MLS Offseason 2014-15: Do You Feel A Draft?

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Titans Bastard

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* Montreal has signed Belgian center back Laurent Ciman.  It's a very good signing for Montreal, especially because he won't count as a DP.  Ciman has been a regular with Standard Liège and a fixture on the bench for Belgium (though he basically never gets on the field).  Standard let him leave on a free; the important detail here is that Ciman's daughter is autistic and he wants to move to Montreal for healthcare reasons.
 
* In a move that isn't a huge surprise, Claudio Bieler has left KC and returned to Argentina to join Quilmes.  Bieler was productive in 2013 (11 goals), but in 2014 his playing time dropped dramatically.  This was in part because of the rise of Dom Dwyer and in part because stylistic he doesn't fit into Peter Vermes' system well.  Workrate is the name of the game in KC and Bieler lacks in that department.
 
* Vancouver signed former Timbers defender Pa Modou Kah.  I didn't realize Kah was as old as he is until I looked him up (34).  He'll compete with loanee Diego Rodriguez to partner with Kendall Waston.
 

Arroyo Con Frijoles

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I am generally critical of the n-cubed Revs fans that inhabit other corners of the internet, but even I'm starting to feel depressed in advance that the Revs have not done anything particularly meaningful in improving the squad for 2015.  I think Jones was an absolute stud last year, and I also think he won't be with us after this upcoming season, so 2015 should be a GFIN type of season.  And yet...
 

Titans Bastard

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Arroyo Con Frijoles said:
I am generally critical of the n-cubed Revs fans that inhabit other corners of the internet, but even I'm starting to feel depressed in advance that the Revs have not done anything particularly meaningful in improving the squad for 2015.  I think Jones was an absolute stud last year, and I also think he won't be with us after this upcoming season, so 2015 should be a GFIN type of season.  And yet...
 
Mike Burns said something along the lines that the scouting effort this season has been delayed because of the postseason run and that some of the coaching staff will be scouting in Europe at the end of this month.
 
Which is to say that the Revolution have almost no scouting operations at all, something we've known for a while.  In terms of foreign signings, my suspicion is that the Revs are almost entirely dependent on players shopped to them by agents.  A late January scouting operation will not yield much for the start of the season.  Players in Europe are under contract and only the unemployed dregs will be available on a free.  The Revs will need to pay transfer fees for players who teams will be unable to replace when the European transfer window closes at the end of the month.  It doesn't sound likely.  But this is how we end up with Florian Lechner types.
 
The Revs 2014 season was built on the back of Jermaine Jones and some great work with domestic reclamation projects - Nguyen, Bunbury, Davies and to a lesser extent more minor contributors like Kobayashi.  Even with the successful projects, the team was middling until the acquisition of Jones, which frankly was a huge stroke of luck.  Full credit to the Krafts to shell out for Jones, but the team did little to bring Jones stateside - they just hijacked the process once someone else did.  It's not an avenue of player acquisition that can be repeated.
 
The Revs really should be focusing on raiding cash-strapped clubs in Latin America.  Moreno and Lozano from a few years ago were third-tier guys in Colombia who didn't work out, but that shouldn't scare them off.  They just need to aim for a higher caliber player.  Clubs all around the league have been bringing in players from Latin America; it's frustrating that the Revs can't get on that train.  MLS has progressed to the point where it's really hard to get significant production from the European scrap heap, considering the relatively higher price points of those markets.
 
 
It's concerning because we haven't replaced Soares and we haven't done much to buttress our depth.  We can't count on Nguyen to be as good as he was in 2014.  We can't count on Davies to be available and play 90 every game.  We have no depth at CB unless Farrell slides into the center, at which point we'd have no depth among fullbacks.
 
Hopefully we'll see better stuff from Fagundez in 2015 and maybe Neumann can become a bigger contributor.  Maybe Okoli will show something at forward and hopefully Farrell adapts at CB well.  It just feels like the team's roster is needlessly backsliding instead of making key marginal improvements and pushing the team over the top.
 
