91017_isi_palmer-brownerik_mlsbb07062017123 Bill Barrett/isiphotos.com
Afternoon kickoff

Silly season prep, midweek cup matches, and MLS home openers

The January transfer window is going to open soon and we know a few Americans will likely be on the move with rumors hanging over a few more. Meanwhile the winter break is almost here in most leagues but there are some final cup matches to play. Finally, MLS home openers are announced. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
December 20, 2017
7:20 AM
With the MLS season over and most of the European leagues heading into break, we are soon going to have a period were the only games involving Americans will be coming from England. That doesn’t mean there won’t be some stories to follow during the holidays.

The January camp window is set to open it remains to be seen how busy it will be for Americans. Youn U.S. internationals Tyler Adams and Kellyn Acosta are generating interest from Europe but nothing is close to materializing at the moment.

We do know that Erik Palmer-Brown will be loaned somewhere because is not eligible to play in England at the moment for Manchester City or anywhere. His lack of an EU passport likely points to various Holland, Germany, or Belgium but the situation should be resolved sooner than later.

As far as the loan market goes, Everton left back Antonee Robinson has had a great loan to Bolton which is set to expire in January. Will he rejoin Everton or will his loan be extended at Bolton. No announcement has been made but expect him to extend his stay at Bolton.

Meanwhile, Emerson Hyndman looks like a strong candidate to go on loan in January after failing to earn time at Bournemouth. He succeeded in Scotland last year but it will be telling what Bournemouth plans to do with the Texan to start 2018. Will he stay in England or return to Scotland? Or will he head elsewhere?

There are also a range of youth internationals that have various options. 2017 U.S. U-20 World Cup midfielder Eryk Williamson won’t return to Maryland and is exploring options with DC United as well as from clubs in Scandinavia and Germany. Then there are also other players from the younger levels that will be looking where to take their first steps as a professional.

German and Portuguese Cup action

Before the winter break arrives, several Americans are involved in important cup matches this week.

On Tuesday, Weston McKennie came off the bench in the 79th minute for Schalke to preserve a 1-0 win over Cologne and advance to the fourth round of the German Cup. Overall he played well and was particularly aggressive on the defensive side where he made a few hard tackles to win back possession.

Elsewhere, Alfredo Morales went the distance for Ingolstadt which was eliminated by Paderborn 1-0.

On Wednesday, Weder Bremen will host Freiburg with Caleb Stanko getting the start in the defensive midfield for the guests. Aron Johannsson will be on the bench seeking some rare playing time.

Timothy Chandler, meanwhile, should start for Eintracht Frankfurt on the road against FC Heidenheim.

The most exciting game, however, will come later in the afternoon when Bayern Munich hosts Borussia Dortmund. Christian Pulisic will try to follow up his incredible late winner on Saturday against Hoffenheim against Germany’s biggest team.

Finally in Portugal, Benfica will take on Portimonense in the Portuguese Cup and Keaton Parks will be on the bench but should receive more play time as he ends 2017 on a high note.

MLS announces 2018 home openers

Where will MLS open up its 2018 seasons? Here you go:

Saturday, March 3

Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew SC (BMO Field)
Houston Dynamo vs. Atlanta United (BBVA Compass Stadium)
Orlando City vs. D.C. United (Orlando City Stadium)
FC Dallas vs. Real Salt Lake (Toyota Stadium)
Colorado Rapids vs. Chicago Fire (Dick's Sporting Goods Park)
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Minnesota United (Avaya Stadium)
Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution (Talen Energy Stadium)

Sunday, March 4

Seattle Sounders vs. Los Angeles Football Club (CenturyLink Field)
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Montreal Impact (BC Place)
Sporting KC vs. New York City FC (Children's Mercy Park)
LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers (StubHub Center)

Saturday, March 10

Columbus Crew SC vs. Montreal Impact (MAPFRE Stadium)
New England Revolution vs. Colorado Rapids (Gillette Stadium)
Real Salt Lake vs. Los Angeles Football Club (Rio Tinto Stadium)
New York Red Bulls vs. Portland Timbers (Red Bull Arena)
Chicago Fire vs. Sporting KC (Toyota Park)

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Atlanta United vs. D.C. United (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
New York City FC vs. LA Galaxy (Yankee Stadium)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC (Olympic Stadium)
D.C. United vs. Houston Dynamo (location TBD)
Minnesota United vs. Chicago Fire (TCF Bank Stadium)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Portland Timbers vs. Minnesota United (Providence Park)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Los Angeles Football Club vs. Seattle Sounders (Banc of California Stadium)

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