Daily news roundups

Expansion Draft today, more news

Photo: Earl Gardner

Philadelphia Union

The Union’s protected/unprotected list was released on Monday ahead of today’s Expansion Draft:

The eleven protected players are:

Roland Alberg, Eric Ayuk, Alejandro Bedoya, Andre Blake, Warren Creavalle, Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Ilsinho, Chris Pontius, Keegan Rosenberry, and CJ Sapong

Josh Yaro, Fabian Herbers, Derrick Jones, and Auston Trusty are exempt from the Expansion Draft because Yaro and Herbers have Generation adidas status, and Jones and Trusty are Homegrown Player players.

The Union’s unprotected players are:

Tranquillo Barnetta, Brian Carroll, Anderson Conceicao, Charlie Davies, Maurice Edu, Leo Fernandes, Ray Gaddis, Matt Jones, John McCarthy, Cole Missimo, Walter Restrepo, Ken Tribbett, and Taylor Washington

The draft is scheduled to begin today at 2 pm with Atlanta picking before Minnesota (YouTube). Unlike previous editions of the draft, once a player is picked by either Atlanta or Minnesota, that player’s team is off the draft board. The Union will therefore lose at most one player. PSP, Philadelphia Union (whose post oddly does not list the team’s unprotected players), Philly.com, CSN PhillyPhilly Voice, Philadelphia Soccer News, and Brotherly Game.

Soccer AmericaFourFourTwo, and Yahoo Sports note Maurice Edu is unprotected. While Soccer America includes Edu among enticing defender picks, FourFourTwo’s Paul Tenorio writes,

Stick with me on this one. Yes, Edu comes with a high DP price tag at nearly $800,000. But if you’re Minnesota and you’re shopping for DPs or TAM players on a cheaper number, Edu would be a shrewd pick-up. He can command Adrian Heath’s midfield from underneath whatever playmaker they add. Health has been the biggest issue, but Edu may just be worth the gamble. Chris Pontius to Philadelphia proved that gambles do sometimes work out.

MLSsoccer.com says former Union man Sheanon WIlliams should be selected in the Expansion Draft. Fox Sports says former Union man Jack McInerney, and local lad Zarek Valentin, would also be good pick ups in the draft.

Also announced on Monday was the full list of MLS Free Agents for 2017. On the list is former Union man Sebastien Le Toux.

At Philly.com, Jonathan Tannenwald says Seattle’s MLS Cup win is “a reminder of Union’s defensive flaws” and calls on the Union to sign “one good veteran defender this offseason.”

At the Union website, Josh Yaro talks about looking forward to the 2017 season: “As a team I would like us to continue to have a great home record, start getting results on the road, be the toughest team to play against in the league, and of course – bring home an MLS Cup.”

Philadelphia Union Academy

The Delco Times has named Union Academy goalkeeper and Harvard commit Matt Freese the All-Delco Boys Soccer Player of the Year. In the article, Reese talks about his decision to remain with Episcopal Academy for his senior year while still being the Union Academy’s top goalkeeper.

MLS

Before the league released each club’s list of protected players, several clubs made roster announcements.

NYRB have re-signed goalkeeper Ryan Meara to a new multi-year deal.

DC traded the rights to midfielder Miguel Aguilar and their natural fourth round SuperDraft pick to the Galaxy, and also traded the rights to forward Kennedy Igboananike and an international roster spot for 2017 to Portland. In return, DC received LAG’s fourth round 2018 SuperDraft pick, and the 21st pick in the second round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft from Portland. Portland then declined the contract option on Igboananike.

Seattle has exercised the contract options of eight players: Tyler Miller, Tony Alfaro, Oniel Fisher, Joevin Jones, Román Torres, Brad Evans, Aaron Kovar, and Victor Mansaray. Options were not picked up on 13 players: Oalex Anderson, former Union man Michael Farfan, Erik Friberg, Herculez Gomez, Andreas Ivanschitz, Darwin Jones, former Reading United player Damion Lowe, Charlie Lyon, Tyrone Mears, local lad Jimmy Ockford, Dylan Remick, Nathan Sturgis, and Nelson Valdez.

Toronto announced it has exercised contract options on 13 players: Clint Irwin, Alex Bono; Drew Moor, Nick Hagglund, Eriq Zavaleta, Mark Bloom, Jonathan Osorio, Armando Cooper, Jay Chapman, Tsubasa Endoh, Tosaint Ricketts, Jordan Hamilton, and Mo Babouli. Options were declined on Clement Simonin, Chris Mannella, Daniel Lovitz, and Benoit Cheyrou. Quillan Roberts, Ashtone Morgan, Josh Williams, Will Johnson are out of contract.

Colorado announced it has picked up the options on nine players: John Berner, Bobby Burling, Marc Burch, Dennis Castillo, Eric Miller, Axel Sjöberg, Dillon Serna, Dominique Badji, and Caleb Calvert. Former Union man Zac MacMath has signed a new “long-term deal” with the club, as have Jared Watts, Micheal Azira, Sam Cronin, and Marlon Hairston. Options were declined on former Union man Zach Pfeffer, and also Sean St. Ledger, Marco Pappa, and Conor Doyle. Former Union man Sebastien Le Toux, now out of contract with the team, is eligible for free agency.

