Daily news roundups

Pfeffer not on US U-20 WC qualifiers roster, Mbolhi rumor, Gerrard to LA, Garber on Lampard, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

The final 20-player roster for the US at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, which begins on Friday, Jan. 9, was announced today. Zach Pfeffer, a US U-20 stalwart, has been recovering from an injury and was not named to the roster. Zack Steffen and Russell Canouse were named to the roster.

Union fans have been without a rumor for a little while. Over the weekend, French sports outlet Foot Mercato posted a brief story (crappy Google translation here) saying Rais Mbolhi “wants to change clubs” and remain in Europe.

Ghana Web previews five possible winners of the Africa Cup of Nations, with Mbolhi’s Algeria topping the list.

Playing for 90 has New Year’s resolutions for the Union.

Brotherly Game has season reviews for Cristian Maidana and Vincent Nogueira.


On Friday, Steven Gerrard announced he would leave Liverpool at the end of the Premier League season to move to MLS. “I can tell the supporters … it will be America. But I’m not over the line with any team just yet. I’m close and as soon as I know I’ll make the announcement.”

MLS commissioner Don Garber told SI, “Discussions are taking place with his representatives, and we expect more details soon. I can’t say anything further than that. Nothing is signed.”

However, ESPN reports Gerrard will join LA Galaxy on an 18-month contract. The Washington Post’s Steven Goff tweeted that, “Barring complications — and there r always complications,” Gerrard will be on a $6 million per season contract.

The LA Times reports, “The deal, one of the most significant in the league’s 19-year history, was confirmed Saturday by a Galaxy official with knowledge of the negotiations. The official spoke anonymously because the team has declined to comment publicly on the matter. The move is expected to become official when the team announces it this week.”

The Irish Independent says Liverpool may seek to bring Gerrard back on loan next January.

Goal.com throws caution to the wind and says a Gerrard move to MLS “could be a big hit.”

Garber also spoke to SI about the Frank Lampard situation. “I could understand why their fans are unhappy, and I do believe [NYCFC] will work hard to build back that trust…They’ve started that process already. I sensed this was coming, and it didn’t surprise me when they ultimately made their decision.” He continued,

[W]e need to work hard now to move forward and recognize that Frank will be joining this team in July along with other Designated Players, who throughout the history of the Designated Player program have almost always joined in July. If there was an error in judgment on this, it was not just announcing that he would come in July and figuring out how to manage the start of the season, no different than what happened with Robbie Keane or Thierry Henry or David Beckham.

New York Daily News calls the decision for Lampard to remain with Manchester City “an unfortunate comeuppance for MLS,” adding, “The harsh lesson: If you want to appear a big fish, then stay in your own aquarium and don’t swim out to sea with the sharks.”

An editorial at Empire of Soccer says,

Lampardgate is about MLS. About American soccer. NYCFC aren’t the only ones made to look like second class “Citizens” in this entire affair. On their 20th anniversary, and just seven short years from Garber’s goal to make the league a global player, MLS is looking as plastic and propped up as ever, quietly sitting in a $100 million dollar cash pool while City Football Group circumvents Fair Play rules to meet their own ends.

At Forbes, Bobby McMahon says that Manchester City’s decision to hold on to Lampard is just business.

At Soccer Gods, Steve Davis on how spending on Designated Players has become required for MLS teams to be competitive. “Some teams will still build on the cheap, of course, and that kind of diversity creates a more interesting league. But denying the need for at least one pricey pilot, one experienced helmsman or perhaps one man blessed with truly difference-making talent looks increasingly ill-considered.”

The Guardian reported on Friday that Jermain Defoe is close to signing with Leicester City. On Sunday, the Telegraph reported Liverpool want Defoe on loan.

This just in from the Department of Future Rumors, Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes said of rumors linking the him to PSG, “There’s no way Cristiano will play in Paris. He will finish his career at Real Madrid, or he might go to the United States. Only God knows.”

Goal.com has an update on the 2015 college draft class.

They’re narrowing the choice of names for the Atlanta franchise.

Pioneer Press on the competing bids for a MLS franchise in Minneapolis.

Adam Moffat, who has played for Columbus Crew, Houston Dynamo, Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders, and FC Dallas, now plays for New York Cosmos.


USWNT head coach Jill Ellis has named 29 players to the training camp that opens today in Carson City. No surprises in those named to the camp.

At US Soccer, an extensive Q&A with Jurgen Klinsmann examining priorities and expectations for 2015.

Soccer America on the rise of Gedion Zelalem.

Predictions for 2015? Grant Wahl phones in a few.


The Press Association reports “an £18m takeover bid” of Glasgow Rangers has “either been lodged or was about to be” by Robert Sarver, the majority owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team.

The AP reports Gasan Magomedov, a 20-year-old player for Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, “was driving into his home village Saturday night when his car was sprayed with machine-gun fire and he died from his wounds while being transported to hospital”.


  1. Jeremy Lane says:

    I just don’t think the Lampard thing is as big a deal as everyone is making it. Who cares if he comes or not? The only people who think this is a “comeuppance” or embarrassment for the league are the ones who think soccer is only legitimate in Europe, which is patently false. This is a non-story, or perhaps a story about how poor NYCFC’s marketing and PR departments are.

    • It’s also a story of the shenanigans we can expect from a club that doesn’t have to follow the MLS rules. Was it Lampard or Villa that officially has a $0 salary cap hit for City?

    • No it is kind of a big deal.
      It is a gut punch to fans who thought the team was going to be competitive on its own terms. A team from Europe may poach your star player but at least you get a large transfer fee. The Idea that your team is a farm team with the main team caring little about your success other than developing players expanding your “brand”. I imagine it hurts. We all saw it coming but it still hurts.
      I imagine it feels along the lines finding out the Union is a cheap organization, run by half wits. It hurts.
      And it makes the league look bad. It sold it soul, its integrity(I mean what little there is) and its autonomy for money. (Lending credence to the theory that the league is propped up by expansion fees.)
      So yea it looks bad.

      • Agreed. No matter what business that you’re in, you should never lie to your customers and that’s what MLS & NYFC did with this.

      • It will catch up to them and MLS if they end up playing in a half empty Yankee stadium and can’t get a soccer specific stadium built within the 5 boroughs. This could be another Chivas USA in the making

      • Jeremy Lane says:

        I guess it’s bad for MLS in that having incompetent franchises isn’t good for MLS’s brand, as with Chivas, as Jim said. But the fans that only bought tickets for Lampard, etc? That’s just dumb on their part, and I don’t care about them. I agree that it hurts those fans to have the org run poorly, but is it really news for anyone else? I mean, no one cares that the Union is cheap except us, right?

      • Like it or not NYFC is a flagship team that shows off how far the league has come.
        ….And it has come to this?
        And fans bought tickets to see a team be competitive and win. And the whole Lampard situation shows that winning isn’t the top priority for the team. Fans have every right to be pissed. Its not about Lampard it is what about this deal represents. For the fans and the League.
        And nobody cares about the Union.

      • Part of it cuts both ways, too.

        If Man City wasn’t your parent company, Lampard would be signing with the Galaxy or something. It might sting to realize that your second fiddle to a PL team, but guess what? You are. For Man City owners, winning the PL is just more important.

        I can certainly appreciate the NYC fans getting upset, but on the other hand, look what Lampard is doing — he’s showing he’s still got quite a bit of gas in the tank. So you have to wait till June or whatever. Big deal. Look what Jermaine Jones did for New England when he arrived in August.

        None of the way this Lampard thing panned out should be terribly surprising.

    • It is a story from a few perspectives, not the least of which is was Lampard even signed in the first place.

      I care less about the ‘just a farm team’ angle, since MCFC signaled that to everyone when they grabbed the A-League team too. I always thought the real advantage NYCFC would have is getting MCFC’s loanees who weren’t good enough to break into the first team but would still be much better than MLS level. That remains their advantage.

      • Scotty, while City say they will loan out underdeveloped talent or players who aren’t ready for the PL to NYC to make it their “farm team”……I don’t believe it. Chivas USA started with the same thing in mind….expand the Chivas Guadalajara brand while giving players who aren’t cutting it in the first team match minutes. It didn’t really materialize that way. I think City only sees NYCFC as a place to sell Man City kits and plaster their corporate sponsors (Etihad) all over Yankee stadium. Its about $$$$$. I guess we all have a mutual interest that City/NYCFC don’t go down the Chivas road.

      • Agreed, that is how Chivas did it. I’d disagree that there is any other way CFG and Chivas are similar in approach, other than the same sport.

        I doubt the top kids come here, but the next tier down would. Chelsea have 26 players on loan.
        MCFC have:
        Karim Rekik (PSV, until end of season)
        Bruno Zuculini (Valencia, until end of season)
        Emyr Huws (Wigan, until December 31)
        Marcos Lopes (Lille, until end of season)
        Adam Drury (St Mirren, until end of season)
        Albert Rusnak (SC Cambuur, until January 1)
        Eirik Holmen Johansen (Sandefjord, until January 1)
        Greg Leigh (Crewe, until January 1)
        Jason Denayer (Celtic, until end of season)
        Billy O’Brien (Hyde, until end of season)
        Devante Cole (Barnsley, January 5)
        Ellis Plummer (St Mirren, until end of season)
        Bismark Adjei-Boateng (Stromsgodset, January 1)
        Godsway Donyoh (Falkenbergs FF, January 1)
        now wouldn’t it be more ideal to send a player you control and own to a team you control and own?

      • Man, you did your homework! Notice……a lot of guys on loan are sent to France……League 1 depends on them. Do we want to be a loan league like League 1? I just think if your the City coaching staff….are you going to send a kid to develop in France or MLS? I know which I would choose….

      • sorry bout that….I notice more in the Eirdivise and Scotland….same point though. If you have your choice to loan someone out to PSV, Celtic, or NYC….which would you choose? And, doesn’t PSV, Celtic, Lille etc. have to pay for the loan……City wouldn’t receive a dime to send someone to NYC…its in house. They wouldn’t recoup any perceived loss at NYC…

    • The Euro >>> MLS fans should be just as pissed considering how many shenanigans MCFC is likely to get up to with the FFP rules.

