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Landon Donovan's proposed loan move to English club Everton is gaining momentum, and it is starting to look more and more like the U.S. national team's two best players will be club teammates come the new year.
Everton has now confirmed that it is in talks to bring the U.S. national team star to the EPL on what would likely be a short loan deal akin to the loan Donovan was on with Bayern Munich last winter. The move would be even more likely if rumors of a potential sale of Louis Saha come true.
As we said when this story first surfaced, a short-term move to Everton would be perfect for Donovan. Not just for the chance to compete in the world's best league, but also because Donovan would be entering a much healthier environment than the one he entered at Bayern last winter.
How so? The board at Bayern never wanted Donovan, and openly questioned then-head coach Juergen Klinsmann's decision to bring him in during the winter. The back-room wrangling did little to provide Donovan with a comfortable situation. At Everton, it would be clear that both manager David Moyes and the Everton front office would be in accord about bringing him over. Throw in the presence of Tim Howard, one of Everton's leaders, and you have a much better environment for Donovan to work in.
Ultimately, we will be talking about a slightly longer than two-month loan deal, and as we listed earlier in the week, that two-month span would include a who's-who of EPL opponents along with FA Cup and Europa League matches. Donovan could make his Everton debut as soon as the Toffee's FA Cup clash vs. Carlisle United on Jan. 2, though the Jan. 9 league match at Arsenal would more likely be the date for a potential debut.
MLS LANDS STAHL
Major League Soccer will soon begin filling up its 2010 draft pool with some of the best young talent in the country, and sources tell SBI that the league has already added one high-quality prospect to the pool.
MLS has signed UConn midfielder Toni Stahl to a contract, sources tell SBI. Widely-regarded as the most MLS-ready defensive midfielder in the nation, Stahl had been believed to be eyeing a move to Europe, but he has agreed to a deal that should make him one of the first midfielders taken on draft day.
Sources have also told SBI that MLS is also close to signing Under-20 national team and Central Florida goalkeeper Sean Johnson. A 6-foot-4, 220 pound junior with excellent quickness and high upside, Johnson could be the first goalkeeper taken in January's draft if he does sign with MLS.
Stahl joins former Rutgers midfielder Dilly Duka as players who have secured deals ahead of the draft. Both are projected to be early to mid-first round picks.
D.C. UNITED COACHING SEARCH DOWN TO TWO
After considering a variety of candidates to replace Tom Soehn, D.C. United looks to be down to a final two, and the front-runner isn't who you might imagine.
Akron head coach Caleb Porter and former Kansas City head coach Curt Onalfo are the leading candidates for the D.C. job, with a decision expected in the coming days.
Porter has helped guide Akron to an undefeated season heading into Friday's College Cup semifinal vs. North Carolina, and some sources believe Porter could be offered the D.C. post some time next week.
Will he accept it? The D.C. job is one of the more high-profile jobs in MLS, but Porter is also said to be weighing the option of taking over as head coach of his alma mater, Indiana University. Given the higher level of job security in the college game, it shouldn't be assumed that Porter would automatically choose MLS over what some say is his dream NCAA gig. (UPDATE-Word out of Indiana is that Porter isn't in the running for the job. So much for this being an obstacle or option.)
As for Onalfo, he has impressed enough to be a finalist and has more experience on the pro level than Onalfo. He also guided Kansas City to the playoffs in each of his two full seasons with the Wizards. That may not matter much to D.C. United though. It is, after all, the same club that hired Peter Nowak as head coach without any coaching experience at all (and all Nowak did was win an MLS Cup in his first season).
So which of the two would you hire? Cast your vote here:
Who would our pick be? We would go with the experienced candidate and hire Onalfo. Porter has impressed on the college level, but Onalfo did better than he gets credit for in KC.
What do you think of these developments? Starting to believe the Everton move is a good one for Donovan? Excited about the 2010 MLS Draft? Who would you hire as D.C. United head coach?
Share your thoughts below.