Soccer By Ives Archives for January 2008

Aston Villa makes close to $4 million bid for Guzan

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FIRST ON SBI

Photo by ISI Photos

Just when you thought Brad Guzan was ready to don the green hoops of Celtic, Aston Villa has stepped in and taken control of the chase for the Chivas USA goalkeeper.

Monday Morning Center Back: Has Christian Gomez priced himself out of MLS?

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Photo by ISI Photos

Good morning all. It was a pretty quiet weekend (well except for the FA Cup, African Cup of Nations, Serie A and La Liga) but action should pick up on the U.S. front this week (as well as the European market).

Herron could be heading to San Jose

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Photo by ISI Photos

The Chicago Fire traded for the rights to forward Andy Herron just a week ago but the Costa Rican forward could be set for another move within MLS.

According to sources with knowledge of the trade talks, Chicago is in discussions with San Jose about trading Herron's rights to the Earthquakes in a deal that could be completed as early as this week.

Bradley nets brace, ups goal total to 15

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Photo by ISI Photos

Michael Bradley did it again.

The U.S. national team midfielder and Heerenveen star scored in his fourth straight game, netting a brace to help Heerenveen record a 3-0 victory against DeGraafschap on Saturday.

This weekend's soccer on TV

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Can anybody catch Real Madrid?

That's the big question in Spain with the defending champions holding a seven-point lead in the La Liga standings. If Real is going to be brought back to the pack then Villarreal is going to have to pull the upset this weekend. The Yellow Submarine is 12 points back in third place and need a win on Sunday to keep alive its hopes as well as Barcelona's hopes of catching Real Madrid.

Where will Christian Gomez go?

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Photo by ISI Photos

With Marcello Gallardo's arrival in the nation's capitol looking more and more likely, it appears that Christian Gomez's days with D.C. United are over. He has been considering offers from abroad for some time but you shouldn't rule out the possibility of Gomez signing with MLS and moving on via trade.

Nowak calls in 23 for U.S. Under-23 camp

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Photo by ISI Photos

Jozy Altidore, Sacha Kljetsan and Chris Seitz are among the 23 players called in by coach Peter Nowak for U.S. Under-23 national team camp in Bradenton, Fla.

MLS Supplemental Draft Results

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The MLS Supplemental Draft came and went and the story of the day was that Toronto FC ended Xavier Balc's nightmare by making him the second player taken in the draft. Toronto head coach Mo Johnston must have been happy with his selection, he passed on Toronto's next three picks.

San Jose made UC-Santa Cruz forward Adam Smarte with the first overall pick in the draft.

Crew announces Gonzalez sale

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FIRST ON SBI

Photo by ISI Photos

As first reported on Soccer by Ives this morning, The Columbus Crew has sold defender Marcos Gonzalez to Chilean club Universidad Catolica for an undisclosed fee.

U.S. national team calls group in ahead of Mexico friendly

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U.S. men's national team coach Bob Bradley recalled 21 players from the team's earlier camp for training ahead of the upcoming friendly against Mexico in Houston on Feb. 6.

Landon Donovan leads an MLS-heavy list of players who should make up a bulk of the roster that will face Mexico at Reliant Stadium in two weeks.

Your (OLD) questions answered

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Good morning all. It is a seriously slow day on the American soccer front. MLS coaches are traveling around trying to land players before opening camp next week (and before the January transfer window closes). There should be some big news emerging later this week as contracts get signed and the new crop of MLS talent prepares to come aboard.

Q&A

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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Photo by ISI Photos

Michael Bradley is scoring goals for fun.

The U.S. national team midfielder netted his 12th goal of the season in all competitions to help Heerenveen post a 4-0 romp against AZ Alkmaar on Saturday.

Morning Ticker: MLS news and notes (and a new USA uniform)

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Good morning all. It was a busy weekend, with the MLS Draft and US-Sweden friendly, as well as the full European soccer slate. I had to take a break from the blog on Sunday, but am back today with a full schedule of posts.

I'll start the day with some news items to tide you over this morning:

The U.

Fire deals Jim Curtin to Chivas USA

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The Chicago Fire has dealt veteran central defender Jim Curtin to Chivas USA for conditional draft picks, team sources confirmed on Monday.

