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Extra Time: MLS All Star Game to PPL? Adu Wants to Stay in Spain, M. Farfan to Sunderland, US U23′s & More

Jan 10, 2012, 11:55 PM EDT

Philadelphia Union links including Freddy Adu training with Rayo Vallecano, Michael Farfan with Sunderland, five Union players called into US U23 Olympic camp, Diego Gutiérrez discusses Josué Martínez, Panamanian midfielder Gabriel Gómez and Costa Rican defender Porfirio López
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USMNT coach Jürgen Klinsmann may believe the MLS offseason is too long, but with two months to go until the regular season kicks off there’s no shortage of Union news. Here’s a quick Barcelona-esque tiki-taka look at what’s going on with the U.

Kerith Gabriel, subbing for Jonathan Tannenwald on Philly.com’s “The Goalkeeper” blog, says rumors of PPL Park hosting the MLS All-Star are just that at this point – rumors. Gabriel quotes Union CEO and managing partner Nick Sakiewicz as stating “I’ve spoken with the commissioner, but there has been no official announcement from the league to our organization that we won hosting rights.”

Freddy Adu, who just finished a ten day training spell in Madrid with La Liga side Rayo Vallecano, tells ESPN’s Arch Bell that his sights remain firmly set on returning to Europe. I understand his desire to return to a top tier European league, but he didn’t exactly distinguish himself upon arriving in Philly. I’m an admitted Adu apologist , but there’s no better way to get on the wrong side of Philly fans than talking about how you’d rather be somewhere else.

Speaking of Adu, he joins Union teammates Zac MacMath, Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo and Sheanon Williams in being called in for the US U-23 camp. The five Union players were called in by head coach Caleb Porter as he goes about determining who will make the Olympic qualifying roster. Eleven MLS players were called in, five of them are from the Union.

Michael Farfan, he of the cheeky chip against Real Madrid, reportedly will train with English Premier League side Sunderland. Soccer By Ives tweeted the news on Tuesday. 

Diego Gutiérrez, the man responsible for bringing in Carlos Valdes and Faryd Mondragon, is confident that Josué Martínez, Gabriel Gómez and Porfirio López will enjoy similar success with the Union. Gutiérrez, the Union’s head of scouting and player development, has a veritable pipeline to Central America and Colombia. 

Zach Pfeffer, the Union’s first ever homegrown player, has been called into the US U-18 camp.

The MLS Super Draft is set to take place in Kansas City on Thursday. Here’s a mock draft from the MLS website.

Finally, Steve Davis looks back at how far MLS has come in the ten years since the league contracted the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion. As Davis points out, it’s amazing that a league forced to contract two teams now has 19 teams in the fold with 13 soccer specific stadiums.