Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today.
1. STATE OF MIND
MLS Commissioner Don Garber held the annual "State of the League" address on Tuesday in New York (watch the video above), covering a range of topics, including expansion, a possible scheduling change and the importance of building stronger academies in MLS. Here's MLSsoccer.com's rundown of the key points of the address, and here's a look at the main talking ponts from the folks at SI.com.
2. MORE ON NYCFC AND STADIUM TALK
The Commissioner finished his day with an appearance on the Fox Sports program Crowd Goes Wild, where he spoke more in-depth about the rise of New York City FC in 2015 and where exactly they'll play when they debut. Here's the clip of his appearance, with more insight on the role of Yankee Stadium for NYCFC and some talk about D.C. United's potential new digs, with this little teaser: "I think a deal gets done.”
3. THE BEST OF THE BEST
After the conclusion of the Commissioner's address came the announcement of the 2013 MLS Best XI, unveiled by KICKTV's Jimmy Conrad. The Portland Timbers stole the show with three selections, while the LA Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City each landed two players on the list. The biggest snub? How about Golden Boot winner and Vancouver Whitecaps star Camilo Sanvezzo? Here's the word from Vancouver, where Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi called the snub "harsh."
4. SCHULER THE STAR?
MLS Cup is now just four days away, and one player who play a large role in Saturday's match is Real Salt Lake defender Chris Schuler. He spent a large part of the regular season sidelined by a foot injury, but his return and subsequent performances at the end of the year have helped inspire RSL during their playoff run. General manager Garth Lagerwey says the whole team got better when Schuler returned, while there's already some obligatory talk about a possible USMNT call-up.
5. DOWN TO BUSINESS
There have been a number of great moments at Sporting Park this year, including the MLS All-Star Game, a US World Cup qualifier and Hall of Fame induction for Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes. Yet the most important event is coming up this Saturday and, according to Vermes, SKC are completely focused on the task at hand: "We still have this game to play… I try not to let anything else distract me.” Meanwhile, The Guardian takes a look at the success of Vermes' coaching couterpart on Saturday, Jason Kreis.
6. A COACH IS COMING
The Whitecaps finally appear to be closing on a new coach. Lenarduzzi told a Vancouver radio station on Tuesday that the club wants to make a decision as soon as possible, with that move potentially being made as early as next week. The top candidate is still former US and Egypt head coach Bob Bradley, and former USMNT defender Jay DeMerit says he would welcome Bradley's arrival in Vancouver. "You don’t get any more experience than Bob has."
7. MONTREAL'S NEW TEAM
Further strengthening the roots between MLS and youth development, the Montreal impact announced Tuesday that their U-21 team will become an U-23 side and join the Premier Development League in 2014. In further development news, here’s a little more news about Colorado Springs' potential new USL PRO team, with an official announcement expected on Thursday.
8. TRAIN LEAVING THE STATION?
While the Portland Timbers begin their offseason work and look to strengthen their team for next year, it seems a priority might be finding some regular playing time for José Valencia. As things stand, that means the player could be going out on loan for a while.
9. AGREE TO DISAGREE
Was David Carney actually offered the chance to stay with the New York Red Bulls? If the player himself is to be believed then the answer is yes: “At the end of the season there was an offer there for me, but we couldn’t agree to terms.” Carney did speak highly of his time in New York though, and thanked the experience for helping return him to the Australian national team.
10. CLEARING SPACE IN SAN JOSE
After a season in which they captured the Supporters' Shield, the San Jose Earthquakes brought back the majority of their first choice players for the 2013 season. However, despite a late turn around under interim and now permanent head coach Mark Watson, the Quakes didn’t reach the same heights this year. As such, Watson is looking to change some things this winter, with general manager John Doyle making it clear some players will have to go: “To bring some players in, which we want to do, we’re going to have to move some players.”
11. WORLD CUP POTS UNVEILED
FIFA has unveiled the way it plans to seed teams for Friday's World Cup draw and, for USMNT fans, it’s as bad as you’d probably feared. The US and other North American teams are in a pot with the Asian teams, while the nine unseeded European teams received a pot all to themselves. Any way you spin it, the US are in for a tough group.
12. MORE FOR ALTIDORE
Jozy Altidore has been named Futbol De Primera’s US Player of the Year, beating competition from Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan to secure the award. He now joins Donovan and Clint Dempsey in having won both this prize and U.S. Soccer’s Athlete of the Year in the same year.
13. BEST OF CANADA
The Canadian Soccer Association has announced its nominees for their various end of year award categories. There are more than a few MLS entries on the list as well, with Will Johnson and Patrice Bernier among the names selected.
14. THE OTHER GUY
When you think of US goalkeepers in the Premier League, you think of Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Brad Friedel. But there’s another person hoping to add to that illustrious list in the form of 20-year-old Cody Cropper, who could be in line to make his Southampton debut on Wednesday.
15. I PREDICT AN EARTHQUAKE
It’s well known that Seattle sports fans like to make a lot of noise, but are they getting so loud that they literally cause the ground to shake? Does this raise this ante for Sounders fans next season?
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