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Early Wednesday Kickaround

*Following up on our exclusive report about New Jersey native Gregg Berhalter returning to America, German club 1860 Munich has officially agreed to release the USA veteran defender and allow him to sign on a free transfer with MLS. His destination is expected to be finalized within a few days, but Los Angeles appears to be the favorite.

*Former D.C. United midfielder Josh Gros, forced to retire prematurely after suffering several head injuries, has been named assistant coach for the PDL's Northern Virginia Royals.

*The New England Revolution has added a fifth African player to its roster: Ghana defender Emmanuel Osei. The club is also represented by players from Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Gambia (2).

*Venezuela defeats Colombia, 2-0, in World Cup qualifying to tighten the South American standings.

*A look at the USA's World Cup qualifying situation heading into tonight's match against Trinidad and Tobago in Nashville.

By Steve Goff  |  April 1, 2009; 3:40 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , D.C. United , Germany , MLS , U.S. men's national team , USL  
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Next: Asian Qualifiers, Gooch, USA Yellows


I like these 3:45 AM Early Morning Kickarounds! Two days in a row posted, two days in a row I've got the first comment. Ha. Thnx

Posted by: redskinsux | April 1, 2009 3:46 AM | Report abuse

I like them too, but that's because I'm five hours ahead and see these first thing in the morning at work. Did I say first thing? I mean second thing after I respond to all my work e-mails. ;-)

Posted by: troy6 | April 1, 2009 3:52 AM | Report abuse

Either Venezuela defeating Colombia is an April Fools joke or the link goes to the Berhalter story.

Posted by: sitruc | April 1, 2009 3:55 AM | Report abuse

No, Venezuela did defeat Columbia. However, there is a chance FIFA also celebrates April Fool's day.

Great, only will have 6 hours to sleep.

If anyone follows the Caps or the Crosby vs Ovechkin rivalry, here's a song I've been listening to all night. Great indeed.

Posted by: redskinsux | April 1, 2009 4:30 AM | Report abuse


Rock the Red!

Posted by: croftonpost | April 1, 2009 4:43 AM | Report abuse

Steve's insomnia must be as bad as mine. Great stuff at this hour of the morning.

Posted by: croftonpost | April 1, 2009 4:45 AM | Report abuse

Best of luck to Josh Gros. I used to enjoy watching him play. The guy had non-stop energy.

Good interview with Maturana yesterday, Steve. I especially enjoyed his last answer about the difference between Caribbean and Latin crowds.


Posted by: shovetheplanet | April 1, 2009 6:04 AM | Report abuse

How does LA get Eddie Lewis, and Greg Berhalter in addition to Beckham and Donovan. Don't get it.

Posted by: Beckster1 | April 1, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

I find it extremely unfortunate that Gros has joined an organization with such little class as the Royals. I can't speak for the players, but their leadership/staff has zero class whatsoever. Extremely inconsiderate, rude, and instigates unnecessarily. Hopefully he can bring a little DC United class to their PDL program.

Posted by: amgrover | April 1, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

amgrover... care to open that up a bit?

Posted by: bonghits4gomez | April 1, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

How does LA get Eddie Lewis, and Greg Berhalter in addition to Beckham and Donovan. Don't get it.

Posted by: Beckster1 | April 1, 2009 7:12 AM
What is there not to get???

Haven't you heard?!?! they are the "Crown Jewel" of MLS...

Posted by: yankiboy | April 1, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Hey, any of you remember last year when some CLOWN was on here crying about Khano Smith or Joseph not being used enough and he called Nichols a racist???

Looking studpider and stupider all the time.

That was absolutely clASSic...

Posted by: yankiboy | April 1, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else get all excited when they see Gros's name? I'm always duped into thinking that it's news that he's changed his mind and coming back...

Posted by: DadRyan | April 1, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Dadryan: I had a quick flash of hope, as well.

Posted by: yankiboy | April 1, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

No offense Caps fans, but that song is soooooo awful. I'd read about it, but I now wish I'd never clicked that link. That "band" sucks. ughh.

Posted by: DadRyan | April 1, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

How does LA get Eddie Lewis, and Greg Berhalter . . . Kirovski, Klein

Because it's a retirement home for over the hill National teamers

Posted by: delantero | April 1, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Add Tony Sanneh to that LA Gals list too . .

Posted by: delantero | April 1, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Which Revs player is from Cameroon? Nyassi and Mansally are from Gambia, Dube is from Zimbabwe, and...

Posted by: Jayfil | April 1, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

"Revolution adds African defender"

Can't the Rev's website call Osei a Ghanaian defender instead of an African defender? We're not stupid. We know that Africa is a big continent with many countries. We're soccer fans. We can find Ghana on a map faster than most people at the State Department or the UN. It irks me when media professionals do things like this.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 1, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Oh, nevermind. Ombiogno is from Cameroon. And to echo I-270's comment, that language drives me nuts too. The Ombiogno signing had the same headline- "Revs sign African forward Ombiogno". Come on...

