By IVES GALARCEP
If it seems like the 2012 MLS season just ended, and it feels weird to start talking about the 2013 season already, get ready. Major League Soccer isn’t wasting any time counting down the days until the next campaign.
MLS will begin revealing season-opening match-ups for the 2013 season today, which means fans can start to make travel plans and we can start talking about which match-ups we will see to kick off the 18th MLS campaign.
Today will be an exciting day for Sporting KC fans, as the team unveils its newest Designated Player. There are plenty of rumors floating around that the DP is Argentinian forward Claudio Bieler, but at the moment there have been no concrete reports that Bieler is the signing.
Today also marks the day that Mobi Fehr will be allocated to a team via lottery, with the Portland Timbers the heavy favorites to secure his services. Whichever team gets him, it should be noted that the 18-year old is very much a long-term project and isn’t someone who should be expected to play much any time soon. That is why only three of 19 teams are taking part in the lottery. Winning the Fehr lottery would disqualify the winning team from participating in any other draft lotteries that may take place from now until the end of the 2013 season (and word I’m hearing is that the next one won’t be too long after the Fehr one).
Here are some more stories to get your Tuesday going:
The biggest news in Europe this morning comes out of Italy, where Napoli has been hit with a two-point deduction and had defender Paolo Cannavaro and Gianluca Grava banned for six months for a match-fixing scandal that saw former Napoli goalkeeper Matteo Gianello attempt to fix a Napoli-Sampdoria Serie A match. Cannavaro and Grava were apparently aware of the attempt, but did not report it. Napoli is appealing the decision.
Another major story in Europe comes from Spain, where FC Barcelona has signed several key players, including Lionel Messi, to new contracts. Xavi, Carles Puyol and Christian Tello have also inked deals along with Messi, who has signed with Barcelona through the 2018 season.
The collection of American players at German side Hoffenheim have a new manager, after the hiring of Marco Kurz, who has the task of helping the club climb out of the relegation zone.
Lastly, Arsenal helped ease the pain of the team’s recent struggles thanks to a 5-2 thrashing of Reading on Wednesday. Santi Cazorla’s hat-trick led the way.
What do you think of these developments? Who would you like to see your MLS team open with in 2013? Who do you see KC signing as the team’s new DP? Think Napoli’s punishment was too harsh?
Share your thoughts below.