*Toronto FC will introduce outgoing D.C. United executive Kevin Payne as its new president at a BMO Field news conference at 1:30 p.m. today. The hiring reunites Payne with two of his former employees: youth academy director Thomas Rongen, DCU’s head coach from 1999 through 2001 and local TV commentator for several years; and director of team and player operations Earl Cochrane, a former D.C. communications specialist.
*My story for the print edition looks at Payne’s accomplishments and why he and the club parted ways.
*MLS will continue to roll out award winners today with the top goalkeeper (Kansas City’s Jimmy Nielsen) and newcomer (Columbus’s Federico Higuain, San Jose’s Victor Bernardez or Seattle’s Michael Gspurning). On Tuesday, San Jose’s Frank Yallop won coach of the year in a deserved landslide, with Kansas City’s Peter Vermes edging United’s Ben Olsen for second place. Olsen’s strongest bloc was the MLS players, who gave him 16 percent of their votes.
In the ambiguous category, Seattle’s Eddie Johnson was named comeback player of the year. Johnson had a super season, scoring 14 goals, but from what he actually came back isn’t clear (a sinking career overseas?). Chris Pontius, who recovered from a broken leg to lead United in goals, was a close second. The league needs to do a better job defining what this award means.
The granddaddy of awards, MVP, will receive a formal ceremony Thursday afternoon at Home Depot Center, but the drama will be long gone by then. Not only is San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski going to win in a breeze, the league will “announce” the winner in the wee hours of the morning in a USA Today/Volkswagen advertisement.
*The second-tier North American Soccer League hired a new commissioner: Bill Peterson, a former AEG executive and NFL Europe president. Sound familiar? MLS boss Don Garber‘s portfolio also includes the NFL’s overseas operation. Peterson and Garber have worked together, a relationship that perhaps will lead to a stronger bond between MLS and NASL in terms of loaning young players.
*Weather update for MLS Cup on Saturday afternoon in Carson, Calif.: 66 degrees, cloudy, 20 percent chance of rain.
*The U.S. women’s national team continues its gold medal tour tonight in Portland, Ore., with the first of two friendlies against Ireland (10 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer). They’ll meet again Saturday in Glendale, Ariz. At the tour’s halfway point, the Americans are 3-0-2. The final three matches are against China in Detroit, Houston and South Florida. Houston has sold the most tickets of the five remaining games (11,500 as of Monday). The USSF has already set a women’s friendly in 2013: April 5 at Germany.
*Fallout from the Charlie Davies civil action, which was settled this year: Red Bull North America, a defendant in the case involving the 2009 crash that seriously injured the former U.S. national team forward, filed suit last week in California Superior Court’s Central District (Los Angeles) against its own insurance companies for “refusing either to fund any portion of the settlements or to reimburse RBNA for the costs incurred in connection with those settlements.” If this piques your legal curiosity, the case number is BC496101.
GK Brad Guzan 90 in Aston Villa’s 1-0 victory over Reading
D Steve Cherundolo 90 in Hanover’s 2-0 victory over Greuther Fuerth
MF Jermaine Jones 90 in Schalke’s 3-1 loss at Hamburg
D Oguchi Onyewu 90 in Malaga’s 1-0 cup loss to Cacereno
MF Sacha Kljestan 120 in Anderlecht’s 2-0 cup victory over Mechelen
D Eric Lichaj last 66 for Aston Villa
D Jonathan Spector 90 in Birminghan’s 1-1 draw at Blackpool
D Seb Hines in Middlesbrough’s 3-0 victory over Huddersfield
D Zak Whitbread 90 in Leicester’s 1-0 loss at Leeds
F Bobby Wood 90 in 1860 Munich’s 1-0 victory over Paderborn
MF Clint Dempsey and Spurs vs. Liverpool (2:45 p.m. ET, ESPN3.com)
GK Tim Howard and Everton vs. Arsenal (2:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Plus, foxsoccer2go.com)
D Geoff Cameron, MF Maurice Edu and Stoke City vs. Newcastle (2:45 p.m., foxsoccer2go.com; tape at 5 on Fox Soccer)
D Tim Ream and Bolton at Blackburn
D Fabian Johnson, MF Daniel Williams and Hoffenheim at D Timothy Chandler and Nurnberg
D Clarence Goodson and Brondby vs. Copenhagen (Danish Cup)
MF Bryan Gerzicich and Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona vs. Athletic Bilbao in Europa League
MF Joseph Gyau and St. Pauli at Braunschweig
F Andrew Wooten and Sandhausen vs. Energie Cottbus