Kick Off - Brek Shea
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Kick Off: Klinsmann's phone buzzing with Shea interest

US national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann has made a great deal of news in the hours leading up to the US national team’s friendly against Ecuador tonight at Red Bull Arena (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and Univisión).

In addition to his comments in favor of a longer MLS schedule, Klinsmann also chimed in on European clubs’ courtship of attacking star Brek Shea. Although the German is in favor of Shea remaining in MLS in the short term, Klinsmann confirmed that he has received calls from coaches overseas interested in the FC Dallas winger and MLS MVP candidate.

One of the many themes heading into tonight’s USMNT match is whether Clint Dempsey can replicate his goal-scoring performance from Saturday night in a withdrawn forward role. The ex-Revs man admits that playing left midfield under ex-coach Bob Bradley, “I don’t think you’re able to impact the game as much.”

The USMNT visited Ground Zero on their trip to the New York metropolitan area. Here’s the video with comments from Klinsmann and Red Bulls defender Tim Ream. (VIDEO)

US fans should be rooting for France later today in their Euro qualifier against Bosnia. If Les Bleus qualify for Euro 2012, they will reportedly welcome the US national team for a friendly at the Stade de France in November. (FRENCH)

Here’s another piece of interesting national team news: Former MLSer Chris Woods, the new goalkeeper coach under Klinsmann, will work for the USMNT while keeping his post with his club team in the EPL.

Speaking of coaches, Klinsmann says he’s looking for a manager to take the full-time reins of the Olympic team all the way through to London. He and Martin Vasquez just won’t have the time.

Time in the Netherlands with AZ Alkmaar has transformed Jozy Altidore, according to the US boss. “I think the last two months have made a huge difference for Jozy,” he explains.

He’s only been on the job for a few games, but winger DaMarcus Beasley already has a Klinsmann story to tell. After the win against Honduras, the German manager walked into a quiet locker. “And then Klinsmann went over to the iPad machine and turned on the music. That's the kind of coach he is. He's very cool.”

What makes Klinsi tick? He believes it was all those years of waking up at 3 a.m. and putting on an apron to bake pretzels.

LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena, who is waiting to find out the full extent of Robbie Keane’s adductor injury, was not doing back flips after clinching the Supporters’ Shield with Seattle’s loss on Saturday. “I kind of believed that we had the Shield won for a while. I thought that was probably, in my own mind, pretty obvious,” he says.

How will Arena feel about the news that Keane’s wife is in talks with TV network E! for her own reality series?

One LA Galaxy columnist believes this year’s team has the chance to go down as the best team in MLS history. They are only four points away from setting the all-time mark for points in a season: “But that designation will come only if they win MLS Cup as well.”

It was a revealing chat held by the Seattle Times with Sounders star Fredy Montero yesterday. Here’s his favorite city to play in after Seattle: “Portland. I looooove scoring goals in Portland!”

The Chicago Fire know they have to win out their final three games to have a shot at the postseason. Although Sebastián Grazzini is expected back, they will be without Marco Pappa for the midweek battle against FC Dallas tomorrow. “We’ll be coming in with the attitude that we’ve got to get three points. That’s crucial. We can’t afford anything less,” says Chicago’s Sean Johnson.

Add a new club to the list of rumored suitors for Shea: This one comes from the German Bundesliga.

Meanwhile, MLS has made another signing as another corporate partner goes long on soccer: “Soccer is a brand on the rise in the US,” says this CEO.

Soccer is also on the rise in Canada and the Canadian national team will look to take another important step in World Cup qualifying with a match against Puerto Rico at BMO Field (7 pm, Rogers Sportsnet One). “We’re the bigger name in the group, so we’re expected to win,” they say in the Canucks camp.

The Motor City is buzzing this morning. No, not because the Detroit Lions are 5-0. It’s about the leak of the plans to remodel the Silverdome with a 30,000-seat soccer stadium. (PHOTO)

Lastly, there’s a full platter of international soccer for US-based fans today: Germany vs. Belgium (1 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes), Spain vs. Scotland (3 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes), Denmark vs. Portugal (7 p.m. ET, ESPN Deportes), Mexico vs. Brazil (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2, Univisión and ESPN Deportes) and Panama vs. Nicaragua (9 p.m. ET, GolTV). Must-Reads:

Schellas Hyndman and the Armchair Analyst on the latest edition of ExtraTime Radio

Top 50 MLS Cup Moments: #41 Weathering The Storm

Referee Week: Watch a “Day In The Life” of referee Mark Geiger

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