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MLS Cup returns to Pizza Hut Park in November.

Chivas USA acquires Razov from MetroStars, trading away Martins.

Real Salt Lake snaps up Rowland second in supplemental draft.

RSL continues shakeup, acquiring Klein from Kansas City.

Columbus adds Rozental, gets Ward from MetroStars for Henderson.

Indiana, UCLA each lose two underclassmen to Generation adidas.

Gutierrez is acquired by Chicago, sending John to Kansas City.

Real Salt Lake signs Torres for second MLS stint.

Elliott leaves Columbus for England, has bad Fulham debut.

Houston team will play at UH stadium for three years.

Earthquakes move to Houston, name stays in San Jose.

MLS notes

All 12 teams start preseason training.

(Friday, February 3, 2006) -- All 12 Major League Soccer teams will have started training by tomorrow for the league's 11th season which commences April 1.

The Columbus Crew, Colorado Rapids, FC Dallas, Kansas City, MetroStars, D.C. United, Chivas USA, and Houston 1836 gathered their entire squads in home territory this week. Real Salt Lake took its initial training to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., Wednesday and will be joined by the Chicago Fire which will become the final team to get underway tomorrow.

The MLS Cup 2005 champion Los Angeles Galaxy and runnerup New England Revolution were given permission to begin training ahead of the January 31 start date as they prepare to compete in the CONCACAF Champions Cup in late February. As MLS Cup finalists, the two teams will represent the United States in the regional club championship with the winner of the tournament advancing to the FIFA World Club Championship event in December.

Both teams enter the two-leg quarterfinal stage against Costa Rican clubs. New England faces LD Alajuelense in Bermuda February 22 while the Galaxy takes on Deportivo Saprissa at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., on February 23. The return matches are scheduled for March 8.

All 12 teams have busy schedules of fitness training and matches over the next six weeks in warm weather locales, such as Florida, Southern California, and South Carolina. The MetroStars, Columbus, Real Salt Lake, Kansas City, D.C. United, and Chicago will all train at the IMG Academy in Bradenton in February.

Teams will also travel internationally, with the Rapids heading to Mexico and Spain, Kansas City to Germany, New England to Bermuda, and Columbus to Cyprus. Most teams will play preseason matches against MLS opponents, as well as club and national teams from around the world.


Colorado Rapids: Effort made to retain Nkong

DENVER -- With defender Nat Borchers having left, with his move to Norway's Odd Grenland all but complete, the Colorado Rapids are about to welcome back midfielder Alain Nkong.

"I think the odds are very good," Rapids coach Fernando Clavijo told the MLS web site. "(Nkong) wants to get back, as simple as that. He wants to come back."

After the season, the Rapids waived Nkong, hoping to sign him at a lower salary. In December, Clavijo seemed resigned to the probability that the Cameroonian international would pursue opportunities in Europe.

Recently, however, Nkong has expressed a desire to return to the Rapids, but the club still wants to reduce his salary from last season.. "I'm confident that I know how talented he is, and I know it would be a tremendous addition for us to bring him back," Clavijo said. "Confidence with the level of salaries, we don't know. We're stilling working on some other issues that would give us a more clear picture at the end of the day. It's not a matter of us wanting him here. It's a matter of 'How can we get him here?' "

Nkong had five goals and four assists in 28 games for Colorado in 2005. He received a red card in the second game of Colorado's Western Conference semifinal Series against FC Dallas, earning a suspension for the conference championship match which the Rapids lost 2-0 to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Clavijo cited Nkong's absence as a key factor in the Rapids' defeat.

Borchers, who was not drafted and made the Rapids via a tryout, is waiting for the final paperwork to be completed on his move to Norway.

Before making the Rapids, Borchers played in the area with the minor-league Boulder Reserves. "He's a local kid that went through every single level of soccer here to make it to the pros, and to have an opportunity to go to Europe, it is tremendous," Clavijo said. "As a coaching staff, we cannot stop him. We cannot be in his way of achieving his dream."


D.C. United: Argentine striker Filomeno re-signs

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Argentine striker Lucio Filomeno, who joined D.C. United near the end of the 2005 season, has signed for the upcoming campaign.

Filomeno, 25, made one regular-season appearance October 15 against the Columbus Crew and played the second half in United's first-round second-leg playoff loss to the Chicago Fire on October 30.

"During his short time with us last season, we got a good taste of his professionalism and competitiveness," United technical director Dave Kasper said on the team's web site. "He is a young, exciting player, and we look forward to his contributions to our team."

Filomeno began his professional career in 1996 with Nueva Chicago, a team that also had current United playmaker Christian Gomez, in the Argentine second division, He tallied his first goal at age 15 in a 1-1 draw with Arsenal de Sarandi.

Filomeno spent two years at Nueva Chicago before moving to Italy where he spent time with Udinese and Inter Milan during 1998 and 1999, though he didn't make any appearances with either of the Serie A first teams. He then moved back to Argentina, where he spent three seasons in the first division, scoring four goals in 21 appearances over three years.

While at San Lorenzo, Filomeno helped the club capture the Clausura 2001 championship and the 2001 Copa Mercosur title.

In 2002, he moved to Jaguares de Chiapas of Mexico where he became a fan favorite over two years in which he made 68 appearances and scored 13 goals. Last year, he spent time in the Korean K-League with Busan, where he scored six goals in 15 games prior to joining United.

Filomeno also made three appearances for Argentina's under-17 men, coached at the time by Jose Pekerman, now the coach of the senior men's team.


Chivas USA: Suarez nears deal

CARSON, Calif. -- Defender Claudio Suarez, who is tied for the world record for most international appearances after playing 173 games for Mexico, is near assigning a contract with Chivas USA.

"In the next few days, I'll be able to finally sign a contract," Suarez told Associated Press through an interpreter. "I feel I can contribute by my experience," Suarez said. "I've kept myself in good shape physically to be able to compete."

Suarez, 37, earned his 173rd cap for Mexico in a 2-0 friendly victory over Hungary on December 14. Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohamed Al-Deayea also has made 173 appearances.

Chivas USA needs defensive help after being burned for a league-high 67 goals while with MLS's worst record -- 4-22-6 - in 2005, its first season.

"He has tremendous ability to organize a defense, communicate and knows how to make people better," Chivas coach Bob Bradley told AP.

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