Kick Off: Maurice Edu joins Philadelphia Union as another USMNT player makes MLS return
Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today:
The Philadelphia Union have completed the signing of Maurice Edu. The US international will join the team as a Designated Player on a one-year loan deal with an option to buy at the end of that spell. Now that the move is official, that only leaves the big question of where Edu will play for the club? Could another new face be set to join him as well?
2. MONTERO MONEY
Following a throwaway line in an article about Maurice Edu, reports began circulating once again that Sporting CP are about to exercise their option to turn Freddy Montero’s loan deal into a permanent contract and, in doing so, net both the Seattle Sounders and MLS a windfall of cash to the tune of $12 million. However, once again, these reports seem to be wide of the mark. Speaking of former Sounders, it seems Michael Gspurning has found a new club.
3. WHITECAPS ADD A TOUCH OF NORCAL
The Vancouver Whitecaps finalized their acquisition of Steven Beitashour on Monday, with Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson declaring, “Arguably, he’s the best right back in the league.” As the San Jose Earthquakes explain, the move makes sense for both sides and it seems Beitashour won’t be without a familiar face at his new club, as the ‘Caps also agreed a deal with Re-Entry Draft selection Mehdi Ballouchy.
4. LATEST ON DC STADIUM PROJECT
Some MLS observers were taken aback by a poll in The Washington Post that indicated the D.C. United stadium project may not have community backing. Others, like the Post's Steven Goff, aren't so sure the results are as significant as some are saying. The Washington City Paper agrees, especially since the poll question was a bit misleading. SB Nation also has a comprehensive breakdown here.
5. FRANCHISING FLORIDA
David Beckham’s soccer specific stadium in Miami could move one step closer to reality on Tuesday as Miami-Dade officials are set to meet with the former MLS star to begin narrowing down a list of up to 30 possible locations. In other Florida news, it seems plans to relocate Orlando City’s USL PRO franchise to Louisville are currently 50-50, and the current side added a former MLS midfielder to its squad ahead of its final USL PRO season.
6. WHAT TO EXPECT
With the US national team having spent two weeks training in Brazil, Jurgen Klinsmann feels they "have a much, much better picture now of what to expect and what will challenge us” and it seems the head coach has no concerns about any of the venues the USMNT will venture play in next summer. Klinsmann also offered some thoughts on upcoming opponents South Korea, noting that Costa Rica “had absolutely no chance against them the other day.”
7. AMERICANS ABROAD
With the World Cup getting closer, what of the many US internationals based abroad? Well, following his injury at the weekend, Fabian Johnson could miss several weeks due to his broken hand. Klinsmann also offered some thoughts on what the future holds for Jermaine Jones. Also, is there still time for Timmy Chandler to push his way back into the US national teams plans? Meanwhile, in England, Stuart Holden’s recovery is coming along nicely.
8. FLIPPIN' ECK
The New York Red Bulls aquired Richard Eckersley from Toronto FC in exchange for a 2017 fourth-round draft pick on Monday. While the Red Bulls almost certainly couldn't afford Eckersley's high wages with their limited cap space, sources indicated to Empire of Soccer that TFC will still be paying a large chunk of his salary. That bodes well for 2014, which will also be the last season the Red Bulls have the Big Apple all to themselves. Claudio Reyna has been speaking to ESPNFC.com about the challenges of building New York City FC from scratch.
9. ALL THINGS TFC
Following training on Monday, some notable Toronto FC figures took time to chat with the media. Michael Bradley explains what it takes to fit in with a new team, while general manager Tim Bezbatchenko is interested to see how preseason unfolds. Justin Morrow is another new entry in camp and he explains to The Toronto Sun how, following his signing from San Jose, head coach Ryan Nelsen was the first to make him feel welcome. There’s certainly a lot more pressure on TFC this year and captain Steven Caldwell urges his teammates to enjoy it.
10. NO ROOM FOR RIO
Despite the fact that the LA Galaxy already have three Designated Players, rumors from the English press continue to link Manchester United veteran Rio Ferdinand with a move to the Southern California club. In a bid to put a stop to the rumblings, Galaxy president Chris Klein cut the conversation short: “Rio is a great player but we do not have an interest and there have been no discussions.”
11. RAPID RE-SIGN
Colorado took another step towards rounding out their roster for the 2014 season after the Rapids announced they have re-signed striker Danny Mwanga. However, Mwanga won’t be ready for the start of the MLS schedule, as he recently underwent hernia surgery and is expected to miss another 4-6 weeks of action.
12. CHEMISTRY SET
After a woeful 2013, during which they still won the US Open Cup, D.C. United have largely reworked their team ahead of 2014. As such, head coach Ben Olsen acknowledges that one of his biggest challenges will be building chemistry among his new-look squad. With that in mind, while his new teammates seem ready to accept him, is Eddie Johnson trying to hold out for more money? It’s not just on the pitch that things are changing either, as the club is close to naming a new assistant coach.
13. TIMBERS GO DEEP
With their 2013 season threatened by injuries at times, the Portland Timbers plan to have two players for every position this year. With their new USL PRO affiliate in place, they have the perfect place for anyone just beyond that squad. Sadly, Mikael Silvestre won’t be a part of either team as it was confirmed on Monday that the two parties have agreed to mutually part ways.
14. LOWER LEAGUE TALENT POOL
Chivas USA completed two new signings on Monday, with Fejiro Okiomah and Donny Toia joining the club along with their other recent acquisition, Andrew Ribeiro. All three players most recently played in USL PRO, with Okiomah arriving from the Charlotte Eagles and Real Salt Lake Homegrown player Toia most recently playing for Phoenix FC.
15. CANNON FODDER
Goalkeeper Joe Cannon may be on his way out of Vancouver but that doesn’t mean the 39-year-old is ready to hang up his gloves just yet, noting, “I don’t think anyone is ever completely ready for retirement.” What might the future hold for Cannon when he does call time on his playing career? The former Whitecap talks about that and more with The Vancouver Sun as he says goodbye to the city.
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