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Posted at 9:50 AM ET, 12/15/2010

Wednesday kickaround: MLS, FIFA rankings, U.S. national team, Americans abroad, TV listings

By Steve Goff

*The second stage of the inaugural MLS re-entry draft will take place at 2 p.m. ET, with D.C. United holding the first pick. A lot of big names are available, including Juan Pablo Angel and Jimmy Conrad, and in this round, clubs essentially acquire a player's league rights and attempt to negotiate a new salary. For example, should DCU selected Angel, it would not offer him his 2010 base rate of $1.6 million. The club is not in a position to pay anywhere near that much. So if Angel wouldn't be willing to sign for a much lower figure, DCU isn't likely to use its pick on him -- or anyone else with high demands.

*The United States moved up six slots to No. 18 in the final FIFA rankings of the year -- the biggest leap among in the top 40 (you can thank Juan Agudelo). The first five are Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Brazil and Argentina. Mexico is No. 27. Upcoming USA opponents: #15 Chile, #9 Egypt and #5 Argentina.

*The next U.S. national team training camp opens Jan. 4 at Home Depot Center in Southern California, leading to the friendly with Chile on Jan. 22. The USSF is planning to unveil the long list of invitees (mostly from MLS) this week.

For Americans abroad and TV listings.....

*Americans abroad:
F Jozy Altidore and Villarreal at Brugge (Europa League)
MF Jose Torres, F Herculez Gomez, MF Marco Vidal and Pachuca vs. Al Wahda in Club World Cup fifth-place match

*Soccer on TV:
Club World Cup semifinal, Seongnam-Inter Milan noon FSC
Europa League, Dinamo Zagreb-PAOK 1 p.m. GolTV
Club World Cup 5th place, Pachuca-Al Wahda 2 p.m. (taped) FSC
Europa League, Sevilla-Dortmund 3 p.m. GolTV
Colombia, Tolima-Once Caldas 7 p.m. GolTV

By Steve Goff  | December 15, 2010; 9:50 AM ET
Categories:  Americans Abroad, Club World Cup, D.C. United, MLS, TV, U.S. men's national team  | Tags:  FIFA, MLS  
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Next: D.C. United selects veteran forward Josh Wolff with first pick in MLS re-entry draft


Are teams allowed to contact players (or their agent) and see if they're willing to negotiate around a particular amount, before they waste a pick on them?

Posted by: joe_hill | December 15, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

So how does this work? If a team selects a player, but fails to work out a contract, and said player goes overseas, does the team still retain his league rights were he ever to return? Or does the player's rights then revert back to the original team?

How many rounds are there? In other words, how many players could DCU pick if they fully exercised all their options here?

Posted by: jofij | December 15, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Has everyone heard that after the US Youth team tour, Athletico Madrid are interested in a number of young US players including Agudelo and Brek Shea. And here is what I find interesting: Brek Shea played CB during the tour and impressed which is why AM is interested in Shea as a Centerback... Hell, the USMNT should be interested in this as well...

While Blatter Contemplates Gay Sex in Qatar, others discuss the drop in MLS TV Ratings (across the board). Worried?:

Posted by: dwreck1971 | December 15, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Being #18 in FIFA should get us an invitation to the Five Guys Bowl, right?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 15, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Conrad makes the most sense for DCU among the big names, though Wolff and even Schelotto could be options (though it's hard to see where GBS fits in the DCU midfield -- or, more precisely, who would be the odd man out if he comes -- unless the team shifts to a 5-man midfield).

Egypt, which didn't even qualify out of Africa for the World Cup, is at #9, and we're supposed to actually take the rankings somewhat seriously?

Posted by: fischy | December 15, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Steve: if you're readingg this, you wrote "TV listinggs." But we know what you mean, so don't bother changingg it.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 15, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

As much as I'd like a defensive leader, what we need far more is a proven finisher. That mean Juan Pablo Angel. He's old, yes, and he might not lower his salary, but the latter is the only possible detriment. If we can lower his price tag, we would have a man who can score by his lonesome that would allow us to play with five men in the midfield, which should definitely happen.

