Matt Besler - A - My team MVP, Besler came into his own this year, not just on the defensive side of the field, but contributing offensively with two goals and setting up at least 5 with his long throws.
Before anyone goes out and puts $69 on a Ballack- or Drogba- jersey, remember that 90 percent of the names that roll across the MLS wire never kick a ball in an actual MLS match. Period. So, let's keep our shirts on about all this stuff. (Get it? Shirts … Hee-hee.) Drogba? Yes, it could happen. But so many of these guys SAY they want to play in MLS … right up until the moment they learn that wages won't quite be what they think. In terms of a car, they'd go from a Bentley to a BMW. Now, I like BMWs. But if you like Bentley's, that Beamer might not jingle your keys.
Jesse March did indeed speak with Nicolas Anelka about joining the Impact. But that's all you'll get from the Montreal head coach on the subject of the Chelsea hit man for now. "We did speak to him," Marsch admitted to MLSsoccer.com on Monday, before adding that, "from here on, I’m not going to comment on that anymore." This past Saturday, the mercurial French striker was granted his request to depart Chelsea by manager André Villas-Boas. According to reports, Anelka has made a decision as to what club he'll be joining during the January transfer window, but did not give specifics.
League veteran Arturo Alvarez is on his way out of Real Salt Lake and the New York Red Bulls lost their final link to their days as the MetroStars thanks to Stage 1 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft on Monday. Alvarez and defenders Carlos Mendes and Danleigh Borman were the only players taken in the draft on Monday. Alvarez was selected by Chivas USA, while Borman will join the New England Revolution and Mendes heads from New York to the Columbus Crew.
We'll have to see if there is any proof to this rumor, but it wouldn't be totally surprising. It'd be disappointing though, Bravo had been a big part for much of Kansas City's run last season. But in the playoffs, Bravo found himself on the bench in the first leg due to an injury, and was never able to earn back his starting spot due to the good form KC showed in the series against Colorado. Plenty of arguments can be made that Vermes waited too long to bring on the Mexican, and you won't find me arguing against it. That said, Bravo is a professional and should be able to understand the situation that KC found themselves in.
Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez are finalists for the FIFA player of the year award along with Real Madrid winger Cristiano Ronaldo. The three Ballon d'Or finalists were selected Monday from among 23 nominees. Messi beat Barcelona teammates Andres Iniesta and Xavi to win last year.
Another longtime MLS standout is hanging up his cleats. Real Salt Lake's Andy Williams announced his retirement Monday night, ending a productive 14-year playing career. The skillful Jamaican midfielder won't be straying far from the game at all, though, as he will join the Real Salt Lake techinical staff as a scout.
United States midfielder Clint Dempsey brought Liverpool's eight-match unbeaten run in the Premier League to an end on Monday, pouncing on a late error by goalkeeper Pepe Reina to earn Fulham a 1-0 at Craven Cottage and ease his team's relegation worries. The Spain 'keeper failed to hold a speculative shot by former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy in the 85th minute, and Dempsey slotted home the rebound from close range for Fulham's third win of the campaign to lift the London club five points clear of the bottom three.
The catch here is that Joseph's new deal now commands a Designated Player status. Apparently management felt it was worthwhile to invest the money in Joseph in order to maintain the face of the franchise. While there is little doubt that Shalrie is an absolutely fantastic player, one wonders if both parties would not have been better served to part ways. Joseph has had his difficulties being a leader off the field and his on the field play has been in decline for years. The move could potentially make or break the memory of Shalrie's career. He could be remembered as the elite player he's capable of being or a man who ended his career on an overpaid vacation.