Revs’ Alston Selected MLS Comeback Player
New York — New England Revolution defender Kevin Alston has been voted Major League Soccer’s comeback player of the year after returning from treatment for leukemia, and Portland’s Caleb Porter has been selected coach of the year.
Alston took a leave of absence in April and returned July 27 to play in five of his team’s final 14 games. He helped New England reach the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
The 25-year-old, who played at Indiana, received 99.8 percent of voting by players, club officials and media. Philadelphia forward Conor Casey was second with 63 percent in balloting announced Monday, followed by Seattle forward Lamar Neagle at 35 percent.
Porter, in first season with a professional club after leaving the University of Akron, led the Timbers to a Western Conference-best 14-5-15 record. That’s a 23-point improvement from 2012.
First-year New York coach Mike Petke was second in voting, followed by Salt Lake’s Jason Kreis.
U.S. Sets First 2014 Date
Chicago — The U.S. will open its 2014 World Cup preparations with an exhibition against South Korea on Feb. 1 in Carson, Calif.
The game, announced Monday, is not on a FIFA fixture date, which means most Europe-based players won’t be available.
Both teams will learn their first-round World Cup opponents on Friday, when the draw is held in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil.
Pele Expected at Draw
Costa do Sauipe, Brazil — Pele is to appear at Friday’s draw for the 2014 World Cup, but his role is being kept secret.
It hadn’t been clear whether Pele would be participating. On Monday, however, organizers confirmed the soccer great will be part of the broadcast to about 250 million viewers in more than 190 countries.
Pele is a World Cup ambassador for the Brazilian government, but he was not involved in the Confederations Cup draw a year ago and surprisingly didn’t appear at the opening match of the World Cup warmup tournament. He has made only a few appearances promoting the World Cup, the first in Brazil since 1950.
Tigers Deal Fister to Nats
Detroit — The Detroit Tigers have traded starting pitcher Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals for three players.
The deal was announced Monday night. The Nationals sent infielder Steve Lombardozzi, left-hander Ian Krol and minor league lefty Robbie Ray to Detroit.
The AL Central champion Tigers have been busy reshaping their roster this offseason. They traded slugger Prince Fielder to Texas and also let All-Star shortstop Jhonny Peralta leave as a free agent for St. Louis.
Source: A’s, Kazmir Close
Oakland, Calif. — A person with knowledge of the negotiations says free-agent left-hander Scott Kazmir is closing in on a $22 million, two-year contract with the Oakland Athletics.
The 29-year-old Kazmir went 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA in 29 starts and 158 innings last season for the Cleveland Indians.
Yankees Add IF Ryan
New York — Infielder Brendan Ryan has agreed to a $5 million, two-year contract to remain with the New York Yankees in a deal that includes team and player options for 2016.
The 31-year-old was acquired from Seattle on Sept. 10, a day before the Yankees said captain Derek Jeter would be sidelined for the rest of the season.
Ryan hit .220 with one homer in 17 games and finished the season with a .197 average, four homers and 22 RBIs.
He has a .237 average in seven seasons with St. Louis (2007-10), Seattle (2011-13) and the Yankees (2013).
Ryan gets $2 million in each of the next two seasons, and the Yankees have a $2 million option for 2016. If the team declines the option, Ryan would have a $1 million player option.