Kick Off - Sacramento
Associated Press

Kick Off: Sacramento reportedly lines up expansion bid

Amidst all the expansion talk about a potential second MLS team in New York City, prepare for plenty of speculation about a fourth in California.

A report this morning reveals that former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, who sits on the US Soccer Federation board, is exploring the possibility of landing an MLS franchise for Sacramento, specifically the suburb of Elk Grove.

"I wouldn't characterize it as a long shot, but it's an endeavor that's in its infancy," said Sacramento attorney Dick Hyde, who is one of Núñez’s partners and worked on bringing MLS to Sacramento before the league’s launch in 1996. "I think Elk Grove is probably a really good spot for soccer."

There is some big news coming out of Houston, where reports indicate the Dynamo settling on a partner for the naming rights of their new stadium. Find out the name of the Houston-based company and stadium here.

Speaking of soccer business, spoke to Patrick McCabe, who represents MLS and US national team rising stars Brek Shea and Tim Ream. The report cites transfer projections of $8 million for Shea and $4 million for Ream, with McCabe stating: “It will be difficult to predict how things may play out with Brek.”

Based on those figures, Bolton Wanderers will be right in the wheelhouse for Ream with what English reports say will be a $4.6 million offer. Apparently they expect to be looking for a replacement for sought-after defender Gary Cahill.

Speaking of star players, US Olympic coach Caleb Porter outlines the playing style for the US Under-23s as well as confirming that senior squad fixtures Jozy Altidore, Timmy Chandler and Danny Williams are in his plans for CONCACAF qualifying. Now it’s down to a negotiation with their clubs.

Up in Canada, Toronto FC director of player development Paul Mariner granted a revealing interview in which he talked about the situation of Richard Eckersley, Joao Plata, Stefan Frei and Adrian Cann. While he expects the club to bring in five or six new players for preseason, he is raving about new acquisition Reggie Lambe: “A lot of teams in England still wanted to sign him.”

Mariner’s ties to Bermuda are well-documented. But is an MLS team getting set to establish a relationship with a club in Ghana? That’s what this report claims in a deal that is apparently being brokered by a UK firm.

Late last night it was announced that Mauro Rosales and the Seattle Sounders have finally put pen to paper on a two-year deal. Although the team announcement did not specify details, this report says that the contract is “worthy of Designated Player status” although the club can use allocation money to buy down the contract and “save” the DP slot.

Staying with the Sounders, check out this high praise from NBA commissioner David Stern: “The Seattle Sounders are the most successful expansion team in the history of sports," he said to Sounders owner Joe Roth.

The clear-out at the New York Cosmos is nearly complete with Terry Byrne, David Beckham’s former associate, being the latest to leave “to pursue other business ventures.”

There’s news in the world of the New York Red Bulls. Brazilian reports claim that Flamengo are seeking to sign Rafa Márquez to an offseason deal to reunite him with Ronaldinho.

As was expected, the five teams that make up WPS have accepted the conditions posed by the US Soccer Federation to continue as a Division I-sanctioned league. Those conditions involve financial requirements and expansion commitments.

ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman is also a well-known proponent of concussion awareness and he took aim at the NFL’s Cleveland Browns for allowing quarterback Colt McCoy to play with an undiagnosed concussion: "If an NFL trainer can't diagnose a concussion, how is the parent of a kid in Billings, Mont., supposed to?" he said to USA Today.

Former Argentine national team forward Hernán Crespo is not winning himself any fans in MLS when he revealed that he will leave Italian side Parma when his contract is up in June: “In June I'll quit playing football at the highest level. … I won't rule out Dubai, Qatar or America. … I want to end my playing days in a tranquil environment before returning to Italy."

After leaving the United Arab Emirates, former French international David Trezeguet is destined for these parts of the world and Argentine papers say he’s talking to River Plate. (SPANISH)

If you haven’t watched the golazo that Neymar scored to set Santos on their way to a 3-1 win over of Kashiwa Reysol and a berth in the FIFA Club World Cup final, check out the highlights here.

In televised action later today, Clint Dempsey and Fulham host Odense (3 p.m. ET, GolTV), while Paris-St. Germain battle Athletic Bilbao (1 p.m. ET, GolTV). And at 7 p.m. ET, the Copa Sudamericana will be awarded to Universidad de Chile or Liga de Quito in the final's decisive second leg (Fox Deportes).

Lastly, actor Tom Cruise gives LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham another reason to stay in MLS: “I’d love to do action movies with Beckham. He would be great, he could kick ass,” says Cruise. Must-Reads:

Ranking the Top 25 college prospects heading to the MLS Player Combine in January

Watch highlights of the 3-2 victory by Generation adidas over Dutch side Volendam

US forward Herculez Gomez explains why Santos Laguna is “the right move”

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