Major League Soccer 2019: Your Humble Local League (and a little USOC too)

Titans Bastard

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Seattle also signed Xavier Arreaga, a 24 year old CB from Barcelona SC (the one in Ecuador). Roman Torres looks rickety these days and Chad Marshall is 34, so this feels like preparing for 2020 and beyond.

NYRB signed Tom Barlow from their reserve team. He's a second year pro who has been scoring a goal a game in USL. NYRB makes a cottage industry out of turning USL players into solid MLS contributors, so we'll see how far he goes. Aaron Long has sure made the most of it.

Philly traded David Accam to Columbus. He's been an expensive bust for the Union, who have done quite well in 2019 with minimal contributions from Accam. The Crew definitely need more punch in the attack; Accam is a tempting acquisition because the upside is high.

Colorado acquired Jonathan Lewis from NYCFC for a bunch of cash. Lewis was really dynamic for the USMNT as an unexpected call up this January, but he's never locked down a starting spot in New York. There have been some criticisms of his defensive workrate and his training habits, and as a result he's often been behind some mediocrities who have gotten more chances. The Rapids are awful, but a fresh start should be good for him.
 

steeplechase3k

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I love the steep pitch on that upper deck.
It looks steep. The steepest I've been in in the 3rd deck at Qwest/CentryLink/Seahawks stadium. The top of the backrest the row in front of you is about 6-8 inches high. This looks similar.

I'm excited for how much louder it will be with the side of the stadium fully enclosed.
 

steeplechase3k

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One more picture I took over a construction fence as the construction of Providence park hits the home stretch:

It shows why the stand had to be so high, and steep.

This is the public sidewalk that will be open on match days, the stadium above it, and the roof structure going down to the right.

Also, if anyone is looking for a place to travel to an away match, while I'd always say you should come to Portland, I'd also highly recommend going to Vancouver BC. I was up there this past weekend for the Timbers game. It is just an amazing city. the downtown is very walkable, and there are a lot of really cool things to see surrounding the city.
 

Monbo Jumbo

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With the victory in Vancouver yesterday, Atlanta has notched an MLS record five consecutive clean sheets.
The team is finding it's identity, and it's a very different one from Martino's last year.
 

Titans Bastard

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Chris Wondolowski tied, then broke Landon Donovan's all-time MLS scoring record today, and is now up to four goals on the day(!)


Wondo is frequently dumped on in the same fashion that most marginal USMNTers experience. He was never good at the international level, but if he were actually a worse player who never got any call ups, he'd get far less stick from the fanbase. Nobody gets all fired up about Will Bruin or C.J. Sapong.

I think Wondo's role as a USMNT whipping boy obscures a remarkable club career. Wondo isn't blessed with many particular talents. He's not very fast, he's not very strong, he doesn't hold up the ball, he doesn't beat guys 1v1, and he's not a particularly good passer. What he is good at is that he's a fairly clinical finisher (I know, I know, insert Belgium joke here) and he has an extremely good understanding of space with an uncanny knack for losing defenders in the box.

He played D2 soccer at Chico State and was a totally random dude in MLS for the first five years of his career from 2005-2009. He played no more than 307 minutes in his first four seasons and had seven career goals by the time he turned 27, right before the 2010 season. He's had nine consecutive double-digit goal seasons since.

Wondo broke the record by opportunistically pouncing on a goalkeeper mistake. It was the farthest thing from a banger, but it's appropriately symbolic of Wondo's career.
 

Titans Bastard

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A midseason retirement for Chad Marshall due to injury. He's one of the best US center backs to never get a real run with the USMNT. Marshall made eight appearances earlier this year, so he'll be replaced with a combo of the also-aging Roman Torres and new signing Xavier Arreaga.

 

steeplechase3k

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This is part of why I love the stadium here in Portland so much.
https://expo.oregonlive.com/sports/g66l-2019/05/ca6a77b6246536/providence-park-through-the-years-historic-stadium-has-served-many-purposes-since-1926.html

No MLS (and only a handful of other US stadiums) stadium can come close to matching the history of this place.