A seven-year veteran of the Fire, Curtin missed a large part of the 2007 season with a broken foot but he is expected to join Chivas USA and give the Goats a veteran back-up to central defenders Claudio Suarez and Shavar Thomas.

It is Q&A time

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Good afternoon everybody. It is noon and it is time for the first Q&A of the new SBI.

Yes, I know, I didn't get to all of the questions in the last Q&A on the old site (I will post those by tomorrow), but with everything going on lately I felt it was a good time to do another one.

The instructions are simple.

Q&A

Chris Gbandi set for Norway trial

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FC Dallas defender Chris Gbandi is set for a training stint with Norwegian club FK Haugesund and a team source says the Hoops are open to selling him if the Norwegian club makes an offer.

A six-year veteran of the Dallas club, Gbandi had his contract renewed for the 2008 season but FC Dallas has expressed a willingness to let Gbandi leave on a transfer if a good bid is made for the No.

Red Bulls make their youth academy free

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In what should be seen as a landmark moment in MLS player development, the Red Bulls are set to make their youth academies free to all participants. This decision will make the Red Bulls the first MLS team to do so.

The standard structure for MLS youth programs has been similar to traditional youth programs, where players pay fees and costs to be a part of the club, but now the Red Bulls have become the first pro club to waive these fees and pick up costs for all players.

Guzan's Celtic trial begins

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Chivas USA and U.S. national team goalkeeper Brad Guzan has begun his trial with Scottish power Celtic and all signs point to a bid for his services from the Scottish champions and Champions League participants.

As SBI told you two weeks ago, Celtic has kept up its chase for Guzan even after re-signing Polish veteran goalkeeper Artur Boruc.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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Photo by ISI Photos

Michael Bradley is scoring goals for fun.

The U.S. national team midfielder netted his 12th goal of the season in all competitions to help Heerenveen post a 4-0 romp against AZ Alkmaar on Saturday.

MLS Pre-Draft tidbits (and the drive from heck)

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Good evening folks. I'm coming to you from the lovely city of Baltimore. Okay, so maybe lovely is a stretch on an ugly night like tonight.

My drive from Jersey was a NIGHTMARE courtesy of the snow that turned the drive into a terror ride. I won't say how long it took me but it too WAY longer than it as supposed to.

Good morning from Baltimore (Draft Day Rumblings)

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Hello folks. The 2008 MLS Draft is upon us and I can tell you that there hasn't been this little enthusiasm about a draft since World War II. Coaches were talking trade all of last night and the impression I got after talking to some people is that teams just aren't going to pay much for picks. You can thanks San Jose for that after the Nick Garcia deal.

Chance Myers to be the No. 1 pick

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The Kansas City Wizards are set to make UCLA defender Chance Myers the first pick in the 2008 MLS Draft, sources have told Soccer By Ives.

Myers is expected to slide in and start in the left back spot vacated by Jose Burciaga Jr, who was traded to the Colorado Rapids.

Myers' selection marks the second time in three years that a UCLA defender is taken with the first pick in the MLS Draft.

MLS Draft 2008 (Live Commentary)

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Good afternoon folks. I'm coming to you from the Baltimore Convention Center.

The ESPN live chat I was supposed to do was scrapped due to technical difficulties. I will now do a running commentary during the draft and will answer some questions. Just post the question in the comments section and I'll answer some of them.

MLS Draft Post-Mortem

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Good evening folks. For those of you hoping to find more information on today's draft, I apologize for the lack of posts after the live commentary. I had stories to write for ESPN.com and the Herald News that have taken up most of my afternoon and evening.

The activity on the blog will be light on Saturday, at least early on before the US-Sweden match.

Red Bulls set to swoop on midfielders

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Just a day after adding a quality defender in the MLS Draft in Eric Brunner, the Red Bulls look set to address their concerns about the midfield.

The Red Bulls have targeted a pair of South American midfielders, one a left winger and another an attacking midfielder, in a double-swoop that could help address the team's need for more offensive productivity from the midfield.

Red Bulls GK Cepero training with PSV Eindhoven

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Red Bulls developmental goalkeeper Danny Cepero impressed observers all season who watched his exploits in training sessions. Now he is impressing coaches in Holland.

Cepero is training with Dutch powerhouse PSV Eindhoven. Recently-retired Red Bulls goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus helped arrange the training stint and the 6-foot-2 Cepero is taking full advantage of the opportunity.

