Landon Donovan is heading back to the Premier League to play for Everton on a loan from the LA Galaxy. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Five years ago, I never would have predicted that K.C. would become one of the most ambitious teams in MLS. But that's exactly what has happened under the new local ownership, which has built a remarkable $200 million stadium, invested in DPs and held the team accountable for success. "I think we have a great opportunity to grow -- as long as we f---ing win," says CEO and co-owner Robb Heineman, one of a new breed of thirty-something MLS owners who's all about winning. (Heineman is a must-follow on Twitter at @RobbHeineman.)
Sporting KC: Maturity. OK, KC, you’ve got your amazing new stadium and an exciting roster of talent. And your team has shown it can win ... and also implode at key moments. Dropped points late in a game was a consistent theme for Sporting this past season, and they reeked of overconfidence in the Eastern Conference Championship. The next step in becoming a perennial power in this league is to grow up and learn how to close
Brace yourself for another wild ride. It will be 11 matches in 52 days for Landon Donovan in his return to an Everton uniform. Eight of those games will be league matches, which gives Donovan a chance to boost Everton’s Premier League standing; the Toffees are currently mid-table with a 16-point haul from 14 matches.
The Vancouver Whitecaps' rebuilding process just got a boost. The 'Caps won Thursday's weighted lottery for American midfielder/forward Lee Nguyen, beating out five other clubs for the US international's MLS rights. Nguyen signed a multi-year deal with the league on Dec. 6.
Garber was talking to myself and Marc Stein, co-host of our weekly radio show/podcast, Soccer Today. (I won’t scoop my own show by revealing too much of the interview. You’ll have to listen for yourself once the podcast is posted here, sometime after the show’s live presentation on Saturday morning, which can be heard here.) I can say that we talked briefly about the Cosmos, the one-time North American Soccer League giant, a club with a brand that still resonates in force. And that’s the point … even leaders at the highest level of domestic soccer are still coming to a full understanding of how much weight the brand name carries.
No matter how you look at 2011, it was a pretty special year for Sporting Kansas City. The team that was once the Wizards rebranded, opened a new stadium, played in front of crowds that dwarfed any reasonable expectation and enjoyed a rather magical season that came up just short of being a true fairytale. As a way of saying thank you, the team apparently sent players around town singing Christmas carols to their supporters. (OK, that's obviously not what really happened, but this Christmas card they sent to fans is still pretty cool.)