Posted by: Jayfil | April 1, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Mightn't it be more important that the Revs have signed their 5th young international than where the guys are from? I think their guys are all between 20 and 25ish. Is that a better model for on-field success and attendance than getting international has-beens or never-wasses for a last hurrah, or in some cases (Gallardo ) a last something other than a hurrah?

The juice for DC United this year looks like the young guys, with Olsen and Moreno as mentors. Why not go young, make it exciting, treat it like the developmental league it is? More Ryan Nelson,, Josh Gros, Matt Perkins, fewer Gonzalo brothers and Franco Niell.

Posted by: OWNTF | April 1, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Great article Goff on the USMNT and your blog post from Maturana. I appreciate that you understand that road games anywhere we play in Latin America are going to be tough. That crowd at the Cuscatlan the other night was incredible. Maturana made reference to the passion and pressure for Latin teams - these are footballing nations where emotion, national pride, and underachiever frustration etc. boils up at these qualifiers. Although the Caribbean is not as crazy about the sport (Cricket continues to be the #1 sport in the region)your article and post really help make this clearer to US fans.

Posted by: sbg1 | April 1, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I guess I need something to complain about this morning, so I sent an e-mail to the Revs media e-mail address. When the caffeine kicks in, I'll stop being a grumpy old man.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 1, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Owntf: I think that's what will end up being the successful mls model for a while. I want to see more 19-20 year olds and fewer 30 year olds. I think dcu is on the right track, I love the the youth movement, it's going to be great fun watching the rookies learning from people like benny, Christian and Jaime. Could you actually have a better trio providing an example for the kiddies?

Posted by: joshuaostevens | April 1, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

It's important that we not only qualify for the WC, but we want to win the group over Mexico outright for a better seeding, right? I think, but I'm not too sure, that the winner of the group gets a preferential seed in the WC and the runner-up does not. If someone with more insight could explain, I'd appreciate it.

Posted by: nmeeker | April 1, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

nmeeker, winning the group is always preferrable. But in 2006, the US finished ahead of Mexico in qualifying but we didn't get the seed.

Posted by: JoeW1 | April 1, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

@Goff: Thanks for the article on the US qualifier tonight. Interesting insight on Beasley and Kljestan. I think Sasha rocks, but his last game sucked. I can't tell if you're suggesting that Mastreoni may start in Sasha's place and perhaps Torres on the left wing?
Not sure of Torres on the wing myself, but hey! It's food for thought.
Waiting for your April Fools joke...

Posted by: DadRyan | April 1, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

There's pretty much no chance we get a seed. Using this formula,

Part A: World Cup performance = (2002*1+2006*2)/3
Part B: FIFA Ranking = (12/2007 rank+12/2008 rank+11/2009 rank)/3
Part A + Part B = world cup seeding formula

We have to hope that every team in the top 7 or 8 fail to qualify, so it's pretty much impossible. On the other hand, it means no seed for Mexico, either.

Posted by: Josh8 | April 1, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

yeah the preferred seeding is huge key to getting out of the group stage at the WC. I don't think a federation is guaranteed a seed though, as its based off of the FIFA rankings & past world cup performances. Wiki said Mexico getting on in 06 was only the second time a non hosting CONCACAF nation received a protected seed.

Posted by: VTUnited | April 1, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I've joined the twittersphere

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 1, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I go out of town for a few days and miss a Charlie Daniels reference. The fates hate me.

I'll get to your Twitter page, I-270. As soon as I get my VCR to stop blinking 12:00.

Posted by: joedoc1 | April 1, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

You guys are way to harsh on the coverage. The reason for the headline is because it suggests a really unique effort in New England to buy African. Much more significant than the fact that he is Ghanaian.

No one said boo about the stories regarding DCU's Central American and South American shopping adventures. They were legitimate stories, because DCu was doing something different. Of course, we can quibble about whether the Revs really are doing something different. DCU has Crayton, Doe, Khumalo and N'Silu -- and flirted with Danso. Nobody really noticed what United was doing, except that the team wasn't really recruiting in Africa. What the Revs are doing does seem different.

SPeaking of Africans...

What's the latest on this guy:

Will the Dynamo have Akinbiyi when they come to RFK on Saturday?

And, why can't United find an Akinbiyi? Why are we getting third-rate and fourth-rate castoffs, when we could get a second-rate castoff like Akinbiyi? Or, real young talents like Seattle and New England are doing?

Victor? Will? How's about spending some money on scouting and recruitment?

Posted by: fischy | April 1, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

fischy, I think the club's talent pool is pretty good this year. We've got rookies performing very well. Isn't Akinbiyi like 35 years old anyway? No more Geezers please, I don't care where they come from.

Thanks for the April Fools i-270, ya got me.

Posted by: DadRyan | April 1, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse


I will not go into specifics because I do not wish to start a feud for the club I represent (even though any referee, player, coach, or supporter will agree)
All I will say is we have had the pleasure of hosting their team in the past, and we had MANY issues with their coaching staff, their players, and Mo Sheta is one of the few men on this earth that I will refuse to shake hands with ever again.

Posted by: amgrover | April 1, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Beckster1: why does LA get Berhalter?

