Things You Should Know
*The complete 2008 MLS schedules will not be finalized until probably February, but don't be surprised if the league announces the matchups and sites for the opening weekend (March 29-30) in the next week or two. With a winter lull approaching, MLS would like to provide teams with an opportunity to begin ticket-selling pushes over the holidays. (So who will Beckham and the Galaxy play on national TV that weekend?)
*U.S. national team training camp will open Jan. 3 at Home Depot Center, but because it will almost coincide with an under-23 camp at Bradenton, Bradley-Nowak will have to determine who goes where among young players. The senior squad is preparing for friendlies against Sweden on Jan. 19 at HDC and Mexico on Feb. 6 in Houston. (The first match does not fall on an international date, so don't plan on very many U.S. Euro-based players appearing; the second game is a fixture date, which means both teams could be close to full strength). The u-23s are building up to Olympic qualifying in March -- the tricky part will be getting Euro-based players to play since FIFA does not require mandatory releases from clubs for such tournaments.
*The Sweden match will be the 500th full international for the U.S. senior program. The Americans' current record: 193-194-112. (A 500th game to reach .500.)
*The semifinal round of World Cup qualifying will not begin until August, but on Dec. 15, CONCACAF and FIFA will gather at Tokyo meetings to determine the matchups and home-away designations based on current seedings. Before all of that, the Americans will have to take care of Barbados or Dominica in a two-game series June 11-14 and June 18-21. (The first game is on U.S. soil, site TBA.)
*ESPN announced today that the draw for Euro '08 will be carried live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes this Sunday starting at 6 a.m. (Eastern time).
*MLS veteran Tony Sanneh is meeting with Colorado Rapids officials today to determine whether he will return to the club next season. Sanneh, 36, appeared in nine games late in the season (five starts).
*And finally, the Red Bulls have unveiled new stadium plans. They are hoping to play in it sometime in 2009.
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