With rumors flying over who will step in as the next head coach of the Red Bulls, one name seems to be a step closer to taking the reins in New York.
Previous speculation centered around former Aston Villa caretaker manager and Scottish international, Gary McAllister, but those rumblings seems to have stalled in recent days, leaving the door wide open for Portuguese manager Paulo Sousa.
Making things even more interesting, Sousa just stepped down from his post at Hungarian club Videoton FC for "family reasons" – perhaps they prefer to be based in New York City? – which means his schedule is wide open for the 2013 MLS season. And, in the words of Alexi Lalas, Sousa is "a good bet to be the next coach of the New York Red Bulls."
Only time will tell who will take Hans Backe’s place at Red Bull Arena, but the clock is definitely ticking as the MLS Player Combine and the SuperDraft are quickly approaching.
Do you think Sousa is the right choice? Can he help the Red Bulls break the Curse of Caricola?
A few weeks ago we told you how Houston Dynamo star Oscar Boniek Garcia was talking up MLS to his Honduran compatriot Alexander López. But it wasn't necessarily clear that he was trying to recruit him to BBVA Compass Stadium.
We have our confirmation, from the player himself.
López spilled the beans to the Saturday edition of Honduran outlet La Tribuna.
“Yes, it's true that I have an offer from the Houston Dynamo," he said. "I think it would be a nice experience to play in that league [MLS]. I'm not going to deny that in a way it excites me, but I'm not desperate to leave; I'm young with my future ahead of me. I've been calm about everything."
Boniek Garcia was a former Olimpia player and is very familiar with López's abilities. It helps that the Dynamo and Olimpia faced off in the group stage of the current edition of the CONCACAF Champions League.
“As a player you always look at things in the short-term and I'd like to consolidate my place on the team [Olimpia] this year, although the offer from the United States is tempting," López said. "The Houston Dynamo manager saw me when we played them in the United States. I think it would be a nice experience that other Honduran players are already living."
So what do we make of this one?
There's a report that claims that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is mulling over a move for Sporting Kansas City forward C.J. Sapong. The Football Magazine goes as far as saying that a fee of nearly $5 million has been agreed upon with SKC with only personal terms left to be worked out.
When contacted by MLSsoccer.com, Sporting Kansas City had no comment on the report.
The news is so out-of-the-blue that many have already laughed it off. But work permit issues notwithstanding, why would it be considered so far-fetched? After all, the 24-year-old Sapong is one of the elite young players in MLS and captured the 2011 Rookie of the Year award. And Arsenal have made it a club policy to recruit young players.
Despite battling injury and losing his starting spot in 2012, Sapong still wound up with nine goals in 2012 MLS league action and now Sporting KC have what seemingly looks like a glut of forwards with new signing Claudio Bieler and the return of Teal Bunbury from a knee injury.
What do you make of the news? Comment below.
You've probably read the rumors, and so have we: The New York Red Bulls are reportedly trading Joel Lindpere to the Chicago Fire in exchange for an international slot.
But as of Friday evening, neither club was saying anything, as both RBNY and Chicago declined to comment to MLSsoccer.com.
But given the amount of salary the Red Bulls are likely taking on for Juninho Pernambucano — further crowding up an already crowded midfield — and their suddenly open Designated Player slot thanks to the sale of Rafa Márquez, this move isn't much of a surprise. (Lindpere signed a hefty contract extension a year ago.)
Even less of a shock considering the clear-out of Hans Backe products that began as soon as the 2012 season ended and will likely continue as new sporting director Andy Roxburgh puts his stamp on the club. All that cap space is going to go somewhere, and if you factor in the extra international slot into the equation, well, you can take a guess as to what kind of math the Red Bulls are banking on.
Still, it'd be a bit sad to see the Estonian midfielder make his exit from Red Bull Arena. After all, he bagged the first goal ever scored there and was a fan favorite. If he's gone, by the way, that would leave a single player left on the roster from that March 2010 friendly against Santos, the debut match at RBNY's new home:
The times have changed in Harrison, indeed.
The Portland Timbers certainly haven’t stood pat this offseason.
General manager Gavin Wilkinson and first-year coach Caleb Porter have already injected steel into the side – acquiring MLS vets such as midfielder Will Johnson from Real Salt Lake, versatile defender Michael Harrington from Sporting KC and Jamaican striker Ryan Johnson from Toronto FC – and now they could be poised to add some much-needed creativity.
At only 26, Valeri is entering the prime of his career and would be a promising acquisition for a Timbers side in need of a bit more attacking oomph. It also helps he seems to be out of favor at his current club.
Valeri currently plays for Club Atlético Lanús in the Argentine Primera División, where he’s made 156 appearances since debuting in 2003 and captained the team in their 2011 Clausura runners-up campaign, but hasn’t seen much time since ex-Columbus Crew star Guillermo Barros Schelotto took over as manager. Of course, that’s where Portland come into play.
Should the Argentine make the move to the Pacific Northwest, the Timbers could have the type of creative midfield presence that would allow Darlington Nagbe to shift permanently to the withdrawn forward role many believe will bring out the best in Porter’s former Akron prodigy.
He’s no stranger to foreign adventures, either. In July 2009, Valeri was loaned to Portuguese champions Porto, where he played one season, then spent six months on loan with Spanish second-division side UD Almería.
What do you think? Is Valeri the answer in Portland? Will the Timbers’ offseason moves pay dividends in 2013?
The Daily Mail – alarm bells already ringing! – reported Friday morning that current Queens Park Rangers vice-captain Ryan Nelsen was headed back to MLS as an assistant coach with former club D.C. United.
