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Kick Off - Steve Nicol
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Kick Off: Steve Nicol expresses Rapids disappointment

Since Steve Nicol left the New England Revolution when his contract was not renewed by the club, we have not heard much from the Scotsman. Until now.

In a report in The Boston Globe, he expresses his displeasure with the Colorado Rapids for allegedly inviting him to interview for the job and then not following up: “A lot of people are calling me to ask why I turned down the Rapids job. But that is not what happened.”

The man who did get the Rapids job is too busy rebuilding the squad to worry about what did or didn't happen. Manager Oscar Pareja is in talks with a Colombian midfielder. Jaime Castrillón, who has 28 caps for Colombia, indicated a deal was done, but the Rapids say discussions are still ongoing.

Also in the headlines this morning is Tottenham Hotspur and former French national team defender William Gallas, who confirms that he is in fact thinking about a move to the United States after his contract is up in England. One thing he doesn’t have going for him: It’s going to take another 18 months before he’s a free agent.

Also from England, reports have George John completing a medical in advance of a transfer to West Ham United, veteran soccer writer Steve Davis is reporting that the deal may call for a loan period through February before a move is consummated.

Plenty of MLS storylines originating from London today. There was the goal scored by New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry in his return to Arsenal to win an FA Cup match against Leeds United yesterday. Here’s video of the moment in which Henry entered the match and received a standing ovation. And then, here’s the goal that sent those same fans into delirium. (VIDEO)

While Henry was creating another memorable moment at Arsenal, LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan is trying to rid himself of an unhappy memory in an Everton shirt. It was a miss against Tottenham Hotspur back in 2010 which he hopes to make up for when he battles Brad Friedel and Spurs tomorrow.

If Philadelphia Union CEO and managing partner Nick Sakiewicz has his way, Henry and Donovan will be scoring goals like that in the MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park this summer. The Union are in the running for the 2012 event, as are three other cities mentioned in this report.

The MLS All-Star Game is still months away and MLS clubs are instead concentrated on acquiring players. In Columbus, they’re following Ben Speas’ every move to determine whether he has in fact signed an MLS contract or not. The latest clue is that he has not enrolled in classes at the University of North Carolina.

Speaking of the Crew, forward Emilio Rentería insists that he and his agent are still working on an arrangement that would allow him to play for Caracas FC in Venezuela during the MLS offseason. (SPANISH)

Chicago Fire manager Frank Klopas doesn't have any similar issues with the player he recently landed, Rafael Robayo: “You’re getting a guy in his prime,” Klopas told the Chicago Tribune.

UC Irvine midfielder Miguel Ibarra is hoping coaches and technical directors are reading this article and then watching him later this morning in the final 2012 MLS Player Combine match (10 am ET, MLSsoccer.com). His former college coach is campaigning for the wide midfielder, who is compared to the likes of D.C. United’s Andy Najar: “Used the right way … he can wreak havoc.”

North Carolina box-to-box midfielder Kirk Urso, who won a title with the Tar Heels in December, does not enjoy the Combine although he’s gotten interest from the Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake. He calls the Combine “a bit frustrating at times,” pointing to how players dribble and shoot more than they should.

Did you know that Englishman Jason Banton, who is among the international players at the Combine, was Kenny Dalglish’s first signing when he returned to Liverpool in January? Now he’d rather a career in MLS than in the English reserve system.

The draft prospects at the MLS Combine would dream of having the MLS career of Ned Grabavoy, who just signed on for three more seasons with Real Salt Lake.

The expectation is that the Portland Timbers will look to trade for or draft a central defender after it was learned that David Horst would be out for five to seven months due to injury.

The New York Red Bulls don’t have high expectations for their lone selection at No. 31 in the 2012 SuperDraft on Thursday in Kansas City, Mo. But look what this writer does to disprove NYRB sporting director Erik Solér's notion that “if you look at the history of the draft, people at that position do not make the team.”

According to SI.com, goalkeeper and centerback represent the chief needs for the Red Bulls. The article details the holes to fill for each MLS club. Compare that to what the fans say their clubs need in this blog entry on The Guardian’s web site in England.

Toronto FC manager Aron Winter is looking forward to the SuperDraft and hopes to be part of several in the future. Although he is entering the second year of a three-year contract, he wants to be at TFC for many more: “I want to stay longer because this is now my home.”

It’s another Canadian club, the expansion Montreal Impact, who hold the No. 1 pick on Thursday. Ahead of that massive decision, manager Jesse Marsch may not want to read this article by The Washington Post’s Steve Goff, who details the No. 1 picks since 2000 and points out how later picks have often performed better.

Here’s one pick that would come out of the blue: the president of the Cayman Islands Football Association becoming president of CONCACAF. This report claims it’s what CONCACAF members are pushing for.

The USL’s Pittsburgh Riverhounds are pushing to develop a pro soccer culture in Pittsburgh. To do so, the club will be building a privately financed stadium in downtown. Renderings are to be unveiled today.

Meanwhile, it’s not farfetched that San Antonio could wind up having two soccer stadiums. There’s one that the Scorpions are building to open in 2013, while the owners of the San Antonio Spurs are still hoping to convert the Alamodome into a home for the sport.

In addition to the Combine broadcasts which you can watch live on MLSsoccer.com beginning at 10 am ET, there is a Carling Cup semifinal first leg between Crystal Palace and Cardiff City (3 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus) and a Copa del Rey second leg between Málaga and Real Madrid (4 p.m. ET, GolTV) with José Mourinho’s side holding a slim advantage. There’s also Mallorca vs. Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey on ESPN Deportes (2 pm ET).

Lastly, if you think Henry’s shot inside the far right post was the most precise ball of the evening at the Emirates, think again. Our vote goes to this stray ball that pings ex-Arsenal defender Martin Keown while he worked the sidelines for TV. You’ll want to watch the slow motion takes halfway through. (VIDEO)

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

The managers who hold the top three picks in the SuperDraft speak to ExtraTime Radio

Players are moving up and down the table in the latest MLSsoccer.com Mock Draft

Commissioner Don Garber speaks to the MLS Insider from the Combine in Fort Lauderdale

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