In fact the first recorded soccer match on the site was played in 1893, that rivals many stadiums in Europe:
http://portland.daveknows.org/2010/08/16/first-soccer-game-at-pge-park-october-21-1893/

I finally get to go into the stadium tomorrow for a T2 match so I'll take some photos from the inside and post them when I get a chance.
 

steeplechase3k

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The Timbers long road trip ends tomorrow when we finally have a home match. It's been a long 12 games. The first 6 were crap, the last 6 have been pretty damn good.

I was in the stadium for a T2 match on Wednesday, and it's AMAZING. I don't think I'll get much sleep tonight because I'll be so wired for the match tomorrow. I was more excited before the first MLS back match back in 2011, but I haven't been this excited for a match since. And that includes playoffs, and two MLS Cup finals.

After this weekend I'll probably stop filling this thread with stadium pr0n, but I cam across this shot from Wednesday:

I just LOVE how the stadium is nestled into the surrounding city. It reminds me of Fenway in that way.
 

Titans Bastard

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Atlanta-Chicago outdrew the Champions League final last weekend.

Atlético's stadium was capped at 63.5k, but still.
 

dirtynine

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Attended Union 3-2 RBNY last night. Fun game with lots of traveling RB supporters in attendance. They went up 2 in the first half and the Union stormed back with 3 in about a 15 minute period of the second half.

Bedoya was the soul of the Philly attack and played well. Brendan Aaronson looked promising in the first half - only 18 and donned a mortarboard in uniform for a photo shoot with his cohort of graduating academy classmates pre-game.

Full stadium, perfect weather, great atmosphere.
 

Titans Bastard

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LAFC sold Andre Horta to Braga.


They are definitely cutting their losses here. Horta came in a $6m fee, but didn't settle into Bob Bradley's system and was simply beaten out by Mark-Anthony Kaye, a revelatory signing from Louisville City and Eduard Atuesta, who came from Independiente Medellin.


The Dynamo signed forward Michael Salazar from their USL team in McAllen. His a rare Belizean-American dual national.

 

Awesome Fossum

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That's almost literally unbelievable, to be honest. I'm in Austin, and while there's definitely an undercurrent of interest, it doesn't feel like anything that would suggest it's in the stratosphere of Atlanta.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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Attended Union 3-2 RBNY last night. Fun game with lots of traveling RB supporters in attendance. They went up 2 in the first half and the Union stormed back with 3 in about a 15 minute period of the second half.

Bedoya was the soul of the Philly attack and played well. Brendan Aaronson looked promising in the first half - only 18 and donned a mortarboard in uniform for a photo shoot with his cohort of graduating academy classmates pre-game.

Full stadium, perfect weather, great atmosphere.
Watched this. Agree it was good game and great atmosphere. Made me want to check out Phillys stadium which had not been on my radar
 

Titans Bastard

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Philly, who are unexpectedly sitting atop the East right now, is one of the first to announce summer reinforcements: forward Andrew Wooten.


Wooten is a lesser-known German-American, having never appeared for the USMNT. He came up with a local club, Wormatia Worms, before moving to Kaiserslautern's reserve team. He eventually played a little in the Bundesliga in 2011/12, but went on to spend the next seven years in the 2.Bundesliga, mostly at Sandhausen. He missed almost all of the 2017/18 season with injury, but followed that up with a career year, scoring 17 goals.

The Union are playing well despite not having a consistent goalscorer. Picault, Przybylko, and Santos are mediocre, and Burke is out indefinitely with bizarre visa issues. The hope is that Wooten gives them a bit more finishing ability than they currently have.
 

Titans Bastard

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San Jose has signed 24 year old Mexican winger Carlos Fierro.



Fierro was a touted prospect, but hasn't panned out as hoped. He has spent numerous years at Chivas, so there are obvious connections with the Quakes' manager Matias Almeyda.
 