It's reminiscent of the failed MLS Cup runs of the mid-2000s when the team just refused to add depth to a solid team and then just came up short.
 

Titans Bastard

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* Columbus has signed Argentina right back Hernan Grana, last of Boca Juniors.  I'm really impressed with what the Crew and Gregg Berhalter are doing.  The 2014 team was better than expected and they've continued to add a lot of depth over the offseason without losing anyone of significance.  Klute & Francis at LB, Grana & Jimenez at RB, Steindorsson & Saeid adding depth behind Meram & Finlay on the wings.  Kei Kamara.  They definitely have the potential to be the top team in the East.
 
* Toronto traded midfielder Kyle Bekker to Dallas for $$.  I'm a little surprised that an American team would want him - he's mediocre and as a Canadian, counts as an international for US teams.  I never like to doubt Oscar Pareja though.
 
* Fox has signed John Strong to be their main PBP guy.  Good news.  They've also picked up someone named Shaw Brown from NBC.  I had never heard of him before yesterday, but apparently he's the guy behind NBC Sports MLS production.  This is also good news for Fox and makes me less worried they'll phone in MLS broadcasts like they used to on FSC.
 
* After not much public chatter, the MLSPU and various player reps are starting to make noises in the press about CBA negotiations.  I don't think a strike is likely, but it's hard to read the tea leaves.  As always, free agency is the biggest issue for players.
 

steeplechase3k

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Titans Bastard said:
* Fox has signed John Strong to be their main PBP guy.  Good news.  They've also picked up someone named Shaw Brown from NBC.  I had never heard of him before yesterday, but apparently he's the guy behind NBC Sports MLS production.  This is also good news for Fox and makes me less worried they'll phone in MLS broadcasts like they used to on FSC.
 
I'm really excited about this John is a great PBP guy.  If you look at any of the really early (pre 2005) pictures of the Timbers Army there's a good chance he is there.  
 

Titans Bastard

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* Chicago signed Shaun Maloney from Wigan as a DP.  The Fire sure have been bringing in a lot of attackers this offseason.  I'm not sold on their defense, but they already look more interesting than they were in 2014.
 
* RSL completed the long-rumored signing of Jamaican left back Demar Phillips, who spent the last six years at Aalesund in Norway.  Phillips will replace Chris Wingert, who was selected by NYCFC in the expansion draft.
 
* Toronto has signed Polish/French center back Damien Perquis, last at Real Betis.
 
* Orlando has surpassed 10,000 season ticket holders, which is great news.  NYCFC has been getting most of the expansion attention, but I think Orlando is going to be a big success right off the bat, at least off the field.  
 
* Atlanta announced they have 17,500 seats spoken for by 6,000 initial STH depositors.  Some will drop out instead of buying, but that's a good base for a team two years away from taking the field.
 
* Lots of rumors this morning that Tim Cahill will be sold to Al Wahda of the UAE.
 

Titans Bastard

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!!!!
 
https://twitter.com/SoccerByIves/status/559796326540795905
 
 
 
Very good news for the Revs if true.  As mentioned previously, the Revs are more or less incapable of identifying players who haven't been in US soccer circles or who haven't been shopped around by agents.  As such, Agudelo is probably the absolute best possible signing the team could make at forward.
 
I'm a big Agudelo fan - his games / goals numbers aren't super impressive, but he's been hobbled by injuries at times and he wasn't always used optimally in NY.  When he is on top of his game, as he was for New England in 2013, he was a difference maker.  Because he's quick and has good technical skills, I think people forget how big and strong he is - he's a center forward with good touch and good vision.  He just needs to stay healthy and keep his head out of his ass.  The last six months have been a total waste.  Time to move on.
 

