Wednesday Kickoff: USA finishes 18th, Chicago's tough decision and more

Wednesday Kickoff: USA finishes 18th, Chicago's tough decision and more

U.S. Men's National Team

Wednesday Kickoff: USA finishes 18th, Chicago's tough decision and more

USMNTCamp (HowardCSmithISI) 

The U.S. men's national team finished the year ranked 18th in the world, according the latest FIFA World Rankings.

The United States moved up six spots to finish in a tie for 18th with France, one spot behind World Cup opponent Slovenia. Mexico finished the year ranked 27th.

World Cup winner Spain finished the year ranked No. 1, while Netherlands, Germany, Brazil and Argentina rounded out the Top Five.

The FIFA rankings are just one item on the docket this morning. In other developments:

FIRE FACE LJUNGBERG DECISION

The Chicago Fire currently hold the No. 9 pick in the 2011 MLS Draft, but could lose that pick if it re-signs Swedish midfielder Freddie Ljungberg.

The Seattle Times is reporting that the Fire will have to send its first-round pick to the Seattle Sounders as part of the trade for Ljungberg if Chicago re-signs Ljungberg before the MLS Draft (If Chicago doesn't re-sign Ljungberg, Seattle will get the 27th overall pick from Chicago). If Chicago re-signs Ljungberg after the MLS Draft then the Fire will send Seattle its 2012 first-round pick for Seattle's 2012 second round pick.

What will the Fire do? At this point Chicago seems unlikely to contend for a title in 2011, making the surrendering of a first-round pick in a deep draft a questionable move. At the very least, Chicago should hold off on any move to sign Ljungberg until after the 2011 MLS Draft, assuming the club wants to bring back the aging midfieldre at all.

HAMILTON LEAVES CHIVAS USA

Stephen Hamilton has stepped down as Chivas USA Vice President of Soccer Operations, becoming the third high-ranking member of Chivas USA to leave the club in recent weeks.

Chivas USA has already seen head coach Martin Vasquez resign and president Shawn Hunter step down. Team advisor Jose Domene has taken over as the team's general manager and will spearhead the club's search for a new head coach.

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What do you think of these developments? Happy with the U.S. team's No. 18 ranking? Think Chicago should re-sign Ljungberg? See Chivas USA recovering from such a dramatic overhaul?

Share your thoughts below.

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