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CONCACAF Champions League draw, D.C. United honors, WPS update, Americans abroad

*MLS's best chance to win the CONCACAF Champions League -- and earn a trip to the Club World Cup for the first time -- will be this spring. After years of disappointment, MLS will have its two quarterfinal entries, Real Salt Lake and the Columbus Crew, facing one another, with the winner of the two-leg series to play Olimpia (Honduras) or Saprissa (Costa Rica) in the semifinals. The other bracket is all-Mexican: Monterrey vs. Toluca and Santos Laguna vs. Cruz Azul. The quarterfinals will take place Feb. 22-24 and March 1-3. The semifinals are set for March 15-17 and April 5-7.

At first, with only one MLS side able to advance to the semifinals, the draw appeared to work against the U.S. league. But because fitness is always an issue for MLS clubs that time of the year, playing each other isn't so bad. One is now assured of a semifinal berth, as opposed to the risk of both losing in the quarters. By the time the semis roll around, the MLS survivor should be in decent form to face the Central American opponent.

In the past nine tournaments, all 18 finalists have come from Mexico or Costa Rica.

*Andy Najar, a 17-year-old midfielder, was named D.C. United's most valuable player. Jed Zayner, who didn't join the club until August, was voted its top defender. What does that say about United's defensive corps?

*The Washington Freedom and reigning champion Gold Pride are working on potential investor groups and WPS is hoping to have confirmation of their status by the end of the week, a league source told the Insider.

*Americans abroad:
MF Alejandro Bedoya 90 minutes in Orebro's 2-1 win over IFK
D Michael Parkhurst last 35 in Nordsjaelland's 4-1 loss to Odense

By Steve Goff  | November 1, 2010; 5:40 PM ET
Categories:  Americans Abroad, CONCACAF Champions League, Club World Cup, D.C. United, Freedom, MLS  | Tags:  CONCACAF, MLS  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Washington Freedom officials respond to report that the WPS club is going to fold soon
Next: Tuesday kickaround: USA women win again, Omar Salgado scouting, Will Chang is a champion, Americans abroad, Terps vs. Tribe, TV listings

Comments

Good point about the fitness issue for CCL. As for DCU Defender of the Year, I would have voted for Julius James just for that goal in Toronto.

Posted by: Pedalada | November 1, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I for one am actually excited about Julius James and Jakovic. This past season was total @#$%, but some of the performances that these two put in were stellar. There was a stretch of games there where James was quite impressive.

Bottom line, when Wallace gets back, we should have as good a backline as a struggling club could hope for.

Posted by: UnitedDemon1 | November 1, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Jed Zayner????? JULIUS JAMES has to feel so slighted. He was far and away the best defender we had all season and at times during the summer he was the best player we had on the pitch, always in top form.

Posted by: BurchFan4 | November 1, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Zayner was actually pretty steady on our back line whenever he was in there. I definitely feel much more comfortable with him going forward than Jordan Graye.

I still think this team could use a veteran and steady defender at RB (and maybe in the center as well). They can't count on Namoff coming back, and even if he did, he's been out of the game for over a year-and-a-half and won't be ready for quite awhile.

Still:

Zayner-Jakovic-James-Wallace

isn't a bad combination going forward.

p.s. Well deserved honor for Najar. Hopefully he sticks around long enough for this franchise to fully rebuild itself and help us win one more cup before departing to bigger and better things (oh, and to become a permanent part of the USMNT player pool).

Posted by: mercurysnake77 | November 1, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Am happy for Najar but what kind of dubious honor is it to be named MVP of the worst club in the league? Is that even a real award? Who else was gonna get it? The imported players that can't score? Perkins who was supposed to be a steal from Philly's hands? Hamid who played a handful of matches? Najar deserves the award but it's a dubious one at best.

Posted by: tundey | November 1, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Who else was gonna get it? The imported players that can't score?
=========

Allsopp had as many goals as Najar in fewer games and with far fewer minutes.

But at multiples of the cost and with a decade more experience.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 1, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

It would be interesting if the four best teams in the league American Football
participate in the LIBERTADORES, the level has greatly increased the U.S. team is showing a strong football, it would be interesting to see American teams play against Brazilian teams, even better if the organizations formed a football league and in europe ....

Posted by: R-play_nvm | November 1, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

It would be interesting if the four best teams in the league American Football
participate in the LIBERTADORES, the level has greatly increased the U.S. team is showing a strong football, it would be interesting to see American teams play against Brazilian teams, even better if the organizations formed a football league and in europe ....

Posted by: R-play_nvm | November 1, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

It would be interesting if the four best teams in the league American Football
participate in the LIBERTADORES, the level has greatly increased the U.S. team is showing a strong football, it would be interesting to see American teams play against Brazilian teams, even better if the organizations formed a football league and in europe ....

Posted by: R-play_nvm | November 1, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

It would be interesting if the four best teams in the league American Football
participate in the LIBERTADORES, the level has greatly increased the U.S. team is showing a strong football, it would be interesting to see American teams play against Brazilian teams, even better if the organizations formed a football league and in europe ....

Posted by: R-play_nvm | November 1, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Recycling my gag from a week ago on blackandredunited.com:

I would voet for Julius James as United's defender of the year, hands down. Because when he kept his hands down, he was pretty solid.

James did have two glaring errors -- the handball and the takedown. To be honest, I didn't see enough of Zayner. I noted one game where he was getting a lot of praise from the announcing crew, but he looked to me to be really flirting with edge of acceptable in physicality. Better refs might not be so generous. I guess he'll be around -- if the team thinks this highly of him, he'll be on the protect list.

Posted by: fischy | November 1, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Bedoya and Orebro secured a sot in next year's Europa League. It's almost a shame that everyone assumes Bedoya is moving up and out in the January transfer window.

Posted by: fischy | November 1, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Zayner. I'm pretty sure I voted for him. James is good but came out much stronger from the start (half way through the season) yjam James. Jakovic is worth trading. Wallace? Maybe. I didn't like him much at LB; he's better at MF. Thank God Pe~na and Talley won't be back.

Posted by: ericruenes | November 1, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Najar deserves the award but it's a dubious one at best.

Posted by: tundey
--------------------------------

I don't understand your logic at all. At 17 the kid is the best player on a MLS team. Even though it's a crap team you don't think he should be recognized for that?

Don't take your anger over DCU's rotten season out on Najar. It's a legitimate award and he is most deserving.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | November 2, 2010 4:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm intrigued by the Libertafores thing, but I doubt they'd send our best teams down there.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | November 2, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

please bring back the comment counter

Posted by: OWNTF | November 2, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

please bring back the comment counter

Posted by: OWNTF
---------------------------------

+1

(and maybe upgrade this awful commenting system, too.)

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | November 2, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Bedoya and Orebro secured a sot in next year's Europa League.

Posted by: fischy | November 1, 2010 10:36 PM
_________________________________________

I'm a bit surprised that this observation did not provoke any (snarky) discussion.

Posted by: universityandpark | November 2, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

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