Titans Bastard

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* Orlando announced a trio of long-rumored signings:
* Martin Paterson, the Northern Ireland strikers, who comes on loan from Huddersfield Town
* Carlos Rivas, a 20 year old Colombian forward/left winger from Deportivo Cali.  Rumored to be a $1.5, fee, too.
* Cristian Higuita, a 21 year old Colombian defensive midfielder, also from Deportivo Cali
 
* First big injury news of 2015 - Joao Plata will miss 3-4 months after breaking a bone in his foot.  Bad news for RSL.
 
* Toronto has acquired Eriq Zavaleta.  Zavaleta's a 22 year old CB who was converted from FW upon going pro in 2013, following his sophomore season at Indiana.  He has showed some promise and Seattle loaned him to Chivas USA last year where he was a part-time starter.  However, the Sounders let him go at the end of the season.  While that's never a promising sign, I think he's still a worthwhile project.  And since he's Greg Vanney's nephew, it's not surprising he wound up in Toronto.
 
* Vancouver signed a homegrown player, midfielder Ben McKendry, who spent the last three years at New Mexico.
 

BrotherMouzone

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Staying on the topic of the Revolution. Wife and I just moved to the area and we're looking to purchase season tickets. The FORT section is the cheapest option, and it looks to be GA. However, it also looks to be standing room only. As in, you're standing the entire game. My wife does not want to do that. Is this the case? Any suggestions otherwise?
 

Titans Bastard

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BrotherMouzone said:
Staying on the topic of the Revolution. Wife and I just moved to the area and we're looking to purchase season tickets. The FORT section is the cheapest option, and it looks to be GA. However, it also looks to be standing room only. As in, you're standing the entire game. My wife does not want to do that. Is this the case? Any suggestions otherwise?
 
Yes the Fort is a general admission / standing section.  Much of the time, the section is not full, so you can grab a few seats in the back of the section and sit without your view being obstructed.  There are no guarantees and occasionally it fills all the way up.  After last season, I wouldn't be surprised if average attendance in the Fort goes up.  And sometimes there are people like me who will block your view becase I like to stand and I also like to be higher up for better sightlines.  :)
 
Your options are here.  Category 3 STs aren't much more expensive if you don't mind sitting in the corner.
 

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I asked this quickly when the schedule came out, but is anyone thinking about coming to Portland for the Revs match on June 6th?  If so please feel free to reach out to me to ask any questions.  I can answer questions about the best places to stay and what you'd want to do.  I'll even buy you a beer or two if you make it here :)
 
If you are thinking about it a few quick things:
You don't need a rental car, it is about 40 minutes on the train (cost $2.50 each way) to downtown
Downtown to the stadium is a 15-20 minute walk to the stadium
There are lots of hotel options in downtown, and even if you say out of the immediate downtown area it is easy to be close in (if staying in a hostel is your thing there is one a 5-10 minute walk from the stadium)
 
The Timbers Army is a friendly group as long as you aren't from Seattle.
 
I plan to make it to a match in New England some day, but need to time it so the Red Sox are in town also.
 

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* NY has traded CM Eric Alexander and LB Ambroise Oyongo to Montreal for Felipe and the top spot in the allocation order.  It is wide expect that they will use the top spot in the allocation order to sign Sacha Kljestan.  Alexander is a pretty solid central midfielder who formed a good partnership with Dax McCarty once Petke gave up on Tim Cahill in the midfield.  That said, Kljestan is a similar type player, but better.  Oyongo emerged as NY's starting left back last year and can also play further upfield on the left flank.  He's already a Cameroon international, but still has some rough edges.
 
* Montreal also sent some allocation money to Toronto for Dominic Oduro.  His speed is dangerous, as his shooting ability (to people in Row V).  The Impact will be his 7th team in MLS, tying him with Nathan Sturgis for the most all time, I think.
 
