USA, DCU, MLS
*In their annual Scandinavian challenge, the USA national team will play its first competitive match of 2009 on Jan. 24 against Sweden at Home Depot Center. Kickoff is 8:30 p.m. ET with coverage on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision. The match will come a couple weeks into a USA training camp at HDC and 18 days before the Americans begin the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.
*The buzz in MLS circles is that D.C. United has decided to exercise the option on backup goalkeeper Zach Wells's contract, but is also apparently planning to bring in another keeper, perhaps someone from the college draft, to compete with Wells in spring training for the No. 2 slot behind starter Louis Crayton. Rookie James Thorpe , the developmental goalie this season, seems likely to be invited to training camp. I am awaiting confirmation of the Wells decision, but if he should make the final roster, he would probably earn slightly more than the $52,000 he received this season. [UPDATE: The club confirmed tonight that it has exercised the option to retain Wells.]
*The Red Bulls received a scare near the end of training when goalkeeper Danny Cepero and forward Juan Pablo Angel collided in front of the net. Both were on the turf for a moment before rejoining the session. Afterward, Angel had ice wrapped around his arm but he said it was not serious.
*Columbus midfielder Robbie Rogers, a Southern California native, on the request for tickets from family and friends: "I keep getting them. I've stopped answering my e-mails. It's been crazy."
Back later with highlights from The Commish Don Garber's news conference.....
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