Kick Off: Agudelo gets the call again, Dax is captain
Taking the start of the MLS season into consideration, US national team manager Bob Bradley called up a 24-man roster for matches against Argentina and Paraguay consisting mainly of players based in Europe.
However, the youngest of them all is 18-year-old New York Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo, who is called up to his third straight camp and will team up with Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey for the first time.
Staying with the national team, the USA vs. Mexico rivalry will be back for World Cup qualifying after all. Seems like it will be status quo as far as how the berths will be assigned in CONCACAF.
A player who has already worn the captain’s armband for the USA in January will do so for his MLS club. Dax McCarty was named captain at D.C. United at the same event in which owner Will Chang says that he is going to “be able to report something soon” on the stadium front.
The newest stadium in MLS will be christened by Sporting Kansas City in June. But the club is in the news today for inviting NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco to train. He accepted the club’s invitation and manager Peter Vermes actually had a chat with the Cincinnati Bengals player about what he can do.
According to one writer, here are the names of five other NFL players, who he argues can succeed at playing soccer.
A day after losing 1-0 to LA in the season opener, Seattle manager Sigi Schmid still feels his team should have come away with at least a scoreless draw. And he offered this nugget to chew on ahead of the weekend: “Our league is a league where the team that usually has more possession loses because it's a counterattacking league.”
San Jose Earthquakes manager Frank Yallop provides a contribution on the topic, telling the San Jose Mercury News that: “I'd rather make sure we're tough to beat than go out and be flamboyant and lose every game."
The title of youngest Designated Player in league history belongs to 18-year-old Fabián Castillo of FC Dallas. The club explains why the Colombian falls under the DP heading and reveals a change that is in store for next year.
One young foreign player who is seeing a move to MLS burn up in flames is former Arsenal right back Kerrea Gilbert. Based on comments made by Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson, there’s apparently an issue of character that has the team rethinking the acquisition.
There are two new players who joined the foreign ranks of the league from England. The Rapids inked forward Caleb Folan while the San Jose Earthquakes welcome Tottenham Hotspur’s Simon Dawkins on loan.
One player who is happy to be in MLS is Chivas USA’s Francisco Panchito Mendoza, who says he saw executions take place while playing in Ciudad de Juárez, Mexico.
Moving forward is Toronto FC's Dwayne De Rosario, who has maintained his stance of refusing all talk about his contract situation. Instead, he says he has to “forget all the empty promises” that he claims were made to him in the past.
The fantasy nugget of the day concerns the injuries and national team call-ups that will impact Real Salt Lake as they open league play beginning this week. The big worry is the status of the 2010 Defender of the Year.
While Real Salt Lake take a 2-0 lead into the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal, on the other side of the bracket, Monterrey gave up an away goal to Cruz Azul but still have a 2-1 first-leg advantage.
The televised action today centers around the Europa League and Copa Libertadores. In the first competition, quarterfinal berths are at stake with Paris St. Germain hosting Benfica (2 pm ET, GolTV) and Liverpool welcoming Portugal’s Sporting Braga (4 pm ET, GolTV). There’s also a live tripleheader of Copa Libertadores matches beginning at 6 pm ET on Fox Deportes.
The Europa League darlings of last year, Clint Dempsey’s Fulham FC, are busy on another front these days: erecting a statue in honor of the club owner’s close friend, pop star Michael Jackson. The team’s owner says he hopes “many fans of his will visit the statue.”
Climbing the Ladder: How much home-field advantage really counts in MLS
Talking Tactics: Galaxy stick to the script to claim the season opener
Champions League 360: GM Garth Lagerwey and the sights and sounds of gameday
Get the The Kick-Off delivered to you!
Enter your email address below to sign up for The Kick-Off mailing list and get it delivered to your inbox every morning.