Thursday, January 24, 2013

MLS Needs More...

What does MLS needs more of in 2013?

In basketball you have the point guard, the football you have the quarterback, in soccer you have the Number 10. The Number 10 in soccer is the equivalent to all of these. This is the playmaker. This is the person that can be the star, who can bring the drama in and out of the locker room, someone who garnishes a lot of attention. MLS needs more of these. Someone who can create a beautiful play as well as stir up controversy. 

Here are some Number 10's that clubs need to call to create that something extra special this season:

1. Riquelme 


With Chivas USA this close to landing the 34 year old, it's time for another club to give him a shot. After Palmeiras shot down the playmaker a few days ago  it's time for a team to really give him an offer he can't refuse. Riquelme has the skill still at this age but his defending is non-exsistent and can be a sulking character who needs reassurance of himself from time to time. No doubt though, his ego and skills would be welcomed in MLS.

2. Shunsuke Nakamura


In the mold of David Beckham and Juninho, Nakamura is a free kick specialist who could light the league on fire. Also 34 years old, he has played for clubs such as Celtic and Espanyol. It is unknown if he is willing to leave his hometown club Yokohama F. Marinos though. In the mean time, check out some of his goals below.

3. Ronaldinho

The youngest of the bunch at 32, Ronny's been linked with MLS since he left Milan. Now at Atletico Mineiro, it is hard to tell if Ronny even wants a move to the North American league. Recently called up for a game against England, it'll be tough to persuade this former Ballon d'Or winner to MLS until after the 2014 World Cup.

What do you think? Comment below and let us know!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Daigo Kobayashi: The new CAM on Rennie’s Radar

Vancouver Whitecaps, Writer Drayton van AsImage

The Vancouver Whitecaps obviously have been looking for a central attacking midfielder who is tricky, agile, and above all can distribute the ball to our speedy forwards. The latest rumor going around has been 29 year old Japanese Daigo Kobayashi coming to the Caps. Daigo has spent most of his career with top division Japanese team from 2001 to 2005 Daigo spent his time with Tokyo Verdy 1969 with a total of 136 apps scoring 10 goals in all competition. Between 2006 and 2008 Daigo moved to Omiya Ardija with 108 apps scoring 17 goals in all competitions. Starting in 2008 Kobayashi was offered a trial with Tippeligaen champions Stabæk. With a successful trial Daigo was put on a season loan to Stabæk for 2009. Daigo played a crucial part helping Stabæk finished 3rd. With his time in Norway Daigo racked up 13 goals in 40 matches in all competitions. After ending his loan spell in Norway Daigo moved to Super League Greece side Iraklis Thessaloniki only appearing 15 times in 2010. After his unsuccessful time in Greece Daigo moved back to Japan joining first division side Shimizu S-Pulse. Playing in 26 total games with 2 total goals. In total Daigo Kobayashi has played 313 total professional apps in Japan, Norway, and Greece scoring a total of 40 goals in all competitions. With Daigo’s current transfer budget being approximately $45o,ooo CDN I expect the Whitecaps to get Daigo just under the DP salary.

