Daily news roundups

Protected lists out today, Seattle MLS champs, state of the league, more

Philadelphia Union

Official: The Union have traded Kevin Kratz to Atlanta United in exchange for Atlanta’s “natural Fourth Round pick in the 2020.” The long-expected move took place during the Half-Day Trade Window on Sunday. Here are the transfer mechanisms to keep an eye on this week:

  • The Expansion Draft Protected Player list and Free Agents list will be announced today.
  • The Expansion Draft takes place on Tuesday at 2 pm. Beginning at 5 pm, free agents can begin negotiating with clubs. (2016 Expansion Draft rules here.)
  • On Wednesday, the Waiver Draft list will be released.
  • On Thursday, the Waiver Draft will take place at 2 p. After 5 pm, “clubs may no longer sign or trade their own Re-Entry Draft eligible players (player-trade blackout window).” The list of players available in the Re-Entry Draft will also come out on Thursday.
  • On Friday, Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Draft will begin at 3 pm (Stage 2 will take place on Thursday, Dec. 22).

The Union’s Offseason Primer series concludes with a Re-Entry Process 101.

Brotherly Game has a offseason preview.

At the Union website, Matt Bodiford reviews Earnie Stewart’s influence on the team after one year.

At Philly Magazine, “The Best Thing That Happened This Week: Andre Blake Made the MLS Best XI.”

Tommy Smyth has confirmed he will be part of the Union broadcast team in 2017.

Bethlehem Steel

Brotherly Game talks to Bethlehem goalkeeper Matt Perrella.


After a 120 scoreless minutes, Seattle defeated Toronto 5-4 on penalty kicks to win the 2016 MLS Cup. None of us will ever have those three hours back but, hey, Stefan Frei came up big.

ESPN’s Paul Carr notes, in addition to the MLS Cup final, the following finals have been decided by penalty kicks in 2016: the UEFA Champions League, Copa America, Men’s Olympics, NWSL, and the NCAA Division I College Cup (Stanford defeated Wake Forrest on Sunday).

Player Moves

Official: The league will increase the amount of Targeted Allocation money teams receive in 2017: “all 22 MLS clubs will receive a total of $1.2 million of Targeted Allocation Money in 2017, an increase of $400,000 per club from the previously announced $800,000 for the year.”

Columbus have traded Michael Parkhurst to Atlanta in exchange for General Allocation Money. It was the start of a series of deals from Atlanta which also included the acquisition of forward Romario Williams from Montreal in exchange for a third round draft pick in the 2018 SuperDraft; the acquisition of midfielder Harrison Heath from Orlando in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2019 SuperDraft; as mentioned above, the acquisition of Kevin Kratz from the Union; the acquisition of an international spot for the 2017 and 2018 seasons from Colorado in exchange for Atlanta’s natural second round SuperDraft pick in 2017.

And that’s not all. Atlanta was also involved in a three-team deal that saw them acquire goalkeeper Sean Johnson from Chicago in exchange for General Allocation Money. Atlanta then dealt Johnson to NYCFC in exchange for General Allocation Money and Targeted Allocation Money. Does this mean Brad Guzan could be joining Atlanta?

On Friday, Montreal announced it had exercised contract options on seven players: Evan Bush, Donny Toia, Harry Shipp, Johan Venegas, David Choinière, Anthony Jackson-Hamel, and Michael Salazar. Not returning to the Impact for 2017 are Kyle Bekker, Lucas Ontivero, Jeremy Gagnon-Laparé, and Didier Drogba. The option was declined on Amadou Dia, “but he will be invited to the team’s next training camp.”

Impact owner Joey Saputo also confirmed on Friday that Swiss international Blerim Džemaili will join the team in the summer of 2017 from Bologna on “a multi-year deal” as a Designated Player.  The 30-year-old midfielder has 55 caps with Switzerland.

On Sunday, Minnesota announced it had acquired Joey Greenspan from Colorado in exchange for its natural third round SuperDraft pick in 2017.

LA Galaxy president Chris Klein has confirmed talks have taken place with Jermaine Jones about joining the club.

Chicago Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez has confirmed talks with David Accam have been “postponed until next season begins.”

A Republican legislator in Missouri wants to eliminate the Missouri Development Finance Board, which is considering whether to issue $40 million in tax credits asked for by the group working to build a MLS stadium in St. Louis.