* NYRB signed a trio of center backs.  They re-signed 31 year old Frenchman Damien Perrinelle, who came NY last year after a long career in mostly Ligue 2.  He looks like depth.  They also signed Ronald Zubar, formerly of Marseille, Wolves, and Ajaccio.  Lastly: Andrew Jean-Baptiste, who is one of the lost boys of Chivas USA.  AJB has a ton of potential, but the Timbers dumped him after two years at the end of 2013 - he developed a reputation for being difficult to coach.  He's still only 22 and could be a great signing if his head is screwed on straight.
 
* Jon Busch signed with Chicago.  He had an underrated run as San Jose's goalkeeper, but at 38 he's entering the veteran backup stage of his career.  He'll be a commentator or a coach in a few years.
 

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Fantastic news on Agudelo. Now just go get a RB and shift Farrell to CB and we are looking good.
 

Arroyo Con Frijoles

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I think I read something a couple weeks ago, though it might only have been speculation, that Jones either wanted or would want to play at least some CB this season to try to aid that possible transition for the national team.  Anybody heard anything on that front?  
 

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If I'm the Revs, thanks, but no thanks Jermaine. We need you in front of our back line.
 

Billy R Ford

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I'm not completely against Jones at CB- at the very least, it allows them to get their best 11 players on the field. If they rolled out something like this for example:
 
---------------------Agudelo
Fagundez--Nguyen--Rowe--Bunbury
---------------------Caldwell
Tierney---Goncalves--Jones--Farrell
------------------Shuttleworth
 
This let's them keep both Fagundez and Rowe in the line-up at their best positions. I'd say this is significant because I'm not expecting Jones to stay past this year, whereas Fagundez and Rowe are the future for the Revs.
 
OTOH, Jones is their best player along with Nguyen and team-building of course isn't about just getting your 11 best guys together and trying to shoe-horn them all in. Signing a decent centerback and keeping Jones in CM would definitely give them a much better shot at the Cup for 2015.
 

Titans Bastard

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The reason why the Jones signing pushed the Revs to the next level was because he is a top-level player who was a great fit for the Revs needs: he provided energy, bite, and industriousness to the midfield.  
 
Jones at CB magnifies some of his weaknesses (penchant for reckless turnovers, lack of aerial ability) and limits his strengths.  It would leave a Caldwell/Rowe/Nguyen midfield that has some of the same problems as as the beginning of the last year - it's soft.  I like Caldwell, but he's not tough/good enough to prop up the other two one his own.  He needs Jones to shoulder some of the load.
 
I'd keep Jones at CM even without any new defensive signings; I think anything else is trying to be too clever by half.
 
On that subject, we have five defenders on the roster.  There's also Jeremy Hall, who has played a lot of RB in his career, though not last year in Toronto.  And Donnie Smith, who is listed as a midfielder but seems more likely to get playing time at LB as a backup, although I'm not sure he's any good.
 
The Revs have a couple of fullback trialists in camp which is all well and good, but we need a more serious signing in the backline as well.
 

Titans Bastard

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* Agudelo and Kljestan are official
 
* Toronto has signed former Lille, Auxerre, and Marseille midfielder Benoît Cheyrou. He's getting old (33) but has a good resume.
 
* Toronto is also trying to work out a deal to bring Giovinco in now instead of in the summer window.
 
* NYCFC signed forward Kwadwo Poku, a 22 year old from Ghana who last played for the Atlanta Silverbacks in the NASL.
 
* Columbus signed Congolese winger Cedrick, who is currently on loan at Osasuna from Real Betis.  He'll join the Crew in June after the Spanish season.
 
* NYCFC making more friends:
 
https://twitter.com/BrownBagSC/status/561169848697647104
 
 
I'll be eagerly waiting for NYCFC's choice of drum and drum position!  These guys just don't get it.
 

Vinho Tinto

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I'll be a little fair and say that the Yankees may be dictating terms there. The staff at the Toilet is acts like it's been trained by the TSA.
 

Titans Bastard

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Vinho Tinto said:
I'll be a little fair and say that the Yankees may be dictating terms there. The staff at the Toilet is acts like it's been trained by the TSA.
 
