Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
1. LONDON CALLING
It’s official now, Clint Dempsey will be joining Fulham on a two-month loan when the transfer window reopens on Jan. 1. Speaking after the move was announced, Dempsey revealed that his decision was driven not only by his desire to stay fit but also to help out a former club that “has always felt like home.” Yet, is Fulham the right choice for the US captain?
2. MOVING MARTINS
While we now know what Clint Dempsey will be doing in January, speculation continues to surround Obafemi Martins' future in Seattle. However, the latest reports suggest the Nigerian striker is only looking for an offseason loan, not a permanent move away.
3. HIT THE BREAKS
D.C. United managed to submit a new stadium proposal to the county commissioner before Christmas and as such, new details are emerging regarding the plan. In the proposed deal, the stadium would receive extensive tax breaks over the next three decades in return for sharing some of its revenues.
4. SKC STAR GETS CATALONIA CALL-UP
Oriol Rosell got an early Christmas present when it was announced that the Sporting Kansas City star had been selected to join the Catalonia national squad for their friendly against Cape Verde on Dec. 30. Although neither the match nor Catalonia are officially sanctioned by FIFA, the game could still see the 21-year-old line up alongside the likes of Cesc Fàbregas, Gerard Piqué and Jordi Alba.
5. UNION CHASING OLD BOY?
Perhaps hoping to find the next Javier Morales or Diego Valeri, reports suggest the Philadelphia Union in pursuit of a 28-year-old midfielder from Argentinian club Newell’s Old Boys. According to the reports, both teams have been in discussion over Pablo Pérez, but any potential deal seems to be a long way from being done.
6. ADDED ARGENTINE?
Could the Portland Timbers be looking to add another Argentinian of their own? According to reports, Gastón Fernández could be set to join compatriots Valeri and Max Urruti in the Rose City. And though there's no indication it's Fernández, Timbers owner Merritt Paulson did reveal that Valeri had a hand in the Timbers' latest signing:
Thanks to Diego Valeri for the assist in getting latest Timbers offensive weapon signed. Need to wait a bit 4official announcement. #xmas9.5— Merritt Paulson (@MerrittPaulson) December 24, 2013
7. VELSASQUEZ’S LONG ROAD
It was a breakout 2013 for Sebastian Velasquez, with the midfielder playing in 24 games and scoring his first career goal in the Western Conference Semifinals at the expense of the LA Galaxy. And although Velasquez and Real Salt Lake fell just short in the MLS Cup final, the player has come a long way from his humble beginnings.
8. TV ANALYST LOOKING TO BECOME MLS COACH
Mariano Trujillo played three seasons for Chivas USA before going unselected in the 2012 Re-Entry Draft. Since then he has worked as both a coach and a TV analyst, and while Trujillo enjoys the TV work, when it comes to the coaching, “I really like it and I can picture myself coaching a team … I would love to start my coaching career in MLS.”
9. CAMERON ENJOYING NEW ROLE
Geoff Cameron is undoubtedly the most successful American in the English Premier League right now and the defender's style of play has grown to incorporate a more attacking element in recent months. As Cameron himself tells it, “They want me to get involved in the attacks. I like that and I think I have stuff to offer in that aspect.”
10. SNEAK PEAK FOR GALAXY
Club Tijuana are the LA Galaxy’s opponents in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League and this Saturday will offer LA head coach Bruce Arena a unique opportunity to scout his future opposition, as the border side will play fellow Liga MX outfit Club América in a friendly at StubHub Center.
11. THINKING ABOUT VANCOUVER
It can be tough for the Vancouver Whitecaps. They often take a backseat in the Cascadia rivalry headline wars to the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders, not to mention in Canada, where they compete for attention with both Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact. Yet could this be the year that the 'Caps make themselves heard above the rest?
12. WILL BECKS TAKE THE FIELD IN MIAMI?
Turns out the David Beckham-backed MLS expansion venture might have a marquee player already in mind: could fellow investor, Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure, be trying to coax Beckham out of retirement?
13. DOWN TO THE RIVER
“Our goal is MLS. Whether that’s soon, or years from now.” Those are the words of Jason Kutney, CEO of the USL PRO's Pittsburgh Riverhounds, and any way you slice it, their offseason moves mean 2014 is shaping up to be a big year for the Houston Dynamo-affiliated team.
14. TICK TOCK
Following Ryan Nelsen’s comments to The New Zealand Herald concerning how much time he may have to turn Toronto FC around, the Toronto Sun takes a look at just what he needs to do. In short, the answer is start winning – immediately.
15. OH, CHRISTMAS TREE
Hopefully everyone had a nice Christmas period, and there certainly seemed to be some great MLS-themed gifts doing the rounds. While people celebrate the holidays in all sorts of different ways, this definitely take a prize for one of the more unique traditions, as 20,000 FC Union Berlin fans gathered in their stadium to sing Christmas carols.
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