Midfielder Zach Pfeffer of the Philadelphia Union will begin a loan with Hoffenheim in January. He is the first homegrown player signed by the Union who have reportedly picked up his option for 2014. Pfeffer will be in Germany for the 2013 calendar year joining a team on the brink of relegation. Hoffenheim is home to Danny Williams and Fabian Johnson, but they just fired their coach and have had many injury concerns. Williams started at center back last weekend. It is unlikely that Pfeffer will join the first team right away, although this is a great opportunity for the 17 year old.
Sacha Kljestan and Oguchi Onyewu faced off against one another yesterday as Anderlecht and Malaga drew at 2. Kljestan had a strong performance including the assist of the tying goal just before the final whistle blew. Despite his strong performance, Anderlecht finished at the bottom of the group. Onyewu and Malaga moved onto the round of 16 and remain unbeaten in Champions League competition. Onyewu will join Jermaine Jones as the only USMNT players in the round of 16. Jones played the final 18 minutes for Schalke as they tied with Montpellier. Schalke finished atop their group to move on. The draw for the round of 16 will be held on December 20.
The U.S. under-20 team learned that it will be in Group A for u-20 World Cup qualifying. Their competitions will be Costa Rica and Haiti. The team will have a 66% chance of advancing to the quarterfinals. Winners of quarterfinal matches will advance to the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey. The qualifying tournament will be played in Puebla, Mexico in Febuary.
George John resigned in Dallas on a multi-year deal as announced by the team. The 25 year old center back has some injury concerns, but seems to be one of the best options on the back line for Dallas.
Finally, the momentum from the MLS playoffs may have shined the spotlight on some potential call ups for the USMNT. Over at Soccer By Ives they look at four players that may have a shot. We’ve been calling for Omar Gonzalez and his performance in the final was a great audition for Jurgen Klinsmann, who was in attendance. We are also pulling for Will Bruin despite some folks comparing him to the recently released Conor Casey. Perhaps only Gonzalez has shown enough at this point to even warrant a look.