Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today...
1. SELLING SANVEZZO?
One player who may not be in Vancouver come the start of the season is Camilo Sanvezzo, with ESPNFC.com reporting that the 2013 MLS Golden Boot winner has been sold to Mexican side Querétaro. However, officials from the Vancouver Whitecaps have since moved to reassure fans that this story is not true.
2. GOING BACK TO GLASGOW?
While Kenny Miller will be working to try and earn a new contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps, it seems the former Scotland international is already making plans in case that new deal doesn’t materialize. Speaking to the Scottish Daily Record, Miller made his situation clear: “I’m contracted until June 30 with Vancouver. … If nothing happens in terms of extensions and things then I will be looking for work elsewhere.”
3. THE BRAND NEW SAN JOSE
This year will be the first time Mark Watson takes charge of the San Jose Earthquakes as head coach without the interim tag in front of his title. If the Quakes can continue the form they showed towards the end of the year under Watson, then it could be a good year for San Jose. It’s not just on-the-field things that are changing though, and the Earthquakes want to invite you to an event marking their 40th anniversary and the unveiling of not only their new kit, but a brand new logo as well.
4. DALLAS DEALINGS
The latest news suggested that FC Dallas were making another play to try and coax Oscar Pareja away from the Colorado Rapids, but it seems the move comes down to far more than money. In other rumors, FC Dallas have said that they plan to use all three DP slots in 2014 and, with Toronto FC no longer interested in Diego Forlán, could the Texan club be considering such a move?
5. TIMBERS EXPAND
With the Gastón Fernández transfer seemingly almost finished, many Portland fans might be wondering what they can expect from their potential new striker. Well, here’s a handy guide. If a shiny new striker does arrive, one thing he can expect is to play on a bigger pitch, as apparently the Portland Timbers have found a way to steal a few more inches out of JELD-WEN Field.
6. RSL LOOK TO THE FUTURE
Real Salt Lake made the first signing of the Jeff Cassar era on New Year's Eve when they signed 18-year-old Jordan Allen to a Homegrown player contract. The versatile player offers RSL a number of options and becomes the sixth signing from the club's Arizona Academy. So, with Allen now on the books, what other options might RSL want to consider at the MLS SuperDraft?
7. BARNES BELIEVES IN BARNES
At the start of the 2013 season, Giles Barnes was expected to fill the role of creative midfielder for the Houston Dynamo. However, the Englishman found himself playing striker for most of the year and finished as the club's top scorer. Was Barnes worried about his new position? Seemingly not: “I knew I could play that role, it worked out pretty well.”
8. THE NEGOTIATOR
It’s been a few weeks now since D.C. United selected Fabián Espíndola with their first overall pick in the Re-Entry Draft. Yet we’ve yet to hear official confirmation that the player has signed with the club. Could negotiations be stalling? However, there’s still plenty for D.C. fans to be excited about in 2014 and some of the players have been talking about the goals for 2014.
9. CALL & ANSWER
We should find out at some point on Thursday just who has been called into the USMNT’s January camp, one player who’s certainly hoping for a call-up is 2013 MLS MVP Mike Magee. He tells AmericanSoccerNow.com: “I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t been on the back of my mind. … I’m confident if I get my chance, I’ll do well with it.”
10. COMBINING WORLDS
Thursday marks the beginning of MLS’ first Caribbean combine. It will see some of the region's top talent come together in Antigua and offers a chance for coaches to perhaps try and unearth the next Atiba Harris. Houston's Dominic Kinnear, in particular, is excited by the possibilities the event offers: “I think to gather a group of players to give you a chance to see the best players that makes everything so much easier.”
11. A DIFFERENT KIND OF EXPANSION
With 2013 behind us now, perhaps it’s time to take one last look at the old Toronto FC before focusing on, hopefully, a positive future. Could that future involve BMO Field being used to host an NHL Winter Classic? According to recent comments, it’s one possibility, although it would mean almost doubling the current capacity of the stadium.
12. SHEA DELIGHT
At this point in the English season, it’s perhaps fair to say that Brek Shea’s move to Stoke hasn’t turned out quite the way he would have liked. With the World Cup this summer, what Shea really needs at this point is playing time, and that’s exactly what he hopes to get following a short-term, 28-day loan to Championship side Barnsley. It seems to be already paying off as Shea made what Barnsley's manager called “a fantastic debut” in the club's 1-1 draw with Birmingham City.
13. THE ENGLISH PATIENT
While Shea tries to finally make his mark, another English club in the same division already has one promising young American on the books. When it comes to Duane Holmes, Huddersfield Town’s more experienced players are trying to keep fan's expectations balanced. Elsewhere, injured Joshua Gatt has begun training on the ball again. With his former Molde manager now taking over at Cardiff, could Gatt one day follow him to the EPL? Clint Dempsey’s already back there for a couple of months, and here’s what his schedule might look like.
14. SUPPORT SUCCESS
It seems that NASL fans are planning to launch their own version of MLS’ Supporters' Shield. Currently known as the Supporters' Cup, one of the group's best suggestions is to name the trophy in honor of Phil Woosnam, the NASL Commissioner from 1969-83, who sadly passed away last year.
15. DATES FOR THE DIARY
So it’s the new year and 2014 has plenty of exciting soccer events for everyone to look forward to. So many, in fact, that we’ve laid out the most important ones for you in our 2014 Soccer Almanac. The most important event is, of course, the World Cup this summer and, with it only six months away, ESPN has released its first teaser to help get you in the mood.
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