Garber’s State of the League address

Don Garber issued his state of the league address on Friday, covering a variety of familiar topics. Some highlights:

  • Garber said there is a deadline for David Beckham’s Miami expansion project to get a stadium deal finalized: “There is a deadline on the Miami deal. I’m not going to share that deadline — it’s an agreement that we have with [investors] David Beckham and Simon Fuller. But what I’ve said before and I’ll say here again now: We need to resolve the Miami situation so we can go forward with our expansion plans in 25-28, because they’re team 24. If they’re not going to be 24, then there’s going to be a lot of things that need to move around.” Garber said details of the league’s intentions to expand to 28 teams will be announced after the league’s board of directors meet on Thursday. The Beckham group says it remains committed to getting a deal done in Miami.
  • Garber said the league wants to implement the Video Assistant Referee system in 2017: “The system only applies to goals, red cards, penalty kicks and cases of mistaken identity.”
  • Garber said there will be no changes to the playoff format in 2017.
  • Garber said US labor laws are the reason why Canadian players count as international players on US MLS rosters: “When you look at U.S. law, which does not allow any employer to treat one passport holder differently than another, we could not have the same rule for Canadians [and a] different rule for Hondurans or Guatemalans — we have players from 60 countries.”
  • Garber seemed to indicate there are no plans to increase the league’s salary cap.

Reaction to Garber’s expansion comments from Miami HeraldSun SentinelSacramento Bee, Sacramento Business JournalDetroit Free Press, Detroit News, and Cincinnati.com.

FourFourTwo ranks the suitors for the remaining expansion spots.


In his remarks about MLS expansion, Don Garber made clear the New York Cosmos cannot look to MLS as a future home: “We have two teams in MLS in New York. We’re not going to have a third team.” Garber said further,

It’s a great brand. I spoke to the original purchaser of the brand many years ago. I had numerous conversations before NYC FC came in with Seamus O’Brien and his international investors. They made a decision that I’m sure they felt was the right thing at the time…[T]they’re going to decide to do whatever it is that they as owners of the trademark have the right to do. Frankly, and I don’t say this in any way lightly, I wish them luck, because when it reverberates around the world that there’s instability in professional soccer I don’t think that’s good for anybody.

Newsday reports The New York state economic development office has officially nixed the proposal from the New York Cosmos to build a stadium at Belmont Park in Long Island. More at Big Apple Soccer and Empire of Soccer.

Empire of Soccer reports “the majority” of the Cosmos’ employees were “laid off by ownership on Friday afternoon,” adding, “Ownership had placed a number of employees on furlough the past two weeks, leading to this decision.”

Big Apple Soccer notes a report at Spanish sports site Marca in which former New York Cosmos defender Ayoze “lashed out at the team’s ownership” for the team’s demise:

It is all the fault of a disastrous management, I do not know if they realize of what … they have achieved. We did not think it was going to disappear, but it did not surprise us, either. It was commented on during the year that the club was looking for a new owner to move on…There were countless cuts and the sport was neglected a lot. We were training in a disastrous field. We realized that the situation was more serious than we believed because payment problems arose, especially with the employees of the [front] office…they should have tried to enter Major League Soccer from the beginning. Everything would be different now.

Ayoze added, “I have one more year of contract and I have not received any official notification from the club.” More at Empire of Soccer.

Empire of Soccer reported on Sunday Jacksonville Armada “have officially given notice to the NASL that they will no longer be a part of the league. As has been widely reported, they are speaking to USL about a possible move to their competition for 2017.”

At the Washington Post, Simon Evans on why the demise of the NASL matters.

Former NASL side Ottawa Fury begins play in the USL in 2017. They will do so as the USL affiliate of Montreal Impact, who are pulling the plug on FC Montreal. More at Ottawa Citizen and CBC News.

Former NASL sides Tampa Bay Rowdies and Ottawa were both in attendance at the USL’s Winter Summit which concluded on Friday. USL president Jake Edwards said, “I think the owners [from Tampa Bay and Ottawa] were very impressed by what they’ve seen over the past few days, the quality of the sessions we’ve put on, the strategic direction of the league and the initiatives we’re working on. And to meet some of their counterparts from around the country, I think they’ve very excited to get going with us.” No word on if other NASL-based teams were in attendance, even if unofficially.

PDL side Long Island Rough Riders has proposed “to build Suffolk County Community College a 5,000-seat artificial turf soccer stadium at the school’s Brentwood campus for a new minor league franchise it wants to establish” in the USL. More at Big Apple Soccer.


Bruce Arena says he expects Clint Dempsey to be available for the January USMNT camp.

On Friday, US Soccer announced Jozy Altidore as the 2016 Male Player of the Year and Christian Pulisic as the 2016 Young Male Player of the Year.


