Major League Soccer 2023: Now With League-On-League Violence

67YAZ

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Ok, Matt Turner is a good example, but he has already left. He was also demonstrably the best GK in the league for several years running.

Who's in MLS right now who you'd bet to be similarly up for that task? I'm not implying there isn't anyone, I'm just not up on it enough to know the best candidates.
The single player most responsible for changing European perspectives on MLS is Alphonso Davies. When it comes to the mega-clubs, this is the kind of player they’re scouting MLS for: the young, super-athletic prospect they can mold into a finished product. It’s not a source of starting XI impact signings (yet), but how many leagues outside the Big 5 are? It’s mostly stand-alone clubs in smaller leagues that have that reputation - Benfica, Ajax, etc.

Well, it's Everton chats, so we have no money and no points....

I agree with your larger point, mine being just that raising the idea of a transfer in from an MLS squad no longer gets an automatic snort. For example, Everton have been linked with 19 yo Colombian forward Jhon Duran, from Chicago Fire. Not too long ago there would have been reflexive "they should stick to baseball" etc.; now it's essentially like discussing a prospect from a second-tier European league. That's my modest point.
Duran ended the season so hot I knew European sides would be hovering. He is so talented and athletic but also so, so immature. Hendrickson played him in a supersub role the first month, but he picked up so many stupid cards (elbow to head, standing over a free kick in midfield, etc) that he rode the bench for the next 2 months. He did show much more composure when he was re-integrated into the squad, and then became near unstoppable as a hard pressing & counterattacking beast.

Chicago paid $2m for him, so there is a huge profit to realize. But most of Chicago’s playoff hopes rest on him continuing that late season form…so I’d love for Duran to have one more full season here before going to Europe.
 

ThePrideofShiner

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Ok, Matt Turner is a good example, but he has already left. He was also demonstrably the best GK in the league for several years running.
Stefan Frei says hello.

That said I agree there likely aren't many players who would make that jump. On the flip side, the quality in MLS has surged the last few years and it feels like just a matter of time before the MLS is there.
 

Titans Bastard

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Mazatlán doing Nashville a big favor here. Ake Loba was a huge bust.

View: https://twitter.com/tombogert/status/1608918470972051456



Seattle acquired Héber from NYCFC. He was pretty good for NYCFC upon his arrival, but has slowed down after a serious injury. He'll be a solid backup option for Ruidiaz. He's not young, so the Sounders still have some succession planning to do at some point.



LAFC signed Stipe Biuk, a 20 year old Croatian winger, from Hajduk Split. He's been a regular with Croatian youth national teams, for whatever that's worth, and they've given him a long-term deal and a U22 initiative slot, LAFC must like him a lot.

https://www.lafc.com/news/lafc-signs-forward-stipe-biuk
 

67YAZ

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Even more, the idea of Ronaldo in KC is really wild. Picture him palling around with Travis Kelce and riding a mechanical bull.
 

ThePrideofShiner

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Allegedly, Aaron Long is about to sign with the Sounders and then they will move on from either Xavier Arreaga (please) or Yeimar Gomez. There have also been lots of rumors flying that Nouhou will be sold soonish.
 

Titans Bastard

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The Revs picked up Latif Blessing from LAFC. I like this, especially at $400k GAM which is a pretty cheap price these days. Blessing is versatile and while he won't put up numbers he does a lot of the dirty work that makes his teammates better. He became mostly a substitute option for LAFC last year but I'm hoping that's largely a result of LAFC being stacked and not him falling off. Whatever the case, this isn't a high-risk price.

View: https://twitter.com/NERevolution/status/1610335317004886017
 

InstaFace

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The Revs picked up Latif Blessing from LAFC. I like this, especially at $400k GAM which is a pretty cheap price these days. Blessing is versatile and while he won't put up numbers he does a lot of the dirty work that makes his teammates better. He became mostly a substitute option for LAFC last year but I'm hoping that's largely a result of LAFC being stacked and not him falling off. Whatever the case, this isn't a high-risk price.
ok, but "the Foxborough"?

"the MLS" is wince-inducing enough as it is
 

Titans Bastard

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ok, but "the Foxborough"?

"the MLS" is wince-inducing enough as it is
I'm honestly not sure if they were trying to do something weird or if the social media admin rephrased the tweet and forgot to take out the definite article.
 