SuperDraft Wraps Up Wild Week for Sporting KC

By Dan Huntington

Mikey Lopez

       In most years, the MLS offseason is somewhat unexciting.  Sure, each team has their share of players who get traded or released with new guys coming in to take their place.  If fans are lucky, maybe the team signs a big-name Designated Player from England, Spain or Germany.  Typically, in the days leading up to the MLS SuperDraft, these transactions take a back seat and conversation is dominated by which players looked the best at the combine, what type of system fits them the best, and where they might end up on draft day. 
For Sporting Kansas City, though, the week leading up to the SuperDraft was anything but typical.  In the span of one week, it was announced that Kansas City would be hosting the 2013 MLS All-Star game, LIVESTRONG Sporting Park would no longer be called LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, the team will have a jersey sponsor for the first time, and they selected a young midfielder with the 14th overall pick in the draft. 
      Let’s start with the 2013 MLS All-Star game.  On January 10th, MLS Commissioner Don Garber arrived in Kansas City and announced that Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes would coach the MLS All-Stars in the July 31st exhibition.  The game will be played at Sporting Park against an opponent still to be determined.  “This market has just been so incredibly exciting for all of us at Major League Soccer and really for soccer fans throughout the United States and really throughout North America. This has been one of the great success stories for our sport. We’re very proud of what has taken place here,” said Garber.  Sporting CEO Robb Heineman added: “The stadium is a nice place but what is far better are the people that fill it.”  It is too early to speculate on who the opponent might be, but I would like it to be a top team in a league other than the English Premier League, just to change things up a bit.  I would love to see Real Madrid or Barcelona from La Liga (Spain), Bayern Munich or Schalke from Germany’s Bundesliga, or Inter Milan or Juventus from Serie A (Italy).
        In the days following the All-Star game announcement, the city was abuzz with excitement.  At least, it was until January 15th, when reports surfaced that Lance Armstrong decided to grow a conscience and admit to what 99% of all sports fans already knew: that he had used performance-enhancing drugs during his run to seven straight Tour de France titles.  When it was announced back in 2011 that LIVESTRONG was going to be the stadium sponsor, my first thought was “Why?”  Why would the club want to associate itself with an organization that is synonymous with someone whose reputation was, at the very least, suspect?  Heineman admitted on a recent radio show that Sporting’s ownership group knew there were downside risks with having LIVESTRONG as the stadium sponsor, but believed those risks to be minimal.  In addition, when discussing naming rights before the stadium first opened in 2011, Heineman noted that Sporting had “a couple nibbles here and there, but I wouldn’t say it was anything overwhelming.”  Translation: LIVESTRONG was the best option the team had at the time.
But once the stadium opened and the team started winning, those questions were quickly forgotten by most fans.  Add to it the fact that a portion of every dollar spent in the stadium was donated to cancer research and you could actually feel good about spending $8.50 on an adult beverage or two during the match. There have been a gazillion articles written about whether it was LIVESTRONG that actually terminated the agreement with Sporting or vice-versa.  LIVESTRONG claims Sporting has only paid $250,000 of the $1 million it is owed by the club from 2012.  Sporting claims that it has paid everything it owes and terminated the agreement because of permanently damaged faith and trust.  But, the bottom line is that in the early-morning hours of January 16th, the LIVESTRONG name was removed from the stadium.  Whoever the naming rights go to on this go-round, I think it is safe to say that the club is in a much stronger position to field many more lucrative offers than they saw in 2011.
       The arrival of the MLS SuperDraft on January 17th was a welcome diversion from all of the LIVESTRONG/Lance Armstrong talk.  The first bit of news occurred when Sporting announced that Ivy Funds, a local investment firm, would became the first-ever jersey sponsor of Sporting KC.  Aurelien Collin, Sporting defender and fashion guru, was on-hand at the draft to model the new kit.
The second, and to most of us, the more important bit of news occurred when Sporting selected Mikey Lopez with the 14th overall pick.  Peter Vermes said he did not expect Lopez to still be available at 14 so the club jumped at the opportunity to take the 5’8”, 19-year-old midfielder.  Lopez attended the University of North Carolina and is a Generation Adidas signee, meaning that his salary will not count against the salary cap.  In his two years at UNC, Lopez scored five goals and had five assists in 46 matches.  He also spent time on the U.S. Under-18 National Team and is currently with the U.S. Under-20 National Team (Sporting backup goalkeeper Jon Kempin is also a member of the U-20 team).    It appears almost inevitable that current Sporting midfielder Graham Zusi will make a move to Europe, most likely to West Ham United of the English Premier League.  With this in mind, Lopez adds quality depth at this position, although in reality, he is still probably a year or two away from being able to make a significant impact with the club.  According to Vermes, Lopez has “leather lungs” and can run 18-to-18 all day long.  Scouts who have watched Lopez play say that his main weakness is technique, but Vermes believes that is a relatively easy thing to correct and notes that all players need to continue to improve their technique.  I still would have preferred Sporting to take a quality forward because I believe the depth at that position is more of an issue than it is at midfield, but I don’t dislike this pick.  Vermes has proven that he has an eye for talent so if he believes Lopez will turn out to be a quality midfielder, he deserves the benefit of the doubt.
      Whew.  Deep breath.  With the team departing for Tucson, Arizona to begin pre-season training, let’s just hope the rest of the pre-season is a little bit more typical of years past.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Revolution "Tracking" South American International

Paraguay International Julio dos Santos Being Tracked By Club


A source close to the New England Revolution camp is saying that the club is interested in Paraguayan playmaker Julio dos Santos.