The Yankees are the co-owners, so it's not like NYCFC's hands are tied.
 

Titans Bastard

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* Tim Cahill is gone from NYRB.  He and the club terminated his contract by mutual consent and he then went on to sign with Shanghai Shenhua.
 
* Toronto has officially worked out a deal to bring Giovinco now instead of the summer.  Good work for them.
 
* SJ signed Swiss forward Innocent Emeghara.  He has played for smaller clubs in Ligue 1 and Serie A, but is coming off a short stint for Qarabag of Azerbaijan.  He does not look like a very impressive DP signing.
 
* NYCFC has signed Slovakian striker Adam Nemec, last of Union Berlin.
 
* 23 year old Argentine DM Lucas Pittanari has joined Colorado on loan from Belgrano.
 
* Meanwhile, the Rapids parted ways with Zat Knight.  The Knightmare made four appearances late last season before being released now.
 
* Another Chivas USA refugee finds a home - winger Eric Avila has signed with Orlando.
 

Titans Bastard

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Billy R Ford said:
He's a free agent so the fact that the transfer window closed doesn't mean the deal is necessarily off. Selfishly as a Revs fan I'd love to have him back, but I'm sure he's going to keep pushing for Italy.
 
In Italy, is it possible to register free agent signings after the window closes?  Or would Soares have to wait for the summer?
 

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Titans Bastard said:
 
In Italy, is it possible to register free agent signings after the window closes?  Or would Soares have to wait for the summer?
Italy has no registration window. Tough new rules on foreign and homegrowns come in next year though.
 

Titans Bastard

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Cellar-Door said:
Italy has no registration window. Tough new rules on foreign and homegrowns come in next year though.
 
Interesting.
 
The rules may change, but one thing always remains a constant: Rafa Marquez is an asshole.
 

Titans Bastard

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https://twitter.com/SoccerInsider/status/563544816156676097
 
https://twitter.com/SoccerInsider/status/563545674328047617
 
 
Goff is one of the most reliable reports in US soccer, so I trust him on this.  Sounds like Soares and/or his agent miscalculated and honestly - Serie A always seemed like a stretch.  No guarantees he goes back to the Revs, but making overtures makes sense.
 

ThePrideofShiner

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What are the chances of a player strike canceling games? I was thinking about getting tickets for the Sounders opener, but don't want to spend the money if the game might get postponed because of a player strike (which I fully support).
 

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steeplechase3k said:
This might just be posturing, but the players appear prepared to strike for some form of Free-agency:
 
http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2015/02/09/brad-evans-and-others-say-mls-union-standing-firm-says-strike-imminent/
 
Seeing that the owners (reportedly) won't even discuss free-agency I'm not too confident about the season starting on time.
 
A strike certainly feels more and more possible.  I am just a Chicken Little on the sidelines though.  I don't have a good sense of what is posturing and what is real.
 
 
Some other news from around the league...
 
* Colorado signed a second DP, 21 year old Argentine attacking midfielder Juan Ramirez, who comes from Argentinos Juniors.
 
* NYCFC signed 23 year old Colombian midfielder Javier Calle on loan from Independiente Medellin.
 
* NYCFC also announced a "Youth Development League" that it is forming for 11 partner youth clubs in the area, focused on U9, U10, and U11 levels.  NYCFC technical staff would be overseeing the league.  Something like this all depends on execution, of course, but it's an interesting idea.  Improving coaching and developmental environment at those age levels is important.
 
* Philadelphia signed Portuguese/Canadian defender Steven Vitoria on loan from Benfica.  It looks like Vitoria was an integral part of Estoril's side for several years, was purchased by Benfica, and hasn't done much since.  Perhaps Vinho Tinto can give a better scouting report.  Vitoria is coming in to replace Carlos Valdes, whose departure is all but official.
 