The UEFA Champions League and Europa League knockout round draws are complete. Which leads to this:

The UEFA Champions League will play games at two different kickoff times in each matchday starting in 2018, the European governing body announced on Friday.

Currently, all games are played Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 20:45 CET (2:45 p.m. ET), allowing for exceptions for earlier start times when necessary.

But for the competition cycle running from 2018-21, two matches will kick off each day at 19:00 CET (1 p.m. ET), with six starting at 21:00 CET (3 p.m. ET). Those timeslots are similar to those already used on Thursdays in the Europa League.

The AP reports, “UEFA is not happy about the way FIFA is pushing through plans to expand the 2026 World Cup.”

The AP reports, “Under fire for his role in Russia’s state doping program, Vitaly Mutko has begun the process of a FIFA integrity check to be an election candidate.”

A pair of explosions outside Besiktas’ stadium two hours after their match against Bursaspor on Sunday has left 38 dead and 155 wounded. The explosions, from a car bomb and suicide bomber, appear to have targeted police. Goal.com reports, “Bursaspor confirmed their supporters had exited the stadium close to the scene of the attack before the explosion.”

The AP reports, “Qatar announced Monday it is introducing long-expected reforms to policies governing its vast foreign-labor force, though the changes still require workers to seek clearance from their bosses before leaving the country.”

Goal kicks.


  1. That MLS Cup final was pure crap. It had to be in part the cold. I don’t know how you even breath while you’re running around in that. Giovinco looked like he was playing with a busted leg or something. Not at all himself. Definitely not a great statement sort of game to have on a national network.

    • It’s a cup final so they are always typically cagey affairs. I thought that the presentation of the match was good (big crowd, loud atmosphere, etc.). I wasn’t bothered by it being played in such cold weather as that makes it more compelling for the casual fan to watch. I actually enjoyed it as it was an intriguing tactical battle, but that’s me.

      Not sure whether he is carrying an injury or not, but Giovinco has shown himself to not be mentally strong during the playoffs. He should know that he’s always going to be fouled/played physically so when he openly complains and throws a fit, the defenders know that they have gotten the best of him. As many pointed out, that’s probably the reason that he got less MVP votes from the players rather than the media.

      • I think I was more disappointed in the result than anything else. I really didn’t care who won, but it was tough having a team that really didn’t do much all game (except make some pretty good saves) take the cup. I know it takes some skill to keep a clean sheet for 120, so there’s that, but it didn’t feel earned at all.

        And I absolutely was sure Bradley was going to miss that PK. I think he gets a lot of undeserved crap and it’s because of shit like that. He’s like US Soccer’s Charlie Brown.

        On Giovinco, there were two points in the match that I remember vividly in which he was dispossessed and just flat out gave up. He might have been winded, but it didn’t look great.

      • Agree on Bradley. He had a nice game overall, but will be remembered for a bad miss in pks.

    • I was disappointed that the PK’s didn’t last longer so the fans could sit around in the cold for awhile longer. (I’m a bit of a sadist towards other team’s fans.)

  2. I mean is Brad Guzan a much better choice in Goal than Sean Johnson?

    • The real question is did ATL get more $ for Johnson than Chicago did?

      • Yea but that will probably be offset bet the difference in salary. I dunno.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        they got GAM in addition to TAM. TAM has oine purpose. GAM has multiple uses, and hence, for one, Earnie Stewart is on record as liking it better.

    • My first response is no. Really all I can offer is name recognition…maybe.

    • Guzan’s probably a little better, but he’s also a bigger draw. As long as they don’t throw stupid money at him, it’s a good move, both on and off the field.
      Besides, having a veteran like Guzan can always help a team. Not that SJ’s not a veteran, but maybe Guzan carries more gravitas.
      Just a theory. I would have gone with whichever one was cheaper, personally.

    • Yes Guzan is clearly better than Sean Johnson. Not that Johnson couldn’t get there, but he is not at Guzan’s level. Its possible with the change of scenery that Guzan could be the goalkeeper of the year next year. Atlanta is setting up one set of nice veteran presence and spine of a team. Parkhurst and Guzan in the back is a clear and distinct start to one of the best MLS back lines if they can pull one or two more trades out or pickoff a veteran in the expansion draft its going to be tough to break down a defense likely to be very well organized.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:


        First, Keepers accumulate it much more slowly for the crucial touches {not goal kicks and receiving back passes}than do field players. Ten saves is a huge number for a keeper. Ten touches for a field player is quite limited.
        Second, recall the Yogoslavian coach of USMNT in 94 decision to use Meola rather than Friedel or Keller.
        Third, what set Mondragon apart? Hint: not athleticism.
        Guzan has it and at a higher level.

