SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 22: Jordan Morris #13 of the Seattle Sounders celebrates scoring a goal with the Sounders bench during the first of of a match against the Colorado Rapids in the first leg of the Western Conference Finals at CenturyLink Field on November 22, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Who will USMNT boss Arena call-up for his 30-man January camp?

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The Associated Press referred to Bruce Arena’s 48-player USMNT depth chart, and said the player pool is between 50-60 players.

Isn’t that a reason for an exercise?

The new-old USMNT coach will call about 30 players to camp in January, a group largely based in Major League Soccer, and Arena has four months before he needs to name the roster for two massive World Cup qualifiers in March.

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Well, 38 players currently in MLS have been called up by Jurgen Klinsmann in the past 12 months. Tony Tchani is now committed to Cameroon, but the rest of that MLS crew could very well earn a look. So 37 plus a solid batch of Klinsmann-ignored folk (Think: Feilhaber, McCarty, Hedges) needs to be whittled down to about 30.


Goalkeepers

This one’s tricky. The bulk of USMNT goalkeeping depth is in Major League Soccer, and Arena will probably take more than usual to January camp.

With Tim Howard out, the only two certainties would seem to be Molde’s Ethan Horvath (Norway plays an unusual season schedule) and DC United’s Bill Hamid.

ORLANDO, FL - APRIL 03:  Bill Hamid #28 of D.C. United yells instructions to his team during a MLS soccer match between DC United and the Orlando City SC at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on April 3, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
Hamid (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images).

Then there’s a batch of MLS-based keepers. We think 37-year-old Nick Rimando is done with the USMNT. Zack Steffen is a wild card after leaving Bundesliga side Freiburg for Columbus, but seems unlikely to be in Arena’s pecking order.

We suspect two of Luis Robles, David Bingham, Sean Johnson, and Bobby Shuttleworth could be under consideration, with two of the capped players getting nods.

In:  Ethan Horvath, Bill Hamid, Luis Robles, David Bingham
Next out: Sean Johnson, Bobby Shuttleworth
Question marks: Nick Rimando, Zack Steffen
Injured: Tim Howard


Defenders (10)

Want to know why Fabian Johnson keeps getting put at left back? Because MLS isn’t exactly flying high when it comes to American full backs.

So while Arena will have to leave some pretty talented center backs out of the mix, you’re going to see some unusual names on the outside.

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 13:  DaMarcus Beasley #7 of the Houston Dynamo in action during their game against the Orlando City SC at BBVA Compass Stadium on March 13, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Beasley (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

This could open up a spot for a blast from the past in DaMarcus Beasley and/or Robbie Rogers, and we’ll even sneak a veteran in at center back: Drew Moor is far removed from his last cap (2008), but he’s been outstanding and Arena will have seen a lot of him in reviewing footage of Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley at Toronto FC.

In: Matt Besler, Matt Hedges, Steve Birnbaum, Keegan Rosenberry, Walker Zimmerman, DaMarcus Beasley, Justin Morrow, Jonathan Campbell, Brandon Vincent, Drew Moor
Next out: Tim Parker, Robbie Rogers, Justen Glad
Question mark: Brad Evans


Midfielders (12)

Welcome back, Benny Feilhaber. The crowd that’s used up every ounce of their hope tank to see the soon-to-be 32-year-old Sporting KC midfielder back on the USMNT stage is getting their just desserts. He’ll join Sacha Kljestan, Darlington Nagbe, and Dax McCarty is getting a chance to impress eyes that don’t belong to Jurgen Klinsmann.

New York Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty reacts towards the fans after an MLS playoff soccer match against the D.C. United, at RFK Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, in Washington. McCarty scored the only goal and New York won 1-0. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
New York Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

This group will see a lot of usual suspects and probably be heavy on attack-minded guys considering Arena sees Michael Bradley as a No. 6.

And, yes, Kelyn Rowe (or Ethan Finlay) is going to take a backseat to a move I doubt Arena can resist: Landon Donovan in the new U.S. crest.

In: Michael Bradley, Sacha Kljestan, Benny Feilhaber, Alejandro Bedoya, Darlington Nagbe, Graham Zusi, Dax McCarty, Kelyn Acosta, Wil Trapp, Jermaine Jones, Ethan Finlay, Landon Donovan
Next out: Kelyn Rowe, Fatai Alashe, Sebastian Lletget, Scott Caldwell
Question marks: Lee Nguyen, Kyle Beckerman, Mix Diskerud (Yeah, I know).


