The Penultimate Off-Season Progress Report: Best…Off-Season…Ever…

The latest report on all off-season player moves among Major League Soccer’s (MLS) clubs appears below…well, at least the ones that interest me. I’ll work with the same categories as last week’s edition, though, with the March 3rd roster reckoning coming down the pike, I’m going to have to start tracking the players who get axed…if only half-heartedly. By that I mean, I’m going to ignore waivers of say, Chris Loftus for New England. But any move that strikes me as “big enough” will get record in this and, to a greater extent, future editions.

All that said, I want to throw one bold thought out there: for my money, this has been the BEST OFF-SEASON in MLS history. More exciting/intriguing player moves, more movement in general, teams coming into the season with enough question marks over their heads that you almost have to watch the games to form a serious opinion of what it all means – or maybe it’s just that we finally have sufficient coverage. There’s a potential downside getting some airing, especially where all “them furriners” are concerned: e.g. with so many exports coming in, what will happen to the development of the American player? Marcelo Balboa treated the subject a couple times through a Q & A with USSoccerplayers.com – and it’s an interesting subject, even if a wait-and-see approach strikes me as the right one.

All I know is I’m in drunken piggy heaven herding all these cats. Wonnerful, wonnerful.

Enough about my joy. All the movement I saw (or cared about) appears after the jump. Contrary to past practice, I’m ditching links to the current rosters; all y’all know where to find ’em if you want ’em. As always, if I missed anything big, feel free to correct the record, by flagging omissions in the comments field or emailing me (jeffbull71[at]yahoo.com). I will make the change and give due credit. Here goes…

Chicago Fire
Signed: Tomasz Frankowski
Trialist/In-Progress: Jose de Jesus Mendoza, Steve Marlet, Pius Ikedia
Rumor:
Thoughts
So, they made Frankowski permanent – and that inspired a little snark in some corners – but I like what Chicago is doing, generally, in that they’re showing decent ambition this off-season. Seeing how the L’Affaire Conde plays out (front row seats to that available here) will make for interesting viewing, but I expect the Fire to be in the mix in ’08 at the very least.

Chivas USA
Signed:
Trialist/In-Progress: Marko Muslin
Rumor:
Thoughts
Nothing much more than getting ready for the season for Chivas, but they do look and read like a solid outfit.

Colorado Rapids
Signed:
Trialist/In-Progress:
Rumor: Reinaldo
Thoughts
Part of the two-way duel for Reinaldo’s signature with Real Salt Lake and, from what I read, the Rapids have the upper hand. Don’t know much about him, but a little offensive punch could take the Rapids a long way.

Columbus Crew
Signed:
Trialist/In-Progress: (Is Emanuel Ekpo still kicking around?)
Rumor:

Thoughts
The only remarkable thing out of Crew-ville I heard this week was that both Lars Ricken and Roman Friedli won’t sign with the Crew. Do these guys have enough going into ’08? I’m not so sure…

DC United
Signed: Daniel Stratford
Trialist/In-Progress:
Rumor:
Thoughts
As pointed out on The DCenters, the signing mentioned above led to exaggerated stories about Clyde Simms losing his job. That said, when I talk of off-season excitement, DC does spring to mind. Can’t wait to see how it all comes together over the season, not to mention during the CONCACAF Champions Cup. Fly the flag, boyos, fly the flag.

FC Dallas
Signed:
Trialist/In-Progress:
Rumor:
Thoughts
If I’m missing all kinds of something on any team, I suspect it’s here. But no moves from the last week come to mind. That said, they look well enough prepared for the coming season.

Houston Dynamo
Signed: Franco Carracio (source aside, it’s close enough)
Trialist/In-Progress:
Rumor:
Thoughts
If Carracio is at all good – and Soccer y Futbol certainly expects potential while hoping for substance – the Dynamo look ominously good. The beating they handed Sydney might have me hyping them a little, but we all know the Dynamo ended ’07 a good team and they haven’t given away a whole lot since. Add a consistent threat at forward and they’re going to be something.

Kansas City Wizards
Signed:
Trialist/In-Progress: Claudio Lopez (in negotiations, from the sound of it)
Rumor:
Thoughts
Again, I think I mentioned Ivan Trujillo signing for these guys way back. That said, bagging Lopez would be well worth watching. So far as I’m concerned, KC needs dynamism in their attack like I need food – that is to say for survival. If Lopez lives up to what I’d expect of him, I’m thinking KC will hit heavier in ’08 than they did via the Grown Ass Man in ’07. So, yeah, interesting signing and I hope they get it done.

Los Angeles Galaxy
Signed:
Trialist/In-Progress:
Rumor:
Noted/Potential Departures: Kyle Martino
Thoughts
As much as I agree with everyone cautioning against reading everything into LA’s ghastly performance in Hawaii and, “early doors” notwithstanding, LA looks like a seriously unbalanced team. They need to be adding quality, as opposed to shipping at experienced and, at worst, semi-useful contributors like Martino.

