LAFC BOLSTER RANKS IN EXPANSION DRAFT
The 2017 MLS Expansion Draft took place just yesterday. This was a special draft for the Major League Soccer expansion team Los Angeles FC, managed by Bob Bradley, and they signed five players to increase their squad ahead of their 2018 MLS debut.
Tyler Miller is a goalkeeper signed from MLS Cup runners up Seattle Sounders, 20-year-old Ghanaian winger Latif Blessing arrives from Sporting Kansas City, Marco Ureña takes an international spot for LAFC and is a Costa Rican international forward.
Both Jukka Raitala (signed from Columbus Crew) and Raheem Edwards (Toronto FC) were chosen in the expansion draft by Los Angeles FC but immediately traded to Montreal Impact on exchange for defender Laurent Ciman.
DARLINGTON NAGBE IN THE SHOP WINDOW
MSG’s Kristian Dyer is back on the rumour trail as he reveals that Portland Timbers are in the process of shopping Darlington Nagbe around MLS, including to Atlanta United.
Portland are seeking a package that would include a hefty sum of General Allocation Money in exchange for the international midfielder. The Timbers are said to be seeking a deal that would be in the neighbourhood of the trade that sent Dom Dwyer to Orlando City last summer, in which Sporting Kansas City received a record amount of allocation money for the striker (up to $1.6 million, including performance-based allocation money).
It appears that Nagbe shot himself in the foot during mid-season by asking the Timbers for a raise on his current $565,000 salary to something close to $1 million a year. Portland balked at the price and despite the midfielder helping the club to the 2015 MLS Cup, he has been periodically criticized for failing to produce more goals and assists. He’s scored just four goals and notched only 10 assists in 54 games over the past two regular seasons. At the end of 2016 he was the subject of international transfer interest from Scottish giants Celtic, but a final deal never came to fruition.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PEDIGREE
As Patrick Vieira continues to upgrade his squad in the offseason, a report out of Sweden suggests that a new right back will be arriving in New York.
Defender Anton Tinnerholm is currently at the end of a deal with reigning Allsvenskan Champions Malmö. Tinnerholm has been capped by Sweden at international level and has been a regular for Malmö since joining the club in 2014 from Åtvidaberg.
BONIEK GARCIA REMAINS A DYNAMO
Houston Dynamo have re-signed midfielder Boniek Garcia to a contract for the 2018 season. The 33-year-old Honduran international has played all six of his previous MLS seasons with Houston. He ranks second in club history with 31 league assists and 33 across all competitions.
“We are pleased to have come to an agreement to bring Boniek Garcia back to the Houston Dynamo for the 2018 season,” said Dynamo general manager Matt Jordan in a club statement. “He is a versatile player who always puts the team first and is ready to help our group in a variety of roles. His veteran leadership, especially for our younger players, will be important as we build for the 2018 season.”
Garcia joined the Dynamo during the 2012 season as the second Designated Player in club history. He helped lead the team reach the 2012 MLS Cup, earning Players’ Player of the Year honours in his first campaign with four goals and six assists in just 17 games. Garcia has 125 caps for Honduras, fourth-most in his country’s history.
THANKS BUT NO THANKS ROBERT
FC Dallas technical director Fernando Clavijo has made some rather disparaging comments towards Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski following links with the Polish international and MLS, specifically one of the two Los Angeles clubs. “Some of those players like Lewandowski are amazing players with great careers. But when you’re talking about retiring, pick another league,” Clavijo insisted. “This league is not for retiring. This is to prove yourself. If you are a professional who has had a great career, this is not somewhere to retire. You have to come here to compete. The competition is stiff, the competition is hard. Some teams may accept it [signing potential retirees], but the majority will not. This will keep adding so soon nobody will come here to retire.”
Rundown would suggest that Clavijo should walk through hot coals to sign a player of Lewandowski’s quality, just because a player’s career is in his later years doesn’t mean he starts sleepwalking through games. Just ask Jermain Defoe, who scored one of the best goals of his career this past weekend at age 35. We’re also discussing a striker, Lewandowski, who has a scary 130 goals in 170 appearances for Bayern Munich and 51 international goals. He has notched at least one goal every two games for four clubs since the beginning of his professional career in 2006. In 2017/18 he has 20 goals in 23 games. Prolific doesn’t even come close to describing this player’s ability.
Keep making the comments, Clavijo, mask the fear. Rundown would be scared too.
Any Other Business…
LA Galaxy forward (and emergency right back) Gyasi Zardes is most likely to be wearing the shirt of Columbus Crew next season… Giovanni Savarese is the new Portland Timbers manager, despite Gregg Berhalter being first choice…