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Kick Off: Wondo eyes bigger, better contract with Quakes

After three straight seasons of double-digit goals and an MVP award in 2012, Chris Wondolowski could be about to join the league’s elite in more ways than just the stats column.

The San Jose Earthquakes star told media members this week that he’s currently in talks with the club about a new deal that would make him the only Designated Player in the Quakes locker room, and could mean he’ll become an MLS millionaire.

“We are in the process of working something out,” Wondolowski says in an article in the Sporting News. “It hasn’t quite happened, but it should be done, if everything goes smoothly, in the next week or two. As long as everything goes to plan, before the season.”

There’s more to that article concerning Wondolowski, and it involves a potential shift back to the midfield in 2013 if strikers Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon are both healthy after breakout seasons last year.

Wondolowski and the Quakes could get a huge boost in the form of Tottenham attacking midfielder John Bostock, the former captain of the England U-17 national team. The 21-year-old Bostock arrives in camp after it was recently revealed that midfielder Simon Dawkins has been loaned to Aston Villa.

D.C. United are vetting plenty of talent in camp too, including Honduran national team midfielder Walter Martínez and 23-year-old Panamanian midfielder Marcos Sánchez, who notched an assist during the team’s 2-2 draw against Costa Rica in last week’s World Cup qualifier. There’s also news that embattled striker Hamdi Salihi is close to a contract in China, freeing him from United’s books.

D.C. United are one of six MLS teams back in action in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando, Fla., which resumes today. D.C., Montreal and Columbus were all winners in their opening games over the weekend, while Philadelphia, Sporting Kansas City and Toronto are looking to gain ground after a stall out of the gate in the openers. Check out the complete schedule of games, all streamed live on MLSsoccer.com, right here.

One interesting note from the Disney tournament worth watching today, as TFC close the day’s action against host Orlando City SC: Remember all that offseason talk about Orlando head coach Adrian Heath snubbing a job offer to join the Toronto FC coaching staff? The fans in Toronto do.

The Desert Diamond Cup is back as well today, with four MLS teams in action and also broadcast live on MLSsoccer.com from Tucson beginning later today. The New England Revolution take on the Seattle Sounders, while the New York Red Bulls battle Real Salt Lake. Here’s the schedule.

Two stories from Tucson worth following today. The New York Red Bulls are watching French striker Péguy Luyindula, who joined camp on Tuesday, and the Sounders have welcomed EPL veteran Mikaël Silvestre, who just last week was on trial with the rival Portland Timbers.

And here’s another preseason note on the Sounders: They’ve scheduled a match against Mexican side Veracruz in Tucson on Feb. 22 as another tune-up for the season opener and the Champions League match against Tigres UANL in March.

One of the most interesting stories that broke on Tuesday was the one surrounding Vancouver Whitecaps center back Andy O’Brien, who spoke at length about his battles with depression dating back to 2011 during his time with Leeds United.

It turns out that a deal with the Whitecaps may have just saved his career.

“Coming here, I’ve had a new lease of life …” O’Brien said. “The manager did say to me prior to signing here that he knew that I was maybe not in the best of places at that particular time, but he said, ‘If you give me the chance and the opportunity, I’ll do my best to put you in a better place.’”

And another quick shot from 'Caps camp, where veteran Joe Cannon says he’s not really into labels. So please don’t call him a backup goalkeeper.

Hunter Freeman made headlines on Tuesday, but not because he’s back on the move in MLS. This time he’s taking a different route, thanks to a new contract with the New York Cosmos that makes him arguably the most identifiable player on a roster picking up speed.

A couple of quick notes from the world of soccer broadcasting, where the Quakes have some new radio deals to report, Time Warner prepares to plunge head first into the world of Spanish-language coverage of the LA Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo unveil their local television schedule for the new season.

And in the world of MLS soccer supporters, it looks as if fans in Colorado have come together, and they’ve decided to unite under the new banner Centennial 38.

On to the international ranks, where the drama surrounding Canadian star Olivier Occean took another interesting turn on Tuesday when the Canadian Soccer Association made a surprising announcement concerning Occean’s availability for this summer’s Gold Cup.

Did you know LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane has his eyes on the Irish national team’s head coaching gig? Evidently he does, and that has fans back in Ireland buzzing.

Two notes on American Exports: Former FC Dallas winger Break Shea scored a goal in Stoke City’s closed-door reserve team match against Burnley, and one-time prospective Portland Timbers player Mix Diskerud is staying put in Norway after signing a two-year deal with Rosenborg.

The UEFA Champions League resumes on Wednesday with arguably the biggest match of the tournament so far: Manchester United vs. Real Madrid (Fox Soccer, 2:30 pm ET). And don’t miss Shakhtar Donetsk taking on Borussia Dortmund.

As for Tuesday’s results, Juventus were dominant in a 3-0 win over Celtic, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sent off during Paris Saint-Germain’s 2-1 win over Valencia and will miss the return leg.

The US women’s national team returns to action on Wednesday in a friendly against Scotland in Nashville, Tenn., but don’t expect to see striker Alex Morgan in action.

Imagine you’re a US Soccer fan and you find federation president Sunil Gulati at your college commencement? It’s going to happen on one campus later this spring.

And last but not least, are Spanish scribes scrambling to use the newest word describing Lionel Messi? Now they can find it in the dictionary.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

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