Greetings and welcome to the Dec. 5th edition of Bleacher Report's very own American football newsletter. The MLS season has been over for a couple of weeks, but there is still plenty to discuss in the world of American football.
First, I'd like to take a brief moment to thank everybody who voted me as the "Most Consistently Informative Writer" in the B/R World Football Community. Even though MLS is not up to snuff with the major European leagues, I try to do my best to give the league the attention I feel it deserves.
Seriously though, the show of support is sincerely appreciated.
The Columbus Crew received great news earlier this week when it was announced that MLS MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto would be returning to the team in 2009.
Playmakers like Schelotto are few and far between, and he was an integral part of Columbus' recent run to the MLS Cup. He will occupy one of the club's Designated Player slots, but no further details have been released.
In keeping Schelotto, Columbus immediately becomes the prohibitive favorite to win the 2009 MLS Cup. They marched through the 2008 season with the best record in the league and passed several stern tests in the playoffs. They return one of the best players in MLS history and will be brimming with confidence to start next season.
Their route to the title figures to be just as tough as it was this season, if not tougher. Chicago will retain Mexican superstar Cuauhtemoc Blanco and American legend Brian McBride.
New York made their deepest ever run into the playoffs thanks to the boots of Juan Pablo Angel, and New England is a solid club year after year thanks to the contributions of Taylor Twellman.
But Columbus still has to be the favorite in the East. They've got the MVP on their side.
Things are not completely rosy in Columbus, though. The head coach of the title-winning side, Sigi Schmid, was not signed to a new contract. His contract expired, and he left the club. He's now rumoured to be a candidate for the job in Seattle.
Hey Columbus, what gives? This guy just delivered your first MLS Cup ever, and you let him walk away. This situation makes the members of the "Arsene Out" brigade look almost sane (almost). If he does end up in Seattle, look for the expansion club to try and extract some vengeance on the champs.
Seattle Sounders FC have debuted their new kit. Stars Freddie Ljungberg and Kasey Keller modeled the new duds on the runway earlier this week. Erm...I don't love them, to put it gently.
In news from abroad, American goalkeeper Brad Friedel has been busy setting records in the Premier League. Friedel overtook David James' consecutive starts mark when he made his 167th straight start in a 0-0 draw against Fulham. The shutout was Friedel's third in a row.
If nothing else, Friedel's continued success in England (early on with Liverpool, then with Blackburn) has to prove that America produces some excellent goalkeepers. Aston Villa has two on the books, Everton has Tim Howard, and Kasey Keller was a crucial part of Fulham's miraculous escape from relegation last season. USA! USA! USA!
Young US phenom Freddy Adu has begun fantasizing about a dream move to England. His club of choice? Not Manchester United. Not Chelsea. Not Arsenal. Not Liverpool. Not Aston Villa or Fulham. It's...Tottenham?
"Tottenham are also one of my dreams, since I supported them as a boy. My objective is the Premier League, which is for me the best league in the world," said Adu.
Freddy, if Tottenham is a big dream for you, then perhaps you should just stay at Benfica when your loan deal at Monaco is up.
Shortly after signing a brand-new contract with West Ham, American international Jonathan Spector could be on the move. Apparently the global economic crisis is forcing the club to move players, and Spector's name is on a list of seven players that could be sold.
I've got another suggestion to West Ham if they're looking to save some money: don't offer big contract extensions to players you might get rid of just a few weeks later.
US defender Oguchi Onyewu may also be on the move. His contract with Belgian champs Standard Liege expires in the summer, and he has made it clear that he wishes to try his luck elsewhere in Europe, turning down offers of contract extensions.
It makes sense that the club will then try and sell him in the January transfer window. French club Marseille are rumoured to be at the top of the list for Onyewu.
A move anywhere, not necessarily Marseille, has to be a positive thing for Onyewu. He's a fantastic defender and a big physical presence in the US back line, but he needs more opportunities to test himself against the world's best.
Marseille would be an excellent move, but one has to wonder if Newcastle United could still be in the mix for him. They apparently showed interest over the summer but backed off. They could certainly use the help...
Last but not least, we've got the obligatory David Beckham story. While some may doubt his ability to still compete at an elite level in Europe, soon-to-be teammate Kaka is excited to have him in Milan, telling ESPNSoccernet, "...we believe that he can really give a lot to this team and contribute to us winning the Scudetto and the UEFA Cup."
Be sure to tune in next week for a special Christmas-themed issue of Total 90!