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What Else Is New.....

While I have your attention.....

*Expect MLS to finally unveil the new player guidelines in the next couple days (foreign limit, developmental rules, grandfathered designated players, etc.).

*Scratch Peter Nowak from the potential list of coaching candidates in Chicago. Nowak has grown tired of seeing his name mentioned for various openings and, through a source close to him, wants everyone to know that he is not interested in leaving the U.S. soccer program.

*Speaking of Nowak and his Olympic effort, the group draw for the CONCACAF under-23 tournament has been moved from next Wednesday to next Tuesday. From what I hear, the USA and Mexico will NOT be placed in the same group, which would have prevented them from meeting in a do-or-die semifinal game, like what happened four years ago in Guadalajara and left the Americans without a ticket to Athens. (The two semifinal winners in the March tournament qualify for the Olympics.) At the moment, the USA and Mexico will be in opposite groups, as will Honduras and Guatemala, Canada and Panama, and Haiti and Cuba.

Why risk another USA-MEX semifinal by placing them in separate groups? The fear is that, if they were together and one beat the other, the margin of error would become slim for the loser in terms of advancing to the semis. For example, if Mexico lost to the U.S. in group play, a tie in one of the other matches might end their chances of even getting to the semis. CONCACAF probably figures there is less risk in a potential USA-MEX semifinal than there is in one of the two powers failing to get out of group play. Again, this is what is being discussed at the moment and things could change between now and the draw.

Meantime, Nowak and the u-23s are preparing for a pair of friendlies in China this week, with tomorrow's first match expected to draw more than 30,000 spectators in Changsha. Sal Zizzo is doubtful with a high ankle sprain. Sasha Kljestan has been named captain.

*The Champions' Cup draw has also been moved to Tuesday. The field for the tournament, which begins in mid-March, is:

Houston (MLS)
Atlante (Mexico)
Pachuca (Mexico)
Motagua (Honduras)
Saprissa (Costa Rica)
Municipal (Guatemala)
Harbour View (Jamaica)

My prediction: DCU-Saprissa, Houston-Municipal, Pachuca-Harbour View and Atlante-Motagua.

*Trying out for the Earthquakes can be dangerous to your eligibility. Ugh.

By Steve Goff  |  December 12, 2007; 12:27 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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