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Who's hot in MLS preseason play
by Ridge Mahoney, February 18th, 2008 7AM

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The new San Jose Earthquakes played a pair of games against defending champ Houston, the team created out of the old Quakes. Toronto is getting goals from its young star of 2007, while the Red Bulls' new Colombian saw action against Swedish club Hammarby. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney examines MLS preseason developments and looks at more possible foreign siginings.

EDU ON TARGET. Less than a year ago, Maurice Edu was a No. 1 draft pick learning the professional ways during his first MLS preseason.

After he won Rookie of the Year honors and established himself as a vital candidate on both the U.S. national and under-23 teams in 2007, the only qualm about this talented, thoughtful player was if a busy 2008 might overload him and cause a sophomore slump.

So far, that's not the case. After playing all 90 minutes in a 2-0 U.S. win over Sweden in January and coming on for the final 11 minutes of a 2-2 tie with Mexico, he joined his Toronto FC teammates in Florida.

Edu scored a pair of goals Saturday as TFC beat Kansas City, 2-0, to post its first preseason win. Edu put away a loose ball in the 44th minute after a low cross from Jim Brennan escaped Wizards keeper Kevin Hartman, and in the 61st minute hammered home a cross from Ronnie O'Brien.

Manager Mo Johnston and head coach John Carver are tinkering with the midfield. Captain Carl Robinson left team Sunday to be with his expectant wife; Dutch midfielder Kiki Musampa, who most recently played for AZ Alkmaar and has been with clubs in France, Spain, England, and Turkey, is on trial with TFC and played the last 28 minutes against Kansas City.

South American outlets reported late last week that representatives of Colombian midfielder Johnnier Montano, ensnared in a contract dispute with Peruvian club Alianza Lima, have contacted MLS. TFC and Colorado are interested in having a look.

MARLET, MENDOZA JOIN FIRE. French striker Steve Marlet played the first half and Mexican midielder Jesus Mendoza came on at halftime for Chicago in its 1-1 tie with Kansas City Saturday in Bradenton, Fla.

Marlet, 33, is on trial after failing to catch on with English club Ipswich Town in October. Several fine seasons at Lyon earned him a lucrative transfer (11.5 million pounds, about $21 million at the time) to Fulham of the Premier League in 2002, but poor output - 11 goals in 54 games - and disputes with then-manager Jean Tigana resulted in a move to Marseille two years later.

He also spent a season in Germany with Wolfsburg and was released by French club Lorient last summer.

Mendoza, 29, has played in Mexico for Club America, Leon, San Luis, Atlante, Monterrey, Morelia and Guadalajara. He scored 28 goals and received 60 cautions from 1997 to 2007.

Rookie midfielder Stephen King equalized for Chicago in the 90th minute. Ryan Pore's goal midway through the first half had provided Kansas City a 1-0 lead.

QUAKES BLANKED AGAIN.
Houston and San Jose battled to a goalless deadlock at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco Saturday night, leaving the expansion Quakes without a goal in their two outings against the two-time defending champion. Houston beat San Jose, 1-0, Wednesday.

San Jose generated just three shots, one of which forced a good save from Dynamo keeper Pat Onstad to prevent an own goal.

The Quakes goalies, Preston Burpo and Joe Cannon, were busier, with Burpo stoning Brian Ching on a clean chance and Cannon turning away a strong header by Bobby Boswell in the final minutes.

Dwayne DeRosario
bounced a header over the crossbar from close range to waste one of several fine crosses provided by Dynamo rookie midfielder Geoff Cameron.

The Quakes started with Kei Kamara and Fabrice Noel up front; neither caused the Dynamo back line much trouble, and neither did sub Matt Taylor. Another substitute Gavin Glinton, opened up a few cracks his pace. Argentine trialist Marco Marlon provided some deft touches in midfield that didn't produce much danger.

Houston headed to Hawaii Sunday for the Pan Pacific Championship. It plays Sydney FC of the Australian league in the semifinals Wednesday; Japanese club Gamba Osaka plays the Galaxy in the other semi.

San Jose will be in San Luis Obispo starting Tuesday. It plays Cal Poly SLO in a closed-door scrimmage, then faces Columbus Friday and D.C. United Sunday.

"It'll be great to get down there for six and seven days and play three games," says Coach Frank Yallop. "We'll be looking at a lot of players and after those games we'll have a much better idea of where we stand."

COLOMBIAN CONNECTION.
Colombian forwards Juan Pablo Angel and Oscar Etcheverry scored as Red Bull New York beat Swedish club Hammarby IF, 2-0, at Home Depot Center Friday.

A through ball by Claudio Reyna set up a goal in the eighth minute for Etcheverry, whose signing has been reported but not officially announced by the club or MLS. He played for RBNY head coach Juan Carlos Osorio at Millionarios and has been in camp with the team in Southern California for about a week.

Etcheverry won a penalty kick that Angel converted in the 15th minute for the second goal. Rookie defender Eric Brunner headed in a corner kick 13 minutes later to give Red Bull (1-1-0) its first preseason win.



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