67YAZ

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Chicago plugging the hole they just created at RB with a 30yo Ligue 1 veteran. Word is that Montpellier is letting Souquet go for free now instead of when his contract expires this summer. Souquet was the starter last season, but lost his gig to a younger summer transfer.

He profiles as a staunch defender, though he’s averaging a successful dribble and 3 progressive passes a match. But he’s a veteran pro coming in on a free to fill an empty position. I can’t complain, but there’a a lot more work to get done.

 

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what does one have to pay a Ligue 1 vet these days? Looks like he was on € 430k at Montpellier, which is right about the average for non-designated players in 2022.
 

67YAZ

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what does one have to pay a Ligue 1 vet these days? Looks like he was on € 430k at Montpellier, which is right about the average for non-designated players in 2022.
No idea how plugged in this guy is. The site he identifies as editor-in-chief for is mostly an aggregator.

But if it is $650k, that’s a lot for a RB who doesn’t profile as a match changer. It would basically slide right into the $630k salary Sekulic vacated.

So…I dunno….what’s the plan? They still have the Gaga transfer fee windfall and a DP slot. But isn’t a proven midfield stalwart like Blessing a much better value at $400k?

 
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Titans Bastard

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So…I dunno….what’s the plan? They still have the Gaga transfer fee windfall and a DP slot. But isn’t a proven midfield stalwart like Blessing a much better value at $400k?
Would our Georg Heitz ever allow himself to suffer the indignity of acquiring a player from within MLS?
 

Titans Bastard

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More updates that have gone official:

NYCFC signed 18 year old Slovenian right back Mitja Ilenič from Domžale. TM says the fee is around $1m. With Tinnerholm having departed, it seems like they are rolling with Tayvon Gray as their starter at RB now.

Austin FC signed 25 year old Finnish center back Leo Väisänen from Elfsborg of Sweden for a reported €1.8m fee. He appears to be a regular with the Finnish national team. They have a bunch of center backs now, but Ruben Gabrielsen is rumored to be going back to Norway.

Nashville signed 19 year old American winger Tyler Freeman. He's said to be talented, but he's already on his third MLS organization after SKC and DC United. From what I've read in various places it seems like he has some sort of maturity and/or work ethnic issues, but it doesn't sound like something that is impossible to iron out.
 

Titans Bastard

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I posted too soon. The Revs just made official their rumored signing of David Romney from Nashville. He's a Bruce Arena Guy (tm) from their LA Galaxy days and a solid CB who will give real competition to Farrell and Kessler and could possibly take one of their jobs as a starter.

View: https://twitter.com/NERevolution/status/1611015218204741633


Inter Miami signed a 28 year old Argentine who has been fairly successful in Sweden.

View: https://twitter.com/InterMiamiCF/status/1611015328154406914
 

Titans Bastard

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This reminds me, what's the going rate for getting to the top of the allocation order, and do we assume Chicago paid it for Souquet? Like $100k HAM or so?
Souquet wouldn't be subject to the allocation order. Unfortunately, you have mixed up two dumb MLS player movement mechanisms. :)

The allocation order is for a special group of players:

The Allocation Ranking List is comprised of players in the following categories:
  • Select U.S. Men’s National Team players.
  • Select elite U.S. Youth National Team players.
  • Players transferred outside of MLS garnering a transfer fee of at least $500,000 (USD).
Everyone else outside of the league is subject to the increasingly-badly-named "Discovery Rights" process, which is basically a dibs system that theoretically prevents club from bidding against each other. In practice, I'm not so sure this actually works, but it exists nonetheless.

Basically, if a team wants to sign a player from outside the league, they need to have his discovery rights. Each club maintains a discovery rights list that has a relatively short cap. If another club has discovery rights on the player you want to sign, you can acquire those rights, usually for a modest amount of GAM. So yes, Sporting Kansas City had the "discovery rights" on Cristiano Ronaldo.

It's all very silly and increasingly anachronistic.
 

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Thanks. I would respect it a whole lot more if they actually called it the Dibs List.

Either way, I think we can consider it encouraging that MLS can now hire away Big 5 players who are still in their prime, for salaries that are under (or right around) the non-DP max. With 8 international slots and the possibility to get them green cards quickly, I'd be stocking up a whole roster of Ligue 1 / lower Serie A level players at money around that level. Mock Heitz all you want, but it seems like a pretty good strategy to take guys who are playing at a very high level but aren't making bank, reach out at the point in their careers where it's clear they're not going on to bigger and better things, and get them for a few productive years without shelling out a bunch of transfer money. DPs might bring in the marketing dollars and put butts in seats, but if you want to win, having half a starting lineup of ~$500k Big 5-level players seems like a great idea, especially on defense.

It wasn't that long ago that an Arnaud Souquet type would have considered MLS beneath him, unless the money was absurd. Now it's not viewed that way. That's pretty cool, and won't even be noticed, much less remarked upon, by all the MLS haters.
 

Titans Bastard

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Thanks. I would respect it a whole lot more if they actually called it the Dibs List.

Either way, I think we can consider it encouraging that MLS can now hire away Big 5 players who are still in their prime, for salaries that are under (or right around) the non-DP max. With 8 international slots and the possibility to get them green cards quickly, I'd be stocking up a whole roster of Ligue 1 / lower Serie A level players at money around that level. Mock Heitz all you want, but it seems like a pretty good strategy to take guys who are playing at a very high level but aren't making bank, reach out at the point in their careers where it's clear they're not going on to bigger and better things, and get them for a few productive years without shelling out a bunch of transfer money. DPs might bring in the marketing dollars and put butts in seats, but if you want to win, having half a starting lineup of ~$500k Big 5-level players seems like a great idea, especially on defense.

It wasn't that long ago that an Arnaud Souquet type would have considered MLS beneath him, unless the money was absurd. Now it's not viewed that way. That's pretty cool, and won't even be noticed, much less remarked upon, by all the MLS haters.
I agree that there can be some savvy acquisitions from parts of Big 5 leagues, especially Ligue 1 and Serie A who have lots of clubs whose financial position isn't actually much different from MLS clubs. However, I do think that Souquet-type signings carry a bit more risk than your assessment because he's a guy who is 30 and has lost his starting job at Montpellier. Chicago fans will hope that Souquet was beaten out by a highly talented youngster, and that it isn't a case of Souquet leaping at a last good multiyear contract amid a decline of his abilities.

Georg Heitz has been the sporting director of Chicago for three years, during which time they've finished 11th, 12th, and 12th in the Eastern Conference — hence the gentle mockery. In a league with significant restrictions on what and how you can spend, it's important to get good value to be successful and it's pretty hard to do that while shopping almost exclusively overseas. It can be done, but it's not easy.
 

67YAZ

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That’s not an efficient way to use your salary cap space ($4.9m as side from all the various exceptions). To make that strategy work, you’d have to have a really productive academy filling up the roster with low cost home growns & a really high hit rate from your scouting.

For the Fire, this means they really need 18yo Justin Reynolds, an academy product who spent all last season with Fire II, to make the leap to MLS back ip or maybe more if Souquet struggles. Otherwise it means going back out into the market and dumping more money into RB.
 

Titans Bastard

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The Revs picked up Latif Blessing from LAFC. I like this, especially at $400k GAM which is a pretty cheap price these days. Blessing is versatile and while he won't put up numbers he does a lot of the dirty work that makes his teammates better. He became mostly a substitute option for LAFC last year but I'm hoping that's largely a result of LAFC being stacked and not him falling off. Whatever the case, this isn't a high-risk price.

View: https://twitter.com/NERevolution/status/1610335317004886017
Maybe the reason why the Revs were able to get Blessing at such a good price point is because part of the deal was the Revs agreeing to drop their grievance against LAFC regarding the Ismael Tajouri-Schradi deal.

https://www.thebentmusket.com/2023/1/5/23541180/revs-ismael-tajouri-shradi-lafc-latif-blessing-injury-grievance
 

Senator Donut

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Maybe the reason why the Revs were able to get Blessing at such a good price point is because part of the deal was the Revs agreeing to drop their grievance against LAFC regarding the Ismael Tajouri-Schradi deal.

https://www.thebentmusket.com/2023/1/5/23541180/revs-ismael-tajouri-shradi-lafc-latif-blessing-injury-grievance
Looks like there were other circumstances which led to Blessing wanting out of LAFC

https://www.thestriker.com/2023/01/04/latif-blessing-exclusive-interview-trade-lafc-new-england-revolution

But even before that, he’s been grappling with a more personal and lingering problem, as he’s dealt with being kept apart from his wife, Dorcas Khloe Sakyiamah — who has been in Ghana awaiting a visa to enter the United States while Blessing’s been in Los Angeles.

And that issue has been a frictive one for Blessing. Both he and his agent alleged, in the weeks prior to his trade, that LAFC mishandled the attempt to bring Sakyiamah into the country, whereas the club countered it tried valiantly to reunite the couple in concert with attorneys, MLS officials, and MLS Players Union representatives.​

This is definitely an area where some MLS teams are more proficient than others. I was stunned that SKC was able to establish permanent residency for Blessing just one year after his arrival from Ghana. It's a shame LAFC's lawyers haven't been able to get similar results.
 
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Senator Donut

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ThePrideofShiner

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The way you know you are all in on MLS: I got irrationally excited when I saw photos from Sounders training camp over the weekend.

Allegedly both Obed Vargas and Jaoa Paulo are ready to go and will be available for the Club World Cup in early February. The Sounders have done very little in the way of a roster shakeup (replaced Will Bruin, my favorite Sounder!, with some guy from NYCFC that is allegedly washed), but they hope that health and a renewed focus on the club season will help them get back to their winning ways.
 

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The Athletic's MLS crew: MLS considering best-of-3 playoff format

MLS is considering changing its playoff format to include a best-of-three series in the first round, multiple sources have told The Athletic.

If adopted, it’s probable that only the first round would be contested as a best-of-three competition. The sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the proposed changes, said that the rest of the playoff tournament would likely be single-elimination. The proposed format would be divided by conference and would include 16 teams, eight each from the East and the West.

The sources didn’t know the exact details of how the potential best-of-three series would be contested, but several noted that MLS used the format in the opening two rounds of the playoffs during its early years. In those series, the first team to get to five points advanced, with extra time added to the third game in the event that the teams finished regulation tied on three or four points.

The sources said that the best-of-three proposal now seems more likely to be adopted than the previously discussed proposal that would have changed the playoff format to include group and knockout stages. That proposal was revealed by The Athletic in October.

As reported by The Athletic in October, MLS is looking to increase the total number of playoff matches from the 13 contested in 2022 to around 30. The sources said that the league is looking to do so in part so it can increase its overall inventory of playoff matches in the first year of its new media rights agreement.

Contesting eight best-of-three first round series before moving to a single-elimination format in the conference semifinals would give MLS between 23 and 31 total playoff matches.

The sources said that the format that would have included group and knockout stages is now more of a long shot than the best-of-three proposal because the league doesn’t want to end up in a situation in which teams would play a group stage match that would have no bearing on which teams advanced to the knockout round.

The sources also cautioned that none of the proposed new playoff formats have been approved. League owners need to sign off on the changes prior to the season opener on Feb. 25 in order for them to take effect in 2023.
Best-of-3 is worse than double-legged playoffs, imo. Best-of-3 just for the first round seems like peak silliness.

The group-stage idea was a stroke of genius, and I really wish they'd try it out. The number of group-stage matches in world-cup-style groups of 4 which are truly dead rubbers are rather few, especially if you play the last round of games simultaneously. Out of the 8 groups in last month's World Cup, the number of R3 group stage matches for which both teams had nothing to play for was zero*. In the 2018 WC, it was 2 (Saudi Arabia-Egypt and Panama-Tunisia).

4x groups-of-4 breaking to single-leg quarterfinals = 31 matches
3x groups-of-4 (1-seeds get bye to QFs) = 25 matches
3x-groups-of-4 breaking to double-leg QFs except Final = 31 matches

* Arguably, Group D's Tunisia-France match was a dead rubber once Australia scored, but if Denmark had squared the match, Tunisia would have gone through. So it wasn't hopeless, they just didn't control their destiny. Same with Australia-Peru in 2018.
 

ThePrideofShiner

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I didn't realize they are putting almost all Saturday games at 7:30 p.m. local time in an attempt to standardize when games are on for fans. In theory, that is a good idea. In practice, though, not sure how anyone outside of the Pacific time zone is going to watch West Coast games.

Also, 7:30 better be the actual kickoff or it's going to be incredibly late even for locals to be at the game.
 