* Seattle signed 21 year old Colombian left back Andrés Correa, last of Fortaleza in Colombia.  Leo Gonzalez is getting long in the tooth, so he'll compete with Dylan Remick for more and more minutes.
 
* A few draft picks are starting to be signed - Chicago's CB Matt Polster and Montreal's forward Cameron Porter
 
* Ben Sweat (LB, Columbus) and Brian Span (winger, Dallas) have been waived
 
* Dallas finally made their affiliation with Arizona United official.
 

Vinho Tinto

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Titans Bastard said:
 
* Philadelphia signed Portuguese/Canadian defender Steven Vitoria on loan from Benfica.  It looks like Vitoria was an integral part of Estoril's side for several years, was purchased by Benfica, and hasn't done much since.  Perhaps Vinho Tinto can give a better scouting report.  Vitoria is coming in to replace Carlos Valdes, whose departure is all but official.
 
I think the most telling thing about Vitoria is that even though he went through Porto's academy, and was signed by SLB, he made just one appearance for either club's first team (Last season's final match at Porto when the league was already decided). I clearly didn't see him play much since he spent most of the season on the B team or the bench. He's tall for a Portuguese (6'5"), but not a dynamic athlete. Fans were hoping to see him crack the roster, but the competition was way too strong for him (Garay, Luisao, and Jardel are much better).  
 
I'm surprised he wasn't allocated to Toronto. 
 

Titans Bastard

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Vinho Tinto said:
 
I think the most telling thing about Vitoria is that even though he went through Porto's academy, and was signed by SLB, he made just one appearance for either club's first team (Last season's final match at Porto when the league was already decided). I clearly didn't see him play much since he spent most of the season on the B team or the bench. He's tall for a Portuguese (6'5"), but not a dynamic athlete. Fans were hoping to see him crack the roster, but the competition was way too strong for him (Garay, Luisao, and Jardel are much better).  
Cool, thanks for the report.
 
Vinho Tinto said:
I'm surprised he wasn't allocated to Toronto. 
 
MLS is centralized, but not that centralized.  The league holds all the contracts, but the central office doesn't dictate where each player goes.  There are processes for clubs to acquire players in varying circumstances.  Sometimes they are dumb and occasionally they are made up on the fly - which is usually suspicious (re: Seattle, Portland, and Dempsey).  There's no doubt the system needs to be dramatically simplified.  But the league basically never goes out, signs a player, and gives him to a club.  Vitoria went to Philadelphia because that's the club that pursued him.
 

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CBA news:
https://twitter.com/JeffreyCarlisle/status/565945994760572928
 
 
Spokesman for Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service tells me they have been engaged by #MLS & MLSPU to help w/CBA talks. Story 2 follow.
 
 
Seems like talks are going nowhere.
 

Titans Bastard

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They did the same thing during the previous CBA negotiations at just about the same point in the process.  No CBA negotiation ever moves along until crunch time - I'm not ready to panic yet.
 
I also thought Tim Leiweke's recent comments were interesting:
 
 
 
There’s also a noticeable split in the owner’s ranks. Some, like TFC’s Tim Leiweke, want to increase spending dramatically. “The league is going through a debate — the haves versus the have nots,” he said. “Are we going to count mints on the pillow and bring everyone down to the lowest common denominator? Or are we going to create a vision of what soccer can be in North America in the next five-to-10 years and challenge the system?” Others, like New England Revolution owner Robert Kraft, a man who has supported MLS from its inception, lost tens if not hundreds of millions doing so, and is only beginning to see that investment potentially turn back in his favor, understandably don’t. But the truth is that the current system allows both men to get their way: Leiweke can throw millions at Altidore, Bradley, and Giovinco, while Kraft can be more conservative (and still watch his Revs in the MLS Cup before jumping on a helicopter to the Patriots game).
 
 
More evidence that a split among the owners is very real.
 

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There are just over two weeks until the season opener now, barring a work stoppage.  And we're just six days away from the resumption of the CONCACAF Champions League - Montreal plays Pachuca on Tuesday and then DC plays Alajuelense on Thursday.
 
