Here are the top 15 soccer stories we’re following today...
1. IT'S SUPERDRAFT TIME!
The MLS SuperDraft takes place today at noon ET and you can tune in live on ESPNews. So, ahead of the big event, here are five things to consider. Yet the most important question will always be this: Which players will end up with which teams? So, with that in mind, here’s the final mock draft of 2014 by our very own SuperDraft experts and, for comparison, how SoccerByIves.net thinks it’ll all go down.
The Portland Timbers certainly had a busy Wednesday. First the club revealed there were two more Argentinians joining the club, with Gastón Fernández and Norberto Paparatto officially becoming Timbers players. Then the news broke that they were sending José Valenica on loan to Argentina’s Club Olimpo before, finally, the club announced Bryan Gallego as the club's new Homegrown signing.
3. WORLD IN UNION
Following up from Tuesday’s high-profile trade, the Philadelphia Union made an addition to their squad as well. The club announced on Wednesday that they had secured the signing of Argentine midfielder Cristian Maidana, most recently of Argentinos Juniors. Talking about his new signing, Union head coach John Hackworth recalled his impressions after watching him play: “I came away extremely impressed with his technical skills, creativity and 1-v-1 ability.”
4. TRADING D
The Seattle Sounders and Chicago Fire were involved in a three-player trade on Wednesday, with the Fire sending Jalil Anibaba to Seattle, along with their eighth overall draft pick and a conditional third-round pick, in exchange for Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni and the Sounders' 13th pick. Explaining the move, Fire boss Frank Yallop believes, We looked light on the defensive side of things.” On the other side, Seattle's Sigi Schmid has spoken about what Anibaba brings to the table, saying, “Jalil is a center back who has tremendous upside.”
5. SOUND OF PROGRESS
Anibaba wasn’t the only player to join Seattle on Wednesday, as the club announced that Tristan Bowen is now officially a Sounder. However, while the club adds new players, are Getafe interested in acquiring Obafemi Martins?
6. RETURNING RAPIDS
The Rapids didn’t add anyone new on Wednesday, but they have moved to retain some important cogs in their machine. The club revealed that not only has it re-signed two young defenders, but veteran midfielder and five-time MLS Cup champion Brian Mullan will also be returning. Also, could 2014 be the year we finally get to see Charles Eloundou in action?
7. MEET THE PEOPLE
With both clubs in New York now linked to Barcelona star Xavi, the rumors look set to continue for some time, but, in the meantime, are the New York Red Bulls getting ready to pull the trigger on some of their other targets? Staying in the Big Apple, New York City FC held a town hall meeting on Wednesday to discuss the club's proposed stadium and things certainly got … heated.
8. WORK TO DO FOR COLUMBUS CREW
In his three years with the LA Galaxy, Hector Jimenez got used to making the postseason and it’s a run that he hopes to continue with his new club, the Columbus Crew: "Hopefully we can get back on track and make the playoffs and make a good run.” Helping him in that goal will be another new Crew member, Michael Parkhurst, who very nearly ended up in another country altogether.
9. LOOKING TO IMPRESS IN MILAN
Michael Seaton is now in Italy training with Inter Milan’s Primavera side for two weeks and the young D.C. United forward has been speaking about what he hopes to achieve in this short training spell.
10. DYNAMO: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE
Ricardo Clark enjoyed a good season last year, possibly his best to date, but the Houston Dynamo midfielder thinks it could have been better, stating, “At the end of the day, the main goal is to win the championship and we fell short of that.” Elsewhere, former Dynamo Andrew Driver has nothing but positive things to say about Houston and his time in MLS.
11. THIS IS THE END
The Camilo Sanvezzo saga seems to be nearing its end, with Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson revealing that he traveled to Mexico to speak with the player, telling the press, “The way he acted has been unprofessional. I told him and he agreed.” However, does Camilo’s seemingly successful power play set a dangerous precedent for the league?
12. MLS ALUMNI ON THE MOVE
As the San Jose Earthquakes roster starts to take shape ahead of the 2014 season, one player who won’t be on it is Jamie Alas. The young player failed to impress during his loan in 2013 and has now signed for Ballenas Galeana in the Mexican second division. Speaking of former MLS players, Mike Banner, who once played for the Chicago Fire, has joined NASL side FC Edmonton.
13. MLS TV
Details have become pretty clear about some parts of MLS’ new TV deal in recent days, but could the official announcement be made during the NSCAA convention this weekend? The New York Times believes so and it also looks at some of the potential knock-on effects if the deal is worth as much as some are suggesting.
14. US U-17S TALKING TURKEY
US Under-17 national team head coach Richie Williams has called up 20 players for the upcoming Aegean Cup in Turkey. Of those selected, the LA Galaxy’s Haji Wright is the highlight among a handful of MLS Academy players.
15. US SQUAD READY TO KICK OFF
The US reportedly national team will travel to Eastern Europe for a friendly against Ukraine on March 5, just three days before the MLS season begins. How does USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann feel about the number of US players returning to MLS? Well, it seems he’s actually quite happy. The squad is currently in Brazil and will play a scrimmage against São Paulo FC on Thursday, but how was the flight to Brazil? Join Dax McCarty as he walks you through the experience.
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