The paint is not yet dry following a premature ending to the 2011 season as far as the Seattle Sounders are concerned. But manager Sigi Schmid has already set his sights on the goals for 2012.
On Monday, he admitted that he’s looking to “add a piece here or there,” including a veteran goalkeeper, in order to “take that final jump.” Schmid is aiming high for next season: “We want to go after Supporters’ Shield. We want to go after MLS Cup next year. So we’ve just got to take that little jump forward from here.”
The Sounders, LA Galaxy and Toronto FC will learn their opponents in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals later today in a draw that will take place at CONCACAF headquarters.
The Colorado Rapids, who missed out on advancing to the 2011-12 CONCACAF quarters, are in search of a new head coach after parting ways with Gary Smith on less than amicable terms, at least as far as Smith sees it: “I've gotten little to no help from Paul [Bravo, technical director] or from Jeff [Plush, managing director], and still managed to put a team together that won a championship and got in the playoffs this year," Smith told the Denver Post. "I feel as though I've been very disrespected in all of this."
Timbers fans will find this interesting: The Portland Timbers beat writer for The Oregonian says the Rapids “would be foolish not to evaluate Spencer,” comparing him to “a small- or mid-major college basketball coach who just guided his team to a successful run in the NCAA Tournament. Now he's a hot commodity.”
Along with the Sounders, the New York Red Bulls could also be on the market for a goalkeeper, with one NY beat writer stating, “Frank Rost will likely not return. It remains to be seen if former starter Bouna Coundoul gets his job back or the team looks elsewhere for a goalkeeper.”
Will that be the only change for the Red Bulls? Designated player Rafa Márquez says he will not rule out a potential move to his first club, Atlas, in Guadalajara, Mexico. This report also has Atlas interested in Chicago Fire midfielder Pável Pardo.
The Columbus Crew have four players out of contract and The Dispatch gives a status report on all four players in this article.
Houston’s Brad Davis may not be able to play in MLS Cup 2011 after suffering a quad injury against Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference championship on Sunday, but it could still be an eventful MLS Cup weekend for him in LA. He's a finalist for the league MVP award and the winner will be announced on Nov. 18. “Hopefully, I can get it,” he says.
See the list of all the year-end award finalists as unveiled yesterday by Major League Soccer.
Will MLS Cup 2011 be the final MLS appearance for goal-scoring right back Andre Hainault? This report from Europe indicates that the Canadian international is a target of Ligue 1 club Bordeaux as well as SC Braga in Portugal, Anderlecht in Belgium and Real Mallorca in Spain. (FRENCH)
Serie A side Novara are reportedly interested in signing New York Red Bulls winger Dane Richards during the winter. (SPANISH)
Meanwhile reports from the Netherlands indicate that defender Dennis van der Wal has tried out for D.C. United and will be heading to showcase himself in front of the Chicago Fire staff this weekend. He’s apparently been looking for a club since the summer. (DUTCH)
The most important acquisition for Vancouver Whitecaps manager Martin Rennie might be getting Eric Hassli and Davide Chiumiento back on track after they sputtered to the finish line in 2011. There is no doubt they will be back and Rennie has big plans for Chiumiento: “If we have runners making runs behind the opposition and he can find them, that can make us very dangerous,” he says.
The NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks moved swiftly to hire a former MLS MVP as their coach. Former Miami Fusion and Honduran international Alex Pineda Chacón takes over from former coach José Manuel Abundis.
US national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann does not sound too happy about not having LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan for Friday’s match against France after he withdrew yesterday: "While my preference was to have Landon with us for this important match, I respect his decision."
In this article from France, where the manager met with media, Klinsmann calls himself “half-American” and promises to “put two or three players” on Franck Ribéry, who played for him at Bayern Munich.
Here’s a brief video report with the latest update directly from Paris. (VIDEO)
Greg Seltzer is reporting that the US already have their next trip to Europe booked for next February. Find out which Euro giant he's talking about here.
In other US national team news, Liverpool FC have announced that they have signed the captain of the US Under-17 national team, who plays for a club team in California.
As LA Galaxy Designated Player Robbie Keane joins his Republic of Ireland national team today ahead of the Euro playoff series against Estonia, he gives a nod to the LA Galaxy staff of fitness and physio specialists for getting him healthy in record time.
Sporting Kansas City’s Roger Espinoza has joined the Honduran national team as they get ready to face Serbia and he says his club teammate Milos Stojcev has provided him with a scouting report on the side. (SPANISH)
Seattle’s Álvaro Fernández and Mauro Rosales are still working on getting healthy, Fredy Montero vows to keep working out in the offseason and Sounders midfield general Osvaldo Alonso gives his take on his new nickname: The Honey Badger.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has a nickname "La Pulga," but today, is taking a page out of the brand Beckham book with the unveiling of his new brand. The “M” is very prominent.
Staying in Europe, Barcelona’s president says the big two clubs in Spain have to move toward complete TV revenue sharing with the rest of the clubs in La Liga. But he wants to see La Liga become a 16-team league.
MLS is already at 19 teams and moving up the attendance ladder in the US sports landscape. MLS’ average attendance of 17,872 in 2011 ranks above the NBA and NHL. “It’s historic for us,” says one MLS official.
How passionate do some fans feel about MLS featuring a balanced schedule in 2012? One went as far as writing a paper outlining a mathematical formula that says it is possible – FIFA dates and all.
Lastly, we leave you with Hope Solo’s latest performance on Dancing with the Stars last night. Donovan was in the crowd to cheer her on. (VIDEO)
Houston’s Andre Hainault and Sporting News soccer writer Brian Straus on Monday’s edition of ExtraTime Radio
Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson eager to impress USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann
MLS Cup Top 50 Moments: #13 Frankie Hejduk becomes the homecoming king in 2008
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