Last season, our defense was made doubly awful because none of our plays went anywhere. Didn't matter how well Jakovic and James played.

Posted by: UnitedDemon1 | December 15, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Jozy not starting but in the 18

Posted by: rockotodd | December 15, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Josh Wolff. WTF.

Posted by: UnitedDemon1 | December 15, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Josh Wolff to DC United, WTF

LA gets Juan Pablo Angel.

The rich get richer and the poor stay poor!
Way to go MLS.

Posted by: stephen_james2 | December 15, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

As much as I'd like a defensive leader, what we need far more is a proven finisher. That mean Juan Pablo Angel. He's old, yes, and he might not lower his salary, but the latter is the only possible detriment. If we can lower his price tag, we would have a man who can score by his lonesome that would allow us to play with five men in the midfield, which should definitely happen.
Posted by: UnitedDemon1 | December 15, 2010 12:38 PM
With all due respect, JPA commanded a 7-figure salary last year, and while he will likely settle for less at his advanced age, for that kind of money, I'd rather see DCU get more quality, youth and speed in a forward. They should spend their draft picks on improving their defense, perhaps in the form of Ryan Cochran and/or Jimmy Conrad, if they can be obtained for a reasonable rate.

Posted by: schmegegge | December 15, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Jsh Wolff, is, I think, a good pick-up -- as I wrote above. He was kinda lost in KC this past year, but he was good the year before, a

Maybe they add a defender like Padula in the second roundnd he had some moments last year, too.

Posted by: fischy | December 15, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Never been a big fan of Josh Wolff play; and now that's slower than a snail, this pick looks to very poor. Apologies to his family, but yuck to this pick.

Posted by: dwreck1971 | December 15, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

The comment about the rich getting richer has some merit -- I'm sure finances played a huge part in the decision to go with Wolff over Angel. However, to diss MLS over this is silly. Is there a professional sports league in the world where this phenomenon isn't happening?

I reiterate that Wolff is a good pick. He's still got a lot of speed. With him and Nqwenya, United will be able to stretch defenses. Both players also have some skills to along with their foot speed. A huge improvement over Moreno, Cristman and Allsopp, who are all genuinely slow.

Apparently, there isn't a second round to the, United will have to bid competitively, I guess, to add anyone Padula (hint, hint).

Posted by: fischy | December 15, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Of course, turning 34 in February, Wolff isn't a long-term solution. However, if he can notch, say, 9 goals or more, he'll be a great pick-up for this year.

Posted by: fischy | December 15, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Part 1 of my "gift" list to the Insider regulars in 2010. As was the case last year (and the year before) I'm sure I left some people out. But unlike the federal government, there is a limit to my giving. Here goes (with thanks to I-270, BaRRD and OWNTF for their contributions):

Washington Freedom fans: a league in 2011

Reignking: dinner with Chuck Finley, and a copy of Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style”

Dadryan: U2 CDs, a Sounders jersey, and a third United jersey

fischy: a tax increase and a dinner date with Sarah Palin

seahawkdad: An autographed Mia Hamm jersey

IamAM: Green eggs and ham

Qatar: Yeah, right

Juan-John: Every soccer book ever written… but on your Ipad

Pigmansweet1: Jamil Walker’s speed

gocaps2: Ethan White on a homegrown contract

BolivianDCFan: Your seat at RFK when the stadium is eventually torn down

UnitedDemon: Sardokie AND Salgado

VamosUnited: a playoff run!

Modibo: a USMNT win in Azteca

22206no1: you already have America’s best zip code. What more do you need?

9Nine9: the wisdom not to teach your wife the butt bounce trick

Jayrockers: As always, our eternal and gracious thx!