Titans Bastard

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The summer transfer window opens in early July, a few deals have already been completed, but the rumor season is starting to heat up:

  • Atlanta are reportedly in talks with Emerson Hyndman. Remember him?
  • Carlos Gruezo has been conspicuously absent from FC Dallas' squad even though Ecuador were knocked out of Copa America and he's returned to the club, which is adding fuel to the rumors that he's going to be sold, possibly to FC Augsburg. Gruezo is out of contract this winter and FC Dallas has so many decent-to-good academy midfielders breaking through that selling makes sense right now.
  • 29 year old South African winger Daylon Claasen is on trial with the Revs. His resume looks meh.
 

ThePrideofShiner

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Randomly went to a game at Rio Tinto in Salt Lake tonight. Really cool stadium.

The game was pretty lopsided, though.

I've only checked four MLS stadiums off: Dallas, Kansas City, Salt Lake and Seattle.
 

Titans Bastard

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Randomly went to a game at Rio Tinto in Salt Lake tonight. Really cool stadium.

The game was pretty lopsided, though.

I've only checked four MLS stadiums off: Dallas, Kansas City, Salt Lake and Seattle.
SKC has been awful this year, at least ever since their impressive series against Necaxa in CCL to start the season. They have a ton of injuries, still don't have a good center forward, and are generally out of rhythm.

You've been to one more MLS stadium than me: NE, Colorado, NYRB. I'm hoping to do a PNW swing at some point, and Minnesota's stadium is rising to the top of my MLS wish list.
 

steeplechase3k

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The Timbers hung on for a 0-1 win tonight against a YOUNG Dallas team.

Brain Fernandez has now scored in all 5 of his starts in MLS play for the Timbers. That's a new records to start a career.

Also, @ThePrideofShiner and @Titans Bastard (or anyone else), if you are going to be in Portland for a Timbers match let me know, I'm happy to give suggestions of things to do. I can generally find tickets too. As long as you wear neutral colors you'd be ok in the Timbers Army sections.
 

Titans Bastard

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FC Dallas signed Ghanaian winger Edwin Gyasi on loan from CSKA Sofia.


Positionally, it makes sense. They could use reinforcements at that position because none of Mosquera, Aranguiz, or Badji are all that great and because there isn't an academy prospect at that position on the verge of the first team anyway. His club career, which is basically a few modest Dutch clubs, and stops in Norway and Bulgaria, doesn't necessarily suggest he'll be a huge improvement, but who knows.

Gyasi is 27 and has a few caps for Ghana.
 

Titans Bastard

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Uh, the Galaxy are trying to figure out a way to acquire Cristian Pavón. Slightly big, if it works out.


Like Atlanta's signing of Almiron due to Tata Martino, this is one that wouldn't be close to possible if not for the manager of the club. Guillermo Barros Schelotto came from Boca and obviously has a lot of connections + pull.
 

Titans Bastard

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Atlanta has signed Emerson Hyndman.


Curious to see how he does, as he's evolved into a bit of a mystery man while not playing for long stretches.
 

Titans Bastard

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Transfer activity in the league is really heating up.

FC Augsburg announced they've signed Ecuadorian NT defensive midfielder Carlos Gruezo from FC Dallas, as has been rumored for a little while. The report is that FCD is getting $4.5m, possibly increasing to $6.2m, with a 20% sell-on clause.

This is really nice work from FCD. They bought Gruezo 3.5 years ago on the cheap from VfB Stuttgart, coached him up a bit, got a lot of good minutes, and now are cashing out before his deal runs out in the winter. Meanwhile, academy products Brandon Servania and Edwin Cerrillo have shown fairly well this year and will compete for DM minutes behind Honduran international Bryan Acosta and Paxton Pomykal.

It's probably no secret that I have a big crush on how FC Dallas operates. With their new reserve team humming along, I think they are on the verge of being American soccer's first real academy talent conveyor belt.



Columbus signed 20 year old Costa Rican winger Luis Diaz from Herediano. The Columbus Dispatch says they spent $1m on him, which is a solid chunk of change in the Central American transfer market. Diaz is spoken of by Costa Rican fans as one of their better prospects from the rising generation. The Crew are awful right now; they've been light on talent and particularly weak on the wings for a while and the loss of Federico Higuain to injury has caused the bottom to fall out.