Julio, 29, started his career at his now current club Cerro Porteno in Paraguay before heading to European giants Bayern Munich. After only 5 games, he went on loan to Wolfsburg, Almeria, and Gremio before being sold to Brazlian Atletico Paranaense in 2008. Since 2009 he has 19 goals in a 109 games for Cerro Porteno.

While no offer has been made with the player the source says that Revs GM Mike Burns has been, "tracking the player since the Copa Sudamericana and into 2013. He's interested in finding out more information on the player."

It is also interesting to know that Julio's agency, Europe Sports Group has done business with an MLS side this winter already when Sporting Kansas City signed DP Claudio Bieler.

Some of his accolades include being part of the 2006 World Cup team and being named Paraguayan footballer of the year in 2005.

French Please!

Top 3 Players Montreal Needs Inquire About To Put A Dent In The Soccer Community

Joey Saputo has it all wrong.

I was there the day the Thierry Henry visited Montreal  and the place was pure pandemonium. Sold out, the place was rocking all night.

Having visited many times, Montreal is a European city stuck in North America. The soccer fans want a face that they can recognize and until they do this, I believe Montreal will continue to struggle with attendance. With almost 68% of the 3.8 million people in the greater Montreal area listing French as their first language and the city decided having a French culture, French players are needed. 

Here are my Top 3 choices of players that Joey Saputo needs to inquire about:

1. Florent Malouda


The 32 year old French International has had recent troubles concerning his play at Chelsea. Basically exiled from the team, Malouda has not appeared in a game for Chelsea since the tail end of the 2011-2012 campaign. As of three days ago, The Sun has said that Chelsea are willing to let him walk for free. Why not bring in the troubled winger into camp and see what he has left in the tank?

Chance of joining Montreal: 25%

2. Patrice Evra


As much of a long shot this sounds lets not forget he is 31 years old. His playing time is bound to diminish in the coming years. Not only that but fellow friend Thierry Henry is still in the league. This may take a couple years for Saputo to develop a relationship with Evra but over time he might convince the Manchester United star to try out Montreal.

Chance of joining Montreal: 10%

3. Andre-Pierre Gignac


The Marseille-man might be the game changer Montreal needs. Gignac is young at 27 years old and is currently on the outs with his French based club. Since his transfer from Toulouse, he has scored only 21 times in 70 games in all competitions. With his hefty salary (Gignac makes almost $4.8 million this season) it makes sense for Montreal to inquire his services. Who knows, with a pay raise he could be the clubs leading scorer for the next 5-7 years.

Chance of joining Montreal: 5% (I'll put it at 10% if he ends up being the highest paid player in the league)

More French players are out there. Let your voice be heard in the comment section. Who should be the first big French player to come to Montreal?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Helder Postiga No Longer an Option for Seattle

30 year old Forward has "No Interest" in MLS move currently


A couple of weeks ago rumors we're making rounds that Seattle Sounders were interested in Real Zaragoza's forward Helder Positga. MLS Transfers has learned from a source close to the situation that any interest is now out the window.

"Helder has interest from teams in Spain, Portugal, Brazil and France. MLS is not currently in his plans."

Zaragoza looks to have no plans of selling Postiga as they sit in 8th place in La Liga. Teams will have to wait until June 2014 to try to lure in the Portuguese international.

Despite missing Euro 2012 Postiga still has an impressive 23 goals in 57 games for the national team.

So what are Seattle's next plans? Should they try to squeeze in a signing in the next couple of weeks or wait for previously linked Joan Verdu to visit the city? Leave a comment below to voice your opinion.

New York Red Bulls Preseason Analysis

Red Bulls Come Into Camp Hoping To Change Club Fortunes

New York Red Bulls Writer, Emilio Lopez


After a disappointing end to their 2012 campaign the New York Red Bulls promptly began to dismantle a regime that led the club to three straight post season appearances, but one that failed to deliver a much elusive title. Red Bull head of Global Soccer Gérard Houllier quickly appointed veteran UEFA technical director Andy Roxburgh as the teams Sporting Director while former interim president of AS Monaco Jérôme de Bontin continued as the team’s General Manager. The trio quickly started by trimming the roster and acquiring new players as well as looking for a new manager to replace the ousted Hans Backe.