Rockotodd: Chuck Norris pajamas

teo_68: More college teams that play like Akron

Smitty68: continued restricted development (except for a stadium)

Joel_M_Lane: The bank name, and account number, for Jack Warner,

Yankiboy: a starring role in “The Wire: The Movie”

JoeW1: Benny’s ear, and a good outside back on your men’s team

VirginiaBlueBlood: a tunnel under Maryland that spits you out in Pennsylvania

JacobfromAtlanta-ish: Two tickets to Frankfrut next summer

Kev29: triplets

VTUnited: safe travels up Rte. 29

lrg1231: autographed Steve Earle CD

christopher_a_metzler: defending Abby Wambach during corner kick practice

DCUSince96: autographed Mourinho scarf

fallschurch1: Barack’s re-election

b18bolo: dinner with Pia Sundhage

Curious99: a digital clock counting down the time to United’s first game

Ruthie1: a Kabukie play

Soccerman: a subscription to Denmark’s version of TV Guide

Hateisnotafamilyvalue: “Life on the Edge: The Next Generation's Guide to a Meaningful Future,” by Dr. James Dobson

GeneWells: A police scanner, the Park Police report from the Charlie Davies crash, complete with accident scene photos, copies of the insurance claim forms, the medical reports, videos of the surgeries, and lifetime subscriptions to the National Enquirer, Star, and People magazines

universityandpark: A soccer-specific bar somewhere between Frederick and Harrisburg so he won’t miss a match on his trips home.

Mastodon Juan: a lump of coal. You already got a stadium

Matte: dinner with Will Chang

Dougmacintyre: faith in Pia

troy6 - the highly coveted post of Ambassador to UEFA

JkR – a dozen eggs and a package of Bird’s Custard mix

TenoriosLaptop: Running the “beep” test with Kristine Lilly

teo_68: First defender pressure, second defender cover

YesMomStillPlaying: Autographed John Prine guitar


Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | December 15, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Part II:

BaltoFan: A tat of Santino on your right arm

DCUSince96: United’s return to their form in 1996

Delantero: Amtrak tickets to attend the Red Bulls home opener in 2011

Miles_Standish_Proud: Season tickets to the Black Cat

Fedssocr: A Vancouver Whitecaps jersey

Benonthehill: Clint Mathis’ Mohawk

Godfather_of_Goals, euroman and dsheon1: lunch with Kevin Payne

BurchFan4: Lunch with Marc

PrinceBuster21: A weekend stay at the Akron Comfort Inn. Free breakfast included.

Ron16: Santino Quaranta replica tattoos

alecw81: A week of preseason training with Cirovski’s Maryland team in 2011

UniversityandPark: A mobile TV device and a case of Dogfish so that he will never, ever have trouble finding a sports bar

Combedge: You, David Stokes, and a cage match.

jake77: more homegrown players, but no homegrown terrorists

Dimesmakedollars: remaining “the top jolly” at the office

Zipfutbol: another title

I-270: A babes of the USWNT calendar, and another year of living strong

BaRRD: The 2011 FIFA calendar of shirtless goal celebrations.

OWNTF: For Sonia to change her mind and return to the Freedom

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | December 15, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Great.. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit, and not because of the Wolff signing... U2 cds and Flounders jerseys make me want to pull an Elliot Smith... ;) And a 3rd jersey for what? The Open Cup? Then again, now that the Sounders are releasing a "Shale" jersey and shamelessly biting our style we might need it...:)

Posted by: DadRyan | December 15, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Rand-al-Thor: Hair. If not, then soccer scholarships for your kids to Messiah College.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 15, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Rand-al-Thor, you forgot our host.

For Goff, haivng to write front-page stories about United signing Lionel Messi and the new stadium deal while on your way to a John Prine/Sonny Landreth double header at the Birchmere.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | December 15, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Oops, Sonny Landreth is for OWNTF.

I meant John Prine/Mark Knopler for Mr. Goff.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | December 15, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse


Are you really under the impression that Elliot Smith stabbed himself fatally in the heart (perfectly through his ribs), pulled the knife out, and while bleeding massively from a hole in his heart, stabbed himself again--fatally....again,through ribs and cartlidge and all with little or no leverage?

I never bought into that story. Very fishy to me...

Posted by: dwreck1971 | December 15, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

PS. Was a big fan of Smith's... we shared many mutual friends... not trying to start a debate really...

Posted by: dwreck1971 | December 15, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Rand. I actually asked Santa to make Bob Bradley lose his contact info for Robbie Findley and Ricardo Clark, but I'm down with the Mathis 'do.

Posted by: benonthehill | December 15, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

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