MORRIS SUFFERS ACL INJURY
In late breaking news, it has been confirmed by Seattle Sounders that forward Jordan Morris will miss most of, if not all, the 2018 MLS campaign having suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during a CONCACAF Champions League game last week in El Salvador.
Geoff Baker reports that further tests are still being done on Jordan Morris, but general manager Garth Lagerwey told The Seattle Times that he will not play this season. While the recovery timeframe for an ACL injury can be as little as six-to-nine months, Lagerwey said the club is not prepared to rush its young star back on the field prematurely. Lagerwey cited instances when players came back from ACL tears in shorter timeframes only to lose effectiveness.
Lagerwey said the injury changes his short-term goals and that he’ll immediately be on the lookout for another attacking forward that can be added to the team’s vacant designated player slot. He cautioned that there could be better talent available this summer than right now, but he’ll make that decision based on what’s immediately available and how the team looks in coming weeks.
“We need another top-end forward,” he said. “And now, where we were looking for maybe somebody who was more of a chance creator, or with more speed, now it does impact how we search for players. Knowing we have a DP spot available, you’re probably looking at potentially signing an attacker, with the knowledge that Jordan is going to be out for the year.”
GOLD CUP EXPANDS TO SIXTEEN TEAMS
CONCACAF’s regional championship tournament will expand to 16 teams starting in 2019, which is its next edition. The confederation is also “exploring a pan-regional footprint” for next year’s event, meaning that matches could be played in Central America and the Caribbean, which in CONCACAF’s words would “fulfil a long-term aspiration” for member nations in those regions.
The qualifying process for the expanded Gold Cup will be revealed at the upcoming CONCACAF Nations League launch event on March 7th in Miami Beach, Florida, while the process and criteria for host sites will be outlined by CONCACAF “in the coming months.”
“The expansion of the Gold Cup and the upcoming launch of the CONCACAF Nations League are key steps in delivering on the ONE CONCACAF Vision, to make the region’s most competitive football more accessible to more of our confederation’s teams, players and fans,” said CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani in a press release. “By widening access to these important tournaments for more of our member associations, we work towards our goal of ensuring that the football produced in the CONCACAF region is of the highest quality in the world.”
Since the tournament was first played in 1992, the majority of Gold Cup fixtures have taken place in the United States apart from matches held in Mexico (1993 and 2003) and in Canada (2015). The US national team are the current reigning champions.
OUCH! CAMPBELL SUFFERS FACIAL FRACTURE
Injuries at this time of year means some players will miss the start of the season and potentially never get back in the side if their replacement impresses. One such case could be Chicago Fire’s Jonathan Campbell as he is ruled out for 6 weeks with a facial fracture.
Campbell suffered the injury, which was specifically diagnosed as a compressed fracture of the zygomaticomaxillary complex on his left side in the second half of the Fire’s preseason match against Nashville SC late in February.
The centre-back will undergo surgery this week. A first-round 2016 SuperDraft selection, Campbell started 30 games as a rookie but was more often reduced to a substitute’s role in 2017.
DIA SABA IS A WANTED MAN
An Israeli media report has linked Minnesota United and another, unnamed MLS club to Maccabi Netanya midfielder Dia Saba, suggesting that a transfer might soon take one of the Israeli Premier League’s top talents to North America.
The Athletic’s Jeff Rueter also reported over the weekend that “multiple MLS clubs” were interested in Saba.
Saba, 25, is an Arab-Israeli playmaker who has averaged nearly a goal every other game over the past season and a half. He represented Israel at the youth international level and was a key cog in his club’s recent success, scoring 17 goals in 28 league appearances last season and already bagging the same number in the current campaign, making him the first division’s runaway scoring leader at present. It appears that he would command a transfer fee, but no specific figures have been reported.
RUBEN GABRIELSEN TURNED DOWN MLS
Following up on yesterday’s ‘Any Other Business’. Molde manager and former Manchester United great Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told Nettavisen that captain Ruben Gabrielsen decided MLS wasn’t for him.
The 25-year-old defender turned down a lucrative offer from a US-based MLS club. Solskjaer said the combination of the club making the bid and the size of the offer gave Molde little choice but to accept.
Gabrielsen would have been a prized acquisition for a team looking to bolster its defence, having helped Molde to the Norwegian league title in 2014 and a runners-up finish in 2017. He has also worked his way into consideration for the Norway national team, though he has yet to be capped after making the bench for a handful of European Championship and World Cup qualifiers
Among other Norwegians in MLS, Jorgen Skjelvik and Ola Kamara are with LA Galaxy, attacking midfielder Magnus Wolff Eikrem recently signed with the Seattle Sounders and Vadim Demidov remains on the roster at Minnesota United.
Any Other Business…
Carlos Vela believes that the MLS schedule will help him when playing in the World Cup as he’ll be five months fresher than some European counterparts… It’s worth reminding folks that under new rules, teams that sell Homegrown Players abroad now receive the full amount of the transfer fee, rather than sharing a portion with the league. Previously, teams received 75% percent.
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