New England Revolution
Signed: Mauricio Castro
Trialist/In-Progress: Javier Delgado;
Rumors:
Thoughts
I find the Castro signing, and the subsequent chatter on that player, sufficiently intriguing that I’m not too worked up about Soccer By Ives report that the Revs might actually spend some money – DP, money no less. A great post on RevsNet Blog assesses that situation with due skepticism. But between Kenny Mansally’s pre-season goal-scoring tear and palpable similarities between the ’07 pre-season and this year’s (nothing like beating up on Bermuda), maybe the Revs won’t be so bad or boring this year. Am I expecting a return to MLS Cup? No, but record of my wretched predictive powers litter the Web. Still, the hope is Castro can bring enough class to get Ralston back out right and make the Revs something other than dourly efficient.
UPDATE: I found confirmation of more/ongoing trialists in a post on the New England Revs Offside. Apparently, Sam Brill is a trialist and Argenis Fernandez is still puttering around. And the Revs are still trying to work out something with Gabriel Badilla. These cats may yet get serious…
UPDATE: Wow, are the Revs busy today. The Soccer Insider reports they have finalized the signing of Argenis Fernandez AND Goff is reporting the DP news in such a way (same link) that it certainly looks like they have a specific player in mind. And, again, the same Revs-rich report says negotiations with Badilla have, or remain, stalled.

Real Salt Lake
Signed: Dema Kovalenko
Trialist/In-Progress: Indra Sahdan
Rumor: What the heck? Reinaldo
Thoughts
It occurs to me, only now, that I’m deleting some names on some ongoing trials. I’ll leave Sahdan in there, though it’s possible his trial ended (this shit is confusing; in all honesty, I can’t wait till March 3). So….Kovalenko, eh? Between him and Kyle Beckerman, we can be sure RSL’s midfield won’t get pushed around. That will show in unwelcome cards, no doubt, but Kreis is building one hell of a scrappy bunch. With the “hard-to-beat” in place, I expect RSL will improve this season…and I fully expect to get burned on that one.

Red Bull New York
Signed:
Trialist/In-Progress:
Rumor: Marcio Luiz Adurens (dead already, I think)
Notable Departures: Francis Doe, Dema Kovalenko
Thoughts
For the record, that “dead already” link is a gold-mine. It provided nearly everything in this section. So, Adurens goes by something like Marcinho – not that that matters because the deal sounds dead. Word is Juan Carlos Osorio is looking elsewhere. That seems wise as he’s no doubt trying to figure who will get the ball from the defense to that stable of forwards….which, apparently, was so deep, he felt he could waive Doe. Probably not a huge deal in the grand scheme, but I always kind of liked Doe, even if he never blew me away on the field. The Kovalenko trade…well, that’s nothing but weird. Dema did seem a little redundant out there, what with Seth Stammler available. I guess the bigger surprise is Osorio not using him to pick up a “right-now” defender – or anything else immediate for that matter. But it sounds like the Bulls need defenders yesterday.

San Jose Earthquakes
Signed: Federico Arias?
Trialist/In-Progress:
Rumor:
Thoughts
This team remains shockingly thin, but what looks like the pending signing of a forward seems like good enough news. I don’t know much about Arias, but, close as we are to the season, San Jose’s requirements are quickly reducing to any warm body with working legs. Maybe this will be the team to rescue Kyle Martino from his dismal holding LA holding pattern?

Toronto FC
Signed:
Trialist/In-Progress: Josh Wagenaar, Kiki Musampa, Johnnier Montano (soon)
Rumor: Darren Huckerby; Joao Pinto (mmm..probably not), Julian Barragan (see Pinto link)
Thoughts
The wheels finally started rolling in Toronto and it’s about time. I know a little about Musampa and he looks like he’ll be useful. I can’t say the same for the other player I know about: Darren Huckerby. He’s not awful or anything, but, last time I saw him, he struck me as quick and decidedly average as a goal-scorer…and god only knows what aging has done to his “quick.” The hunt for Pinto, no matter how serious, reads like a mess and, given his age, I can’t say that’s a necessarily a bad thing. I read something about TFC wanting to play him centrally and just think something close to….all right. Finally, I don’t know Montano from Abraham, but hope he’s useful. In the main, it’s just good to see TFC get started. It’ll give their fans something to throw cushions about.

Advertisements

3 Responses

  1. […] didn’t stick around (as mentioned in the Crew “section” of the sprawling off-season report I posted earlier, neither Lars Ricken nor Roman Friedli will join the […]

  2. […] Top Posts La Liga Preview—Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, FC SevillaCHI’s English Premiership 2007-08 Season Preview, Teams 1-10Soccertv.com…the horror…the horror…Gamba 6-1 Dynamo: Twas no Team; A Typhoon It Was…Arrr.Is Iker Casillas the Best Keeper In The World?Is Bare Worth DP Money?La Liga: Madrid Celebrate…Getafe Scores…Madrid CriesAbout Center Holds It! MLS Philly: Getting Closer, Ives takes a look at PhillyThe Penultimate Off-Season Progress Report: Best…Off-Season…Ever… […]

  3. Just wanted to tell you all know how much I appreciate your postings guys.
    Found you though google!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: