Kick Off: Califf gets queasy over Philly trade details
Feeling a bit queasy this morning? You must be a Philadelphia Union fan.
Or maybe you’re former Union captain Danny Califf, who found out on Thursday that his time was officially done with the club and that he was headed to Chivas USA as part of perhaps the most contentious trade of the 2012 season.
Califf has spoken out about both the trade and what he’s perceived as spin placed on the deal by the Union and head coach Peter Nowak, and he’s not happy. That comment that Califf wanted to head back to his native California? Says Califf: “It made me want to throw up.”
Well if not California, then where? Turns out the other option was last-place Toronto FC, a place Califf apparently never wanted to go. The former Philly captain told the Delaware County Daily Times that he pleaded with Nowak not to head north, saying, “Please, if you’re going to make this trade, please don’t send me to Toronto.”
Here's some more from Califf on the deal: "We certainly did not want to leave Philadelphia by any stretch of the imagination."
So where does Thursday’s move leave the Union? Here’s a look at the reasoning for the trade and what comes next for the club, and here’s some insight as to who might be the savior now: Sheanon Williams.
The Califf deal wasn’t the only one that went down on a busy day in MLS. Young striker Juan Agudelo is suddenly a member of Chivas USA, and veteran defender Heath Pearce has another new zip code after a rare high-profile trade sent the two on cross-county flights.
The math was apparently very simple for the Red Bulls, who listened to Agudelo’s cries for more playing time and accommodated him, while landing one of the most versatile defenders in the league.
The move is being considered a rousing success for both teams, but perhaps more so for the Red Bulls. Here’s a look at the results on both sides, and here’s another that spells out why RBNY got the best of the deal.
Maybe the Agudelo trade wasn’t enough for you? You wanted more? You’re not going to get it for now, especially if you’re thinking the Red Bulls might deal Rafa Márquez, too. Sporting director Erik Solér quashed that idea on Thursday, amid rumors the Mexican international wants out.
In LA, meanwhile, head coach Robin Fraser will have some brand new energy in camp this morning after landing the veteran Califf and the rising star Agudelo. Fraser spoke to the media on Thursday and added that both will be ready to contribute during tomorrow’s SuperClasico matchup against the LA Galaxy (10:30 pm, ESPN2).
One MLS star who won’t see action this weekend or any time soon is Brek Shea, the FC Dallas phenom who has run afoul of the law in MLS. Thou shalt not kick a ball at the assistant referee, it appears, and the Disciplinary Committee dropped the hammer on Shea with a three-game suspension. Portland’s Mamadou Danso was also suspended one game for his karate chop to Dynamo striker Calen Carr in their midweek stalemate in Houston.
The important note there? Shea cannot serve the suspension while with the national team, which means even if he is invited to Jurgen Klinsmann’s upcoming camp, he’ll sit out three FC Dallas games when he gets back in June.
Shea, for his part, didn’t waste time making amends. He issued an immediate apology on Twitter after the news came down.
Of course the questions are still buzzing if Shea will be invited to Klinsmann’s US camp, which could include up to 29 players. We’ll find out the final details on Sunday, but here’s a look at just who might fill out all those lockers.
There’s less conjecture for the Canadian national team. Head coach Stephen Hart rolled out his preliminary roster for the Canucks on Thursday, a list which includes six MLS players and rising teen star Samuel Piette.
The reaction in Canada? What’s that? WHAT? Turns out some of the guys might be a little long in the tooth, and CONCACAF’s rigorous travel could take its toll on the team’s veterans.
Speaking of some rigorous travel, the US Open Cup is back. The schedule for the second and third rounds of the tournament was revealed on Thursday, and it appears some MLS teams could be in for some frequent-flier miles: Seattle to Atlanta, Portland to Wilmington and LA to Carolina?
Of course the stunner there is that the three-time reigning champion Sounders could face a (gasp) road game in the USOC. Head coach Sigi Schmid spoke about the draw on Thursday, and said he was ready to pack his carry-on: ”If we go to Atlanta, we go to Atlanta. … We have to take it as it comes.”
The Sounders are at the epicenter of one of the best MLS games of the weekend, as they travel north to face the Vancouver Whitecaps in a Cascadia Cup clash on Saturday (5 pm ET, TSN in Canada/MLS Live in US). And it turns out that Schmid and ‘Caps head coach Martin Rennie have an interesting back story that dates back to their days in Ohio.
The Whitecaps, meanwhile, are still buzzing about striker Eric Hassli’s goal from the Canadian Championship on Wednesday. Check out some of their comments.
And for all those Cascadia history buffs, there’s another great storyline to play out on Saturday. Former Sounders fan favorite (aren’t they all fan favorites?) Sébastien Le Toux will suit up against his former team, this time from behind enemy lines.
As for the Sounders, they’ve got their big boys ready to roll, and their part owner is talking them up late-night TV. Check out Drew Carey chatting up Jimmy Kimmel about the Sounders and their fans (VIDEO).
And for all those folks putting their summer schedule together, a potentially huge matchup between the Sounders and the Earthquakes was rescheduled on Thursday.
Let’s head down the coast to LA, where Saturday night brings the return of the SuperClásico. It’s still one of the best rivalries in MLS, right? This intrepid folks put it to both the Galaxy and Chivas USA players and coaches to the test about the best rivalry in the league, and it’s actually no surprise what Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena has to say: It’s New York vs. D.C.
As for the Galaxy, there’s no worry about the recent extra travel to the White House to meet and greet President Obama and the First Lady. In fact, according to striker Robbie Keane, the trip brought the group together.
Still, not everyone is happy about LA’s trip to the nation’s capital. Turns out that former Galaxy and current Columbus Crew player Chris Birchall is a little upset he was not invited to the party.
One guy who missed his shot at meeting the president this year is Houston Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear, who lost out to Arena and the Galaxy in the MLS Cup last year. But Kinnear is evidently doing all he can to ensure the Dynamo get back to the big dance with some home-field advantage, and he’s not apologizing for it.
Cue the Alice Cooper, because school’s out for summer. At least, it is for Montreal Impact rookie Andrew Wenger, who recently finished up his studies at Duke and has now joined the club full-time.
And one last bit of personnel news that could affect this weekend’s MLS games, especially in Chicago. Defender Arne Friedrich is a no-go for the team’s matchup at Portland on Sunday (7 pm ET, Galavision).
Let’s look quickly across the pond, where the American ranks in the Premier Leaue just got a bit thinner. Defender Zak Whitbread battled injuries all season and consequently received his walking papers from Norwich City on Thursday, marking the third US player to leave the Premier League ranks in a week after Tim Ream and Stuart Holden were relegated with Bolton last weekend.
American striker Terrence Boyd is also currently looking for a club, as it appears he will not be back at Dortmund next year.
How about a quick look at Mexico? American striker Herculez Gomez is one step closer to a Mexican title after Santos Laguna earned a 1-1 draw against Monterrey in the first leg of the Clausura final on Thursday.
And of course the buzz in Europe is all about the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday, pitting host Bayern Munich against Chelsea. It’s certainly not Barcelona-Manchester United of old, and Bayern’s Franck Ribéry isn’t biting his tongue about the matchup: “This is probably the worst game ever.”
The matchup could serve as one last stand for the old guard at Chelsea, and striker Didier Drogba is trying to forget about Chelsea’s epic Champions League failure last time they were on this stage.
As for Bayern Munich, the matchup means the world to both Philipp Lahm and the club’s legacy.
And last but not least, whether you’re watching the game at home or at BC Place, make sure to catch an ad that will run during the game featuring Portland’s Darlington Nagbe and the Timbers Army.
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