U.S. International Clint Dempsey was named as Fútbol de Primera's 2012 Player of the Year on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old Tottenham Hotspur midfielder defeated Roma midfielder Michael Bradley and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard who finished second and third respectively. Dempsey also took home the honors in 2011.
The award is voted on by 183 journalists from the United States and presented by the Spanish-language radio station which is affiliated with legendary broadcaster Andres Cantor. The award has recognized the best U.S. men's national team player every year for the past 22 years. To be eligible for the honor a player must have played in a minimum of three games for the U.S. team during a calendar year. No player has won the honor -- which was formerly known as the Honda Player of the Year award -- more than Galaxy captain Landon Donovan, who has taken the award a record seven times.
In other news....
*Chivas USA announced on Wednesday that Mexican head coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola also known as "El Chelis" will manage the club for the 2013 season. Chivas will be the fourth stop in the well-traveled career of the eccentric 53-year-old head coach. Chivas also swapped allocation spots with the Portland Timbers, trading their second spot in MLS' Allocation order for the third spot and a potential International spot or a second round selection the 2013 MLS SuperDraft should Portland acquire one.
*Portland didn't stop there as the Timbers acquired forward Ryan Johnson and goalkeeper Milos Kocic from Toronto FC in exchange for the third overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, goalkeeper Joe Bednik and an undisclosed sum of allocation money.
*Sporting KC continued their offseason overhaul by acquiring defender Ike Opara from the San Jose Earthquakes in exchange for the club's natural second round draft pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.
*The Houston Dynamo locked up four pieces of their back-to-back Eastern Conference Champion side by announcing contract extensions for midfielders Brad Davis and Adam Moffat as well as goalkeepers Tally Hall and Tyler Deric,
*The Montreal Impact re-signed veteran midfielder Justin Mapp.
*Lastly, below is a video of the Mayor of Houston Annise Parker wearing her Galaxy uniform after losing a bet with L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaragosa.
On Tuesday, the LA Galaxy signed 18-year-old Salvadoran-American Oscar Sorto to the fourth Homegrown contract in club history.
I spoke to the youngster who discussed his upbringing in South Central Los Angeles as well as the defining moment that put him on a course to become a professional soccer player.
Those weren't the only thoughts from Sorto, however, as I spoke to the 18-year-old on his style of play and his emotions of playing for his hometown club.
Check those out before.
(On his style of play...)
SORTO: "I play a bit more defensive. When I go up [to attack], I make the right decisions. Sean [Franklin] is a great player and I like how he plays so I'm trying to get ideas from him to add to my game."
(On what he's gained from training with the first team for half a year...)
SORTO: "The first thing that they taught me is that you need to be fit. The first two weeks that I was training with them, I wasn't fit so I took that advice. They told me that you need to play faster, make better decisions, think ahead, and be in the right spots all the time. I think that it's really helping me"
(On his general thoughts of signing with the club...)
SORTO: "It feels great. I never thought that I'd sign a professional contract at a young age especially for the Galaxy. I grew up watching them and my dad always told me about Mauricio Cienfuegos so I'm happy."
The MLS Cup may have been 11 days ago, but the reverberations are still being felt across the country.
On Wednesday, the Mayor of Houston Annise Parker donned an LA Galaxy jersey to a city council meeting as part of her bet with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaragosa on the outcome of MLS Cup.
The photo, which was snapped by Houston television reporter Miya Shay is below.
Reports out of Brazil have linked the LA Galaxy with Brazilian International Luis Fabiano as well as a series of starlets from Brazilian club Sao Paulo.
The Brazilian daily newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo has reported the Galaxy are interested in the 32-year-old former Sevilla star to The Home Depot Center on an eight-month loan deal. However, the report goes on to state that Sao Paulo club President Juvenal Juvêncio was not interested in selling the veteran forward due to his team's participation in the Copa Liberatores.
The report also mentions that the Galaxy are interested in bringing in quartet of young Sao Paulo players on loan, in addition to renegotiating a new deal for Juninho.
Other news from around MLS and the world of soccer...
