Philadelphia fans who are up in arms over the trade that sent Sebastien Le Toux to Vancouver are missing the big picture.
As if it wasn't easy enough to notice, the Union are managing their club very differently from every other side in the league. And it's the right way: building on youth.
It's not merely the obvious transfer fee opportunities that come with grooming quality young professionals. There will be handsome rewards in this department, no doubt.
But youth is the way to go in a league structured around a salary budget. The younger the player, typically the less onerous is the salary hit that accompanies him. Younger players are also more attractive trade bait when a team is ready to offload them.
And going young gives a team maximum flexibility in a league in which roster management skills are severely put to the test. A young squad allows a coach the luxury of time to make a more informed decision on which players are worth the long-term investment.
Union fans will see this happen with the commitment the club is set to make to 20-year-old Roger Torres and 21-year-old Sheanon Williams, who manager Peter Nowak wants to reward with a better contract. Williams and Torres earned it based on performance, not based on their resumé.
Yes, a 28-year-old Le Toux will score goals and run his heart out for the Vancouver Whitecaps. But the cash received in exchange for a player entering the final year of his contract will help further Philly's youth movement.
Sure, Union management could perhaps be a little more forthcoming in specifically addressing how the move impacts current contracts or future acquisitions. But fans can have faith that there is a plan the team is sticking to.
Keeping Le Toux would have been nice. But it would likely have meant Danny Mwanga and Jack McInerney riding the bench for yet another season. Wouldn't Union fans have been just as upset at that scenario?
Obviously this is not what Vancouver's lineup will actually look like in 2012 but with the addition of Sebastien Le Toux Vancouver suddenly become one of the most offensively-blessed sides in MLS. And think about this for a second: there are 3 more forwards on the roster and even rumors of Robert Earnshaw coming in to add to the embarrassment of attacking riches.
And as the image above illustrates, they are lacking a little something in the defensive end of the midfield.
Maybe I should I try to get the CBC on the phone because Survivor: B.C. Place would be a great reality show. If someone's going to get cut --and there will most certainly be cuts before First Kick-- you may as well televise it. My money is on a Francophone alliance between Le Toux, Hassli and Chiumiento.
The deal that brings Sebastien Le Toux to Vancouver appears to be done, if you're asking Le Toux. More details to come...
Just got traded to Vancouver !Saddest day for me in my Philadelphia Union story.... Still can't believe it
— Sebastien Le Toux (@SebastienLeToux) January 31, 2012
File Under: Random Reunions
Former D.C. United midfielder and tattoo enthusiast Santino Quaranta's retirement lasted about as long as his Ochocinco's soccer career. The one-time Black & Red fixture has traded-in a retirement in Baltimore for a short stint near Bollywood, signing on with Team Siliguri of the new Indian Premier League.
While the surroundings may be foreign his coach on this 2-month adventure will be quite familiar: former D.C. teammate Marco Etcheverry will skipper the team which features a pretty good centerback by the name of Fabio Cannavaro.
There's another MLS-associated name involved in the IPL: former Whitecaps head coach Teitur Thordarson. Wonder how an Icelander who coached in Canada will take to the heat of West Bengal?
The New York Red Bulls keep on playing their immigrant song, this time targeting Swedish attacking midfielder Tobias Grahn (no relation to Tobias Fünke) according to the Swedish press.
Grahn became surplus goods to his current side, Mjällby of the Swedish top flight, when they acquired midfielder Dominique Kivuvu earlier this month.. Grahn, 31, has had stops all over Scandinavia, which makes him perfect for the Red Bulls' Viking braintrust. He also had a brief detour to the Spanish Segunda, and a 13-game loan to Hertha BSC in Germany.
Along the way he picked up a handful of caps with his national team, scoring one goal in four appearances.
It looks to be Spain or bust for Giovani dos Santos. And it appears the 22-year-old Mexican starlet is going to have to be content with bust for the time being.
Currently, dos Santos is training with Tottenham and pulling on a uniform every now and then in order to sit quietly on Harry Redknapp's bench. He has made just four appearances this season in EPL action, all as a sub, and in four years with the club, he's made 15 starts and gone out on loan three times (Ipswich Town, Galatasaray and Racing Santander). Clearly, that isn't enough playing time for a player who should be on the cusp of his best days as a professional.
Dos Santos acknowledges this. He wants a move. According to his representatives, clubs in Russia and the United States have made offers for him, giving "Gio" an immediate avenue out north London after a career-stalling stint with Spurs.
Apparently, though, Major League Soccer isn't of any interest to the 22-year-old Mexican starlet.
Here is the MLS-centric quote from dos Santos' representative, Vicente Montes, to cancha.com, which hit the web on Monday:
Ouch. At least Montes used the "with all due respect" precursor.
On first glance, Montes' words sound pretty harsh, especially if you're a fan of MLS or a young 20-something plying their trade on these shores. These 24 guys, especially, might have a bone to pick with that assessment.
Honestly, though, I can't really begrudge dos Santos (or his management) for having that mindset. He feels entitled to what he considers a fair shot in Europe. I get that. Fair enough. After all, this is a guy who scored a few scattered golazos for Barcelona as a youngster and has the talent to score absolutely filthy goals on the big stage.
Then again, nobody seems to be willing to pay Tottenham's asking price to bring dos Santos to their club, which should be a wake up call for a guy with tons of talent but little to show for it away from action with El Tri.
Is Montes' statement fair? Or is it ignorant blathering from a guy working for client who only has eyes for Spain?
On a more entertaining note, how would you respond to Montes using the "with all due respect" prelude?
Portland's inking of Scottish international Kris Boyd, a one-time finishing factory for Rangers, adds yet another name to the small, but growing, list of all-time scoring leaders now under the employ of a Major League Soccer club.
The Scotsman sticks out from the crowd though as his crown is for scoring within a domestic league; the other four names on the list hold their titles for scoring for their respective countries.
- Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy): the all-time scoring leader for the USMNT
- Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls): France's all-time scoring leader
- Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy): the all-time scoring leader for the Republic of Ireland national team
- Dwayne DeRosario (D.C. United): Canada's all-time scoring leader
- Kris Boyd (Portland Timbers): the Scottish Premier League's all-time scoring leader
Not bad company to be in, is it?
Boyd may not have the name recognition that the others have south of Hadrian's Wall but if he can bring his penchant for finishing to Portland you can guarantee that the Timbers faithful will not only know his name but also work it into a song or two...providing they can find something that rhymes with "Boyd" other than "void", "tabloids" and "Altoids".
"Yes, we talked to Del Piero; yes, we talked to Ballack; yes, we spoke to Anelka; yes, we talked to Trezeguet."
That's Montreal Impact owner Joey Saputo telling the story of his team's pursuit of a high-profile Designated Player. Of the four mentioned, three are already out of the mix: Alessandro Del Piero prefers New York or LA, Nicolas Anelka signed for big, big bucks in China, and David Trezeguet is trying to lead River Plate out of the Argentine second flight.
That leaves Michael Ballack, the 35-year-old former German captain who's been on MLS radars for at least two years. Saputo says his team's fans "deserve a Designated Player" - but not at "any price." Ballack is free to leave current club Bayer Leverkusen, where's he's been largely disappointing, but even so he won't come cheap.
"Everything fits right, everything feels right. It's not too in your face. It's really kind of subtle but in a very good way."
-David Beckham, soccer & fashion icon
The underwear may not be in your face but the commercial is. Brace yourselves for some extreme, intimate close-ups.