Tim Cahill Headed to Red Bulls?

The New York club has not confirmed it yet, but Everton’s website is reporting that the Toffees have agreed to a transfer to MLS and the Red Bulls for veteran Australian attacker Tim Cahill.

Cahill, 32, didn’t have a great season at Everton last year, but he produced nine goals and four assists in 27 league appearances in 2010-11, and he established himself as a dangerous attacking threat in his eight seasons with the Merseyside club.

He’s also a mainstay with the Australian national team, having scored 24 goals in 55 appearances for his country.

If confirmed, the transfer would give the Red Bulls the most dangerous attacking corps in MLS. They’re already second in the league in goals per game, with Thierry Henry (10 goals, six assists), Kenny Cooper (13 goals, one assist), Sebastien Le Toux (five goals, two assists), and Joel Lindpere (three goals, four assists) leading the way.

Adding a player of Cahill’s ability to this group, which also includes Dax McCarty—who’s enjoying arguably the best season of his career—Rafa Marquez, rising youngster Connor Lade, and, when he returns from injury, experienced Finnish international Teemu Tainio, would firmly establish the Red Bulls as Eastern Conference and MLS Cup favorites.

If their backline can stay healthy and consistent, the Red Bulls could finally acquire something for their heretofore empty trophy case.

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Landon Donovan Now a Verb in the UK

Los Angeles Galaxy and U.S. national team attacker Landon Donovan has five assists in the first seven games of his winter loan stint with Everton, helping the team to big recent wins over Fulham (in the FA Cup) and top-of-the-table Manchester City.

He’s done so well in his second loan stint that former Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar, who is now headed back to the Merseyside on loan from Spurs, recently said he hopes to “have a Landon Donovan effect” in his return to the club.

That prompted The Sun to run the banner headline “Pienaar: I can do a Landon,” and thereby usher a new verb into the British football lexicon.

Think of it as a kind of antonym to the phrase “pull a Homer,” from the classic Simpsons episode “Homer Defined” (Season 3, Episode 5), in which the rotund Simpsons family patriarch stops a nuclear meltdown using the unorthodox “eeny, meeny, miney, moe” method, prompting the coining of the phrase, which means “to succeed despite idiocy.”

Donovan, Gibson, Handcuff Man City Title Hopes

Donovan (left) tees up Gibson for the winner.

In a match interrupted for five minutes after a Merseyside punter (as you can see in the video clip here, we’re using that term correctly) handcuffed himself to a Goodison Park goalpost, Landon Donovan laid off a perfect ball to teammate Darron Gibson, whose powerful shot deflected into the net past Joe Hart to give Everton a 1-0 win over Manchester City.

The deft pass was Donovan’s fourth assist in four games for Everton and his fifth in seven matches over all for the Toffees. The 29-year-old American is producing another excellent loan performance in the Premier League, following his star turn for Everton in the winter of 2010.

For City, the defeat—their fourth loss in their past six visits to Goodison Park—dropped them into a tie for first in the Premier League with crosstown rivals Manchester United, who clipped Stoke City 2-0 at Old Trafford. Both teams have 54 points after 23 games, but City holds the edge on goal difference.

Everton moved up to ninth place with the win.

Here’s a bonus shot of the punter/bloke/geezer who interrupted the game in protest of Ryanair, an airline he says fired his daughter unfairly:

Goodison Park officials were impressively quick to produce a pair of boltcutters and usher the man to the legal phase of his “protest.”

UK’s Pardon the Interruption, with Curly Neal’s British Cousin Co-Hosting, Gives Props to MLS

From the MLS Insider comes this clip of the English version of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, in which the hosts discuss the Premier League returns of Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan—and show a welcome level of respect for Major League Soccer:

We kept waiting for the guy on the right to drop a “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.”

Henry and Arsenal will look to halt a two-game league losing streak this Sunday in a huge game against Manchester United. Keane and Villa travel to Wolves on Saturday, the same day that Everton, Donovan and Tim Howard host Blackburn.

MLS Exports Ruled the World this Week

With his fairytale goal against Leeds yesterday, Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry capped a tremendous week for Major League Soccer products playing abroad.

