Kick Off - Landon Donovan USA

Kick Off: Klinsmann knows Donovan's best position

Here we go again.

Another World Cup cycle and another debate about the best position on the field for Landon Donovan with the USMNT. Tonight’s international exhibition against Costa Rica (11 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and Galavisión) will go a long way toward revealing which of two positions he will occupy long-term under new manager Jurgen Klinsmann.

It would seem that the preference of the German boss is that Donovan take on the true No. 10 role that many fans have wanted him to: “Landon is over-talented. … I think ideally he can play the No. 10 role behind the strikers. He also can come from the wings. … If you keep him on the flanks, his path will be longer toward the goal. It is easier for him, obviously, coming from the middle.”

If you’re planning to see US captain Carlos Bocanegra at left back any time soon, it ain’t happening. Klinsmann said so.

One of the players featuring prominently for the USA under the new manager is Pachuca’s José Francisco Torres who admits that after playing 45 minutes in the 2010 World Cup for Bob Bradley, he “never heard from him again.” Read why Klinsmann rates him so highly in this article.

Through a collection of revealing responses he has provided over the last few days in LA, fans have gotten to know Klinsmann a little more. For example, there are the meetings he’s had with ex-Lakers coach Phil Jackson, the Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll and Duke University’s Mike Krzyzewski.

More than anything, Klinsmann wants to see the US play an attractive style in which they take risks and attack: “It might be a little easier with Costa Rica than Mexico, so I hope they [players] will try it out, to give it a shot.”

It might be friendly business for the USA, but Canada are playing for high stakes tonight when they welcome St. Lucia at BMO Field in Toronto (8 p.m. ET, GOLTV Canada). This World Cup qualifying campaign is seen as an opportunity to earn respect for the Canucks, but it might be trickier than expected since manager Stephen Hart has not been able to scout their opponents.

Canada will feature several MLS players as will other CONCACAF nations between friendlies and qualifiers in the next few days: Arturo Alvarez and Steve Purdy are in action for El Salvador, Marco Pappa with Guatemala, Rafa Márquez with Mexico, Jean Alexandre and Steward Ceus with Haiti, Álvaro Saborío with Costa Rica and Marvin Chávez, Carlo Costly and Andy Najar with Honduras. Here’s the full list of CONCACAF qualifiers.

In MLS, yesterday was a great day Columbus Crew’s Robert Warzycha after landing a new multi-year contract. Some details of the deal are reported here, with club president Mark McCullers pointing out how Warzycha’s success has come under difficult circumstances: “Taking over a championship team you really have no place to go but down. … The way Sigi [Schmid] departed the organization made it more difficult for Robert. The whole situation was not easy for him.”

Houston manager Dominic Kinnear will not be thrilled to read the following comments by his Jamaican midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson, who is with the Reggae Boyz for an international match against Ecuador: “Every time I tend to leave to play for the national team it's like the coach [Kinnear] don't want me to come. … He actually told someone that when I came back, he is going to send me back to Jamaica. He didn't, so I went to him and asked him for a trade and he didn't either.”

News from another national team camp will interest LA Galaxy fans. Although he admits he hasn’t broached the subject with the Galaxy just yet, LA forward Robbie Keane indicates that he is not interested in a European loan come January.

There are questions arising about whether the Philadelphia Union, winless in their last five matches and hanging on to a wild card spot, can handle the intensity of a playoff chase. In this article, midfielder Sébastien Le Toux admits the loss in Columbus “might have affected some people,” while manager Peter Nowak confesses that “I can’t put the pressure on these guys.”

Nowak also revealed that the lineup he fields against Real Salt Lake on Saturday night (9 p.m. ET, MatchDay Live) will feature several new faces: “It'll be a test for these guys who don't have a lot of playing time on the field to step up.”

In the same position as the Union are the New York Red Bulls, who are mulling whether to keep Jamaican winger Dane Richards at forward to take advantage of his typical late-season surges. Although he hasn’t made a final decision, RBNY Hans Backe says: “You see in this league you need pace up front. You can’t hurt anyone if you don’t have pace. That’s probably why so many teams are asking us for Dane.”

How will Backe and the Red Bulls brass feel about the fact that ex-RBNY star Dwayne De Rosario was voted MLS Player of the Month for August yesterday? This article calls it “just a little more sand kicked into the face of the Red Bulls.”

As the Colorado Rapids prepare to resume action next week after coming off a disappointing 2-0 blanking at the hands of the Chicago Fire in their last outing, they’re not making excuses about fatigue setting in. The explanation for the last defeat was simple for Wells Thompson: “It was one of those nights where there was too many guys who didn't have good games.”

Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Gershon Koffie has had a few good games of late. This week has been filled with positive press from Vancouver regarding Koffie’s development: “If he can read the game faster and speed up his play a bit, I think the sky is the limit for him,” says one Whitecap.

Here’s a scene you may have missed from the Seattle Sounders vs. FC Dallas US Open Cup semifinal on Tuesday night: Sounders forward Mike Fucito getting bloodied after a clash with FCD captain Daniel Hernandez. The pictures are graphic.

Today is one of those rare Fridays when soccer fans can plop down in front of their TVs and computers beginning at 9 a.m. ET in the morning for a full slate of international friendlies, Euro qualifiers, Beach Soccer World Cup, college soccer and Mexican league action. In addition to the USA and Canada matches, we highlight Bulgaria vs. England (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes) for you.

In other big international news, a man in the know says that Real Madrid and Barcelona could very well abandon Spain’s La Liga in the future.

We have a feeling that fans will enjoy this final video. Comedian and filmmaker Mark Malkoff is shooting “101 Things to Do in Holland” and those things included a stop to see Jozy Altidore at AZ Alkmaar. Watch this video, which has Altidore saying and doing things that will make you chuckle. (VIDEO) Must-Reads:

USMNT captain Carlos Bocanegra gives a candid interview to ExtraTime Radio

It’s true: USMNT’s Robbie Rogers is a former teammate of US boss Jurgen Klinsmann

American Exports: Top 5 summer transfer questions answered by’s Greg Seltzer

Get the The Kick-Off delivered to you!

Enter your email address below to sign up for The Kick-Off mailing list and get it delivered to your inbox every morning.