Yesterday I mentioned the key role Sounders HGP prospects Jordan Morris and Aaron Kovar played in Stanford's win over Cal on Wednesday night. SoundersFC.com has a detailed article about Morris and Kovar's partnership in Palo Alto. Another HGP prospect Jordan Schweitzer, a sophomore at the University of Denver, was named to the All-Summit League second team.
In response to some very speculative reports connecting Clint Dempsey to a possible loan deal with several teams in the Premier League, Cartilage Free Captain doesn't see it as a great fit for Tottenham Hotspur. Meanwhile, USMNT manager Jürgen Klinsmann called Clint Dempsey's calf injury a "real bummer".
With reports emerging this week that the Sounders are shopping Eddie Johnson to other MLS teams, several SB Nation team blogs have already weighed in on the possibility of adding Johnson to their respective teams. Black and Red wants him and doesn't want him for DC United. The Daily Wiz asks its readers if Sporting Kansas City should bring Johnson back to their city for a second time. Hot Time in Old Town presents the case for and against the Chicago Fire moving for him. Waking the Red sees Johnson as a useful addition for Toronto, but they don't necessarily see him as a DP.
Major League Soccer
Earlier in the week, we told you that the "league DP" actually exists. The league will match team investment in players that qualify up to $1 million. A few players were mentioned that have been signed under the rule. Massive Report reveals that Federico Higuain was another "league DP" signing.
The LA Galaxy has wasted no time in preparing for 2014. Robbie Keane has agreed to a new deal that will keep him with the team through 2015, with an option to extend the deal through the 2016 season. Despite his age, Keane has no intention of retiring from the Republic of Ireland's national team until his "legs are gone". Galaxy left back Todd Dunivant also signed a multiyear extension. Meanwhile, Robbie Rogers is already looking forward to the 2014 season, when he can "just be a soccer player".
New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke plans on Thierry Henry remaining the key to his team's attack in 2014, despite Tim Cahill's breakout performance in 2013. The Red Bulls are also considering adding a playmaker with their open DP slot.
Now that Orlando is expected to be the 21st MLS franchise and Miami and Atlanta generally expected to eventually become the 22nd and 23rd teams respectively, many fans and media are wondering who the 24th team will be. FC Dallas vice president would like to see San Antonio join MLS because of the three way rivalry it could build with Houston and FC Dallas, similar to what the NBA teams from the same cities have.
Speaking of Miami, David Beckham visited several potential sites for a MLS expansion team to play temporarily until a permanent soccer facility is built. His strongest preferences are Marlins Park and FIU Stadium.
MLS will hold a Caribbean Player Combine in Antigua in early January. The combine is part of a new partnership between MLS and the Caribbean Football Union. Players that impress scouts the most will be invited to the MLS Player Combine in Florida later in January.
USMNT and Hannover fullback Steve Cherundolo has acknowledged that he's open to signing with a MLS club once his current deal expires at the end of the 2013/14 season. He expects to make a decision in May.
Chicago Fire and USMNT goalkeeper Sean Johnson may be heading the opposite direction. He is reportedly interested in making a move to Europe. The Fire has an option for 2014, but Johnson would be free to sign a pre-contract in the summer for a free transfer in the January 2015 window. Chicago could also exercise the option and sell him in this offseason.
FC Dallas is taking a bit longer than expected to name a replacement for Schellas Hyndman. Having already interviewed 7 candidates, the franchise has a few more interviews to conduct before making a decision. One of the possible candidates is still in the MLS Cup Playoffs. The team is also searching for a new DP, which will most likely be a midfielder, given how deep the team is at the forward position.
It appears that Carlos Valdes (who is currently on loan in Colombia) isn't likely to return to the Philadelphia Union before the World Cup, and there is reason to believe that he may never return to Philadelphia.
One of the more surprising names on Jürgen Klinsmann's roster for the friendlies against Scotland and Austria was Nottingham Forest fullback Eric Lichaj, who may represent a more attacking option at right back than Brad Evans.
Heading into today's friendly against Scotland, the USMNT is confident after one of the best years on the pitch in its history.
In a case in Scotland of racist abuse against former Rangers players via Twitter, Maurice Edu testified that he was "shocked and embarrassed" over a racist message he received after a match in January 2012.
North American Soccer League
NASL expansion team Ottawa Fury FC has signed 21 year-old Brazilian winger Oliver Minatel, who has experience in Portugal's Liga Zon Sagres and Europa League.
Another NASL expansion team, Indy Eleven, has released possible designs for its secondary logo.
Oklahoma City's USL Pro team finally has a name: Energy FC. The team's colors and shield certainly look familiar, which is interesting, given the recent professional sports history between Seattle and OKC.
We talked about the possibility of Sacramento Republic FC playing in a temporary stadium at the California State Fairgrounds (also referred to as Cal Expo). Yesterday, the club released renderings of the planned stadium.
This month's international dates is set aside primarily for teams involved in both intercontinental and intra-continental playoffs for a spot in the World Cup.
Iceland is facing Croatia, and former Sounders trialist Eidur Gudjohnsen is motivated by the possibility of sending off his international career with an appearance in the 2014 World Cup.
After Poland sent 20,000 supporters to a World Cup qualifying match to Wembley Stadium in London, German supporters only purchased 1,000 tickets for next Tuesday's England vs. Germany friendly. Most Germans are opting for today's friendly in Italy instead of a midweek friendly in London.
Ahead of Spain's friendly at Equatorial Guinea, players have been instructed by the Spanish Football Federation not to be photographed with Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang, who is described as a dictator and accused of human rights violations. According to Inside Spanish Football, it is actually the players who initiated the refusal to be photographed with Obiang.
Bob Bradley got a much needed 2-0 win against Zambia yesterday, ahead of the second leg of the World Cup continental playoff against Ghana on Sunday.
Although FIFA's ethics committee is currently investigating the manner in which Russia and Qatar were awarded the 2018 and the 2022 World Cups respectively, it does not have the power to take away hosting rights from either country.
In a statement released yesterday, FIFA announced that it is unable to help French player Zahir Belounis, who has been denied an exit visa in Qatar until he agrees to drop legal charges against Al-Jaish, whom he claims owes him nearly 2 years of unpaid wages.