USA vs. Sweden: Who should Bob Bradley start?

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Good afternoon folks. We are a few hours away from kickoff of the USA-Sweden friendly at Home Depot Center in Carson, California and it is time to think about who Bob Bradley will start tonight.

Here is the lineup I see Bradley using:

My pick for the USA-Sweden lineup tonight:

----------------Twellman---------Altidore------------------

Mapp----------------Edu----------Donovan-------J.

USA vs. Sweden (Tonight's USA starters)

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Good evening all. It is a clear evening in Carson, California for what should be a good first game of the year for the U.S. national team.

Here is your first look at the US starting lineup vs. Sweden tonight:

-----------Twellman-------Donovan-------------

Davis-------------------------------------Noonan

----------------Edu--------Clark------------------

Corrales------------------------------------Moor

---------------Conrad----Robinson--------------

---------------------Guzan-----------------------

What do you think of this group?

USA-Sweden (Your Running Commentary)

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Good evening everybody, it is time for the first U.S. national team match of the season as the USA takes on Sweden at Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

I will be checking in routinely but will not be doing a running commentary, but I will leave this post in place for everybody to offer their comments on tonight's match.

SBI MLS Draft Rankings

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Photo by ISI Photos

So you were wondering who the best players available in Friday's draft are, are you? Wonder no more.

After speaking with several college and pro coaches, and sitting through six MLS Combine games, I have come up with a list of the Top 10 forwards, midfielders, defenders and goalkeepers in this year's draft.

Official SBI MLS Mock Draft (version 2.1)

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Good afternoon folks. It took me a bit longer than I thought it would but here is the second edition of the SBI MLS Mock Draft.

I wasn't able to do a complete second round but plan to have one done by the end of the day. There are plenty of changes from the first mock draft to this new one after getting plenty of feedback from coaches on their views of the Combine.

Johnson to Fulham all but done (Wizards wheeling and dealing)

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Eddie Johnson's pending transfer move to English club Fulham is "99 percent done" a source told SBI on Tuesday. The details of the transfer fee were not made available but Johnson is expected to join fellow Americans Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, Brian McBride and Kasey Keller on the struggling English club as early as this weekend.

My take on Giuseppe Rossi's decision to play for Italy instead of the United States

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Good evening folks. I'm coming to you from my seat on a plane in Ft. Lauderdale bound for Newark, New Jersey. We're a few minutes from takeoff and I wanted to add one more post. Apologies for not posting more today but it was just a hectic day getting ready for the return home. I will be back posting late tonight so stay tuned.

SBI is back in Jersey

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Good morning all. I'm writing you from SBI headquarters in North Bergen, New Jersey and I can tell you that I'm glad to be home. Yes, I wouldn't have minded an extra day in the Florida sun, but three days of Combine matches will make anyone want to go home.

I will be cranking up the posts shortly, with an MLS Combine Day Three wrap-up set for 10am, followed by my next MLS Mock Draft by noon.

My take on the Twellman transfer situation

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OK folks, as you probably figured out by now, I won't have the combine review done at a reasonable hour tonight. I'm working on it right now and it will likely be one of those late-night posts.

If you haven't seen it, I provided my take on Taylor Twellman's transfer drama on ESPN.

MLS Combine Day Two: The cream rises

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The best thing you can say about day two at the MLS Combine is that it probably helped restore the faith of MLS coaches who might have been staring at their draft picks like expired lottery tickets.

Top prospects Patrick Nyarko and Eric Avila made their first appearances while several other blue chippers had their games show up.

Americans Abroad: Weekend Rewind

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Michael Bradley is at it again.

The young midfielder scored yet another goal for Heerenveen and added even more transfer value for the line of European clubs surely sizing him up for a potential transfer move.

It was a good weekend for Americans in Europe in terms of playing time, if not results.

Monday Morning Center Back: MLS Combine musings

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Good morning all. I'm writing you from North Fort Myers, Florida, where I'm taking advantage of the MLS Combine off day to pay my mother a visit.

Today is also a day to reflect on the action in Ft. Lauderdale, where all the league's coaches and personnel people have spent two days watching the draft-eligible talent.