    • Jeremy, I think your right from a Union supporters perspective, but sieve!, George, and Jim are right too, from a longterm, broader, or business perspective. While many people, me included, would think that buying tickets for one or two players is crazy…… there are nutters out there like that. Picture some born and raised Chelsea or Liverpool supporter living in NYC or LA and they find out that Frankie or Stevie is coming to play for your club. These guys will also sell tickets dude…….people will come just to see them. I say this being friends with a lot of die hard Reds around here in Philly( I’m a Gooner!)…and they are all giddy that Stevie G. may be coming Stateside……..you will see plenty of red at PPL park the day his club came to town. They will still be rooting for the Union……but also for their boy!

  2. If that rumor about M’Bolhi is true, I guess it means he’s not planning on (or can’t) bring his family over. In which case, the U needs to cut their losses and transfer him for whatever they can get.

    • I suspect the desire to get rid of Mbohli is mutual. There is a fair amount of money tied up in our goalkeepers in general and Rais in particular. And thier superclever smart guy plans to move at least one of em have blown up in their face. Unloading Mbohli is probably a priority for both parties.

      • The Chopper says:

        I wouldn’t be surprised if the Union floated the M’Bolhi is looking for a new club rumor. See what’s out there. Curtin will be fine starting the season with Rais in goal, but with Blake’s recent form, why not see if a deal is out there and potentially clear some cap space and maybe get some cash in return.
        My guess is that M’Bolhi is the opening day keeper, but the transfer window is opening, so why not fish.

      • As of right now Blake is the starter in 2016. Moving Rais(If possible) is a priority. And even if they wanted him no way Macmath stays with the Union after he was jerked around.
        If we don’t move Rais I think that it will seriously hamper our ability to retool the Union.

      • The Chopper says:

        MacMath may not have much of a choice. There is not an MLS club ready to give him a starter’s job. The Union have been floating him out there to exchange for a first round pick and there have been no takers.

        If he stays and Blake goes out on loan, there will be starts for him while M’Bolhi travels for Algeria. It may be his best situation. I’ doubt a three year starter wants to go play in the NASL or USL

      • He has enough optios somewhere(anywhere) else when his contract runs out.

      • If Rais is moved, Curtin puts his arm around Zac and says that whole thing was never his (or Albright’s) idea and what a pro Zac is for how he handled it. Zac knows every start in 2015 is an audition for his next gig and that’s all the juice he needs.

      • Is this where Muehlensteen “consults?” Can he help with a decent transfer deal? At least he could deflect the inevitable (and justified) fan hostility toward Sak for the signing. What are we getting from Rene’s deal this offseason? Anyone have an idea?

  3. I know the draft often doesn’t provide much, but it still stinks not even caring about looking at the class bc we don’t have a first round pick. I am excited for Sapong, but why was the pick needed? We only got cash for Amobi

    • I’m thinking the Union value allocation money much more than draft picks, especially the way the last couple of drafts have played out.

  4. All I know is…..we better hear a SOB chant this year along the lines of NYCFC being Man City’s B#@ch! Get on that SOB’s! Make it funny! Or a tifo! Endless possibilities with a tifo……hehehe!

  5. I enjoyed writing this so much the other day just reposting here.
    If Real Madrid money was to back an MLS franchise, do any of us really think that MLS club would be on equal footing with the Spanish Super Giant in the eyes of the Madradistas or in the eyes of the money holders for Los Merengues? Please do not be deluded NYCFC Supporters.
    The best thing that can happen for your little franchise, because it is of little consequence in the Futbol Galaxy – is for one of your HG players to get called up to City someday. Best case. Or to siphon off some players who are reserve quality for the parent club. What did you expect, ‘oh hey, look were backed by City money and we matter just as much.’ It is laughable and arrogant. I do not blame you for being annoyed by the whole Lampard situation but…..
    ….make no mistake, you are a toy for City, shiny and new and experimental and totally and completely at their disposal. Isn’t that the way it should be? To think it any differently is silly. Welcome to asking them to the MLS party- any regrets yet?
    Personally, I’d take River Plate and be their bitch in a second.

  6. How many people actually pictured Stevie G. in a Union kit for a split second before reality set in? I’m guilty!

  7. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Consider that they may “love allocation money” in order to complete the Edu deal. Finishing that has to be the cornerstone to anything else. Stake out their HQ and the airport to follow who’s flying to Stoke City. Sine qua non.

  8. Akifenwa……..dude is a brick $hit house. Imagining him dealing with most CBs in the MLS is funny just thinking about. It be like when Shooter McGavin turned around and saw the guy with the nail in his head!There was a little piece on him a year or two ago in fourfourttwo about his weight routine and diet. He looks like he could suit up for an NFL team. Sadly, I think League Two sides are still more fiscally sound and can pay more than we can. Stevie G wasn’t too bad today either.

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