is turning his attention to explore other options. The manager has come under fire on social media over a lack of squad moves. "I can see where they're coming from," he said. "I just want to make sure we make the right moves." The Fire host New York on Sunday (8 pm ET, Univision Deportes).
12. COULD SAO PAULO SUCCESS DELAY KAKÁ’S ARRIVAL?
There’s just a matter of months until Orlando City debut in MLS. But their main headliner, Kaká, may not appear for a little while longer, if reports from Brazil this morning are to be believed. Kaká, who is on loan at Brazilian club São Paulo until January, is reportedly open to extending the loan if SPFC qualify for the Copa Libertadores. No word from Orlando City yet.
13. WHITECAPS ADD COSTA RICAN CENTER BACK
With Jay DeMerit's retirement, the 'Caps needed to bolster their center back position. On Friday morning, they did just that, adding 6-foot-5 Costa Rican Kendall Waston, most recently with Saprissa. “Kendall is a big, physical, aggressive centre back who has a nose for the net,” said head coach Carl Robinson. Check out some highlights of his play. The Whitecaps host Sporting KC on Sunday (8 pm ET, TSN/RDS2, MLS LIVE).
14. NELSEN FINED FOR REFEREE CRITICISM
Referee Ted Unkel came under fire from Toronto FC coach Ryan Nelsen after last week's 2-1 home defeat to Sporting Kansas City. And now Nelsen has been fined by the league for his outburst. But Michael Bradley appears to have escaped. Toronto travel to face the Columbus Crew on Saturday (7:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE).
15. COULD RIHANNA BE INTERESTED IN CHIVAS USA?
Yes, you read that correctly. Pop star Rihanna, who showed her soccer fandom during the World Cup, is reportedly now looking to put her money where her social-media mouth is. A friend of Didier Drogba, she is reportedly "really serious" about becoming involved in a club in the UK or she "hinted she may do something with an LA team." Who wouldn't want to hear "We Found Love" as warm-up music?
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