Kick Off: Crew target EPL mid, LA's new starlet

With the departure of the likes of Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Frankie Hejduk and Steven Lenhart, it was safe to assume that the Columbus Crew would seek to fill the void in experience with a big name player.

The third item in this Columbus Dispatch column claims that Crew manager Robert Warzycha and technical director Brian Bliss are in fact targeting an English Premier League midfielder and will travel across the Atlantic for talks.

Among the other news items from the first day of Columbus Crew camp is that an Argentine teenager will be joining the club for a trial beginning next week.

So who’s the prime candidate for the captain’s armband in Columbus now that so many veterans are out of the picture? There’s one candidate who stands head and shoulders above the rest.

The Vancouver Whitecaps are expected to unveil another key signing today ahead of their first season in MLS. Reports indicate it is likely to be the left back who has made his name in Switzerland.

In Portland, manager John Spencer is “bursting with pride” at the names on the club’s roster ahead of the start of preseason on Monday. There are two certainties going into camp: Kenny Cooper will be a starter and the team is still waiting for a central midfielder.

Anyone who thinks the city of Portland is not ready for its first season in MLS, read the last graph in this article: Seattle’s Kasey Keller getting resoundingly booed at a Portland Trail Blazers game.

As they unveiled their new Colombian signings on Thursday, including veteran ‘keeper Faryd Mondragón, the Philadelphia Union still regret not taking Kevin Hartman in the 2009 Expansion Draft.

LA Galaxy star David Beckham was hoping to play for Tottenham in a scrimmage against Queens Park Rangers but an insurance issue is proving the biggest obstacle.

His name is Jack McBean and he just turned 16 years old, but he could be Beckham’s new teammate on the LA Galaxy, according to one report.

In this Russian article, former Galaxy midfielder Dema Kovalenko drops a hint that the LA Galaxy are the MLS club looking at signing Frenchman Claude Makélélé. (RUSSIAN)

Calling all MLS clubs on the West Coast seeking a wide midfielder: Ryan Guy is back from his stint playing abroad.

Fans in Omaha, Neb., are in for a treat tonight as seven members of the 1994 USA World Cup team highlight a squad that will take on the Omaha Vipers in an indoor exhibition.

A large group of Sporting Kansas City fans were also given a winter treat by forward Kei Kamara. It was Snowmageddon on a soccer field, followed by a trip to Chipotle.

In international news, there is speculation about the future of José Mourinho. After Thursday’s Copa del Rey victory over rivals Atlético Madrid, which clinched passage to the semis, “The Special One” would only guarantee that he’d be on through the end of the current season.

We can expect to be hearing news from Arsenal in the near future about their first preseason trip to the USA in a very long time. That’s according to the club itself.

Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli is heading to the USA well before the summer break to get his knee checked out in Vermont.

Also from England, there is news of financial trouble for Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel.

It turns out that Facebook led to the arrest of the suspect in the shooting of Paraguayan superstar Salvador Cabañas.

For live soccer drama this afternoon, GolTV has the fifth-place match of the Copa Centroamericana, which will give the final berth for the CONCACAF Gold Cup (4 p.m. ET). The two semifinals will be held at 6:30 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. ET, featuring MLS players on three of the four semifinalists.

Lastly, making the rounds on the web is a Simpson-ized caricature depiction of the 2010 World Cup champs. Can you make out who’s who among the 11 players?

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Juan Pablo Angel, Cobi Jones and USMNT assistant Jesse Marsch on ExtraTime Radio

Bob Bradley gives his evaluation of the USMNT’s January camp ahead of Chile match

Columbus Crew are thin on goalkeepers on the first day of preseason


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