The official SBI MLS Mock Draft (Version 1.0)

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Good afternoon folks. It took me a while but I have finally cranked out an MLS Mock Draft.

The mock draft consists of the first round and the first two picks of the second round (I had to include the Red Bulls pick in there for eager Red Bulls fans curious about who might fall to No. 12).

FC Dallas deals Carlos Ruiz to LA Galaxy for Allocation and draft pick

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The Los Angeles Galaxy has found an accomplished forward to latch on to David Beckham's dangerous crosses.

The Galaxy has acquired Carlos Ruiz from FC Dallas in exchange for an allocation and 2009 second-round draft pick, Major League Soccer announced on Tuesday.

Ruiz returns to the team he led to the 2002 MLS Cup title.

Red Bulls to hire Omid Namazi as assistant coach

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Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio has settled on his first, and only, assistant coaching hire. Osorio is set to name New Jersey Ironmen head coach Omid Namizi as Red Bulls assistant coach, a source with knowledge of the decison told Soccer By Ives on Tuesday. The club will announce the hiring on Wednesday.

The official SBI MLS Mock Draft (Version 1.0)

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Good afternoon folks. It took me a while but I have finally cranked out an MLS Mock Draft.

The mock draft consists of the first round and the first two picks of the second round (I had to include the Red Bulls pick in there for eager Red Bulls fans curious about who might fall to No. 12).

Goodson says Good-Bye

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Former FC Dallas defender Clarence Goodson won't be anchoring the San Jose Earthquakes defense as the Quakes had hoped when they selected him in the expansion draft. Goodson, who is out of contract, will instead make a run at securing a contract in Europe.

San Jose revealed this pretty significant information at the bottom of the same press release that announced the trade to acquire goalkeeper Joe Cannon.

Chicago Fire hires Hamlett

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Photo by ISI Photos

When the Chicago Fire's search to replace departed head coach Juan Carlos Osorio more than a month ago, that search began with Denis Hamlett. After interviewing countless candidates and taking longer than any MLS coaching search in recent memory, the Fire's search brought them right back to the same man who has been with the organization since it was founded, Denis Hamlett.

MLS youth programs could be headed your way

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One of the more under-publicized aspects of Major League Soccer's player development initiatives is the fact that new rules allow MLS clubs to establish affiliated youth teams outside of their own immediate territories. It is a rule that, in theory, could lead to teams establishing satellite youth programs throughout the country.

Red Bulls re-sign Jon Conway

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The New York Red Bulls have reached an agreement with goalkeeper Jon Conway on a new contract that will keep the 30-year-old Rutgers product with the club for the 2008 season. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Conway finished the 2007 season with a 6-5-2 record and split time with Dutch vetera Ronald Waterreus before taking over the job late in the season.

This weekend's soccer on TV

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Wondering when the European winter break was over? Wonder no more. The EPL, Serie A and La Liga will be in action this weekend so you will have a good selection of games to entertain you this weekend.

Manchester City at Everton and Valencia at Atletico Madrid are the marquee matches of the weekend, but you can also see most of the top squads in action this weekend.

Good morning from Florida

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Hello all. I'm coming to you from sunny Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The first day of the MLS Player Combine is set to begin in an hour and we should get to see some serious talent on display.

SBI will provide you with updates on the draft throughout the weekend so stay tuned. The first update of the date involves the latest inclusion to the Combine and Generation adidas class.

MLS Combine Day One: power brokers, bad offensive soccer and a new crop of coaches

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The first day of the 2008 MLS Combine will be remembered for two things. It was the day we saw a new generation of MLS coaches get to work and it was a day that set offensive soccer back about 100 years as nervous draft prospects did little to stand out in front of the scores of MLS coaches and management folks in attendance.

MLS Combine Day One: The good, the bad and the ugly

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I know you're just waiting to find out who did and didn't play well at the MLS Combine. Well, I can tell you that there were some standouts in day one, but far more players who just flat failed to impress.

The first game of the day could be best described as terrible. I would go so far as to say it's the worst soccer game I've seen in years, that's all levels (high school, U-10, MLS reserve league).

Toronto to sign Wagenaar

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Toronto FC is set to sign Canadian goalkeeper Josh Wagenaar, a high-ranking team source said on Sunday. Wagenaar, 22, has spent the past two seasons with Dutch club Ado Den Haag.

