*First, an addendum to my earlier post about D.C. United’s roster and salary cap situation: Brandon McDonald’s salary will increase significantly in 2012 after he agreed to a new deal this fall (he earned just $45,000 this year), Perry Kitchen’s salary will soar and several players will receive raises. So a chunk of the money saved by severing ties with nine players has already been ear-marked. Nonetheless, United has the flexibility to add several new pieces.
*New York Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo is on his way to England to train with Liverpool for two weeks. His previous workouts were with Stuttgart. Others young MLS players staying fit overseas include Brek Shea (Arsenal) and Andy Najar (Spurs).
*Expect an announcement soon concerning the U.S. national team’s first friendlies of 2012: Jan. 21 vs. Venezuela at a U.S. venue and four days later at Panama. MLS and Scandinavian-based players will make up the bulk of the U.S. roster at the annual January camp.
*U.S. goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, a former University of Virginia star who was ignored by MLS last winter, is set to start for America de Cali in the Colombian playoffs after starter Julian Viafara was suspended for six months. America will face Once Caldas in the Clausura quarterfinals, starting Saturday.
*Americans in Europa League group play:
F Jozy Altidore 90 minutes in AZ Alkmaar’s 0-0 draw at Malmo
MF Jonathan Spector 90 in Birmingham’s 1-0 loss at Braga
D Steve Cherundolo 90 in Hanover’s 2-0 loss at Standard Liege
GK Brad Friedel not in 18 (rested) for Spurs’ 2-1 loss to PAOK
MF Jermaine Jones and Schalke vs. Steaua Bucharest (GolTV, 1 p.m.)
MF Clint Dempsey won’t play for Fulham at Twente (thigh injury)
MF Sacha Kljestan and Anderlecht at AEK Athens
D Oguchi Onyewu and Sporting Lisbon vs. Zurich