      • John P O'Donnell says:

        I think he meant why didn’t Chicago get the GAM & TAM? Atlanta seems to have come out ahead by being a middle man in the trade. Smart MLS business.

      • Do you think Gaddis will enjoy playing with those two?
        Unless the possible handshake deal portion of the Kratz trade was not to select a Union player, he’d be a great veteran option for them at the back.

  3. Lucky Striker says:

    At times, thought the game resembled full contact karate more than championship soccer. Seattle knew what they could/couldn’t do and executed better than Toronto did.

    0 shots on goal. They played for PK’s the entire night, and beat the crap out of the Reds while seldom venturing forward in groups from their own half. Torres/Alonso/Frei got it done.

    Tactics over talent. Vanney thought they’d (TFC) continue to score at will. Never was going to happen. Altidor’s header as close as they ultimately came. Shot was loopy, rather than direct. Gave a hot goaltender time to react. #87 (Ricketts ?) ended up with the game at his feet in Xtra’s…..but shanked the shot.

  4. Glad I DVR’ed both the MLS Cup final and the NCAA Div 1 Final! Best decision I made all weekend!

  5. My girlfriend’s father invited me over to watch the Cup Final. He’s been trying the last couple years to give soccer a chance. The Army-Navy game beforehand essentially ruined any sort of sporting debate I could have managed. Pitiful 120 mins in pitiful weather with very little to highlight.

  6. I really wanted TFC to win, no, not because I’m a fan or hate SEA. I wanted their economic model to result in silverware. SEA’s isn’t too different, but what gets lost in the shuffle is all the hoohaa of their fans and how they invent everything.
    I wanted the heat to turn up on the Union’s FO that the way forward is to invest in the senior team if you want to win. The East is quickly divvying up between the haves (TFC,RB,NYC,ATL,MTL) and have-almosts (NER,DCU,OC,PU) and the dreck (CMB,CHI). It’s going to start to look like an economic lock up for the top 3-5 spots and how well can you mold a team for the 4-6 spots and then there’s always the SuperDraft for 7-11.
    Some think the Union spending on 2 acres of sod in the parking lot shows commitment. Ok. A $300k striker who can’t strike won’t cut it anymore. A USL player of the year won’t cut it anymore against Giovinco, Drogba, BWP, David Villa. They just got $1.2 in TAM,that should be doubled or tripled by ownership for player acquisition.
    Or fall behind.

    • expect to fall behind. No chance ownership triples or doubles the TAM. You will be lucky to see the team spend more than a total of 5million I think with the salary cap at 4.1 million.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I truly don’t think more money automatically means success. I think most people who follow the Union/MLS know that. My point is that with ES now at the helm, if the Union can add the money to right spots in the lineup, it’s more effective than splashing $20 million for three players. I don’t think we will fall behind, but will concede that we are not at the top of the East yet. I do not automatically put Atlanta up there yet either… although they have been impressive so far.
      As long as Sugarman owns the team – Deep down, if I’m being honest, the Union will probably always be a middle of the table team, who spends just shy of what they need to take that next step.

      • “Punching above their weight.” – – remind me who said that again?

      • So…”Deep down, if I’m being honest, the Union will probably always be a middle of the table team, who spends just shy of what they need to take that next step.” you just said what I did? That they’ll be in the group scrapping for the 4-6 playoff spots.
        No, money doesn’t guarantee success. However, not investing in the caliber of player required to threaten to contend will guarantee exactly that, we aren’t contenders. ATL obviously isn’t there yet since they only have a few players, but their shots across our bow loudly state they are a club with ambition.
        What are we?

      • We are fans. The Union, owned by Sugarman are a team building through their academy and BSFC and looking for thrifty deals on players that have MLS experience or international players with work ethic and a willingness to run all over the field(maybe a Southampton model). They aren’t going to be big spenders. They’ve said that countless of times. You didn’t just wake up in NY or LA, that’s the way it’s going to be.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Agreed. As long as we have a direction and a model, we are ahead of some other teams. Part of me is beyond annoyed that we (our owner/s) have chosen to take the long way, and build, build, build… instead of spend, spend, spend. But in reality, this is what we have. And we have a good guy (ES) doing it, so let’s see what happens. Shit, it’s way better than throwing crap at the wall, like we did for the first 5 years.