The managerial process has been an arduous task as the Red Bulls have interviewed numerous candidates and the three key players in this process (Houllier, de Bontin, and Roxburgh) have had differing opinions on the type of coach the club needs to lead it in the right direction. In December it appeared as that man was finally selected, Gary McAllister. However, hefty wage demands from McAllister forced the club to turn in a different direction. That direction appears to be former Portuguese international and Videoton FC manager Paulo Sousa. Although the appointment has not been officially announced all signs point to an announcement being made early next week. Roxburgh was adamant that an American be appointed as Sousa’s number two, and it appeared that the position would be filled by former US international and New Jersey native Claudio Reyna. However, it appears that Reyna has rejected the position and the club must turn to another candidate, perhaps Tony Meola. What appears certain is that Sousa’s staff will include current interim coach Mike Petke and two additional assistants from Europe selected by Sousa. Although the managerial search has left many Red Bull supporters and pundits alike questioning the Red Bulls decision making process, it could turn out that McAlister’s reluctance to accept the Red Bull’s terms may in fact be a blessing for the club as Sousa appears to be the better candidate for the job. Sousa has had a mixed bag in his managerial career, starting with a turbulent period in his first job with Queens Park Rangers, to a relatively successful period with Swansea City, which has led some to credit Sousa with starting the process that would eventually lead the Swans to the Premier League. He then took over a troubled Leicester City and after a rough few months was out of work. His greatest success came with his most recent club, Hungary’s Videoton FC, a club that made a name for itself on the continent for its style of play and its historic run in the Europa League. Sousa’s teams are noted for their sound defensive play and possession style. He prefers to play in a 4-3-3 formation with two speedy wingers and a target striker up top.

Now let’s looks at what the 2013 Red Bulls squad will look like:


A position that at this time a year ago seemed to be a cause for concern for the Red Bulls now looks as a position of strength for the team. Going into this preseason second year keeper Ryan Meara goes into camp battling it out with Luis Robles for the starting position. Last year Meara started the pre-season just hoping to be the teams 3rd keeper and his fine form catapulted him into the starting lineup. However, an untimely injury 18 games into the season sidelined the New York native for the rest of the year and ended his hopes of capturing the league’s rookie of the year award. Robles ended the season as New York’s number 1 after arriving from Karlsruher SC in August of 2012; months after the club had originally tried to sign the keeper. Robles form at the end of the season and during the playoffs reminded many of the form that led the Arizona native to be called into the US National team in 2009. Santiago Castano was added to the mix this offseason as the Red Bulls signed the promising 17 year old keeper from their academy system. Going into the preseason it looks like Robles is the early favorite to guard the New York goal, but he will need to maintain his form to keep his place over Meara.


Although the team conceded 46 goals in 34 matches in 2012 the team has a good group of defenders in place and should show defensive improvement this season. The center back combination of Markus Holgersson and newly acquired Jamison Olave has the potential of being a strength for the club. The Swede Holgersson initially struggled in his debut season for New York, but by midseason was an effective player for New York, disrupting many would be attacks while contributing offensively on set pieces. Olave comes to New York from Real Salt Lake after battling through injuries in 2012. If the Colombian regains the form that made him one of the top defenders in the league New York’s rivals may have a hard time breaking them down. Another player who can step up for New York in the middle is former US international Heath Pierce. The former Hansa Rostock man helped improve New York’s defense after arriving from Chivas USA during the season. However, due to injuries he played both centrally and at left back. If everything goes according to plan Pierce should start the season as New York’s starting left back and should continue to display the form that has made him one of the league’s best players at that position.  At right back New York has many good options to choose from. Newly acquired Kosuke Kimura helped Colorado capture an MLS Cup playing in that spot and second year player Connor Lade had a promising first year for New York playing in various positions including right back. However, Brandon Barklage may be the favorite to open the season at right back for New York. Barklage endured numerous injuries while with DC United and last year with New York proved to be a revelation at right back due to his contribution to New York’s attack and solid defensive play. With the attacking and possession style that Paulo Sousa likes Barklage may be the best suited for the role. Other defenders on New York’s roster include Colombian center back Wilman Conde, who is a very good defender but has injury concerns and Costa Rican Roy Miller who is a good offensive left back, but at times struggles defensively. Look for one of those two to be let go in the next few weeks, most likely Miller.