A: More than anything on its agenda, and that includes new stadia for DC United and others, MLS desperately needs winning teams in LA and New York. New York may a competent goalie away from respectability, but LA needs a lot more help. Plus they lost their DP for half the season (or more), and deserve an allocation for the much needed cash that loan deal brought to the league.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | April 1, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure there are rules for the allocation priority -- I will say that it's a bit confusing, since LA got Lewis last year. You'd think that would throw them down the list. It's easy to take potshots here, because the system seems so impenetrable -- but, I'm guessing the league is following its allocation rules. It probably does have something to do with the Beckham loan.

Posted by: fischy | April 1, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that amgrover has had a run in with the Royals organization, their Super Y League program is great.

I am not looking to get into a feud with anyone but I wanted to write that for myself I have had nothing but great experiences with the Royals organization.

Of course I can't say that about all the clubs in the area but I'm not going to put club names out there.

I would think that amgrover has grounds on his dislike that he writes above but like everything in youth soccer there is always good and bad.

I am very happy that Josh Gros has joined the Royals, I think it is a great addtion.

Posted by: zzlive4soccerzz | April 1, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I can only speak regarding the PDL team. No experience with the youth teams.

Posted by: amgrover | April 1, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Will the Dynamo have Akinbiyi when they come to RFK on Saturday?

And, why can't United find an Akinbiyi? Why are we getting third-rate and fourth-rate castoffs, when we could get a second-rate castoff like Akinbiyi? Or, real young talents like Seattle and New England are doing?

Victor? Will? How's about spending some money on scouting and recruitment?

Posted by: fischy | April 1, 2009 11:53 AM


Akinbiyi is not the kind of player I think MLS teams should be going after. An aging guy from the lower levels of the highest paying soccer league in the world.

The odds of getting good value from those circumstances seem kinda low.

Not that I know anything about Akinbiyi other than what I just read on his wikipedia entry:

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | April 1, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

@fischy: Here's my grumpy old man letter and the revs quick response, which pleasantly surprised me. As I wrote earlier, I must have had the need to complain about something this morning. (you can relate to grumpy letters to the ed, no? :-)

From me:
This is in response to your story on the Rev's signing of Emmanuel Osei, which I read by following a link on Soccer Insider from the Washington Post. I wonder why you referred to Osei as an African defender instead of a Ghanaian defender in the title? The fact that Ghana is in Africa has no bearing on the story because you did not tie it in to the bigger picture of the other four African players on your roster. Had you done so, it would have made sense.

While I'm not a Revs fan or a regular visitor to your website, I think you are seriously underestimating your readership. They are soccer fans. They know that Africa is a big continent with many countries. They can find Ghana on a map faster than most people at the State Department or the UN. And they can name several players on the Ghanaian national team.

It's annoying that you did not display the professionalism to treat your readers as knowledgeable individuals.

From The Rev FO:

Thank you for your response and comments.

When the release was originally written, Osei’s nationality was listed in the headline, but we had four people internally question the spelling and awkwardness of its construction and opening graph. As such, we went with the simpler version to send out. We’re also limited in that we have an internal rule keeping our headlines to 50 characters or less so they’re readable in most subject lines and on our digital properties.

We understand your criticism, but we in no way attempted to underestimate our readership and fans at all – we originally had that he was a Ghanaian defender but it was questioned internally. You are correct, however, that we did drop the ball and not reference the fact that Osei will be our fifth African player on the roster, which was in part because of the expedited manner in which it was written in an effort to make it available to our media yesterday morning at our annual media day.

Thank you again for your comments. We appreciate the feedback as we try to create content and information with which our fans will engage actively.


Lizz Summers
Director of Communications

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 1, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

LA is #1 on the allocation list because other teams have already grabbed USMNT players during the offseason. Seattle was at #1 and picked up Keller, then SJ picked up Convey. TFC Going by the list, LA is #1, followed by FCD, and then DC.

LA got Lewis by the same method. Noonan, Gibbs, Borchers, and Corrales were some of the USMNT players picked up before him.

In both cases, the lists were determined by the final standings of the previous season. So, the simple answer is that LA is first in line because they sucked so much over the last two years.

Posted by: jason1551 | April 1, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I hope that LA or FCD grab Berrhalter, and DC just holds out until the summer window. By then, we could have a shot at Beasley, Hahnemann, or some other USMNT player.

Posted by: jason1551 | April 1, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

@ jason1551 -- Thanks for the explanation. Not sure if Beas would come back here. Hahnemann is an intriguing possibility, especially with Crayton's contract situation. Does anyone know Marcus' contract status, or whether he has any interest in coming back here?

Posted by: fischy | April 1, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Hahnemann is supposedly out of contract after the end of this season. He has mentioned a return to MLS in the past, so I mention him as a potential target. Others would include Hill, Feilhaber, Beasley, and Demerit/Simek. Some are based on contracts, others on playing time, and some on their desire to get into the WC picture. I think the players that could potentially come to MLS during the summer could be much better than last year's, and that's saying a lot.

Posted by: jason1551 | April 1, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

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