*Keeping up with the Brazilian bent of this post, 1-0 to qualify for the final of the World Club Championship. The Brazilians will play the winner of tonight's match up between Chelsea FC and Monterrey.
*Across The HDC hall, there are a number of question marks as Jose Luis Sanchez aka El Chelis is reportedly the new coach at Chivas USA and Guadalajara legend Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista has told ESPN Deportes that he and a quartet of young Mexican players are on the move to Chivas. Another target is Monarcas Morelia striker Miguel Sabah.
*Danny Mwanga is returning to the Portland Timbers after inking a new deal.
*The Galaxy weren’t the only team inking Homegrown players as the New York Red Bulls signed a pair of Academy players.
*Lastly, I spoke to NASN Radio’s MLS on 30 to recap the Galaxy’s season.
The LA Galaxy season may be over, but starting on Wednesday, I’ll offer an evaluation of each member of the squad.
The evaluations will begin with players who appeared in the least number of games this season starting with third goalkeeper Brian Rowe and concluding with Sean Franklin who played in all 34 of the club’s regular season games. There will also be an evaluation of head coach and general manager Bruce Arena and his moves at the conclusion of the list.
We will have two to three evaluations per day and focus on what each player did well, what they need to improve on ahead of next season as well as a select thought from the player on their performance and a rating from myself.
Take a look at this list; odds are that one of these names will be selected by the LA Galaxy in the upcoming 2013 MLS SuperDraft.
On Tuesday, MLS released a list of 54 seniors invited to the MLS Combine. The annual players combine takes place in Lauderhill, Florida from Jan. 11 to Jan. 15. The list will ultimately grow as MLS adds international signings as well as their Generation Adidas class, each of which should be released in the coming weeks.
The combine list included five players from California; those from Southern California are listed in bold and italics.
Last season, Bryan Gaul, Rafael Garcia and Brian Rowe were each on the initial list of seniors with the first two selected by the club while the latter was signed later in the season.
Check out the list below…
GOALKEEPERS: James Belshaw (Duke), Scott Goodwin (North Carolina), Luis Soffner (Indiana), Daniel Withrow (Marshall), Brad Stuver (Cleveland State), David Meves (Akron), Larry Jackson (Santa Clara)
DEFENDERS: Taylor Kemp (Maryland), Danny Wenzel (Wake Forest), Jordan Gafa (North Carolina), Brenton Griffiths (USF), Jimmy Nealis (Georgetown), Tommy Muller (Georgetown), Eric Schoenle (West Virginia), John Gallagher (Penn State), Kofi Opare (Michigan), Joe Franco (CSU-Northridge), Shaun Foster (Hofstra), Andrew Ribeiro (Creighton), Kory Kindle (CSU-Bakersfield), Dylan Tucker-Gangnes (Washington)
MIDFIELDERS: Kyle Bekker (Boston College), John Stertzer (Maryland), Colin Murphy (Boston College), Jonathan Mendoza (Stetson), Donald Smith (Charlotte), Paolo DelPiccolo (Louisville), Greg Cochrane (Louisville), Leston Paul (USF), Ian Christianson (Georgetown), Carlos Alvarez (UConn), Dillon Powers (Notre Dame), Marc Cintron (Providence), Machael David (UCSB), Paul Wyatt (James Madison), Tommy Nelson (SMU), Uwem Etuk (West Virginia), Jose Gomez (Creighton), Blake Smith (New Mexico), Ryan Hollingshead (UCLA), Fernando Monge (UCLA), Ben Fisk (Washington), Dan Delgado (San Diego)
FORWARDS: Will Bates (UVA), Luke Spencer (Xavier), Ryan Finley (Notre Dame), Ashton Bennett (Coastal Carolina), Don Anding (Northeastern), Yannick Smith (ODU), Devon Sandoval (New Mexico), Emery Welshman (Oregon State), Coleton Henning (Furman), Chris Thomas (Elon), Erik Hurtado (Santa Clara)
The LA Galaxy announced on Tuesday that they have signed 18-year-old defender Oscar Sorto to a Homegrown deal.