The Crew also picked up Jamaican forward Romario Williams from Atlanta. He's killed it in USL in the past, but never got much traction at Atlanta. He'll have more opportunities for minutes without being on the same team as Josef Martinez.

Philly signed R.J. Allen as fullback cover. Allen was playing semipro ball in Jersey after getting cut from Orlando last offseason. FC Motown, his NJ club, is interesting — they're coached by a former NYRBer, are littered with one-time pros, and last year they got Dilly Duka after many years in MLS, though he has since moved on to his ancestral homeland and won a title in Albania.
 

Titans Bastard

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Chicago was beating Atlanta 5-0 at HT tonight? What a league.
 

Titans Bastard

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Curaçao's goalkeeper Eloy Room had a really nice game against the US in the Gold Cup quarterfinal. Now he's signed with Columbus Crew, who have been in the market for a GK with Steffen heading to Europe. Their backups Jon Kempin and Joe Bendik are both below-average compared to MLS starters, so Room should be an upgrade. The Crew need all the help they can get right now.

 

Awesome Fossum

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U.S. men’s national team assistant coach Josh Wolff is widely expected to become the inaugural head coach of MLS expansion club Austin FC, multiple sources have told The Athletic in recent weeks.

Wolff has longstanding ties to Austin FC owner Anthony Precourt, who owned the Columbus Crew while Wolff worked for the club as an assistant coach from November 2013 through the end of the 2018 season. Wolff left Columbus this winter to join the U.S. men’s national team coaching staff of former Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter.
 

Titans Bastard

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The Chicago Fire made official what has been rumored for a while: they are leaving Bridgeview for Chicago and paying $60.5m to break their lease. It is expected that they will play at Soldier Field for the foreseeable future, but that hasn't been finalized.



Toronto signed a winger, 24 year old Venezuelan Erickson Gallardo, who comes from Zamora in his home country. Gallardo recently made his NT debut in a pre-Copa America friendly.



Atlanta signed an 18 year old CB from their academy, George Campbell. He's played fairly often for their reserve team in USL and has now signed an MLS deal that is effective in 2020. Atlanta has signed a number of academy kids but hasn't had gotten any contributions from them yet. Carleton looks like a bust because he lacks the mentality of a pro. Bello has been injured, but there's still plenty of hope for him, as he's only 17.

 

steeplechase3k

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US Open Cup Quarter finals.

--Atlanta 2 - 0 St Louis
--Orlando 1 (5) - (4) 1 NYCFC

Orland got the tying goal in the 94th minute or so to force extra time, and then wins in the shootout, I was only half watching, but it was a pretty exciting match.

--Minnesota 6 - 1 New Mexico
--LAFC 0 -1 Portland


Draw for hosting the next round (which is scheduled for August 7th) is tomorrow at 2pm Eastern. The same draw will pick who hosts the final.

If the Western match is in Minnesota it will be convenient for both teams since the Timbers are there for MLS play on August 4th (I obviously hope it is in Portland).
 

Titans Bastard

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Matias Almeyda is a miracle worker. San Jose beat the Galaxy 3-1 in LA last night, moving up to 4th in the West. They've done this despite the fact that they made relatively few changes to a roster that won only four games in all of 2018.
 

Cellar-Door

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Matias Almeyda is a miracle worker. San Jose beat the Galaxy 3-1 in LA last night, moving up to 4th in the West. They've done this despite the fact that they made relatively few changes to a roster that won only four games in all of 2018.
He's a good manager, I was surprised he came to MLS, I thought European teams would be calling

His 5% stake apparently values the organization at $475m, which seems crazy.
Yeah that's absurd, they'd be lucky to get half that if they put the team on the market.
 

InstaFace

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I put on the LA game at halftime, hoping to see a little Zlatan fun before bed.

Holy shit, I need a scotch now.