Currently New York only has five midfielders on its roster, but that should be set to change as the team is looking to sign additional players. If Sousa plays his traditional 4-3-3 formation it appears that the steady Dax McCarty will play in the middle and continue to provide bite and distribution for the Red Bulls. More will be expected of second year man Tim Cahill in attack for New York. Cahill played effectively in the middle of the park for New York after arriving midseason from Everton; however the club will be looking for goals from the Australian international. During the offseason New York signed former Vasco de Gama star Juninho Pernambucano to help spearhead the clubs attack. Juninho, who will be 38 by the time the season starts, was still one of the best midfielders in the Brazilian league despite his age. He is also considered as one of the best free kick takers in the history of the sport and should easily make New York one of the most dangerous sides in the league on set pieces. Former Charlton Athletic man Lloyd Sam returns for his first full season with New York, and the speedy winger should continue to cause problems for defenses. Sam can play on either side of the pitch and may even see minutes as a wide forward. With the 22nd pick in the Super Draft New York selected defensive midfielder Ian Christianson. Christianson was regarded by many as one of the best if not best holding midfielders in the draft and is noted for his passing skills. He should serve as cover for Dax McCarty. New York holds the first pick in the Supplemental draft and will most likely select a wide midfielder to help compliment the group. Additionally, Charleston Battery midfielder Nicki Patterson will join the club during the preseason in hopes of cementing a spot on the club. The Scottish midfielder could provide cover in various positions if signed.


When you think of the Red Bulls you think of Thierry Henry, and that will most likely not change this season. The dynamic Henry had a terrific season for New York in 2012 scoring 15 goals and providing 12 assists, and in Sousa’s system will probably feature as a center forward. That does not bode well for leading scorer Kenny Cooper who in 2012 scored 18 goals. The goal total looks nice for Cooper but if examined closely you realize he scored 11 of those goals in the first nine games of the season and ended the season scoring 7 goals in his last twenty four matches. New York has been looking to deal Cooper as despite his size he is not a classic #9 and his glaring lack of speed hurt New York on numerous occasions last year. If Cooper remains on the squad it is not a foregone conclusion that he will remain a starter. Numerous names have been bantered about as being potential replacements for the American; they include former PSG man Peguy Luyindula, Jermaine Easter of Crystal Palace and most recently Fernando Cavenaghi of Villarreal. Cavenaghi seems to be the best fit but he will probably not be available until the end of June, when his contract with the Spanish club expires. Fabian Espindola was acquired in the off season from Real Salt Lake and the former Boca Juniors product should help in the attack. His pace and play making ability should mesh well with Henry’s style of play. New York also acquired Costa Rican international Josue Martinez from Philadelphia in the off season. Martinez at one time was heavily rated and was seen by many as the future of Saprissa, however after a disappointing first season in MLS, New York is hoping the 22 year old can recapture his form and be an effective option for the club. New York also signed academy product and USA U-17 international Amando Moreno. Moreno isn’t expected to contribute much this season but is considered a promising player for the future. Expect another forward to be signed by New York and for Cooper to be dealt if the right move comes along.

Season Projection

If New York remains relatively injury free and completes some of their pending signings (the team has 2 international roster spots available and it can increase if Roy Miller or another defender is released) the Red Bulls have a chance of being very good. Expect the Red Bulls to finish the regular season 18-8-8 (62 points) and finish on top in a very tough Eastern conference, and with a chance to capture a much elusive title.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Red Bulls show "True Interest" in striker Fernando Cavenaghi

Multiple Sources Confirm Clubs's Interest


A source close to MLS Transfers has let us know that the New York Red Bulls are showing "true interest" in current Villareal striker Fernando Cavenaghi. The 29 year old Cavenaghi has played for the likes of Argentine giants River Plate, Spartak Moscow, Bordeaux where he was a vital part of the team who won Ligue 1 in the 2008-2009 campaign and many more. 

The source has stated that interest is "mutual" and that current New York Red Bull Juninho has talked with Cavenaghi recently about joining the team. The source also interestingly stated that Cavenaghi and ex-Villareal star Giuseppe Rossi recently "talked about life in America". 