It didn't take long for The Washington Post's Steve Goff to get his journalistic biplane off the ground to effectively red baron those rumors.
Brit tabloid report that QPR's Ryan Nelsen is joining D.C. United coaching staff is "100 percent" not true, Ben Olsen says #dcu #mls
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) January 4, 2013
Just as quickly, others chimed in with another possible landing spot for Nelsen: Toronto FC, where former D.C. president Kevin Payne is reshaping the club.
Word I've heard is that Toronto FC could be the destination for Ryan Nelsen to begin coaching career, would re-unite him with Kevin Payne.
— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) January 4, 2013
If Nelsen does land on an MLS staff, it would continue the ongoing trend of former players moving into assistant coaching roles. The New Zealander would certainly have plenty of experience to draw on, as well as an intimate understanding of the league and valuable contacts back in England.
What do you think? Would Nelsen be a good hire at TFC or D.C. United? For an MLS side in general?
With rumors flying about the possibility of Chelsea FC star Frank Lampard joining the LA Galaxy – when aren’t rumors flying around the Galaxy? – it’s no surprise that fans worldwide are anxiously waiting to see where one of the past decade’s top goal-scoring midfielders will end up.
On Thursday afternoon, it seemed like a done deal that Lamps was on his way out, according to a report on the Italian website Cittaceleste.it that quoted his agent, Steve Kutner, as saying: “As for the future, the only certainty is that he will change teams at the end of the season. Frank wants to play for a great side, capable of challenging for important targets and where he could win more trophies.”
But hold the horses. Kutner later went on BBC 5Live radio and denied he had done any interviews with the website. He said he hasn't "spoken to anybody about Lampard's future and hasn't given any interview about it," according to ESPN.com.
Still, the fact remains: It is common knowledge that Lampard is moving on at the end of the season. There are plenty of rumblings about offers from Lazio, Inter Milan and, of course, LA, with a reported $6.5 million-per-year contract from the MLS club.
That's all about his future. But there was also a brilliant rumbling on the internet on Thursday about his past.
Here’s a great video that recently surfaced from Lampard’s early days, showing then-West Ham manager Harry Redknapp adamantly defending his decision to offer Lampard a spot on the team. Of course, Hammers supporters still aren’t the English international’s biggest fans, but Redknapp turned out to be 100 percent correct about his young prodigy and nephew.
Rest assured, the flood of Honduran players to Major League Soccer hasn't reached the high-water mark just yet.
According to comments from the player himself, the Seattle Sounders are closing in on the signing of CD Victoria defender Wilmer Crisanto, who they've been pursuing for some time if the reports are to be believed.
Here's what the right back (above) had to say to Cronometro: "It is a matter of my salary, they already told me what I was going to earn in Seattle. I asked my agent to try to get a little more but if he's not able to, I'll have to settle for what they offered me, I'm not asking for much."
Of course, nothing is official until the final shoe drops, but the 23-year-old sounds pretty confident that he'll be the latest Catracho to land in MLS.
The other tidbit to come out of the article concerns Crisanto's teammate at Victoria and with the Honduran Olympic team, José Velásquez Colón. According to the story, the center back is preparing to embark on a trial with the Sounders after a successful year for both club and country.
What do you think? Have Hondurans taken over from Colombians as MLS' biggest import?
Here's a rumor that may have some legs. Though it hasn't always been the most reliable of sources, Honduran publication Diez claims that Houston Dynamo midfielder Oscar Boniek García has spoken to 20-year-old compatriot Alex López about a move to MLS, and López certainly isn't shying away from the possiblity.
"I have many friends who play in MLS, it would be a great goal, life is made for that," López is quoted as saying. "If the opportunity is given to me, I will go and work my hardest"
Given the success Honduran players have had in MLS and López's succcess with club team Olimpia in the CONCACAF Champions League and at the various levels of the Honduras national team, this one makes a good deal sense, not to mention the comments attributed to him the report.
"I have asked God for the opportunity to play abroad," López is quoted as saying. "It is something all players desire, and if the opportunity is given – and only God knows – we'll see how things turn out."
And let's not forget, López looks to be an excellent player in the making. He made his debut for Olimpia at the age of 18, and has registered 22 goals and 37 assists in 58 games in all competitions for the Honduran powerhouse.
He yet to score in three appearances for Honduras' senior national team, but made one start and two appearances off the bench during the team's impressive run at the Olympic Games, and has put in a series of strong performances at the youth international level.
García's involvement in the story naturally makes the Houston Dynamo a rumored destination, but López denied the certainty of a move, saying, "The truth is, I've had talks with Boniek García, but I'm not the one who makes the decisions here, [team] president Rafael Ferrari is the one who has command of the team, and he knows my future."
One more South American player for your silly season enjoyment here. According to this report in Argentine publication Olé indicates the Chicago Fire are one of a number of teams interested in midfielder Iván Marcone, who plays for 2012 Clausura champions Arsenal de Sarandí.
Marcone, who is just 22 years old, has already made 114 league appearances for the Buenos Aires side and has one goal to his name. He isn't a guy who's going to light up the scoresheet, but will contribute on both sides of the ball.
Of course, because Arsenal won the championship earlier this year, they will be participating in the Copa Libertadores, an enticing prospect for any player. Thus, Marcone deflected questions about interest from the Fire, as well as Spanish outfit Celta de Vigo and Cruz Azul, simply by saying, "I'm only thinking about the Copa Libertadores."
So, it doesn't sound like the soundest of rumors, but the prospect of a technical, hard-working midfielder like Marcone coming to MLS is always fun to think about, especially on this slow New Year's weekend.
MLSsoccer.com reached out to the Fire about the report, but has not yet received comment.