Over the weekend, former New England Revolution star and 2004 MLS Rookie of the Year Clint Dempsey scored a hat-trick against Charlton in the FA Cup, and current LA Galaxy attacker Landon Donovan set up a goal and hit the post with a 25-yard rocket during Everton’s 2-0 win over Tamworth in the FA Cup.

There were other players with MLS ties who stood out this week, but before we get to those, here are the highlights, via The FA Cup, of Henry’s triumphant return to Arsenal, the club where he forged his legend—and where they’ve erected a statue in his likeness. He entered the third-round match in the 67th minute with the score 0-0:

On first viewing, Henry appears to be offside, but subsequent replays clearly showed that the defender on the far side, at the top of the screen, kept him onside. Here’s a screen grab for proof:

Definitely onside, and definitely an indelible moment in global soccer, year 2012.

Former Revolution man Dempsey created his own career landmark against Charlton on Saturday, bagging his first hat-trick to power Fulham to a 4-0 win. Highlights below, also courtesy of The FA Cup. Note Costa Rican Bryan Ruiz, who is involved in three of the four goals:

After the game, Fulham coach Martin Jol , speaking to The Sun, had this to say about the kid from Nacogdoches: “He is an American boy so he wants to win every training session. He has the eye of the tiger.”

The MLS-export heroics were not limited to Henry, Donovan, and Dempsey.

Five days earlier, former New York goalkeeper Tim Howard made history by becoming just the fourth goalkeeper (and second Yank, after Brad Friedel) to score in the Premier League when his clearance from the top of his own area got caught in the wind and bounced high over the head of Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan.

In Italy, former MetroStars midfielder Michael Bradley earned raves for his play with Serie A side Chievo. He has nailed down a starting spot, and the team is on track for a solid mid-table finish this season. Bradley has also already mastered enough Italian to conduct his press interviews in the local tongue.

Quick, Check Out Tim Howard’s Freakish 100-yard Goal, Before Copyright Claims Strip It Out

U.S. attacker Landon Donovan made his (second) Everton debut today, but it was his fellow national-teamer, goalkeeper Tim Howard, who scored in the game against Bolton.

You read that right—Howard belted a clearance at the top of his own box and, thanks to the gusting winds at Goodison Park, the ball carried … and carried—and bounced over Bolton keeper Adam Bogdan into the net to give the Toffees a 1-0 lead.

Take a look:

Unfortunately for Everton and U.S. fans, Bolton scored two goals in an 11-minute span soon after Howard’s fluke tally and held on for a 2-1 win. Leighton Baines hit the bar with a free kick in stoppage time, but that was as close as Everton got to an equalizer.

Donovan had a decent game, particularly in the first half, when he made a few good runs, got in some crosses, two shots, and had a possibly legit penalty claim waved off after surging into the box against Sam Ricketts.

UPDATE: Ah, well, that was fun while it lasted–about 12 hours. You can probably still find the clip out there on the worlwide webster.

Donovan Signals Merseyside Return with Thursday-Morning Tweet: “Once a Toffee, always a Toffee”

Those six words came over Landon Donovan’s Twitter feed early yesterday, causing his 588,475 followers to go, “Hmmm.”

Sure enough, about six hours later, his agent, Richard Motzkin, confirmed that LD would be returning to Everton for a winter loan deal, saying, “Exciting times ahead in the New Year at Goodison Park.”

Hopefully for U.S. and Everton fans those times will be as exciting as Donovan’s 2010 spell with the club, when he had two goals and three assists in 13 appearances and was named Everton Player of the Month:

(What’s up with that “Dono” at the end, btw? Someone needs to tell them it’s “Lando”)

Donovan could make up to 11 appearances with Everton during this loan, including in a Jan. 11 matchup with Tottenham and U.S. keeper Brad Friedel, who recently said, among other unflattering things, that Donovan had taken the “easy road” by forging the bulk of his career in Major League Soccer. That game ought to be interesting.

Also of note are a Feb. 1 meeting with Manchester City, a Feb. 11 matchup against Chelsea, and the Feb. 25 Merseyside Derby versus Liverpool.

See Simon Borg’s helpful rundown of the entire LD 2012 Everton schedule here.