Cette semaine, votre Coup Franc hebdomadaire (à écouter ici) est, à votre demande, plus long de quelques minutes afin d’approfondir certains sujets. Au menu :
- Notre invité Sébastien Le Toux parle de son transfert inattendu à New York, de son rôle dans sa nouvelle équipe et de la liberté qu’il y reçoit, de la situation de ses deux anciens clubs (Vancouver et Philadelphie, où il est parti en mauvais termes avec Peter Nowak), ainsi que de la possible suite de sa carrière en Europe.
- Débat sur l’évolution de la MLS au cours des dernières années. Quels sont les principaux progrès qu’elle a effectués ? Quels sont les avantages et les inconvénients du plafond salarial ? À quel championnat étranger peut-on la comparer (voir le classement de l’IFFHS) ? Quel est l’apport des anciens joueurs aujourd’hui entraîneurs ? Comment la MLS peut-elle conserver ses vedettes, de plus en plus convoitées à l’étranger ? Grâce à quoi fera-t-elle son prochain grand pas en avant ?
- Vancouver se sépare d’Eric Hassli (voir le geste des supporters en son honneur) mais Martin Rennie gagne pour le moment son pari suite à la victoire contre San José (revoir le penalty aussi controversé que décisif).
- Revoyez aussi le troisième but de Houston contre Montréal, image de la semaine d’Antonio Ribeiro.
L'émission Coup Franc est aussi disponible sur iTunes.
That’s the match – back in July 2010 – that many MLS observers still hang on to when it comes to reminding themselves of the promise of former Philadelphia Union striker Danny Mwanga.
But the magical days in a Union shirt for the former No. 1 SuperDraft pick have been few and far between in the last two seasons.
Mwanga’s last goal for Philadelphia in MLS play? It came nearly a year ago (June 25, 2011).
The 20-year-old has been on the field for 61 league matches over three seasons and found the back of the net in just 11 of those games.
One reason for the limited production is injuries. Plenty of them. Rarely will you find a third-year player who has missed matches due to the same variety of injuries: hip, right knee, groin, hamstring, shoulder and a case of sore ribs after falling on them in practice earlier this season.
If Mwanga’s durability to withstand the physical rigors of MLS is a concern, his lack of production without Sebastien Le Toux is downright alarming. Of his 12 goals in his MLS career, nine came off assists from Le Toux. The other three were unassisted.
In MLS you have to be tough and you have to be ready to adjust to any situation and any player. That’s why the Union are better off with the experienced Jorge Perlaza.
The Timbers highlighted Perlaza's speed when they acquired him at the start of last season and we’ve seen signs of how much of a factor it can be. But not in the goal-scoring department. Six goals in 32 starts – none this year – is nothing to write home about.
However, put Perlaza’s production into perspective: The Timbers are a team that don’t score many goals in general, whether Perlaza is there or not. In fact, only three teams have scored fewer goals than the Timbers this year. It was the exact same story at the end of last year.
Does Mwanga have more upside? Sure. He also brings good hold-up ability and the potential to playmake and create his own opportunities. But that’s also what Darlington Nagbe was expected to bring at the second forward position.
Mwanga’s integration into Portland’s system and his impact on Nagbe’s position will be fascinating to watch. It may not prove as seamless, however, as Perlaza who has the traits to be the perfect partner for hard-working compatriot Lionard Pajoy in the Union attack.
You may have heard that the New York Red Bulls traded Juan Agudelo to Chivas USA for Heath Pearce on Thursday.
It's a move that raises lots of interesting questions. Are young players getting enough match experience? Is experience more valuable than potential? Which player has the better set of abs?
I can almost guarantee that, prior to reading it, that was the very last question you had about that transaction. But now that I've read the latest analysis from the Kickette blog, it's the one that's going to be in my head for the rest of the day.
Drink him in, ladies and gentlemen. The Red Bulls may have just traded a promising striker, but in return they got one of Major League Soccer's sex symbols.
Photo Courtesy of Victor Decolongon/Getty Images