Also, Futbol Mercado reported that the Red Bulls were interested earlier in the day.

If Cavenaghi signs, it seems like it will be a DP deal. The player is currently worth over $1 million in transfer fees. We were unable to find his current salary at this time.        

So where does this leave the much maligned Kenny Cooper? Draft day is upon us and it looks like the clock is ticking on the 2012 leading scorer. Tomorrow is a big day for all parties involved. 

Sporting Kansas City Preseason Analysis

Sporting Bolsters Roster for 2013 

Sporting Kansas City Writer, Dan Huntington

       Heading into the 2012 MLS playoffs, Sporting Kansas City had experienced one of the great seasons in franchise history.  They began the year with seven straight victories. They won the U.S. Open Cup for the first time since 2004 in front of a sold-out, raucous crowd on their home pitch at (the soon to be renamed) LiveStrong Sporting Park. They had been in a tight race with San Jose for the Supporters’ Shield up until the final days of the season.  And they had won the Eastern Conference, clinching home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  Their destiny seemed to be nothing short of the MLS Cup Championship.  It wasn’t to be, though.  Just like in 2011, the Houston Dynamo brought an abrupt and painful end to Sporting’s once-promising season.
      So what did Manager Peter Vermes and Sporting CEO Robb Heineman do?  They got to work.  They took an already stacked roster and actually improved it – something that is very hard to do.  Let’s take a look at exactly what they did.


       Sporting’s defense was the rock of this team in 2012 and was the best in all of MLS, giving up only 0.79 goals per game.  On December 12, the team re-signed Matt Besler, the 2012 MLS Defender of the Year and Breakout Player of the Year, to a three-year extension.  This was welcome news to Kansas City supporters as Besler was being actively pursued by several top-flight European clubs.  Sporting also acquired two defenders via trade, Josh Gardner (Montreal) and Ike Opara (San Jose), and they signed free-agent Yann Sango’o.  Although I do not expect these three players to make a big impact in MLS play, they do provide Sporting with good depth for non-MLS games that include international friendlies, U.S. Open Cup games, and CONCACAF Champions League games.  Seth Sinovic at left back and Chance Myers at right back are workhorses for this defense and rarely take a night off so it will be difficult for the three additions to crack the starting eleven (barring an injury, of course).
     The only real notable loss from the defense was Michael Harrington, whom Sporting traded to Portland in December for allocation money.  Harrington was primarily a backup in recent years but filled in nicely at left back for Sinovic when called upon.  Along with Nielsen, Sporting returns all four starters on the back line (Besler, Sinovic, Myers, and Aurelien Collin) in 2013 and for this reason, opponents will be hard-pressed to find the back of the net much more often than they did in 2012.


       The off-season moves that received the most attention were those that affected Sporting’s midfield. Roger Espinoza, whose stellar play for Honduras during the 2012 Olympic Games in London garnered the attention of Wigan Athletic of the English Premier League, completed a move to Wigan on January 4, 2013.  Rumors of Espinoza’s impending move to the EPL began almost as soon as he returned to Sporting following the conclusion of the Olympics so it did not come as a huge surprise that a deal was eventually completed. 
     Perhaps in anticipation of Espinoza’s departure, Sporting traded for New England’s Benny Feilhaber in December.  Like Espinoza, Feilhaber has experience on the international stage, having played at various levels of U.S. Soccer.  In fact, he has played on U.S. National Teams with current Sporting players C.J. Sapong, Teal Bunbury, Graham Zusi, Bobby Convey and Jacob Peterson.  Although Feilhaber is not quite the attacking player that Espinoza is on the offensive end (as evidenced by his one goal and two assists in 2012 with the Revs), he is still a good distributor of the ball and just as physical.  He is the kind of midfielder that should thrive in Vermes’ system. 
    Speaking of Graham Zusi, he recently enjoyed a training stint with EPL-side West Ham United.  By all accounts, the Hammers were very impressed with what they saw out of Zusi and may be interested in pursuing him for a more permanent role with the squad.  This is a situation to keep your eye on over the summer.
      The other significant move that did not get nearly the level of attention that the Espinoza departure received but may be just as impactful was the release of Julio Cesar.  Cesar is one of those players that you don’t really notice when he is out there, but when he is not out there, it’s noticeable.  Cesar played in primarily a defensive midfield role in Peter Vermes’ system so the stat sheet did not always tell the whole story on how important Cesar was to controlling the midfield.  Despite his lack of flare on the offensive end, he did have, perhaps, one of Sporting’s most impressive goals in 2012 when he volleyed in a Graham Zusi corner straight out of the air and into the top of the net against Toronto.  Ironically, he ended up signing on with that same Toronto squad following his release from Kansas City.
      Despite the losses of Espinoza and Cesar, Sporting will still field one of the best midfields in the league with Zusi, Feilhaber, Kei Kamara, and some combination of Bobby Convey/Oriol Rosell/Paulo Nagamura/Jacob Peterson.  Kamara led the team with 11 goals so if he can replicate that kind of production in 2013, that would bode well for this team. Also, Rosell could be a sleeper at midfield as acquitted himself very well late in the year.