Titans Bastard

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  • Atlanta has been cleaning house in a huge way. In the last week or so, they've come to a mutual termination on Emerson Hyndman's contract, they've shipped Marcelino Moreno and Alan Franco out on loan to clubs in Brazil (Coritiba and São Paulo respectively), and they are reportedly close to shipping club icon Josef Martinez to Inter Miami. I have to wonder if this is Garth Lagerwey cleaning up Carlos Bocanegra's mess, and I'm also wondering about Boca's job security.

  • FC Cincinnati picked up 19 year old left back Isaiah Foster from the Colorado Springs Switchbacks. TM claims a $160k transfer fee, which is quite modest, but I would like to see a growing market for USL players. USL clubs are signing a few more of their own academy prospects, or poaching MLS academy kids, or just recruiting guys like Foster from prominent independent youth clubs, so hopefully this avenue to break into the game expands. Foster played at Bethesda-Olney in Maryland. Cincinnati also signed 20 year old CM Malik Pinto after two years at Princeton. He's Brianna Pinto's brother.

  • LA Galaxy signed a pair of league veterans: CB Chris Mavinga and midfielder Memo Rodriguez. Vanney knows Mavinga well from their Toronto days, but he seems pretty washed at this point. I'd guess he'll start as the primary backup to Caceres and Coulibaly, given that LA also just shipped Nick DePuy to Nashville. Hopefully the youngster Jalen Neal breaks through this season — we could really use more young CBs progressing.

  • Orlando made a big move in signing 24 year old Argentine winger Martin Ojeda from Godoy Cruz for around $5m. He'll be a DP who should start opposite the Uruguayan Facundo Torres. Orlando also signed 24 year old Brazilian left back Rafael Santos from Cruzeiro, although most recently he was on loan in Brazil's Serie A with Coritiba (which reflects well since Cruzeiro are in Serie B right now)

  • Nashville officially dumped forward Ake Loba on loan to Mazatlán in Liga MX. The ETR crew were pondering if Ake Loba is the biggest bust in MLS history and after a ~$7m transfer fee and next to zero production, he's certainly up there. In addition to replacing Dave Romney (sent to NE) with Nick DePuy (from LAG) at center back, Nashville also signed 20 year old goalkeeper Ben Martino as a "homegrown" player. Martino was in the Union academy, spent a few years at Virginia Tech, and Nashville acquired his HGP rights from Philadelphia. Lastly, Nashville signed winger Nebiyou Perry, who has bounced between US and Swedish YNTs and done not all that much in the Swedish league — seems a little dubious to me.

  • St. Louis signed Ben Lundt from Phoenix Rising for $50k to be one of Roman Bürki's backups. I can't shake the feeling that Bürki could wind up being a huge bust since he's fallen off significantly, so I'm wonder if STL backups will have their chance at some point in the next year or two. St. Louis also signed their first academy player, Caden Glover, who is an '07 forward. I have to imagine it will be a year or two before we ever see him in MLS.

  • RSL signed 20 year old Colombian winger Andres Gomez from Millonarios for a club record fee (which being RSL is around $3.5m, maybe a bit less) under the MLS U22 initiative. If he hits, he and Savarino will be quite a nice pair of wingers. They really need a starting forward, though. RSL also signed a few academy kids — Delentz Pierre, a 22 year old CB who finished his NCAA career at Portland, and Luis Rivera, a highly regarded left back who just turned 15 and should be one for the MLS Next Pro team next year.

  • Houston completed a loan for 22 year old Paraguayan winger Ivan Franco from Libertad. Even if he's good, the Dynamo just need so much help — their roster is blah, and Ben Olsen is now in charge. Houston also signed veteran left back Brad Smith, who has been with Seattle and most recently D.C., and sent out DM Matias Vera on loan to Argentinos Juniors. I do think they'll need to make a couple more signings in the midfield because it's looking pretty thin.

  • RBNY made permanent the signing of 21 year old Brazilian forward Elias Manoel from Grêmio. He had been on loan with RBNY briefly last year, and the club is trying to get more production out of the forward position. Patryk Klimala has good underlying statistics, but his real-life production has been consistently underwhelming.

  • Austin sold Tomás Pochettino to Fortaleza of Brazil's Serie A. Pochettino was brought in as a DP but didn't really work out. Meanwhile, they traded for Houston's left back Adam Lundkvist in what looks like a depth-building move.