Toronto used a variety of goalkeepers in 2007 after losing starter Greg Sutton to a concussion. Sutton is set to return but will face a stern challenge from Wagenaar for the starting job.

MLS Combine Day Two: News and notes

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Good evening folks. It was a busy day at the MLS Combine. The action was better today than day one, with six goals scored compared to yesterday's one goal.

I will post my game observations later on tonight but for now I will fill you in on all the activities from today.

The SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES has identified the player it will choose with the No.

Chicago Fire hires Hamlett

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Photo by ISI Photos

When the Chicago Fire's search to replace departed head coach Juan Carlos Osorio more than a month ago, that search began with Denis Hamlett. After interviewing countless candidates and taking longer than any MLS coaching search in recent memory, the Fire's search brought them right back to the same man who has been with the organization since it was founded, Denis Hamlett.

Morning Ticker: No Spencer for Fire, Crew on the DP hunt and more MLS news

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Good morning all. It is a busy day in the MLS world as the news is permeating throughout the league. My colleagues around the country are cranking out the information, which is definitely a good sign.

Here are some MLS-related stories to digest with your morning coffee:

Spencer out of the Fire race

Houston Dynamo assistant John Spencer tells the Houston Chronicle's Bernardo Fallas that he turned down the Fire coaching job, claiming that he did so because the contract offer was too low.

Euro update: Transfers and coaching news

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If you're a European soccer fan and you are wondering when the high-profile deals are going to start being made, you are not alone. Aside from Ever Banega's move to Valencia I can't think of a single marquee transfer that has taken place during this transfer window and we're a third of the way through.

MLS announces Generation adidas Class of 2008

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Patrick Nyarko, Eric Avila and Alex Nimo are three of the marquee members of the Generation adidas class of 2008, which was announced by Major League Soccer on Thursday.

MLS named nine players as part of the new class and all nine will be eligible for the MLS Draft on January 19th in Baltimore.

Galaxy deals Cannon to San Jose, lose Mathis

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Photo by ISI Photos

The shake-up of the Los Angeles Galaxy roster continued with a pair of major moves on Thursday. Goalkeeper Joe Cannon was dealt to the San Jose Earthquakes while newly-acquired midfielder Clint Mathis apperas to have passed on re-signing with LA and signed a deal in Greece instead.

Hamlett is NOT the Fire Coach yet

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Contrary to some pretty premature reports emanating from the Midwest, Denis Hamlett has NOT been named Chicago Fire head coach. I will provide more information when it becomes available, but as of 8pm Eastern Time, the Fire still has a vacant head coaching position.

Galaxy deals Cannon to San Jose, lose Mathis

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Photo by ISI Photos

The shake-up of the Los Angeles Galaxy roster continued with a pair of major moves on Thursday. Goalkeeper Joe Cannon was dealt to the San Jose Earthquakes while newly-acquired midfielder Clint Mathis apperas to have passed on re-signing with LA and signed a deal in Greece instead.

MLS Combine rosters announced

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Major League Soccer has announced the rosters for the four teams that will play in this weekend's MLS Combine in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The teams are made up of more than 60 draft prospects who will be playing in front of all of the league's coaches and scouts ahead of the MLS Draft on Friday, Jan.

Coundoul represents MLS at African Cup of Nations

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Colorado goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul will be Major League Soccer's lone representative at the African Cup of Nations, which begins later this month in Ghana.

Coundoul was officially named to Senegal's 23-man roster on Tuesday. This isn't news to SBI readers, who were informed of Coundoul's selection back in November.

Who are the three best USMNT players ever?

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The U.S. men's national team is less than two weeks away from playing the 500th match in national team history on January 19th against Sweden. In honor of that landmark moment, The U.S. Men's national team soccer blog is asking national team fans a very tough question. Who are the three best U.

Eskandarian poised for MLS return, future at RSL is less clear

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Alecko Eskandarian is set to re-sign with Major League Soccer after turning down an offer from a Belgian club, sources told SBI on Tuesday. Whether that means Eskandarian will return to Real Salt Lake remains to be seen. (UPDATE- The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that Eskandarian is being dealt to Chivas USA for an allocation.