       The one area where Sporting struggled to even be average in 2012 was at forward and the ability (or lack thereof) to put the ball in the back of the net.  Sporting ranked seventh out of ten in the Eastern Conference and 12th overall in goals scored (42).  Teal Bunbury got off to a bit of a slow start, not scoring until the 10th game of the season, when he scored twice against Colorado.  On August 26, Bunbury tore his ACL against New York and was done for the season.  C.J. Sapong, the 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year, tallied nine goals on the year but was inconsistent.  Some reports have come out in recent days that Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger may be interested in making a move for Sapong, with one outlet reporting that a transfer fee has already been agreed to between Sporting and Arsenal.  If this does in fact come to fruition, it would be a major blow to the depth of Sporting’s front line.  With that in mind, enter the club’s newest Designated Player: Claudio Bieler.
       Claudio Bieler signed with Sporting on December 18.  Although you have probably never heard of him, Bieler’s goal-scoring prowess is well-documented during his time in South America, primarily with LDU Quito (Ecuador).  His goal scoring record in league play is as follows: 13 goals in 2008; 22 goals in 2009; 8 goals in 2010 (in Argentina); 5 goals in 2011; and 20 goals in 2012.  This is certainly production that Sporting could use, especially with Bunbury out still rehabbing his knee.  It is still to be determined how Bieler adapts to MLS, but by all accounts, he is well-suited for the physical style of play that he is about to experience.  If he and Sapong (assuming C.J. is still with Sporting) can form some good chemistry early on, the Sporting attack could be a very formidable one for any defense.
      Behind the three men noted above, there is not a lot of experience at forward.  Both Soony Saad and last year’s first-round draft pick, Dom Dwyer saw limited action in MLS play last year.  Saad saw more action of the two, getting two starts.  Dwyer saw only four minutes of MLS action in 2012 but played in a couple international friendlies and in one U.S. Open Cup match.  I would expect them to play a similar role in 2013 – lots of minutes in non-MLS matches but I don’t expect much from either in league play.  On a personal aside, I would like to see Sporting take an MLS-ready forward in this year’s Superdraft to give the team a little bit more depth at this position.

2013 Expectations

     The way I see it, there are three questions that are going to determine Sporting’s success in 2013.  First, can the defense replicate its 2012 performance?  It will be difficult to post another 0.79 goals against average and 15 clean sheets.  However, with all the starters returning, this is not an unreachable goal.  Second, will the midfield be able to control the action with the loss of Espinoza and Cesar?  I think Feilhaber is a suitable replacement for Espinoza in terms of being able to control and distribute the ball.  However, I’m not sure there is a dominant defensive midfielder like Cesar on this roster so that could put a little more pressure on the defense.  And finally, how will Claudio Bieler adapt to MLS and can he get to double-digits in goals?  If he can, and I think he will, I believe Sporting will be the odds-on favorite to win the Eastern Conference for the third consecutive year.  My prediction: Sporting ends up with a 16-7-11 record (59 points) and edges the Houston Dynamo by one point to win the East.

So what are your views on for the Sporting season will go? Leave comments below.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Top 5 Candidates to Replace Thierry Henry

Which big star will take Henry's place?

Henry's Contract Runs Until the End of 2013


Enough of the articles on David Beckham's DP replacements. Who will replace the only* New York Red Bulls star player when he leaves? Who knows if this will be Henry's last season, what we do know is that this do-it-all player will be an unlikely find in the future.

