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Kick Off - Carlos Bocanegra

Kick Off: MLS club is linked with Bocanegra move

It wouldn’t come as a surprise to most American soccer fans to see US national team captain Carlos Bocanegra’s name linked to a return to MLS.

But the club that he is being tied to may raise an eyebrow.

Although Bocanegra is thinking of Glasgow Rangers fans during trying times for a club in the midst of financial struggles, a Scottish media report claims that the Vancouver Whitecaps are “keen to take the American international back across the Atlantic.”

Chivas USA have made no secret about their intentions to find a home of their own. But now there appears to be a timetable in place.

The club’s VP of marketing and sponsorship, Rodrigo Morales, told Mexican outlet MedioTiempo.com that “we want to make a decision in the middle of this year to perhaps play the 2013 season there [in their new home], which would be a big challenge.” The report mentions the LA Coliseum as an option. (SPANISH)

The Houston Chronicle this morning has details of the trade that is expected to send Brian Ching back to the Dynamo. If the information is accurate, the deal can be expected to create some significant debate.

Given this news, it will come as a surprise to many that Montreal Impact manager Jesse Marsch sounds like he still expects him back with the club: “We’re still waiting to hear from him and how things are getting sorted out. When he gets back, we’ll continue to move with him,” Marsch told one Canadian outlet.

Another forward, Designated Player Eric Hassli, was the topic of conversation in Vancouver, where he made a confession: During the offseason he apparently picked up a passion for horseback riding while in Vegas, where his girlfriend competed in barrel racing: "I'm an addict. I [ride] fast, like crazy. I love it."

Hassli was also heaping praise on fellow Frenchman Sébastien Le Toux, who he called a “maniac” after yesterday’s practice. "I stay and don't move and he runs a lot. That's great, no?" asked Hassli.

It’s also great that Alessandro Del Piero’s agent makes this statement: “personally, I think MLS would be ideal for him because there he could display his immense talent.” That “immense talent” also includes waking little girls from comas.

The Columbus Crew were clearly “in a lather” over their new jersey sponsor. That’s the Columbus Dispatch headline of the story that explains how the five-year sponsorship came about and how it fulfilled one of three massive goals for the club in 2012.

There was more business talk up in Montreal where MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Montreal Impact owner Joey Saputo hosted a Board of Trade luncheon ahead of the club’s expansion season. "We're making progress and heading in the right direction, but I still don't feel that city really grasps, understands, what's coming," Saputo said.

The commissioner also revealed that the league is now working with a Montreal-based ad agency, Sid Lee, throughout North America: “We were very impressed. They came in and made a pitch that blew us away," he commented.

Fans on the Volaris flight from Guadalajara to Los Angeles must have been blown away by the fashion show that took over the plane. Jorge Villafaña, Juan Pablo Ángel and Dan Kennedy missed a team preseason scrimmage in order to model Chivas USA’s new 2012 kit, which was unveiled for the first time: “I think this is one of the weirdest [things I've done],” Villafaña said. “But it was fun.”

The Seattle Sounders are planning ahead to their match-up against Mexican opposition when they take on Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals: "The players have already seen some videotape on Santos Laguna when we were in Arizona," said manager Sigi Schmid.

In preseason action from yesterday, FC Dallas beat SMU 4-0, Portland defeated Chicago 2-0 behind two assists from Franck Songo’o (watch highlights here), Seattle downed Columbus 2-0 (watch highlights here), the New England Revolution got the better of Boston College 2-1 (watch the goals here) and the Philadelphia Union beat the University of Central Florida 5-0 (photos here).

Before that last match, people were encouraging Central Florida defender Malcom Lee to get to Philly’s Freddy Adu and “’Show him up.’ If we won, I probably would have Tweeted about it, but I don't think I'll be doing that now [after losing 5-0]," Lee said.

Interesting to read the assessment of Revs manager Jay Heaps on his team’s win over BC. “I think we struggled a little bit at times today. We kept possession, but we didn’t really break anyone down today.”

We have an update on the health of FC Dallas’ 2010 league MVP David Ferreira with Schellas Hyndman saying his visit with an ankle specialist yesterday “was very reassuring for him and his comment was ‘hey I want to play tonight,’ which we wouldn't do, but I think now he's at that point of going ‘Hey, I need to get out there and play.’”

In gaining Ferreira, FC Dallas may have lost a midfielder with a report that Daniel Cruz has joined Colombia’s Deportivo Cali. (SPANISH)

Also, apparently Cruz Azul youth product Martín Galván won’t be sticking around in Montreal with a report from Mexico stating that he struggled to get up to speed with the Impact players after a period of inactivity. (SPANISH)

Argentine forward Dante Adrian Senger says he’s waiting on word for the next move from the Impact. (SPANISH)

Today there are just two exhibitions: the SuperClasico preseason edition between the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center (1:30 pm ET) and the Seattle Sounders take on the US Under-17 national team in Bradenton, Fla., at the IMG Soccer Academy (10 am ET).

We’ll see what LA manager Bruce Arena says today about The Sun reporting that forward Robbie Keane is considering a permanent return to the English Premier League. The article contains no sources, however.

Meanwhile, there’s a discussion taking place in Canada about the fate of the Canadian college soccer player and the SuperDraft isn’t necessarily the preferred route for these players.

Brian Quarstad at InsideMNSoccer.com explores the question of whether it makes sense for the MLS Reserve League to be incorporated into Division II soccer in the USA and the challenges involved.

England club Arsenal played like a second-division side in a 4-0 loss to AC Milan, which had Arsene Wenger fuming and ex-Gunner Patrick Vieira decrying a “lack of leadership.” Not the best note on which to return to MLS for Thierry Henry. "It is a night we will never forget — our worst in Europe by far,” Wenger said.

Former Manchester United legend Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, who is head coach at Norway’s Molde, is reportedly ready to sign up former Crew midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo. (NORWEGIAN)

Europe’s eyes turn to the knockout rounds of the Europa League today and fans in the USA can watch Lazio vs. Atlético Madrid (1 pm ET, GolTV) and Stoke City vs. Valencia (3 pm ET, GolTV). There’s a match from Brazil’s Campeonato Paulista with São Paulo taking on Paulista (4:30 pm ET, ESPN Deportes). Staying in South America, the Copa Libertadores doubleheader tonight features Uruguayan giants Nacional (5 pm ET, Fox Deportes) and Peñarol in action (7 pm ET, Fox Deportes).

Finally, read about the two Bayer Leverkusen defenders who embarrassed themselves fighting over Lionel Messi’s jersey after the German side faced Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League. Bayer’s sporting director is now making them auction off the jerseys.

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Climbing The Ladder: How busy schedules affect team lineups

Chivas USA unveil their new 2012 jersey some 30,000 feet off the ground

The Sideline: Who’s most likely to be the MLS version of NBA star Jeremy Lin?

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