Morning Ticker: US-Poland friendly?, Fire still searching and DC set to talk with Gomez

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Photo by ISI Photos

Good morning folks. If you're hungry for some American soccer news, I've got some tidbits to tide you over.

Here are some news and notes:

Polish media is reporting a USA-Poland match in Poland on March 26.

A look at the next generation at D.C. United

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As you read earlier this week on SBI, DC United is one of five MLS teams that is now qualified to start signing homegrown players from their youth academy straight to the first team. If you were wondering who some of the better players in the D.C. United pipeline are, and some players who may wear the D.

So Long Sam (And other European nuggets)

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Good afternoon folks. Apologies for the slowdown in posts but I'm working on a few stories and also preparing for SBI's trip to Florida for the MLS Combine.

Here are some European soccer news tidbits for those of you who have been busy doing things like working and studying:

Newcastle sacks Allardyce.

Crew: Our designated player slot is not for sale

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Whenever talk of teams trading for designated player slots begins, one team always linked to the discussion as a seller is the Columbus Crew. It is a natural reaction given the Crew's status as a small-market team, and the lack of obvious candidates to come in through that slot.

As far as Crew president Mark McCullers is concerned, assuming that Columbus will part with the DP slot is a mistake.

McCullers: Schelotto is staying

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Add Crew president Mark McCullers to the list of people who insist that Argentinian star Guillermo Barros Schelotto will be returning to Columbus for the 2008 season.

"I talked to (Schelotto) last night and he was confirming when the reporting date was," McCullers said. "He did get some offers and some attention from some clubs in Argentina and that?

FC Dallas sign Mexican defender Duilio Davino

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Photo by ISI Photos

FC Dallas has completed the signing of long-time Mexican national team defender Duilio Davino at a press conference today. A veteran of 'El Tri' with 84 caps and a place on the 1998 Mexican World Cup squad, Davino is expected to step in and give FC Dallas the type of central defense anchor it has been lacking for years.

FC Dallas sign Mexican defender Duilio Davino

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Photo by ISI Photos

FC Dallas has completed the signing of long-time Mexican national team defender Duilio Davino at a press conference today. A veteran of 'El Tri' with 84 caps and a place on the 1998 Mexican World Cup squad, Davino is expected to step in and give FC Dallas the type of central defense anchor it has been lacking for years.

Morning Ticker: US-Poland friendly?, Fire still searching and DC set to talk with Gomez

Soccer By Ives at related • 3 views

Photo by ISI Photos

Good morning folks. If you're hungry for some American soccer news, I've got some tidbits to tide you over.

Here are some news and notes:

Polish media is reporting a USA-Poland match in Poland on March 26.

Eskandarian poised for MLS return, future at RSL is less clear

Soccer By Ives at related • 3 views

Photo by ISI Photos

Alecko Eskandarian is set to re-sign with Major League Soccer after turning down an offer from a Belgian club, sources told SBI on Tuesday.

MLS Combine rosters announced

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Major League Soccer has announced the rosters for the four teams that will play in this weekend's MLS Combine in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The teams are made up of more than 60 draft prospects who will be playing in front of all of the league's coaches and scouts ahead of the MLS Draft on Friday, Jan.

U.S. national team camp report

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(EDITOR'S NOTE)-- SBI Mafia member and pro sports writer Dominghosa made the trip to Los Angeles on Monday and took the time to head to Home Depot Center to watch U.S. national team practice. Here is his report.)

Hafa Adai and Mabuhay SBI Mafia.

Red Bulls name Jeff Agoos Sporting Director

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The Red Bulls have named Jeff Agoos Sporting Director. The decision was announced on Monday.

The decision doesn't come as much of a surprise. Agoos has worked closely with managing director Marc deGrandpre since Bruce Arena's departure as head coach and, during that time, Agoos made a strong impression on deGrandpre.

(Some of) Your Questions Answered

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Good afternoon everybody. While we await word on some big news on the MLS front, here are some of the answers to the last Q&A session I did on the old SBI site.

JASON- USA MNT 1st XI since 1990?

Setting the line on the Chicago Fire coaching search

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If you are a Chicago Fire fan and you're having trouble keeping up with all the candidates to replace Juan Carlos Osorio, SBI is here to help.

The list of head coaching candidates is a long one, but not all candidates are created equal. Some are serious long-shots, while others are true front-runners.