  • Charlotte signed a new DP forward, Enzo Copetti, a 26 year old Argentine who comes from Racing Club, for around $6m. He scored 19 goals last year in Argentina, but it was really his only prolific season, so I guess the club must believe he's turned a corner. Charlotte also signed DM Ashley Westwood, a 32 year old veteran of the Championship, on a free from Burnley. I'm always a little skeptical of aging Championship players, but we'll see.

  • LAFC signed Eldin Jakupovic on a free from Everton. 38 year old who will compete with John McCarthy for the GK role since Crepeau broke his leg.

  • FC Dallas signed Amet Korça, a 22 year old CB from Gorica in Croatia. I had never heard of this player, as one might expect of someone from a smaller Croatian club, but I was surprised to learn that he's from Texas. I guess I haven't paid close enough attention to the BigSoccer Yanks Abroad forum lately.

  • Vancouver signed 23 year old Uruguayan CB Mathias Laborda on a free from Nacional, who will likely slot into the Whitecaps' starting lineup.

  • The Revs signed another academy player, attacking midfielder Jack Panayotou of Cambridge, MA. He just played his freshman year at Georgetown but now heads to MLS. Along with Noel Buck and Esmir Bajraktarevic, the Revs have an interesting group of teenage American prospects for the first time ever, pretty much.

  • San Jose signed a couple of former SJ academy players from Stanford under the homegrown rule: central midfielder Cam Cilley and fullback Keegan Tingey. As 22 year old four-year college players, these are the types of signings that are not necessarily young blue chip prospects, but more bonus draft picks.

  • NYCFC signed American forward Gabe Segal from Köln, where he had played for the reserves a bit after joining them from Stanford.
 

MetSox1

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Stefan Frei says hello.

That said I agree there likely aren't many players who would make that jump. On the flip side, the quality in MLS has surged the last few years and it feels like just a matter of time before the MLS is there.
Wait. I almost let this slip by me.

but Andre Blake never would let it past him.
 

67YAZ

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The Fire bring in a new back up/mentor for Chris Brady - Jeff Gal.

Gal is a Chicago area native who played college ball at Creighton but has spent his professional career in Sweden with 14 top light matches under his belt. He’s coming home at age 29.
 

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Wait. I almost let this slip by me.

but Andre Blake never would let it past him.
Let's focus on PSxG +/- per 90. The best objective measure we have that focuses just on a goalkeeper, and the difference between the xG a shot has when it leaves the foot, vs how many goals the goalkeeper gave up.

2021: New England +0.17 (3rd), Philadelphia +0.16 (4th), Seattle +0.04 (13th)
2020: New England +0.36 (1st), Philadelphia +0.12 (8th), Seattle +0.08 (10th)
2019: New England +0.10 (6th), Philadelphia -0.19 (23rd), Seattle +0.08 (10th) <-- N.B. Matt Turner +0.45, Blake -0.30, Frei +0.08
2018: New England +0.17 (3rd), Philadelphia +0.15 (7th), Seattle +0.41 (1st) <-- Turner (rookie) +0.16, Blake +0.09, Frei +0.46

Frei was better in 2018 (Turner's rookie year), and meaningfully worse than Turner every year since. Blake was outright bad in 2019, and good but not as good as Turner in the other years.
 

MetSox1

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Yeah Blake was hurt in 19, and everyone agrees he had a down year. But I'd argue a goalkeepers organization of his defense plays a large part in the number of shots he faces, and looking at shots exclusively adds quite a bit of noise to the conversation since the samples are generally small.

Both are fantastic and I'd be happy to have either, but I'll take my guy, who leads the leagues best defense, which is anchored and led by him, assisted by a brilliant Scandinavian gentleman, and a fourth round MLS draft pick.
 

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to me, that's a bit like saying "sure that left fielder's a league-average hitter, but his defense is outstanding!"

Yes, both things are "important" in that there's a threshold to be a professional ballplayer for each of them. But we all know one is a LOT more important than the other, even if (in soccer, as of yet) we lack the ability to quantify exactly how much more important one is than the other. Relative value of skills is, like, the core insight of Billy Beane in Moneyball.

For a goalkeeper, shot-stopping is the job, and "organizing a defense" is secondary, and "playing the ball with your feet" tertiary. And we lack good individual statistics on either of the latter two, plus there are, like, coaches paid to coach such things. But for the first, we know it's the most important, and we also have good stats on it.

