Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. READY, EDDIE?
It’s well known at this point that Eddie Johnson’s time in Seattle is winding down. However, we could find out exactly where the US international is going next as early as Tuesday, with DC United apparently the clear frontrunner to land the striker, according to the Washingon Post. Looks like United have emerged as top candidates, while both the LA Galaxy and Philadelphia Union appear out of the running.
2. SOUNDERS DOUBLE DOWN
While Johnson may be on the way out, two other members of the Sounders team are staying put. The club has re-signed their Defender of the Year Leo Gonzalez, meaning the 33-year-old will be staying with the team through the 2014 season. And Brian Schmetzer, once considered a leading candidate for the FC Dallas head coach job, will also be staying in Seattle.
3. HERE'S TO YOU, CARL ROBINSON
Staying in Cascadia, the Vancouver Whitecaps ended their long search for a head coach Monday by officially appointing former assistant Carl Robinson to the position. Speaking on the appointment, Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi stated “we are confident that Carl is a coach who will bring out the best in his players and help our club achieve success this season and beyond.” Indeed, the 37 year old Welshman promises to play an attacking style of soccer, while also giving young players a chance to impress.
4. RED BULLS RE-UP
The New York Red Bulls have re-signed both goalkeeper Luis Robles and defender Roy Miller to new contracts. It seems talk of Miller returning to Costa Rica were wide of the mark, and RBNY Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh believes “with one of our goals being to create long term continuity within our roster, we are very pleased to have signed Roy and Luis to new deals.”
5. RBNY IN ENGLAND
So how did the Red Bulls go from perennial runners up to finally winning their first trophy? According to Roxburgh, five things helped turn the franchise around. Roxburgh and Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke are in England right now to visit and observe several Premier League managers. That plan that took a rather large dent when Tottenham Hotspur's manager Andre Villas-Boas was fired on Monday. Could that decision also affect other things, such as Jermain Defoe’s move to TFC?
6. NYCFC NEWS
There's some new thoughts on New York City FC's stadium seach, and the folks at Fox Soccer believe that if NYCFC want to succeed straight out of the gate, there are plenty of past examples they can learn from. The general consensus though, is that they’ve already got the first big choice right.
7. BETWEEN THE STICKS
Monday’s big trade news was all about goalkeepers. First, the Seattle Sounders signed 27-year-old Steve Clark from Norwegian side Honefoss BK, but then immediately traded Clark to the Columbus Crew in exchange for a fourth round SuperDraft pick in 2015. Then, with a new goalkeeper secured, the Crew sent Kansas native Andy Gruenebaum to Sporting Kansas City. Gruenebaum will now compete for the vacant position left by Jimmy Nielson’s retirement. Crew Coach Gregg Berhalter explained the reasons for the change in Columbus.
8. MONEY MATTERS FOR GSPURNING
One goalkeeper who wasn’t on the move Monday was Michael Gspurning. The former Sounders standout says he was offered a new deal for less money but also insisted: “It’s not working that I could sign a new deal for less money. It meant I wouldn’t respect myself or my performance.”
9. FIELD OF DREAMS
The Chicago Fire have unveiled plans to build a new soccer center on the north side of the city. The center will have two regulation size fields and an air supported dome for year round practices for a variety of different teams, as the Fire look to build on what owner Andrew Hauptman calls “a downtown market underserved with fields." Also on Monday, head coach Frank Yallop took part in a town hall meeting where he addressed a number of questions about his new team.
10. CARIBBEAN COMBINE
Major League Soccer has revealed the list of players it has invited to attend its first-ever Caribbean combine. There are 24 invitees from 16 different countries who will be looking to make a name for themselves in Antigua between Jan. 2-4. Those who stand out could earn themselves an invitation to the MLS combine in Ft Lauderdale, Fla.
11. TALENT DEVELOPMENT
The US U-17’s put in some strong performances to ensure they won the recent international friendlies series and, while the US U-17’s beat Brazil two years ago as well, there are perhaps reasons to see more promise in this particular group of players.
12. VALDES BY THE NUMBERS
The fate of Carlos Valdes seems to have taken another twist with the news that the Philadelphia Union apparently only maintain 60 percent of the players rights. Will the one-time MLS All-Star return to the Union or, with a place in Colombia’s World Cup squad on the line, does he favor staying in South America?
13. HUG IT OUT
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as loving soccer too much. and that’s exactly what one Canadian fan did back in August when he jumped onto the pitch in Miami to give Cristiano Ronaldo a hug. However, a prosecutor has now dropped criminal charges against the 20-year-old student, thanks in part to intervention from the Portuguese star himself.
14. MOVING ON UP
A lot of the attention from Sunday's NCAA College Cup final fell on Patrick Mullins and Harrison Shipp, two players both invited to the MLS Combine. However, with Notre Dame defender Andrew O’Malley making a good case for himself with the way he handled Mullins, could he be looking to make the jump as well?
15. THE TRADITION
Earlier this year, D.C. United teamed up with DC Brau to launch their own beer. "‘The Tradition’" was available in many DC area bars. Now though, the drink is going to be made available in cans and you can help choose which design should adorn the product.