As such, most of the offseason hubbub has died down and teams are focused on preseason training.  Most of the roster moves are nibbling around the edges at this point.
 
* DC signed Michael Farfan, who completed an unfortunate stint at Cruz Azul.  To be honest, I don't know why Los Cementeros signed him in the first place.  He's a mediocre but serviceable attacking midfielder in MLS - that's not a recipe for success at a bigger Liga MX club.  They also released central midfielder Dan Metzger and signed a draft pick Miguel Aguilar.
 
* Montreal released left back Krzysztof Krol.
 
* Orlando released CB Gustavo and forward Akeil Barrett, clearing out a few needed international slots.
 
* NY signed journeyman forward Mike Grella.  Grella signed with Leeds United out of Duke and had a brief run with them, but has spent the last four years playing at lower levels.  They also released midfielders Eric Stevenson and Ian Christianson, two of last year's rookies who never did anything.
 
* Philadelphia released big forward Aaron Wheeler.  They tried converting him to a CB last year for a little bit.  When it didn't work, it was only a matter of time.
 
* The Union are also strongly rumored to be signing Venezuela forward Fernando Aristeguieta, who has spent a couple of seasons at FC Nantes.  They have had a quiet offseason and could use a decent signing.  Whether Aristeguieta will fit the bill, I don't know.
 
* SKC signed a Haitian DM named Soni Mustivar, who last played for Petrolul Ploiesti in Romania.
 
* LA signed one of their academy kids to a USL contract for LA Galaxy II - Ryo Fujii.  He had spent one season at UCSB before going pro now.  It's a really nice setup that LA has going on.  Fujii will be getting a full USL schedule of pro games and he can complete his degree at CS-Dominguez Hills next door.
 

Titans Bastard

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Still not much CBA news.  No news is likely good news.  Who knows....my gut sense is that something will be worked out though.
 
 
 
* Philly made their loan signing of Venezuelan striker Fernando Aristeguieta from Nantes official.  They also signed a GK, John McCarthy, who was the USL rookie of the year in 2014 with the Rochester Rhinos.  McCarthy was apparently impressive last year and at 22, it's not surprising an MLS team snapped him up.
 
* RSL signed 22 year old Guatemalan CB Elias Vasquez.
 
* Toronto final found a way to get rid of Gilberto, loaning him to Vasco da Gama.  After signing Altidore and Giovinco, they needed to get rid of Gilberto, as teams can't have more than three DPs.
 
* Dallas signed 23 year old Colombian winger Michael Barrios.  He's spent his entire career to date with Uniautónoma in Colombia.
 
* D.C. United is launching a residential academy in Maryland.  I believe that makes them the second team after RSL to do so.  The big question is how well funded it is.  Given DC's stadium situation, I'm guessing the answer is "not very", at least for now.  But in any case, it may make it easier for them to recruit talent from outside the DC area.  The Carolinas would be a good start.
 
* Orlando signed CB Seb Hines on loan from Middlesbrough.  He's a little-known English/American dual national who has spent most of his career in the Championship.  The last two seasons don't seem to have been kind to him.  I wouldn't expect too much from him, but Orlando needs depth and he doesn't cost an international slot.
 

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California. Duh.
If Toronto is jut loaning Gilberto rather than selling him, then isn't he still on their books, meaning they still have too many DP's?
 

Titans Bastard

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SoxFanInCali said:
If Toronto is jut loaning Gilberto rather than selling him, then isn't he still on their books, meaning they still have too many DP's?
 
They still have his official registration, but if he's on a season-long loan elsewhere he won't count towards their DP limit or their salary cap.
 

Billy R Ford

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2012 MLS Rookie of the Year Austin Berry is going on loan to FC Anyang of the South Korean second division.
 
I mean, sheesh. He's been injured a lot and was out of favor in Philadelphia, but the South Korean second division? I'm surprised no one in MLS would take him, especially on loan, and I can't imagine this is a good move for the guy's career.
 

