Kick Off: Wenger wants MLS way, Lahoud's threat

In the eternal discussion of the global calendar, one of the most respected names in the game has spoken out.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says that the world should seek out a schedule that mirrors MLS: a February to November league calendar with World Cups held in winter.

Portland Timbers fans like the league schedule just fine as the local fan base for the expansion club continues to mushroom. News this morning is that the club expects to surpass 10,000 season ticket holders by the end of the calendar year, according to one report out of Oregon.

There is still fallout from Tuesday’s announcement by Landon Donovan that he will not seek out a loan deal to the English Premier League. One writer opines that Donovan’s decision closes the door on European soccer for good and means career is fully dedicated to the LA Galaxy.

The other big news was Bob Bradley’s USMNT roster unveiling for January’s camp. One player who felt miffed by his exclusion was Chivas USA’s Michael Lahoud, who is threatening to represent Sierra Leone instead because “guys with less experience and less physical tools” are being taken ahead of him on the USMNT.

There should be no surprise that 42-year-old Pat Onstad retired to become a GK coach with DC United. The former Dynamo netminder says he was always going to get into coaching. After all he walked away from the game back in 1995 to be a physical education teacher in Vancouver.

Onstad was available in the new MLS Re-Entry Draft but went unclaimed. The two players selected by the Columbus Crew are not any closer to signing with the club and the negotiation with Jeff Cunningham is being characterized as being “at an impasse.”

The New York Red Bulls are on the verge of signing a playmaker they hope to be a future World Cup star for the United States.

Longtime Houston-based soccer broadcaster Glenn Davis reveals the latest name on the Houston Dynamo’s Designated Player shopping list.

In Colombia they believe that although Juan Carlos Osorio says that Once Caldas has the first option to retain him, the demands he’s placing on the cash-strapped Colombian champs will push him elsewhere.

In other news from overseas, one report has Bolton Wanderers chasing the services of former RSL striker Robbie Findley as they seek to snatch him away from Nottingham Forest.

Findley’s US World Cup teammate, Edson Buddle, also has a new English club in hot pursuit, according to The Daily Mail.

Another player with multiple suitors is AC Milan’s Ronaldinho. In addition to the rumored interest of the LA Galaxy, there are now three Brazilian teams chasing him. (ITALIAN)

CONCACAF has given the go-ahead for the Mexican league to experiment with two additional referees beginning with the Clausura 2011 season in the summer. (SPANISH)

Support continues to build for a winter World Cup in 2022. Now it’s FIFPro, the international players’ union, which has come out in support and suggesting players might even be fitter.

US forward Jozy Altidore played 20 minutes in Villarreal’s scoreless first leg draw at Valencia in the Copa del Rey on Tuesday. Meanwhile Michael Bradley put in another strong 90 minute effort for Borussia Monchengladbach, only to see his side struggling German side crash out of the DFB Pokal cup competition to Hoffenheim.

Colorado Rapids owner Stan Kroenke, who is also a part owner in English club Arsenal, might soon be entering a power struggle for the EPL club with Russian Alisher Usmanov. But one British paper says the Russian has no chance to succeed.

Aston Villa, who find themselves in the bottom half of the EPL table, have come out to defend American owner Randy Lerner, pointing out that only Manchester City have spent more than he has in the last few years.

A long-time Manchester United director has admitted that he expects the Glazer family will eventually sell the club, even though he doesn’t see it happening any time soon.

Another owner in England, Leeds United chairman Ken Bates, is calling for a boycott of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, claiming FIFA should be run by the Security Council of the United Nations.

French soccer takes over Fox Soccer Channel today with matches involving US defender Carlos Bocanegra and St. Etienne traveling to face Lille (1 p.m. ET) while Bordeaux match up with Lens (3 p.m. ET). Lyon vs. Auxerre will be carried by Fox Soccer Plus (1 p.m. ET).

Meanwhile, the Copa del Rey takes center stage on GolTV with the first leg matches on show including Atletico Madrid vs. Espanyol (2 p.m. ET) and Real Madrid vs. Levante (4 p.m. ET).

Lastly, the brashest player in all of world soccer is Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli. If there’s any doubt, give these statements a read after the Italian won the award for Young Player of the Year in Europe.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Canadian soccer is ready to embrace its future

MLS Cup champs Colorado Rapids in talks with first ever jersey sponsor

Breakdown of Bob Bradley’s USMNT roster ahead of Jan. 22 friendly


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