VILLA DOUBT FOR NYCFC
New York City FC are preparing to play their second consecutive match without their captain and talisman, David Villa. The Spanish international is yet to participate in a full training session since he suffered a calf injury in a previous match with LA Galaxy. Villa missed the game against Orlando City over the weekend and is now a doubt for New England Revolution this coming Saturday.
A decision will be made on Friday but New York City management will be wary of reintroducing David Villa until he is fully recovered. Rundown does note that the surface at the Gillette Stadium is artificial, which contributed to repeated calf issues suffered by Frank Lampard during his time in MLS.
Rod Wallace filled in up top against Orlando City but is on international duty with the Costa Rican national team, as a result he will be unavailable for the Revolution. Norwegian striker Jo Inge Berget looks the most likely to lead the forward line for the New York City franchise.
HEINEKEN EXTENDS MLS PARTNERSHIP
Heineken has extended its long-term partnership with Major League Soccer, signing a five-year renewal as the ‘Official Beer of MLS’. The partnership began in 2014 and has included 40 memorable MLS Heineken Rivalry Week matches, more than one million pints sold at MLS games annually, 11 team sponsorships and countless fan viewing parties, tailgate sponsorships and stadium giveaways.
“We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Heineken,” MLS vice president of partnership marketing Jennifer Cramer said in a statement. “Heineken has a natural and global connection to the sport of soccer and continues to build deep relationships with fans through celebratory moments and their love of the beautiful game. We are excited to grow the sport of soccer together for many years to come.”
As part of the renewal, Heineken will continue to sponsor Rivalry Week, which runs from August 22nd to August 26th and has previously included national broadcasts of major rivalry games including NYCFC-New York Red Bulls, LA Galaxy-LAFC, Houston Dynamo-FC Dallas, Orlando City SC-Atlanta United and Portland Timbers-Seattle Sounders FC.
“Soccer has been a crucial platform for Heineken across the globe with multiple league, team and championship game sponsorships. In the U.S., our partnership with MLS has helped drive the sport’s rapid expansion and growing popularity,” Heineken senior vice president of marketing Felix Palau said in a statement. “Our partners at MLS are some of our most important globally, and we can’t wait to continue bringing fans closer to the game they love, with a Heineken in hand.”
In the interest of fairness, Rundown would like to highlight that there are other alcoholic beverages out there. It’s personal beverage of choice is a Flaming Doctor Pepper. Not tried it? You’re missing out.
15-YEAR-OLD SIGNS HOMEGROWN DEAL
Despite Patrick Vieira’s concern over David Villa, he has been busy signing 15-year-old fullback Joe Scally to an MLS Homegrown contract, following in the footsteps of James Sands. Scally joined the first team for preseason training camps in Jacksonville, Florida, Los Angeles and Mexico but will finish out the remainder of the school year before commencing full-time training with the senior squad in the summer. The 15-year old (who only turned 15 on New Year’s Eve) becomes NYCFC’s second-ever Homegrown Player.
“It’s a dream come true for me, I’ve wanted to be a professional soccer player ever since I was a little kid and to get to do it right here at home in New York, at this club, makes it extra special,” Scally told NYCFC.com. “It was an easy decision. There are so many great professional coaches and players here who can help me improve every aspect of my game.”
VICTOR VAZQUEZ SIGNS CONTRACT EXTENSION
Midfield playmaker Victor Vazquez has agreed a multi-year contract extension with MLS Cup Champions Toronto FC. The 31-year-old was named in the MLS Best XI last season after scoring eight goals and finishing second in the league in assists (16), including an MLS-best six game-winning assists. He registered 10 goals and 20 assists in 39 combined appearances across all competitions and was named MLS Player of the Week four times.
“Following the conclusion of the 2016 season, teams within MLS started to figure out they could sit back on us. It was critical for our group to find a top-level talent that could help unlock teams and put us over the top,” said TFC senior VP of soccer operations and GM Tim Bezbatchenko (Rundown: Great name) in a club statement. “Victor ultimately would become that piece helping us in our success last season in winning the treble. We are pleased to get this deal done so that Victor can help us defend our titles this season and beyond.”
Hampered by a back injury, Vazquez has made five appearances thus far in 2018.
LOS ANGELES FC/GALAXY NEWS
LAFC have signed attacker Shaft Brewer, Jr. after acquiring his MLS rights from FC Dallas, in exchange for a 2019 MLS SuperDraft fourth-round pick and $50,000 in General Allocation Money if certain playing conditions are met. The 18-year-old joins LAFC after most recently playing for Bundesliga side RB Leipzig’s U-19 team, making three appearances and scoring one goal. The Sacramento native has also played in the academies of hometown side Sacramento Republic FC and FC Dallas.
LA Galaxy have announced that their game with Los Angeles FC on March 31st at the StubHub Center will be a sell-out. The Galaxy are quick to point out and never miss a marketing opportunity that there are a limited number of premium seats and 2018 LA Galaxy season ticket memberships still available, through which fans can buy tickets for the first competitive showdown between city rivals.
Speaking of that LA Galaxy vs. Los Angeles FC game, both dos Santos brothers should return in time to feature. Both are nursing minor injuries.
Thank you for reading the MLS Rundown, a twice-weekly column focused on news, rumours and transfers. If you would like to connect with the writer, please do so on twitter @CT_MLS