Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today...
1. DATELINE MIAMI
We'll get to the SuperDraft results soon enough, but during the break between rounds, MLS Commissioner Don Garber revealed some interesting information concerning David Beckham and his group of investors attempts to start a MLS franchise. The original December 31 deadline may have passed, but it seems we’ll know what’s happening in Miami before too long as the Commissioner said, “We’ll announce something in early February.”
2. CALLING IT HOME
The Commissioner also stated that New York City FC are close to having some kind of stadium announcement, telling the gathered press, “Shortly, they will probably announce a place. They are just finalizing the details."
3. PICKS ROLL IN
The first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft have come and gone as 38 were players selected on Thursday. Goalkeeper Andre Blake was the No. 1 overall pick, which came as something of a surprise after the Philadelphia Union traded places with D.C. United in order to secure the promising prospect. United, in turn, picked Steve Birnbuam, the Vancouver Whitecaps took Christian Dean and the New England Revolution took Steve Neumann along with college standout Patrick Mullins. Rounds 3 and 4 will take place via conference call on Tuesday, January 21.
4. RED BULLS CLOSING IN ON TRANSFERS
It seems that neither team in New York is set to land Xavi Hernández anytime soon after the player himself, who made his 700th appearance for Barcelona on Thursday, came out and dispelled the rumors. Still, the New York Red Bulls could at least be closing in on their other targets and general manager Jerome de Bontin has been speaking about how the team can improve on its impressive 2013 performance.
5. COMPENSATING FOR CONTRACTS
Also at the draft, Garber confirmed that the Camilo Sanvezzo deal is all but done, saying, “There’s been a transfer that’s going to happen,” while also adding, “Ultimately, I’m very disappointed. He had a contract.” The only positive for the Whitecaps is that it seems they’re going to be getting a good sum of money to play with as compensation.
6. ENTER ARENA
“We’re gonna try and make it a better year.” That’s Bruce Arena’s goal for the LA Galaxy in 2014. To that end, the club has already made some signings and, along with their SuperDraft additions, LA have announced two new Homegrown players. They’re not done there, though, as Arena revealed he’s still chasing an international wide midfielder.
7. SET TO GO?
The rumors surrounding Obafemi Martins persist, but, as things stand, Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid has said he expects his player to be with the team come the start of the season: “There is nothing that he’s said to us that indicates anything different.” Following the SuperDraft, Schmid also spoke about what he feels his team still needs, explaining, “We’re still looking at a couple things for midfield, then we’ll be set to go.”
8. COME TOGETHER…
After all the speculation following the Philadelphia Union’s trade up the allocation order, are the club interested in signing Maurice Edu? According to Union president Nick Sakiewicz, there's no doubt about that: “We want him. And he wants to be here.” Sakiewicz added that the team is working with the league to try and secure the signing but added, “These things kind of turn. They can turn on a dime – positively or negatively.”
9. THE HUNTS
Having recently secured Oscar Pareja, the head coach they’d wanted all along, what do FC Dallas’ chairman and vice president, Clark and Dan Hunt, see in store for their franchise this season? Talking about Pareja’s preferred methods, Dan Hunt sees the future of the club emerging from within: “I would expect that you see a number of young players that come up through our academy system.”
10. CRY ME A RIVERO
The Colorado Rapids are still working to bring Martín Rivero back to the club, but it seems the player himself is waiting to see who will become the club's new head coach. Rivero apparently favors former Rapids star Pablo Mastroeni, so it seems the Argentine may be in luck, as the team's recently appointed assistant technical director is set to meet club officials on Monday to discuss the position.
11. SHOULD ALTIDORE MAKE A MOVE?
With the increasing number of US national team players returning to Major League Soccer, and with the World Cup coming up this summer, should Jozy Altidore cut his losses and come home? Or should he stay and fight for a place at Sunderland that may not materialize? Certainly similar thoughts went through Michael Parkhurst’s head, but the defender is now looking forward to a new challenge in Columbus.
12. CHART NON-MOVERS
The latest edition of the FIFA Rankings are out, and the USMNT remained at 14th. Mexico, meanwhile, have also stayed rooted to the spot at 21st, while Canada have, somehow, actually managed to climb a place to 111th. Of the other noteworthy World Cup-bound nations, Costa Rica and Honduras both slipped one place to 32nd and 43rd respectively, Germany are still second, Portugal are still fifth and Ghana are still 24th.
13. US BEATEN IN BRAZIL
The US national team played a closed-door scrimmage against Brazilian side São Paulo on Thursday, which they lost 2-1. As the label suggests, journalists were not allowed inside and details are scarce, but we do know that Chris Wondolowski scored the USMNT’s only goal. Want another update from the US camp? Dax McCarty and Mike Magee have you covered.
14. AND THE WINNER IS…
U.S. Soccer has released the list of nominees for the National Soccer Hall of Fame’s 2014 class, and eligible voters may be hard pressed to pick just one candidate. Major League Soccer also announced the winners of its annual awards for clubs and executives, with the Vancouver Whitecaps getting well-deserved recognition for #fishcam.
15. LOOKING GLASS
Ever wanted to see what it’s like at the MLS SuperDraft from the point of view of someone actually taking part? As in a direct, first-person view? Well, now you can, thanks to San Jose Earthquakes president Dave Kaval, who attended the event wearing a Google Glass headset.
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