LEE NGUYEN STILL WANTS OUT
It has been a winter to forget for Lee Nguyen, the New England Revolution veteran attacker. Early in January reports came through that Nguyen wanted out and asked to made available for trade after the end of the 2017 campaign. The arrival of new head coach Brad Friedel made no difference, except for the fact Friedel is in no hurry to trade away a player who has a contract in 2018 and club options for 2019 and 2020.
The standoff manifested itself physically as Nguyen skipped the first two weeks of preseason training, hardly endearing himself to the Revolution hierarchy. Both Chicago Fire and Montreal Impact are interested in the attacking midfielder but Paul Tenorio continues to report that there is no desire for the Revolution to trade one of the most productive midfielders in MLS over the past several years.
Nguyen is training away from the squad to rebuild his fitness and will only join the team in their Tucson camp should he prove his fitness but the days are dwindling as Brad Friedel’s squad return to New England on February 25th.
Rundown commends New England Revolution for holding out this long but it does look like now is the time to wonder what they can get for their wantaway player.
JOHNNY RUSSELL’S MLS AMBITIONS
Perhaps the most surprising move to MLS over the offseason period has been Scotland’s Johnny Russell moving from regular football at Derby County in the Championship to Sporting Kansas City.
Russell spoke to The (Kansas) Star via phone interview; “Over the last few years, playing in (MLS), it became something I’ve been really interested in doing.”
He’s done his research, picking the brains of fellow Scotsman and former Kansas City Wizards star Mo Johnson, and talking to head coach Peter Vermes about his role in the team. One thing that doesn’t phase him is the fact he has missed three weeks of preseason training.
“I played quite a lot of games in a short space of time (for Derby County), so I’m fit. It’s not like I’m starting from the beginning of preseason. I’ve got that base fitness,” Russell said. “But it’s just about getting ready with your team, getting to know your team and the way that the manager wants me (to play). I can’t wait to get started.”
BRAD EVANS TO JOIN SPORTING
Alongside Johnny Russell in the Sporting Kansas City squad will be MLS veteran Brad Evans. The Kansas Star reports that contract terms have been agreed and the club is just waiting on league approval.
Evans, 32, was drafted by Columbus in 2007, but he spent the previous nine seasons with Seattle, rotating between spots along the back line and the midfield.
It is expected that Evans will primarily provide back up for Graham Zusi at right-back, but has the versatility to play centrally or defensive midfield. Evans has made 230 career appearances in MLS, scring 25 goals and providing 29 assists for teammates. He also boasts 27 international caps with the US men’s national team and represented the US U20 side when Peter Vermes was an assistant coach.
BOCANEGRA WITHDRAWS FROM US MEN’S GM RACE
Following the news yesterday that Carlos Bocanegra was under consideration for the men’s national general manager role, the Atlanta United vice president has withdrawn his name from the list of candidates.
Rundown was not surprised he was highly favoured following his work with Atlanta, helping the 2017 expansion team to one of the best seasons by a new team in league history.
It appears as though he will now assist in the hiring process, according to a report from Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep, which seems like good business. Bocanegra, of course, racked up 110 caps for the US men’s national team over his career, starting in MLS with Chicago Fire in 2000 and ending with a stint at Chivas USA in 2014.
Any Other Business…
Max Bretos has been hired as LAFC’s first-ever English play-by-play announcer on local broadcasts… two more kit launches have taken place with Toronto FC unveiling the new away kit made up of a ‘crisp, clean all white aesthetic’ and Atlanta United’s away kit features a pale silver-grey hue and a splash of peach to represent the city. Rundown feels more like a fashion reporter these days.
Thank you reading the MLS Rundown, a daily column focused on news, rumours and transfers. If you would like to connect with the writer, please do so on twitter @CT_MLS