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Billy R Ford said:
2012 MLS Rookie of the Year Austin Berry is going on loan to FC Anyang of the South Korean second division.
 
I mean, sheesh. He's been injured a lot and was out of favor in Philadelphia, but the South Korean second division? I'm surprised no one in MLS would take him, especially on loan, and I can't imagine this is a good move for the guy's career.
 

 
 
I'm not sure what's wrong with Berry, but he has declined with each passing year.  Last year in Philly, he fell behind just about everyone in the pecking order including the converted forward Aaron Wheeler for a while.  I can't figure out the connection to this seemingly random Korean club.  Martin Rennie (ex Whitecaps coach) manages another club in the division, but that's the only thing I can find.
 

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Montreal drew with Pachuca 2-2 last night in the first leg of the CONCACAF quarterfinals.  It's a great result for the Impact on the road, although tarnished somewhat because they blew a 2-0 second half lead.  Still, far better than I expected.  I still think they'll choke at home, but they have a real chance now.

DC goes up against Alajuelense (Costa Rica) on Thursday.
 
The winners of these two ties will meet in the semifinals.  The other half of the bracket is América (MEX) vs. Saprissa (CRC) and Herediano (CRC) vs. Olimpia (HON).  It was a very good year for Costa Rica on the club level, too.
 

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I watched part of the Alajuelense - DC match last night.  Incredibly weak mental fortitude from DC, who looked very poor.  Especially bad was DC's backup keeper Andrew Dykstra, who was responsible for at least three goals in a 5-2 loss.  If Hamid weren't injured, they likely would have gotten out of Costa Rica with a draw, which would have been a decent result.  But still, it wasn't just the GKing - the team just looked unprepared.  I don't think it can be entirely blamed on preseason.  Really a shameful performance.
 

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steeplechase3k said:
Update on the CBA Negotiations:
http://www.espnfc.us/major-league-soccer/story/2325436/major-league-soccer-players-union-rep-nat-borchers-hopeful-on-new-cba-with-league

I don't know if it was mentioned before but Chicago is scheduled to fly to LA on Wednesday morning to get ready for their match on Friday, so we may know then if a deal is close.
 
Yeah, that will be the first sign.  I read that Orlando did not bother to send a rep to negotiations this week because their owner is optimistic that a deal will be done.  That seems to be a good sign, although Rawlins is unlikely to be a hardliner and as a new owner, is not that influential anyway.  Orlando has sold out the Citrus Bowl (60k+) for their home opener, so I am sure they are more anxious than most.
 
The MLSPU doesn't have much reserves in their strike fund, so I don't think they'll be capable of a long strike.  There are also 200 foreign players in the league, many of whom I would guess will not have a high tolerance for anything more than a symbolic strike.
 
 
Anyway, some other news.
 
* Atlanta has hired Carlos Bocanegra as technical director.  The TD is a pretty important position and it's always risky to hire someone with only playing experience.  Hopefully he has the wisdom to hire an academy director with expertise, at least.
 
* The Revs signed a pair of depth players, CM Tyler Rudy and CB/RB London Woodberry.  Rudy spent four years at Georgetown; Woodberry was a homegrown player for Dallas, was waived, and spent last season at Arizona United in the USL.  The Revs have become reclamation project specialists and Woodberry is the next candidate.  The Revs really need the depth and could still use another player or two.
 
* KC signed Canadian left back Marcel de Jong.  He has experience with Roda JC in the Eredivisie and with Augsburg in the Bundesliga, although he's been out of favor there for the last 1.5 years.
 
* Vancouver signed 18 year old Honduran midfielder Deybi Flores on loan from Motagua.
 
* Some other teams have been signing draft picks and undrafted college players - former US U17 GK Earl Edwards (Orlando), GK Travis Worra (DC), LB Connor Brandt (NYCFC)
 
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