La MLS se germanise. Quelques jours après la signature d’Arne Friedrich à Chicago (il participe à son premier entraînement ce mardi), on annonce aujourd’hui que son compatriote Michael Ballack traversera l’Atlantique cet été.
Michael Becker, agent de l’ancien capitaine de l’équipe nationale allemande, a déclaré que son client « souhaitait évoluer en Major League Soccer » et a même pointé une destination de préférence : New York. Sauf que le club semble lui préférer Stephen Ireland (Aston Villa)… Des déclarations qui ne manquent pas d’animer les débats sur les réseaux sociaux.
Le milieu de terrain de Leverkusen intéresse d’autres clubs de MLS. Il y a quelques semaines, son nom revenait notamment parmi les sérieux prétendants à une place de joueur désigné à l’Impact de Montréal, qui n’est certainement pas seul sur les rangs.
Un autre Allemand fait déjà les beaux jours d’un club de MLS : Torsten Frings, à Toronto. Cependant, en sauvant ce qui ressemblait à un but tout fait ce samedi à Seattle, l’ancien joueur de la Mannschaft s’est blessé : il sera hors-circuit pour quatre à six semaines. Une absence qui risque de peser lourd en demi-finale de Ligue des champions contre Santos Laguna.
Frankie Hejduk is a legend in Columbus. His eight years playing for the Crew, including captaining them to the 2008 MLS Cup title, made him a fan favorite. (Drinking beers in the parking lot with the diehard supporters when he was suspended for a game didn't hurt his Q rating at Crew Stadium either.)
Now, after he finished his career with the LA Galaxy last year, it looks like the Crew might abide the dude again.
“There’s some Crew players that just resonate,” Crew President and GM Mark McCullers told The Columbus Dispatch recently. “Brian McBride still resonates. Frankie resonates and that certainly has value for us. I would love to have Frankie in the organization."
Si la saison est sur le point de commencer, la période des transferts est encore très chaude. Dernière preuve en date : l’annonce de la signature d’Arne Friedrich à Chicago. Le défenseur allemand débarquera en MLS avec un palmarès de deux demi-finales de Coupe du monde, un titre de vice-champion d’Europe et plus de 80 sélections en équipe nationale.
Tous les clubs de MLS ont été très actifs sur le marché au cours de l’hiver. Si vous voulez voir toutes les transactions en un coup d’œil, c’est très simple : MLSsoccer.com a pensé à vous et les a rassemblées sur cette page.
Maintenant, à vous de vous exprimer :
- Quel club a réalisé LE transfert de l’hiver (et, évidemment, qui est le joueur en question) ?
- Quelle équipe s’est renforcée là où elle en avait vraiment besoin ?
- Qui a raté son hiver et vivra une saison difficile à cause de ça ?
- Quelle est la meilleure acquisition et la plus grande perte de votre club favori ?
- Quel joueur venu de l’étranger est le renfort le plus important pour la MLS ?
- Quel départ vers l’étranger ou joueur parti à la retraite va le plus vous manquer ?
Former Colorado Rapids striker Caleb Folan left Dick's Sporting Goods Park at the start of February. Let's just say it didn't take him long to find a new club.
English Championship side Birmingham City announced Wednesday that free agent Folan has signed until the end of the season in an effort to make sure their stay in the the second-tier lasts just one season.
The 29-year-old Folan has been training with the Blues since his return to English soil and impressed manager Chris Hughton enough to be offered a short-term deal.
During his injury-hit time with the Rapids, the Republic of Ireland international and former Hull City striker played 26 times, scoring six in the process.
The languid target forward will help Birmingham in their quest to spring straight back to the EPL, as they currently occupy fifth place and a playoff spot, just seven points from the automatic promotion places.
Folan is following closely in the footsteps of former Rapids manager Gary Smith in swapping Colorado for the English lower divisions. Smith took over the reigns at Stevenage FC in January and his enjoyed relative success with the transition from MLS to England already.
His League One side held Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur to a 0-0 draw in the FA Cup Fifth round and they sit in the playoff spots in England’s third tier.
Sebastian Velasquez didn't take a typical route to MLS. It doesn't appear that it will matter in the end.
Velasquez tweeted on Monday that he had been offered a contract with Real Salt Lake after being taken 36th overall in January's SuperDraft.
Needless to say, he was a little excited.
I Feel So Blessed!! RSL Offered Me A Contract!! Should I Sign It?? JaJaJaJaJa DUHHHHHHH :)))))))))))
— Sebastian Velasquez (@TiaN_Futbol) February 20, 2012
If you guessed Eddie Johnson to the Seattle Sounders (in exchange for Mike Fucito & Lamar Neagle) I want to take you to Vegas AND to my local convenience store to buy lotto tickets. And guess what? A few frequenters of Seattle's Facebook page actually called it yesterday when they saw the above photo of EJ with Chris Henderson in a team training photo gallery.
Seriously Juan, Michael & Neil, call me. There is a casino out there that needs us to relieve it of its cash.
The Montreal Impact pulled the trigger and used their top spot in the allocation order to pick up one-time USMNT star Eddie Johnson. But don't bet on EJ taking up French lessons just yet as it seems Jesse Marsch is using him as trade bait.
— Impact de Montréal (@impactmontreal) February 17, 2012
Any guesses on where he'll land?
Well, well, well. Look who's coming back to where it all started.
Eddie Johnson, the former Wizard and 2006 World Cup veteran (not to be confused with the oft-injured Timbers forward of the same name), has signed a new deal to return to MLS.
Now let's be honest: we've heard this before. But something tells me that there will be no backing out this time. Johnson's career has been in a bit of a rut since he scored 5 goals in 16 appearances for Greek side Aris F.C. Since then he's weathered a goal-less loan to Preston North End and suffered the ignominy of being let go by Puebla just days after signing with the club. If he's ever going to come back, if he's ever needed to prove himself, the time is now.
Currently, the Impact sit at the top of the allocation order and with the recent departure of Brian Ching they may actually be interested in Johnson. The question is which Johnson they --or another club-- will get: the confident speedster of his MLS glory days or the less sure, less motivated player he was in Europe & Mexico?
UPDATE: Montreal, not Colorado as originally stated in this post, sit atop the allocation order. Colorado is rumored to be one of the clubs interested in acquiring Johnson.
Update: Juninho has returned to LA on loan.
Just as Galaxy fans had come to terms to life without Juninho, reports in Brazil suggest the former LA defensive midfielder could already be on his way back.
Juninho signed a three-year deal with Sao Paulo after his loan stint with LA ended following the 2012 season. He even bid farewell to Galaxy fans via Twitter.
Now, though, a report in Gazeta Esportiva suggests that Juninho is not going to factor into Sao Paulo's plans after all, leaving him open to a return to MLS as long as the details can be worked out between the two clubs.
Chris Birchall wasn't a household name like some of the other internationals acquired by the LA Galaxy a few years ago. But he has been a stalwart of the Trinidad & Tobago national team since 2005, and he put in three more-than-serviceable years for Bruce Arena & Co.
From the looks of this tweet on Monday morning, his time at the HDC is done.
Disappointed to say that I will not be returning to LA Galaxy,I would like to thank everyone for a Superb 3years,fans exceptional!!Thankyou!
— Chris Birchall (@chrisbirchall7) February 6, 2012
A few weeks ago, Arena had this to say about Birchall: “There hasn’t been a decision made on him. Originally he wanted to go back to England, so we obviously agreed to that and didn’t renew his option. He was looking to explore opportunities in England. Perhaps he’ll want to come back.”
Not sure at this point if anything happened in England, but it seems like the manager's final question has been answered.