Flurry of moves as transfer window closes
With the closing of the FIFA international transfer window on Thursday, Major League Soccer rosters are now frozen through the end of the season. The last month has seen many MLS clubs bringing in reinforcements to either help in the playoff push or begin preparations for the 2006 season. Here is a team-by-team recap of transfer window activity.
Chivas USA - Though already eliminated from playoff contention, Hans Westerhof's side was one of the busiest during this time, bringing up four players from their sister club in Mexico. Francisco Palencia and Juan Pablo Garcia didn't waste any time getting involved in the Chivas attack, each finding the net in his debut. Goalkeeper Sergio Garcia saw action in two games - allowing five goals - before suffering a hip pointer injury that could let Brad Guzan reclaim the spot. Hector Castro has also joined the club, though he won't be ready to suit up until next season after tearing his left ACL before seeing a minute of action.
Colorado Rapids - The Rapids' first move was to replace one Israeli defender (Guy Melamed) with another (Dedi Ben-Dayan). After that, though, the focus was on offense. Colombian Diego Serna, who scored 57 goals in MLS between 1998 and 2003, was picked up on Wednesday, when Fernando Clavijo's side also made a trade with the Los Angeles Galaxy for Jovan Kirovski. Matt Crawford was put on the season-ending injury list to make space for Serna. The Rapids also pulled off a late deal to secure the rights to Haitian Alexandre Boucicaut, who made five appearances for Chicago in 2004. To create room for Boucicaut, the Rapids waived Marcus Sagastume.
FC Dallas - The Hoops started the transfer period with the signing of English midfielder Mark Wilson. The former English Premier League player has already played in two league games for FC Dallas and played 80 minutes in the team's U.S. Open Cup semifinal win over the Chicago Fire on Wednesday night. A second senior international joined the club just before the closing of the transfer window. Argentinean goalkeeper Dario Sala fills the team's final Senior International slot, since Ronnie O'Brien received his Green Card and no longer counts as one. Colin Clarke's team also added developmental player Winston Marshall (Canadian U-23 international), while placing Ty Maurin and Alex Woods on waivers.
Los Angeles Galaxy - The team's midfield received a boost on Tuesday when it was announced that Marcelo Saragosa is returning to the side. Once Saragosa receives his international transfer certificate, he could factor prominently in Steve Sampson's midfield. The 23-year-old Brazilian played in 26 games last season for L.A. Herculez Gomez, who is second on the team in scoring with seven goals, has been promoted to the team's senior roster. The Galaxy also made a late signing, Michael Nsien joining the club on a developmental contract. A University of Dayton product and Nigeria youth international, he had recently seen time with the club's reserves.
Real Salt Lake - The league's other expansion team also kept busy over the last month, adding three new faces to the roster. Guatemalan international Gustavo Cabrera has been summoned to help shore up the defense, while Adolfo Gregorio and Jamaican Robert Scarlett provide more options in the midfield. The Utah club needs to go on a terrific tear through the remainder of the season if they hope to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs, but if they don't make the cut coach John Ellinger will have a good group to keep working with for 2006.
San Jose Earthquakes - The first-place club in the West and the only side to have already booked a place in the playoffs, the Quakes practically sat this one out. Aaron Lanes joins the team as a developmental player to replace Kevin Goldthwaite, who signs a new contract as a member of the 18-man senior roster.
Chicago Fire - This is a club that was also quiet during the transfer market opening. Coach Dave Sarachan has done well to rebound his team back into a playoff-caliber team after they missed the postseason for the first time in their history in 2004. The only new addition to the side will be developmental player Andy Rosenband, who was selected by Dallas in the sixth round of the 2003 SuperDraft.
Columbus Crew - The Crew made no late moves to their roster.
D.C. United - For the second season in a row Peter Nowak has added an Argentinean for the final stretch. Last year Christian Gomez helped propel the Black-and-Red to their fourth MLS Cup championship, and the club is hoping for the same from defender Facundo Erpen. The 22-year-old has started the last four league games for D.C., looking fairly solid in the center of defense. He also scored his first MLS goal to help the Black-and-Red top FC Dallas on Sept. 10. Another last-minute deal saw the defending MLS Cup champions place defender David Stokes on the season-ending injury list, opening up a roster spot for Stephen deRoux, a local product signed through an amateur tryout who has been training with the team for several weeks. Jamil Walker also received promotion to the 18-man senior roster. The club has also signed a foreign player whose name will be released at a later date, once he receives approval of his work visa.
Kansas City - A pair of promising internationals have joined the Wizards in recent days. The first was midfielder Jermaine Hue, a crafty Jamaican national team veteran who will be ready for action once he receives a visa and international clearance. Playing in front of Hue will be Finnish striker Antti Sumiala. Bob Gansler dropped midfielder Khari Stephenson to make room for the 31-year-old. Sumiala has seen action in some of Europe's top leagues, including stints in Turkey, the Netherlands and Germany.
MetroStars - As with their rivals from the nation's capital, the MetroStars only pickup was a defensive-minded Argentinean. Daniel Garipe joined the club on Wednesday, though he has been in training with the Metros for several weeks. The 24-year-old will be classified as a youth international and Bob Bradley could turn to him in a holding midfield role once his paperwork comes through.
New England Revolution - Being the top team in MLS points-wise hasn't stopped the Revolution from continuing to add talent. Three newcomers have joined the ranks for Steve Nicol, the latest coming within hours of the closing of the transfer window when Tony Lochhead was signed Thursday. The New Zealand international defender joins MLS returnee Daniel Hernandez and Panama national team member Ricardo Phillips as the new players that will look to send the Revs to their first-ever MLS Cup this season. To make room for Lochhead, goalkeeper Kyle Singer was placed on waivers.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.