The Salvadoran-American right back from South Central Los Angeles becomes the fourth Galaxy Homegrown in club history and the third currently on the club. A talented right back with speed going forward, Sorto has been training with the Galaxy first team since August and was a key contributor to LA's Reserve League squad and the Under-18s.
It's that time of the year as LAGalaxy.com has begun to look back on the all the finest goals of the 2012 season.
The voting for "LAGalaxy.com Goal of the Year" begun on Monday with the week-long voting of all goals scored by David Beckham. The voting will be broken down into four groups with Beckham and Robbie Keane each holding their own group while the two other groups consist of goals by Landon Donovan, Jose Villarreal, Juninho, Omar Gonzalez, Marcelo Sarvas, Mike Magee, and Pat Noonan.
The voting for each group will take a week as the goals are whittled down to four before a winner is announced on Jan. 14
The LA Galaxy defense was vital to the club as they lifted consecutive MLS Cup titles, but key to their success was the play of goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
Saunders ended his 2012 season with 33 appearances in MLS regular season and postseason play, making 98 saves and notching ten shutouts. The 31-year-old goalkeeper also had a 1.33 goals against average during the regular season, a mark that was superior to a number of notable ‘keepers including FC Dallas’ Kevin Hartman and Chivas USA’s Dan Kennedy.
“It was a great year for us, it was obviously difficult all around, but we battled through adversity and came out on top,” Saunders told LA Galaxy Insider recently. “We continued the belief that we were going to win battle back and win a championship and we did.
“[The year] had its ups and downs,” added Saunders. “But heck, when you’re holding a trophy at the end of the year; it’s hard to go against that.”
But the year was a trying one at times for Saunders as the club struggled to start the season and then in spring, the goalkeeper enrolled in Major League Soccer's substance abuse and behavioral health program. An absence that ultimately caused Saunders to miss a total of six league matches for the Galaxy.
However, when Saunders returned to action on June 4, the Galaxy shot up the standings. LA went an impressive 18-6-4 in 28 games in regular season and postseason play with Saunders in net, culminating in LA’s second straight MLS Cup championship win over the Houston Dynamo on Dec. 1.
In MLS Cup, Saunders was active; making a pair of fine saves to preserve the Galaxy’s 3-1 victory over Houston. After what was admittedly an up and down year that ended in another championship for LA, Saunders admitted that he’s grown both on and off the field.
“I’ve grown a lot. When you go through tough times then you learn a lot about yourself,” Saunders said. “On the field, we went through some tough times and there were some other outside aspects too. I’ve become more of an adult I feel like and more like a leader in many different ways than just as a soccer player.”
With the season over, the Galaxy must now decide whether or not to bring Saunders back to The Home Depot Center as he is currently out of contract. During his end of the season teleconference last week, LA head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that he expected to speak to Saunders and his representatives shortly.
“We’ll have ongoing discussions with him and his agent to see where he stands,” said Arena. “And we’ll make the decision as we go on.”
Since signing with the Galaxy in 2009—after joining the club on loan from Miami FC in September 2008 –Saunders’ has been with the Galaxy through the club’s rise from one of the lesser teams in the Western Conference to back-to-back MLS Cup championships.
Whether it was his ability to step in for an injured Donovan Ricketts during MLS Cup 2009 or winning back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012, Saunders has played an important role for the Galaxy during the past four seasons.
“Heck, since I got here, it’s been great,” said Saunders. “We've competed for trophies; we've won the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup. It’s been awesome and it’s been very successful for me personally. I love the guys on the team and I love the fact that we’ve won a lot so it’s nice.”
On Sunday, FC Barcelona's Argentine magician Lionel Messi scored his 86th goal of 2012 breaking Gerd Muller's 40-year-old record of most goals scored in a calendar year set in 1972.
Messi has tallied 74 times for Barcelona and 12 for Argentina in 2012 breaking Muller's mark of 72 for Bayern Munich and 13 for West Germany. The diminutive Argentine will have three more opportunities to add to his record total as Barcelona have three more matches left this season before going on Winter break on Dec. 22.
The MLS Analyst Matthew Doyle spotted this video of EVERY goal that Messi scored this year first, but I thought it'd be great to bring it to the Insider audience for those looking for a little morning pick me up.