KEI KAMARA CONFIDENT
In England Tony Pulis is known as the master of the dead ball, his teams constantly are threats at free-kicks and corners. Over in MLS, Kei Kamara believes that Vancouver Whitecaps will be the team to watch when it comes to set pieces.
After Tim Parker scored twice from set pieces in a preseason friendly against Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, Kamara was quick to talk up his team’s chances from dead ball situations.
“I actually think we’re going to be the most dangerous team in the league on set plays,” the 6-foot-3 Kamara said. “We’ve showed [it] since the first preseason game that we played, when Timmy scored two off set plays. But it’s not about me, it’s not about Timmy, it’s not about Kendall, it’s about all of us. If we make that run, and you want to mark us, there’s always going to be someone else that’s open. We’re seriously going to be the most dangerous team on set plays, offensive and defensively, when it comes to this season.”
The National Post has highlighted that nine of Vancouver’s regulars are at least 6-foot-2, including Parker. Tony Tchani is 6-foot-4. Kendall Waston is 6-foot-5. According to Opta, in 2017, the Whitecaps were tied for second in the league in scoring off set pieces, with 16 goals, just one behind league leaders Houston Dynamo, so there’s not a far distance for the ‘Caps to travel.
SPORTING INK DEALS WITH SUPERDRAFT DUO
Sporting Kansas City have completed the signings of goalkeeper Eric Dick and defender Graham Smith, the club’s two first-round 2018 MLS SuperDraft selections. Both newcomers have signed one-year contracts with options for 2019, 2020 and 2021.
“Eric and Graham are two players who have made good impressions since joining our club for the preseason,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said in a club statement. “Eric has a lot of qualities that we look for in a goalkeeper, while Graham gives us additional depth along the backline. We look forward to working with both of them as they continue to integrate into the team.”
ANOTHER SPANIARD FOR TORONTO
After picking up Victor Vazquez a year ago, Toronto are heading back into the Spanish market to secure a replacement for the retired star Benoit Cheyrou.
The Athletic’s Joshua Kloke reports that TFC are in talks with Athletic Bilbao about midfielder Ager Aketxe. The attacking midfielder, 24, came through the ranks of the widely respected youth set-up at Athletic, making his first team debut in 2013. The Bilbao native has 14 appearances with the La Liga outfit, and spent half of last season on loan at second-division Cadiz.
AND A GOALKEEPER
Toronto FC are busy at present with interest not only in Spain for Aketxe but they have sewn up the signing of goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell after acquiring his MLS rights from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for TFC’s fourth-round pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.
Patterson-Sewell, 30, played for NASL side Jacksonville Armada FC last year, setting the club’s clean sheet record with ten. He was invited to Toronto’s preseason camp last month in Los Angeles, and travelled with the Reds to Mexico as they prepare for the onset of CONCACAF Champions League action later this month.
The Australian-American shotstopper’s much-travelled career has taken him across multiple continents, from Toowoomba Raiders in Australia to Belgian club RSC Anderlecht to English clubs Sheffield Wednesday and Liverpool FC to Portugal, where he served at Atlético Clube de Portugal, Vitoria Setubal, Gil Vicente FC and SC Farense before appearing for the Red Bulls.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER GM CANDIDATE
Yesterday Seattle Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey emerged as a candidate for the USMNT’s general manager position and today it’s the turn of former U.S. captain and current Atlanta United vice president Carlos Bocanegra to find himself under consideration for the position of general manager of the U.S. men’s national team. Newly-elected U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro and CEO Dan Flynn have begun the process of identifying candidates for the newly-created position, and sources tell Goal that Bocanegra was one of the first people identified as a contender.
Bocanegra enjoyed an illustrious 15-year playing career as a standout defender, a career that saw him play in MLS, England, Spain, France and Scotland before ending his playing days back in MLS in 2014. He served the US national side as captain and played in two World Cups. He finished his career with 110 caps and 14 goals, the most scored by a defender in U.S. history.
Bocanegra has made a smooth transition into his post-playing career, taking on the role of technical director with Atlanta United, which he helped build into a successful and entertaining expansion team in 2017. The 38-year-old’s success as a technical director earned him a promotion to vice president last fall, as well as a new contract through 2022.
Interestingly, Bocanegra is a member of U.S. Soccer’s Athletes Council, which effectively swung the U.S. soccer presidential election in Cordeiro’s favor when it chose Cordeiro over favourite Kathy Carter during the voting process. Hiring Bocanegra for the coveted GM position would be in line with the talk following the election from Athletes Council officials who believed in Cordeiro’s intentions of having athletes more involved in key roles within U.S. Soccer.
Any Other Business…
FC Dallas are the latest MLS side to release a kit, their new home uniform uses the Lone Star State flag as inspiration, blue sleeves, white chest and red torso featuring bold blocks of colours shared by both the flag and team.
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