Forwards (4)

This group isn’t much of a challenge. Altidore is going to start, and Morris will probably join him. Gyasi Zardes was essentially developed by Arena with the Galaxy, and Agudelo has bagged enough goals in MLS and abroad to get a chance ahead of the field (though Chris Wondolowski just keeps scoring for San Jose and Alan Gordon, well, someone had to vouch for his inclusion under Klinsmann. Was it his LA coach?).

CARSON, CA - FEBRUARY 09:  Gyasi Zardes #11 of Los Angeles Galaxy attemps to break away from Leiton Jimenez #30 of Club Tijuana at StubHub Center on February 9, 2016 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Zardes (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images).

In: Jozy Altidore, Jordan Morris, Gyasi Zardes, Juan Agudelo
Next out: Khiry Shelton, Mike Grella
Question marks: Alan Gordon, Chris Wondolowski

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New St. Louis stadium plan calls for state land contribution

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ST. LOUIS (AP) Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has made it clear he’s opposed to state funding for stadiums, yet a revised proposal for a $200 million soccer stadium in St. Louis calls for the state to contribute land that’s potentially worth millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, a city aldermanic committee delayed a vote Thursday to advance a measure putting the proposal, which also requires city voters to approve $60 million in funding, on the April ballot.

[ MORE: Galaxy adds Portugal CM ]

The investor group SC STL’s proposal calls for a 22,000-seat stadium near Interstate 64 and Union Station, a key component in the group’s effort to lure a Major League Soccer expansion team. MLS officials have expressed strong interest in St. Louis, but only if a stadium is built.

Time is of the essence: The league is expected to award two new expansion teams in the fall, with play starting in 2020.

St. Louis’ project was on life support after Greitens, a Republican who took office this month, said repeatedly that he opposed taxpayer funding for stadiums, calling it “welfare for millionaires.” SC STL had been seeking $40 million in state tax credits.

But a provision of SC STL’s revised financing plan, presented at Thursday’s meeting at City Hall, says the state would contribute the majority of the 24-acre project site, which is currently owned by the Missouri Department of Transportation, and perform some site clearing and infrastructure work.

The value is still being appraised, but given its location and the amount of land, it likely is worth several million dollars.

Greitens spokesman Parker Briden told The Associated Press in a statement that the governor “remains opposed to state funding to build the soccer stadium.” He did not immediately respond to a question about how the potential donation of land doesn’t conflict with Greitens’ hard-line stance.

[ MORE: Jones labels Howard’s comments “dangerous” ]

The first hint of compromise with the governor came in an email from SC STL spokesman Jim Woodcock late Wednesday, when he wrote that a “path forward” had been reached after two weeks of meetings.

“Gov. Greitens has made it clear to us that he is very supportive of adding a new professional sports franchise to the State of Missouri, and that’s a sentiment we wholeheartedly share,” the statement said.

The stadium project also requires taxpayer help from the city. The city Ways and Means Committee heard from SC STL officials Thursday, but no vote was taken on whether to ask the full Board of Aldermen to place the issue on the April ballot. The committee is expected to reconsider the measure Monday.

SC STL would be responsible for at least $95 million of the project cost, the entire $150 million expansion fee and all maintenance costs going forward.

Bundesliga returns: Will Bayern hold off competition again?

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Germany’s top flight returns to action Friday when Bayern Munich travels to Freiburg in an attempt to keep the pressure on new boys RB Leipzig.

[ MORE: Galaxy adds Portugal CM ]

For those who haven’t paid a ton of attention to the Bundesliga this season or need a bit of a refresher after several weeks away, here’s what to monitor over the next several months.

Really Big surprise Leipzig looks to keep title race going

Formed in 2009, RB Leipzig is a lot of German fans’ least favorite club after cash infusions caused a rapid rise into the top flight.

The new club is looking down at most of the haters, however. League leaders for much of the first half, Leipzig is three points shy of league leading Bayern Munich.

Bayern waxed Leipzig 3-0 before the holiday break, and the two sides won’t meet again until May 13. How long can the new boys keep up the show?

Historic relegation candidates

What does USMNT strikers Bobby Wood and Aron Johannsson share besides a national team? Both are on sides that have been in Germany’s top tier longer than the players have been alive.

Wood’s Hamburg has six national titles and hasn’t seen the second tier in 54 years. That’s the longest stretch in the league, two more seasons than Bayern Munich. Hamburg is a currently third-bottom, which would force them into a relegation-promotion playoff against the third-placed team in 2.Bundesliga.

As for Johannsson, his Werder Bremen side is just three points ahead of Hamburg. Bremen has been in the top flight for 36 seasons.