      • I wish the Union were the LA’s or NY’s, but they aren’t. The Union are obviously an investment for Sugarman that he wants to be making profits from. That’s the way he has run this business in the past and what can conceivably be the nearest future. The Union got Bedoya because Ernie convinced Sugarman he’d get his R.O.I. I’d also say the flip side of that coin is, that if Bedoya doesn’t show significant improvement next season, Ernie may not be able to loosen those purse strings even more or ever again. For me it’s in Ernie we trust or bust. I’m just praying it’s not the bust.

      • Lucky Striker says:

        pissing into the wind………but at least Urine good company.

      • Well played.

    • RB did really well with a pretty affordable roster. Stewart is here, as far as I’m concerned to do more with less, whether that’s a fair standard by which to judge him or not. I think Stewart’s goal is to try and build like the RBs and try and develop something approaching the Dallas player development pipeline.

      But I agree with your point overall. This league is going to get harder and harder to compete in and it’s going to take some real effort and roster building to keep up. Stewart has a lot of work to do this winter.

      • I judge Sugarman with how much $ he gives FeelTheErn.
        I judge Stewart by how he spends it.
        I judge Curtin with how he plays what was spent.

        It looks like a C- / Incomplete / C report card.

      • John P O'Donnell says:

        Seattle made it to the Cup without their highest priced player. Toronto made it despite their best player not playing that well in the playoffs. Portland and Columbus played in the Cup last year. So I don’t think the gap is as big as you make it out to be.

        The model is changing and Tam money and homegrown players will be the key. It looks like the galaxy agree and are going that rout now just like the pink cows have. Let’s see what happens with the striker position in the off-season. They spent some money on Bedoya after all.

    • Based on this list if I am ATL or MIN I’m not taking anyone from the Union as there are better options elsewhere.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I am not mad at the Union’s decisions. Maybe Crevalle or Ilsinho could’ve been left unprotected, but honestly, I’m not mad.
      I don’t think I understand this feeling of satisfaction with the front office. Weird…

  7. I Am Citizen Insane says:

    This is your MLS friends. A seasons table that rewards mediocrity and doesn’t matter culminating in an absolute trash display of soccer that wasn’t a whole lot better than that terrible Wake Forest v Denver game….
    A 1% market share.. Not fooling me. Nope. Not fooling the masses either.
    Go on make your rationalizations.

    • Dude…

      You watched Wake Forest-Denver?

      I don’t know whether to applaud your commitment to soccer or hope you get the help you need.

    • John P O'Donnell says:

      I rationalize that you wouldn’t have any other opinion. I also understand it’s the highest ratings since 2001, when a lot of sports properties are down this year, including the EPL.

  8. .
    “In his remarks about MLS expansion, Don Garber made clear the New York Cosmos cannot look to MLS as a future home: “We have two teams in MLS in New York. We’re not going to have a third team.”

    • He is also wrong there are not two teams in NY. There is one listed as a NY team in NJ and a NY team.

    • If I were Garber and had to listen to all of the bluster from the Cosmos for the last several years, I would have said the same thing. They were so self assured in their approach and saw themselves as better than MLS as well as the rest of NASL (look at how the TV contract was structured).

      Who would have wanted that ownership group in MLS? They overplayed their hand and left their players, employees, fans as well as the rest of NASL in shambles.

      From my POV, Garber isn’t the scumbag…the Cosmos owners are.

  9. After watching the MLS final and seeing the level of talent, speed and skill displayed by both teams(eventhough there weren’t many SOG). The game itself…meh! But, I don’t see how the Union can continue to field such mediocre talent as starters and on their roster. With Atlanta coming in and competing against NY,NJ,NE,MTL,TOR,DC,ORL and eventually MIA, it is quite clear that the Union need to step up their game. I’m glad they brought in Stewart and Bedoya but this organization must do better for this fan base and this top sports and media market. This fan base needs to demand that this organization bring in top caliber talent and coaching to do more than to get lucky and back into a playoff spot. Anything less is a slap in the face. There should be no more excuses. It’s all well and good to have a solid academy system and build the teams foundation(I applaud this) but the product on the field should no longer be bargain basement variety. The stakes have been raised for the Union to put up or shut up. The Union need to be faster. They need a starting fast dynamic Striker, a quality skilled number 8, Edu to get healthy and be a dominating 6 or get traded, a fast skilled left back, and a quality starting center back to lead the back 4. The product on the field at Talen must be a priority.

  10. Could the MLS Cup final been any worse to watch even if you were a supporter of one of the teams. What alternative universe does Garber live in? The viewing numbers were abysmal as usual.

  11. Just an FYI…The Sons of Ben movie has hit Netflix.

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