In 66 games for the New York club, Henry has 32 goals and 20 assists. That puts him in the top 6 scorers and in the top 10 for assists over the past 3 seasons. All of that plus the fact that he has played 15-25 less games than all the other players ahead of him the in rankings. With Red Bulls management always looking to out-do itself, here are (in no order) the Top 5 Replacements for Misure Henry.

5. Miroslav Klose


Linked with a prior move to New York, the now 34 year old poacher is nearing the end of his Lazio days where he has scored 27 goals in 57 games over the past two seasons. Although his contract runs to the summer of 2014, a low transfers fee and a slightly high salary (He's making $2.1 million per season) could persuade both Lazio and Klose that this is the right move.

4. Diego Milito


The goal-scoring machine from Inter's miraculous 2010 UEFA Champions League victory is no longer. While 42 goals over the past 98 games is nothing to slouch out, it seems like his time at Inter may be over. The likes of fellow Argentinian Rodrigo Palacio, Italian bad-boy Antionio Cassano and recent purchase Tommaso Rocchi all seem to be in front of Diego as he has seen his minutes steadily drop.

Although a recent report has said that Milito would like to stay until next year, with only a year and a half left on his contract and the Italian league in serious financial constriants, are Inter willing to pay out Milito's $4.5 million salary? Only time will tell.

3. Emmanuel Adebayor

Adebayor is the youngest player in this list at 28 years old but many suspect he is willing to make the jump to MLS soon.

Friends with Thierry, he has recently attended a Red Bulls home match. Henry could convince him to come to New York but that would have to come at a significant price. According to The Telegraph, Adebayor is making $6.4 million this season. With a transfer price listed at over $16 million, it would cost around $35.2 million to get Emmanuel on a 3 year contract. Oh, and that's without a raise in salary. The question is, are the Red Bulls pockets deep enough for that kind of talent?

2. Fabrizio Miccoli

Miccoli is a humble player who never really got a fair shot with the Italian national team. At age 33, some say he is better now than in his 20's. The fact is, his beloved club Palermo is in a religation battle. If they drop to Serie B, it would be hard for both Palermo and Miccoli to stay together. Miccoli is this highest paid player in the club. Could Red Bull persuade the diminutive striker to come to the USA for a pay raise?

1. Kaka


While not a true forward, it is not secret the Red Bulls are interested in the 30 year old playmaker. The New York Post reported that Kaka was open to the idea of joining an MLS side for the right price. Red Bull is one of the highest spending teams in the league and could give him a shot at money and a title.
The rumors will get a little more juicy after today when Here Is The City reported that after Saturday's red card against Osasuna, Real Madrid would let him go on a free transfer.

Oh the possiblities.

*No, Juninho nor Cahill are stars. Sorry.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Trezeguet interested in MLS move

The ex-French International looks towards MLS as next move

Henry helps hyping up the league

MLS Transfers has learned from a source that current River Plate star David Trezeguet is "looking into" a move to the North American league.

David has struggled of late as he has played 10 games for the Argentine giants this season while only producing 1 goal. As recent as of Decemeber, Trezeguet was linked to a move back to Italy from SportsMole which talked about the desire to leave South America. Tough times in Italian football has seen a economic setback in which a Trezeguet move looks unlikely.

MLS is seen as an option though. The source has also said that within the past week New York Red Bulls star forward Thierry Henry went to visit him while on a trip to visit Red Bull Brasil as well as to promote Puma, the brand that endorses Henry. The source said that the two discussed Trezeguet's future footballing plans in which Henry "hyped up the league".

Trezeguet visited the United States as recent as 2010 to play on Juventus' summer tour which visited cities such as New York and Toronto.

What do we think about this rumor? Could Trezeguet be a good fit for your team or do you think he's past his prime and doesn't deserve to come? Let us know in the comments below.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Looking for Writers!

This is MLS Transfers blog. Here we will be looking for opinion pieces as well as news on your favorite MLS team. If you are interested in representing your team, contact


1. Your name
2. What team you want to represent
3. A short 100-200 word essay on why you should write about your team
4. Any prior papers, resumes

 Can't wait to get this started!

-MLS Transfers