Chasing the Golden Boot

Robert Lewandowski has scored the most goals in two of the past three seasons, with Alexander Meier of Eintracht Frankfurt seizing the honor in 2014-15.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is leading the pack by three goals, but is with Gabon at the Africa Cup of Nations to help open the door for the rest of the bunch.

Koln’s Anthony Modeste is second with 13, while Lewandowski has 12. Two players, Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) and Sandro Wagner (Hoffenheim), have nine.

Can surprise Europe-chasers hold up?

Hertha Berlin was in 2.Bundesliga a few seasons ago, while Eintracht Frankfurt was there a season prior to that. RB Leipzig, as mentioned earlier, wasn’t even a club until 2009.

Eintracht made a Europa League run one year later, but neither was expected to be competing for a spot in Europe this season. As it stands, all three are in the mix.

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 16 12 3 1 38 9 29 7-2-0 5-1-1 39
 RB Leipzig 16 11 3 2 31 15 16 6-1-0 5-2-2 36
 Hertha BSC Berlin 16 9 3 4 24 16 8 7-0-1 2-3-3 30
 Eintracht Frankfurt 16 8 5 3 22 12 10 5-3-0 3-2-3 29
 1899 Hoffenheim 16 6 10 0 28 17 11 4-5-0 2-5-0 28
 Borussia Dortmund 16 7 6 3 35 19 16 5-3-0 2-3-3 27
 1. FC Köln 16 6 7 3 21 15 6 4-4-0 2-3-3 25

Report: El Tri’s Chicharito to LAFC in 2018

Bayer Leverkusen's Javier Hernandez, left, and Atletico Mineiro's Mattheus Rolden fight for possession of the ball during the first half of a Florida Cup soccer match, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
AP Photo/John Raoux
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It makes a lot of sense, you know?

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez will turn 30 in 2018, not a spring chicken for a striker but still plenty productive if healthy.

His national team, Mexico, will likely be revving its engines for the World Cup, and won’t be upset to have the forward playing a bit less soccer and a lot closer to home.

[ MORE: Top 5 Premier League storylines ]

And Los Angeles FC will want to make a massive mark as it seeks to butt its head into a market dominated by the LA Galaxy (and, perhaps still then, Mexico national teamer Giovani Dos Santos).

So, tell us more, Steve Brisendine of MLSSoccer.com:

“[LAFC] are going to do everything possible to sign the current Bayer Leverkusen player, whose contract ends in 2018 and could therefore leave for a reduced fee. That’s what AS.com has confirmed with sources close to the project. LAFC hope to announce their new manager this spring and dream, a little later, to do the same with Javier Hernandez, aka Chicharito.”

Make it happen. Make. It. Happen. We’re already reserving his spot on our MLS fantasy teams.

Transfer rumor roundup: Jagielka, Begovic, Berahino, Zarate

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 13: Saido Berahino of West Brom challenges for the ball with Phil Jagielka of Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Everton at The Hawthorns on September 13, 2014 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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There’s action all over England, from those defending the goal mouth to others striving to conquer it.

[ MORE: More transfer gossip ]

— Bournemouth wants an upgrade on Artur Boruc, according to The Telegraph, and that could come in the form of Chelsea backstop Asmir Begovic.

The Cherries reportedly had a $12.5 million bid turned down by Antonio Conte, who has Thibaut Courtois in the No. 1 seat and Portugal national team backup Eduardo in the ranks (along with three keepers on loan and young goalie Mitchell Beanie).

— Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger shut the door on acquiring West Ham wantaway Dimitri Payet according to Sky Sports’ Transfer Centre:

“We have many players offensively who can play in this position. You are interested by the quality of the player but there needs to be a need as well, and we have no need in this domain.”

— Clubs in need of experienced Premier League backs need look no further than Everton, where manager Ronald Koeman has admitted that England international Phil Jagielka could leave Goodison Park. The 34-year-old center back has 40 caps for England and has made 337 appearances for Everton. He could be a massive upgrade for Sunderland if David Moyes is up for a reunion.

— Stoke City chairman Peter Coates says a purchase of Saido Berahino from West Brom is not contingent on a sale of Bojan Krkic. The latter has been linked to Middlesbrough.

— Mauro Zarate may be returning the Premier League. Watford boss Walter Mazzarri has been largely let down by his strike corps as Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney have taken steps back this season. Could $4 be enough to bring the ex-West Ham and QPR man from Fiorentina to Vicarage Road? Zarate has four goals in nine matches for La Viola, and has nine goals in 40 Premier League matches.