FutbolMLS.com Digest: David Villa-New York City FC rumors fly, what to make of New York Red Bulls
FutbolMLS.com is the go-to source for Spanish-language coverage of MLS and the upcoming World Cup, and every Friday we will be bringing you an English-language digest of the best content they have to offer. Oh, and don't miss everything you need to know about the weekend in the Starting XI.
1. VILLA TO NYCFC (VIA MANCHESTER)?: He’s a European and world champion with both club and country, he’s 32, and he could be about to make a big splash in MLS.
This week’s “Se Dice en Europa” highlights New York City FC’s reported interest in Atlético Madrid and Spain striker David Villa, whom Spanish radio station COPE says could be on his way to the MLS expansion side on a three-year deal.
Early Saturday morning reports indicate that Villa traveled to Manchester to undergo the medicals that will allow him to join EPL champions Manchester City until February before hopping across the Atlantic to establish himself in New York, to being the 2015 MLS season with New York City FC.
It would likely be worth the effort – Villa's goalscoring record is impeccable. He is the all-time leading scorer for the Spanish national team with 56 goals in 94 appearances, a record that doesn't look like it will be broken any time soon, and ranks 11th on the all-time La Liga scoring charts.
2. HURTIN’ HONDURANS: The cloudy injury situation in the Honduras camp just two weeks out from the World Cup was the main focus on Tiro Libre Radio this week, with the group discussing how the health of the Houston Dynamo’s Boniek Garcia, and teammates Arnold Peralta and Luis Garrido, will affect their preparations.
(Early indications are not great – after the recording of the podcast, a Catrachos side without any of those three players dropped a 2-0 result to Turkey.)
Of course, there’s also the topic du jour (make that topic of the year) in US men’s national team circles – the exclusion of Landon Donovan from the final 2014 World Cup roster and life after the USA's all-time top scorer – so you'll be sure to hear some great debate about some of the key news in CONCACAF soccer as the World Cup inches closer.
3. WHAT TO MAKE OF THE RED BULLS: Are the New York Red Bulls good this year?
It's not such an easy quesiton, says FutbolMLS.com's John Rojas. On one hand they boast the services of Golden Boot leader Bradley Wright-Phillips, and of course the likes of Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill.
On the other, they have rarely been able to get those stars on the field, leading to such results as their 2-0 loss in Toronto, and a more worrying 2-1 loss at home to the Portland Timbers.
The lack of depth is worrying, argues Rojas, as is the fact that the Red Bulls have not quite yet figured things out in the center of defense with Ibrahim Sekagya and Armando angling for time next to Jámison Olave.
The season is still fairly early, and the Red Bulls are certainly not in a huge hole, but the argument is there – the team has "an overwhelming shadow" hanging over it.
4. MEXICO'S BIG WIN NOT ENOUGH?: It may have been a feel-good story all-around for Mexico on Wednesday night – the legendary Cuauhtémoc Blanco emerged to play one final game for El Tri as they eased past Israel, 3-0 in their send-off game – but head coach Miguel "El Piojo" Herrera was left wanting more.
"There were some missing connections, it was the first test," Herrera told reporters after the game. "It was not the all-around game we had hoped, but we knew how to hold the ball."
The good news is that Mexico will have plenty of time to get things just how Herrera likes, as they will now embark on a pre-World Cup journey that will see them face three fellow tournament participants in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ivory Coast, and Portugal.
5. KNOW YOUR WORLD CUP STAR: FutbolMLS.com continues with its in-depth look at some of the potential stars that will grace the field in Brazil, and this week we're getting to some of the big guns.
Perhaps the biggest is Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi, who will be under immense pressure to lead his team to glory on the soil of their fiercest rivals and to cement his own legacy as one of the great all-time players in world soccer.
Of course, Messi's strongest competition at the club level – Cristiano Ronaldo – will also be in Brazil with an arguably even tougher task on his hands in putting Portugal on his shoulders, getting them out of a difficult group, and replicating the team's semifinal run in 2006.
Though Ronaldo and Messi are the biggest names, plenty of other stars will be looking to make their names in Brazil, so be sure to check out profiles of Bosnia-Herzegovina goal machine Edin Dzeko, uncompromising Iran midfielder Javid Nekounam, Swiss starlet Xherdan Shaqiri, Nigeria striker Emmanuel Emenike (cousin of Toronto FC's Bright Dike), veteran Ecuador winger Antonio Valencia, and, of course, evergreen German general Bastian Schweinsteiger.