FutbolMLS.com Digest: Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola reflects on CONCACAF's World Cup
FutbolMLS.com is the go-to source for Spanish-language coverage of MLS and the World Cup, and every Friday we bring you an English-language digest of the best stuff on the site. Oh, and don't miss everything you need to know about the weekend in American soccer in the Starting XI.
1. LAMPARD, PEP COME STATESIDE: There’s no getting around it – the big news in MLS this week was the arrival of Chelsea and England star Frank Lampard to New York City FC. The move has provoked plenty of discussion around the league, and the Tiro Libre crew added their two cents to the discussion, arguing that despite Lampard's age, his experience, pedigree and influence on NYCFC's youth make the move more than worth it.
The group also visited some of the other hot-button topics in North American soccer, including the ongoing search for a stadium by David Beckham & Co. in Miami, and Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola's plans for the team's US tour, which will include games against Chivas Guadalajara on July 31 at Red Bull Arena and the MLS All-Star Game on August 6 at Providence Park in Portland (9:30 pm ET | ESPN2, UniMas in the US; TSN/RDS in Canada).
2. ARGENTINE PRIDE: Germany may have taken home the World Cup, but Argentines continue to be the hot commodity in MLS for the time being, and FutbolMLS.com had a chance to talk with one of the league’s finest, Real Salt Lake playmaker Javier Morales.
Now in his eighth year with RSL, Morales has seen lots of changes in MLS since arriving in 2007, and praised the league’s expansion, construction of soccer-specific stadiums and the growing level of play.
Of the league’s Argentine influx, Morales said, “[It’s] good, I’m happy because of the fact Argentines are increasingly coming to the United States. There are lots of players that have come to [MLS] and are also playing very well, which helps in the market so that even more Argentines can come, and I’m sure they would help the league a lot. I’m very proud to be Argentine and to see so many compatriots representing our country in this great way.”
3. HONEST OPINIONS: Guardiola’s a popular man these days, with fans and media in North American taking full advantage of his and his team’s presence on this side of the world to quiz him on a wide-range of views, and the Spaniard has happily obliged.
Perhaps the most frequent topic of discussion is the growth of soccer in United States and the CONCACAF region, and Guardiola had some kind words after a historic World Cup for the region’s teams.
On the US: “Obviously the US took several steps forward in terms of their soccer ideas, and with the concepts [of US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann]. They are physically very solid, their defensive line was very organized and to qualify from such a difficult group, it makes the US a reality in soccer.”
On Costa Rica: “Costa Rica were the undoubted surprise of the World Cup. They played with a 5-4-1 and they did it well. I don’t know the majority of their players, but now they are a reality and it makes me very happy that [players] from these countries show like any other in a global event like this.”
On Mexico: “I’m more a fan of Mexican soccer. I played there for six months and it impressed me how they look to play well and have so much dynamism. I was more than happy that Rafa Márquez continues to be a fantastic player. He makes his teammates better.”
4. RIDING THE COACHING CAROUSEL: Honduras didn’t fare quite as well as their CONCACAF counterparts in Brazil, and as such they’ll be looking for a new coach. They can’t drag their feet, however, as they need a man to lead them in the 2014 Copa Centroamericana, which runs Sept. 3-13 in the United States.
“We are considering three coaches, whose names I will reserve for obvious reasons,” said Honduran federation president Rafael Callejas on the Jorge Ramos y Su Banda radio show. “This week I’ll talk with the first, as in just a few weeks we will be playing in Washington [D.C.] against Belize.”
Former Costa Rica international Hernán Medford, who currently coaches 2013 Honduran Apertura champions Real España, is one of the rumored candidates to take over the job, while Callejas said the federation also had proposals from the Netherlands.
5. DOWN OL' SOUTH AMERICA WAY: Jerry Bengtson may not have been the goalscoring answer for the New England Revolution, but another team in one of the Americas’ top leagues hope is hoping he’ll do the trick for them.
The Honduran World Cup veteran was loaned Friday morning to Argentina’s Belgrano de Córdoba, and FutbolMLS.com’s Argentine correspondent Emmanuel Quispe has been following the developments closely.
Bengtson will likely get a chance to shine in the Argentine interior – according to sources close to the club, head coach Ricardo Zielinski “is a coach that fixes a lot and gives opportunities to players without too much reputation.
"Besides, Belgrano has contracted recently players that nobody had on their radar that have given them results, thus there is nothing unreasonable about Bengtson. They’ve seen his film, they’ve liked him, and he is the strongest option.”