Where is Eddie Johnson heading? (And other MLS transfer talk)

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Eddie Johnson is ready to go.

The Kansas City Wizards forward is set to pack his bling and make the move to Europe now that the European transfer window is open. The question is where will he go? Clubs all over England have been linked to the U.S. national team striker. Newcastle showed some interest while Manchester City, Fulham and Middlesbrough are among other teams linked to a bid for Johnson.

Can the Galaxy really afford Figo? (More importantly, is he worth it?)

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You have probably heard by now the countless stories linking Portuguese star Luis Figo to a move to Major League Soccer. According to reports out of Portugal, Figo has signed a two-year deal with Anschutz Entertainment Group and will join one of AEG's teams next season.

Well, you know he's not going to Houston, which means that Figo is likely headed to Los Angeles.

Eric Avila close to signing with MLS

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Eric Avila, the UCSB midfielder who helped lead the Gauchos to the 2006 NCAA College Cup title, is close to signing a deal with Major League Soccer.

According to MLS sources, the skillful midfielder is set to forego his senior season of college and is considering a Generation adidas contract that would make him one of the most highly-coveted players in the 2008 MLS Draft.

An MLS return for Arena?

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Everybody's favorite unemployed American soccer coach apparently has that coaching itch again.

You already knew about Bruce Arena's public interest in the Scottish National Team job. Now there are rumblings out of Chicago that the former U.S. national team and Red Bulls coach has put himself in the mix for the Chicago Fire head coaching vacancy.

Johnston: Edu staying put

Soccer By Ives at related • 4 views

Toronto FC head coach Mo Johnston put to rest growing rumors that U.S. national team midfielder Maurice Edu was preparing for a winter transfer move to England, telling SoccerByIves.net that the TFC star is staying put.

"What people don't think about is that right now he doesnt' have the qualifications to go (to England)," Johnston said of Edu, referring to Edu's inability to secure a work permit.

Noon Notes (Nyarko, TFC and Fire news)

Soccer By Ives at related • 18 views

Good afternoon all. Day two of the new SBI is underway and things are going well. Thanks to all of you who have found your way here and have helped the site get off to a strong start.

Here are some tidbits for your lunchtime curiosity:

Virginia Tech Patrick Nyarko is leaning toward signing a deal with MLS.

DC, Red Bulls and Chivas USA can now sign youth academy players

Soccer By Ives at related • 21 views

Some 14 months after Major League Soccer announced initiatives that would allow MLS teams to sign players they develop through their own youth programs, three MLS teams are set to take advantage of those initiatives.

Chivas USA, D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls have been identified by MLS as having players who qualify to be signed to the senior teams directly.

Red Bulls waive Santino Quaranta

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The Red Bulls have waived oft-injured forward/midfielder Santino Quaranta.

Acquired from Los Angeles for a conditional fourth-round draft pick, Quaranta played just three games for the Red Bulls for a combined total of 47 minutes. He missed most of the second half of the season with a foot injury.

Red Bull Park construction under way

Soccer By Ives at related • 4 views

For those of you who have been waiting for evidence of Red Bull park construction actually being under way, here is a picture from the Red Bulls of the construction site. There is no steel or concrete on the site yet but the lot looks cleared for building (just like it did two months ago) and there are some earth moving vehicles on site.

Red Bulls part ways with John Harkes

Soccer By Ives at related • 3 views

The New York Red Bulls have bid farewell to assistant coach John Harkes, choosing not to retain the former U.S. national team captain on the staff of new Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio. Currently in Colombia looking at players, Osorio could not be reached for comment. Phone messages left for Harkes were not returned.

Out with the old SBI, in with the new SBI (My farewell)

Soccer By Ives at related • 22 views

Good morning everybody. It is time to let you all know about the changes to Soccer By Ives that I have hinted about for months.

I am leaving the Herald News after 10 years at the paper in order to devote myself to launching and running a soccer news website that readers from all over the country, and American soccer fans all over the world, can come to for the best mix of news and analysis around.

Happy New Year from SBI

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Good morning everybody. The new year is here and the soccer is already under way with Fulham suffering yet another heartbreaking loss, this time to Chelsea. Not exactly the way to start the year for American soccer fans, but 2008 should still be a fun one.

What will you be looking forward to in 2008 in the soccer world?