EARLY SEASON GAMES IN MARYLAND FOR DC
Prior to the opening of United’s Audi Field, D.C. have announced venues for two early-season home games will take place in Maryland.
On March 17, D.C. host Houston Dynamo at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Maryland. They will then play Columbus Crew SC at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland on April 14.
The SoccerPlex is a familiar venue for D.C. United, as they have frequently hosted U.S. Open Cup games there, including a tie against local amateur side Christos FC last year. It will be the first competitive game for the club at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
EX-RED BULL SIGNS WITH INDEPENDIENTE
Having sold Ezequiel Barco to Atlanta United for an MLS-record transfer fee, it was expected that Independiente would look to bring in a replacement.
The Buenos Aires club has signed former New York Red Bulls forward, Gonzalo Veron.
Veron was selected by D.C. United in the 2017 MLS Re-Entry Draft, and, though the Black-and-Red talked with the 28-year-old about coming to Washington, he opted to return to his native Argentina. Veron signed a Designated Player contract with the Red Bulls midway through the 2015 season. He never quite caught on in New York, recording 10 goals and four assists in 60 regular season appearances, only 13 of which were starts, before having his option declined following the 2017 season.
VDW IS OFFICIALLY TFC
After weeks of reports linking the two, Toronto FC announced that they have signed the Dutch defender Gregory van der Wiel from Italian Serie A club Cagliari. Van der Wiel was signed using Targeted Allocation Money.
An experienced Dutch international who’s played at some of the biggest clubs in the world, van der Wiel joined Cagliari last summer from Turkish club Fenerbahce, but made just five Serie A appearances before completing the move to TFC. The 29-year-old right back began his career with Dutch power Ajax in 2007 and spent four seasons with French giants Paris Saint-Germain before moving to Turkey in 2016.
“We are excited to bring Gregory van der Wiel to Toronto FC. He is an experienced player that has played with some big clubs in Europe and has represented his country at multiple international tournaments,” Toronto FC GM Tim Bezbatchenko said in a club statement. “Gregory has a great defensive sense and will provide an upside on the ball with his strong distribution when in the attacking third. He will be a welcomed addition to our club as we continue to strive to improve as a team.”
He has 46 career caps for the Dutch national team, starting for the country as they finished runners-up to Spain at the 2010 World Cup and earning a place in their UEFA Euro 2012 squad. Van der Wiel will likely slot in on the right side of TFC’s backline, replacing Steven Beitashour, who recently left the club to sign with LAFC.
EBENEZER NO SCROOGE FOR NEW YORK CITY
A new report from Ghana Soccernet claims New York City FC are set to sign Ghanaian midfielder Ebenezer Ofori for the 2018 MLS season.
According to a report, Ofori will join NYCFC on a one-year loan from Bundesliga side Stuttgart.
Ofori, 22, joined Stuttgart from Swedish club AIK when the club were in the German second division last year. He has not found much playing time of late, appearing in just one league match this season. Named the best midfielder in the Swedish Allsvenskan in 2015, he also has two senior team caps for Ghana, playing in last year’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament for the Black Stars and in a friendly against Mexico last year in Houston.
Any Other Business…
Yohan Mollo, a 28-year-old French winger who recently spent time with Fulham has joined Vancouver Whitecaps for preseason training… Giovani dos Santos thinks it’d be “a dream” to play with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at LA Galaxy.