Tuesday Kickoff: MLS home openers to be revealed, Napoli sanctioned, & more

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:

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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.

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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.

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15 Responses to Tuesday Kickoff: MLS home openers to be revealed, Napoli sanctioned, & more

  1. CO Steve says:

    What player is next draft lottery for?

  2. Karl says:

    Match-fixing is an abomination, and should be penalized with at least a 2 point deduction and liftime ban for all players involved. It discredits the game of it’s greatest componenets.

    Sporting Kansas City is my pre-season favorite to win it all. So much quality across the team, and a solid back 4. Graham Zusi on set peices may be the best in the league. Arsenal’s offense looked good, however their defense did once again give up 2 goals against an awful Reading team.

  3. nato says:

    sure hope Roma use this deduction to Napoli to its full advantage

  4. nato says:

    whats with Donovan’s beard?

    • Benny Dargle says:

      Playoff beard. Many players do that, including many members of the Houston Dynamo as well. It’s a half superstition and half evidence of (or a desire to give the appearance of) a single-minded focus on the task at hand without concern for personal grooming (not that there’s anything wrong with wearing a bear year-round!).

  5. Nate Dollars says:

    alright, ives, spill it: who’s the next lottery player? boca? he wouldn’t go through the lottery, though, would he…

    • Strider257 says:

      No, returning MNT players are based upon allocation (I think that’s the official word) ranking. Didn’t the site talk about a deal between Portland and someone else (Toronto?) to pick up Mixx through the allocation process? It is still unclear to me how the lotteries are decided. Why wasn’t Fehr just held for the upcoming draft? Why is he a special case and in the lottery instead?

  6. el paso tx wants NASL says:

    When will skc get a jersey sponsor and in reality this preseason the rumors of Dps and other players has been slow. I expected for ronaldinho to be in mls even though he has signed for another year in brazil, not only that but are sounders ever going to sign a top DP. As a matter of fact, the years of 2013 and 2014 are going to be very interesting for MLS due to the world cup and federation cup excitement and how will MLS use that excitement for the MLS fans and American soccer fans.