Landon Donovan says another Everton stay highly unlikely

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Landon Donovan says he is highly unlikely to join up with Everton for yet another loan spell during the MLS off-season. He won’t be going anywhere else in January, by the sounds of it.

The L.A. Galaxy man and U.S. national team all-time leading scorer said so Saturday morning on the Soccer Today radio show/podcast.

“The chances of me playing again this off-season are very slim,” he said. “I’ve had, not since this January but last January [2011], a total of two weeks off. My soccer enthusiasm is not as high as it was two years ago. I’m kind of ready for a break when this [MLS] season is over.”

The rest of the interview is here. Donovan’s interview begins around the 34-minute mark.

Donovan made the comments on the show and podcast that that I co-host along with ESPN’s Marc Stein.  When I heard Donovan talking about it, a lot of things suddenly made sense.

The Galaxy attacker keeps scaring everyone with retirement talk. More than once this year, U.S. Soccer’s all-time leading scorer has said the competitive fires simply do not burn with the same white-hot intensity as before.

U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann says it’s natural for a player to have these ebbs and flows in professional enthusiasm over a long career, and likes to remind everyone that Donovan signed his first professional deal when he was just 17. And fair enough.

But how about this as a theory: Maybe Donovan just needs a break. Perhaps the man just needs some time away from the game to re-supply the competitive stores. Could that be it, I asked him?

“It’s possible. That’s why I’m really focused on doing my best this year and finishing up the year and then reevaluating. It could very well be. I’ve been out the last 10 days with this [hamstring] injury and I’m already chomping at the bit to get back on the field again, so that could very well be the deal.”

Donovan also revealed:

Due to that injury, he’s still iffy for tonight’s contest at the Home Depot Center against FC Dallas. (That match kicks off at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Network).

Also, as Donovan evaluates everything and considers his future, he will, indeed, think about his chance to become Major League Soccer’s all-time leading scorer and all-time assist leader. If that happens, there’s a reasonable chance that Donovan could be the only person to ever hold both titles – and wouldn’t that be something?

(MORE: Tracking Landon Donovan’s career record pursuits)

Brazil’s Gremio wins Recopa Sudamericana in penalty shootout

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PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) Brazil’s Gremio has won the Recopa Sudamericana, beating Argentina’s Independiente 5-4 in a penalty shootout Wednesday night.

The two-legged final ended 1-1 on aggregate, with no goals scored after 120 minutes in the second.

The winners of last year’s Copa Libertadores overcame the holders of Copa Sudamericana after goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe stopped the last penalty of the series, taken by Independiente’s striker Martin Benitez.

The Recopa is played between the champions of South America’s two most important tournaments.

Independiente played most of the match down to 10 players after defender Fernando Amorebieta was sent off after 38 minutes.

The Brazilians made most of the pressure until the end of extra time, but failed to score.

Gremio also won the Recopa in 1996.

CCL wrap: FC Dallas disappoints; Club America struts (video)

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The CONCACAF Champions League returned Tuesday with Toronto FC’s 2-0 quarterfinal first leg win in Colorado, and a trio of ties began Wednesday across Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Tauro 1-0 FC Dallas

Veteran striker Edwin Aguilar scored a big goal, and goalkeeper Oscar McFarlane did plenty of good things as the Panamanian side struck a wild first blow against its MLS visitors.

Here’s a random fact underscoring how remarkable of a failure this would be for FC Dallas: Only six of Tauro’s roster members have their own Wikipedia page.

Deportivo Saprissa 1-5 Club America

Cecilio Dominguez and Mateus Uribe each bagged a brace, and Renato Ibarra also scored as the tournament’s top team sauntered into and out of Costa Rica on Wednesday. Club America has been to seven CCL finals, and one every single one.

Motagua vs. Club Tijuana — 10 a.m. ET

Honduran hosts hope to have a leg to stand on — pun intended — once the tie heads to Mexico.

West Ham to friendly neighbors Dag & Red: “Will help save our club”

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English Conference Premier side Dagenham and Redbridge has seen better days, and is getting a hand from a Premier League pal.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

West Ham United will pay a visit to Dag & Red as part of the latter’s #SaveTheDaggers campaign, and the March 21 date will cost fans between $7 and $21 to see a top flight side at 6,000-seat Victoria Road.

Dagenham and Redbridge chairman Paul Gwinn said, “It really will help save our club.”

“So please come on down to the Chigwell Construction Stadium for an additional night of football. Bring a friend, or two, or more and we can use the gate takings to help get us back on track,” reads a press release.

Dag & Red was founded in 1992 and climbed as high as League One in 2011, and plays just 2.5 miles from West Ham United’s training ground. Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle are among Dag & Red alums in the Premier League.

It’s a terrific gesture from West Ham, and is even more impressive in the United States where the growing club game is increasingly cutthroat (especially between non-synced leagues).

Angry Di Francesco extremely quotable after Roma loss

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AS Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco absolutely roasted his charges after i Lupi tossed aside a Cenzig Under-inspired lead to fall 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Wednesday.

Di Francesco had praise for Edin Dzeko, who assisted Under’s goal, as well as goalkeeper Alisson, but was mostly enraged by his side.

[ MORE: Recap + Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Rather than construct a narrative, we’re going to point out our five favorite selections from Di Francesco’s post-match talk.

4) “The difference was that in the first half we tried to hurt them while in the second we were looking to hold on – to what? I don’t know.”

— “To what? I don’t know” is hilarious. Di Francesco’s side has posted some serious wins this season, including killing off Chelsea 3-0 at home and coming back from 2-0 to draw the Blues at Stamford Bridge. He doesn’t preach sitting back.

3) “There were far too many schoolboy errors – even by players with a wealth of international experience.”

— Schoolboy errors!

2) “I saw two completely different teams out there today. There were lots of players I should have taken off after we conceded the first goal.”

— Again, one mistake by a number of players on Facundo Ferreyra is enough for Di Francesco. He’s not just happy to be here.

1) “I can’t imagine we’d get arrogant just because we’re winning an important game. It’s not as if Roma are used to reaching the final every year.”

— When you’re willing to essentially rip an entire club’s history — Roma’s been to just two UCL quarterfinals since losing the final to Liverpool in 1984 — you’re putting your footprints in new cement.