And I'm sure I don't have to argue what a red herring "league's best defense" is here, when we can split out the impact of the goalkeeper's shot-stopping independent of the rest of the team defense around him.
 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
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Dec 15, 2002
13,853
The Fire bring in a new back up/mentor for Chris Brady - Jeff Gal.

Gal is a Chicago area native who played college ball at Creighton but has spent his professional career in Sweden with 14 top light matches under his belt. He’s coming home at age 29.
Man, the Fire really are giving the keys to the car to Brady. Most of Gal's games came in the Swedish third tier.

I'm really interested to see Brady this year. A lot of prospect watchers rate him even above Gaga (and a side note it's wild that the Fire academy had possibly the two best '04 keepers in the country). The book on him is that he's already a great shot-stopper but that he needs work with the ball at his feet.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
6,970
Man, the Fire really are giving the keys to the car to Brady. Most of Gal's games came in the Swedish third tier.

I'm really interested to see Brady this year. A lot of prospect watchers rate him even above Gaga (and a side note it's wild that the Fire academy had possibly the two best '04 keepers in the country). The book on him is that he's already a great shot-stopper but that he needs work with the ball at his feet.
Im excited, too. Hopefully he won’t get THAT much shot stopping experience.

I will say that Gaga made demonstrable progress in his distribution last season. Hendrickson was having the fullbacks hang deep and provide easy outlets, which Slonina took advantage of often. It was an effective scaffolded step that should work for Brady, too.

to the extent Brady was “behind,” it was because he wanted to finish high school while Gaga got his GED to go full pro at 16. Brady killed it up in Madison the past couple summers. I think we’ll see a big leap in his development over the course of this season.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
6,970
Man, the Fire really are giving the keys to the car to Brady. Most of Gal's games came in the Swedish third tier.

I'm really interested to see Brady this year. A lot of prospect watchers rate him even above Gaga (and a side note it's wild that the Fire academy had possibly the two best '04 keepers in the country). The book on him is that he's already a great shot-stopper but that he needs work with the ball at his feet.
Oh and about the ball at his feet…

 

ThePrideofShiner

spooky action from a distance
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
9,861
Washington
I hear the Philly stadium is worth a trip even for a casual fan?
I enjoyed the game I went to there. It's not as fancy as some of the new ones, but there are no bad seats and the bridge provides nice scenery.

Getting out of the stadium is the worst part. Ridiculous traffic.
 

OCST

Sunny von Bulow
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
23,240
The 718
My Philly people mutter about it bring in a bad neighborhood so I’m try to figure if I suggest an outing when we visit.
 

ThePrideofShiner

spooky action from a distance
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
9,861
Washington
My Philly people mutter about it bring in a bad neighborhood so I’m try to figure if I suggest an outing when we visit.
I'll let @MetSox1 and @Senator Donut chime in with the specifics as I'm not from Philly and have only been there once, but my best friend lives there and has season tickets.

I don't know how bad the neighborhood is per se, it is just annoying to get to. And I don't think mass transit is accessible from there. I've been to five MLS stadiums and it is really fun to see different environments. Hopefully your friends will be down with you going to a game!
 

Pesky Pole

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Phoenixville, PA
I'll let @MetSox1 and @Senator Donut chime in with the specifics as I'm not from Philly and have only been there once, but my best friend lives there and has season tickets.

I don't know how bad the neighborhood is per se, it is just annoying to get to. And I don't think mass transit is accessible from there. I've been to five MLS stadiums and it is really fun to see different environments. Hopefully your friends will be down with you going to a game!
I'm from here as well and the stadium is in Chester which is pretty terrible. That said, the stadium is really great, no bad seats and they let you tailgate in the parking lots that are very safe. It's a good crowd and Sons of Ben are pretty Into the game. If you park in the lot north of the stadium, it's a lot easier to get out after the game. The lots south of the stadium are better for tailgating but it's double the time to exit.

I think there is technically a way to get there on Septa but it's not advised. A few Philly bars used to run transportation down to the game so if you stay in Philly (which you probably should; airport hotels are the other option but assume you'd want to do Philly stuff too). I can try to find the bars if you're interested. It's basically get liquored up, get in a van to the game and get back to the bar afterward. I'm a suburbs guy now so I don't have the names off the top of my head. Let me know what other questions you might have (and sorry, we're all out of Aaronsons this season).
 

Senator Donut

post-Domer
SoSH Member
Apr 21, 2010
5,101

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