I spoke to U.S. centerback John Brooks of Hertha Berlin this week, and he said a few interesting things: One, he really does think his team has a chance to stay in third place and clinch a berth in next season’s Champions league.
Two, he said signing a new contract through 2019 has really helped quiet down the chatter around him and help him focus on the team, where he has regained and solidified his starting spot.
And three, he’s excited about the chance to play on the U.S. senior team with Jerome Kiesewetter, who played well in his debut for the U.S. in January. Brooks and Kiesewetter grew up together from the age of five in Berlin’s Tempelhof neighborhood. Brooks told me they used to talk about dreaming of playing together for the U.S. national team.
Video replay trials to begin
IFAB, which is in charge of changing the Laws of the Game, announced Saturday that it will conduct experimentation with video replay in tests outside of official games. The plan is to have video assistance available for the 2017-18 season around the world in the countries that want to use it.
MLS commissioner Don Garber has said repeatedly that he’s in favor of having video assistance. IFAB said challenges by coaches will not be a part of the process, and video replay will only be used to rule on four areas of the game: Goals, red cards, penalties and mistaken identity. A video ruling on offside would be a part of the process if a goal is scored.
Portland's nixed deal for Miguel Ibarra
The MLS season starts Sunday, and I’ve confirmed that the Portland Timbers had a deal arranged recently to bring U.S. national team winger Miguel Ibarra in on loan this season from Mexico’s León. But León backed out of the deal, and Portland ended up acquiring winger Jack Barmby on loan from England’s Leicester City instead.