The Galaxy announced they have exercised contract options on 11 players: Ashley Cole, Rafael Garcia, Baggio Husidic,Daniel Steres, Clement Diop, Bradford Jamieson IV, Dave Romney, Jose Villarreal, Ariel Lassiter, Raul Mendiola, and Jack McBean. Leonardo’s option was declined. Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, Alan Gordon, Jeff Larentowicz, Mike Magee, and Oscar Sorto are out of contract.

Portland has announced it has picked up the option on local lad Zarek Valentin and Ben Zemanski. Options have not been picked up for Nick Besler, Neco Brett, Wade Hamilton, Chris Klute, former Union man Chris Konopka, Ben Polk, Jermaine Taylor, and Andy Thoma. Jack Barmby’s option was not picked up “but the club has extended a bona fide offer for the upcoming season,” as it also has with Taylor Peay, who is out of contract. Also out of contract is former Union man Amobi Okugo, with whom discussions continue, and Nat Borchers, who is eligible for free agency.

Sporting Kansas City midfielder Paulo Nagamura has announced his retirement from playing. He will join KC’s USL affiliate, Swope Park Rangers, as an assistant coach in 2017.

Los Angeles Galaxy will announce their new head coach today. Los Angeles Times reports the it will be former Galaxy assistant coach Curt Onalfo, who has spent the past three seasons as head coach of USL-side Galaxy II.

At the Players Tribune, former Union man Ethan White writes about working as a photographer for last weekend’s MLS Cup final.

Minnesota United held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new stadium in St. Paul on Monday and with the ceremony came new renderings of the stadium. Pioneer Press reports, “New renderings show Minnesota United’s future stadium in the St. Paul Midway will be even less boxy and lower than previous depictions, but a firm start date for major construction remains up in the air.” More at Pioneer Press, Finance & CommerceKARE, KMSP, and MLSsoccer.com (1, 2).

Will Miami Beckham become Las Vegas Beckham?

St. Louis Public Radio on “the coming debate over a St. Louis soccer stadium.”

Triangle Business Journal has more on MLS aspirations in the Raleigh–Durham–Cary–Chapel Hill Research Triangle area in North Carolina.

At the Guardian, New York Cosmos chairman Seamus O’Brien goes on record about the future of the club, denying the club is folding and, Dave Martinez writes, putting “the blame on the league” for the team’s troubles. O’Brien says:

We are in a situation where over the last few months, we have a position where the NASL has been reduced from what originally looked like 13 teams to potentially seven. I don’t have to comment on it. Most of it has happened in the public domain. Everybody following knows the situation of a number of other teams. Some have gone to other leagues. Some are unable to carry on…For us as the Cosmos, playing in a seven-team league potentially, you need to make decisions now. You can’t wait until February, March to see if you are kicking a ball in April. It’s a business decision you have to take now. That’s not an option for us.

Martinez writes O’Brien “acknowledges” the $30 million figure the team has reportedly lost but “refuses to label it a loss or an indication of any debt issues.” Says O’Brien,

The business has zero debt. That’s an investment in a business. That is a fraction of what some people have invested in this country. Look at all the MLS investments. They wouldn’t call that debt. That is an investment in our business. Our business carries zero debt. All the money has been invested by shareholders.

O’Brien says of possibly playing in a third division USL, “The Cosmos couldn’t play in the third division. We just couldn’t do it. And everybody we have spoken to, the discussions we have had internally amongst the group and our major partners, to a man – that is just not an option for us.” Even if the USL gains second division status, O’Brien said the Cosmos still would not be interested in joining the league: “At the moment, today, there isn’t any way we would consider USL, which is clearly D3, unless they get significant number of waivers. There isn’t anybody we have spoken to that thinks that’s an option for us. Not in this town. There may be an option for other owners in the NASL who still have teams. It just isn’t an option for us.”

O’Brien also said MLS could be an option — “I’ve never ruled out anything” — despite recent comments from MLS commissioner Don Garber that MLS has no intention of adding a third team to the New York market.

So, what are the Cosmos going to do? O’Brien says, “There are a number of folks with the NASL, many of my colleagues there that believe in the future. It’s not that we don’t believe in the future of the league – it’s just that we can’t play in a seven-team league. As a business, you’ve got to react to that. And that is what we have done. We are trying to tidy everything up as professionally as we can in the interim and look for how to move forward, that’s what we are here to do…This isn’t going away as some people may want us to. We are not. We are going to take a step back, look at all of our options, and decide what we will do moving forward.”

US

US Soccer has announced US Paralympic National Team forward Adam Ballou as the 2016 U.S. Soccer Disabled Player of the Year.

Pulisic!

Elsewhere

Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or for the fourth time.

Der Spiegel talks to the man behind Football Leaks.

22 Comments

  1. I noticed something with the expansion draft lists:
    .
    Zack Pfeffer is listed as being automatically protected by the Rapids because he is a homegrown player (HG). But he was a Union HG not a Colorado HG. Are all HG protected regardless if they move to another team? That doesn’t sound right.

    • I also wouldn’t put it above MLS for this to be a clerical error…

    • I noticed that myself. Harry Shipp is listed as unprotected. He was signed by Chicago as HG then traded to Montreal, who left him unprotected. That’s just one example, but that likely means it’s an error and Pfeffer too should be unprotected.

      • Could be a “Senior Roster / Supplemental Roster” sort of thing. I believe the rule for the expansion draft is home grown players not on the Sr. roster (aka, the “first 20” roster spots).

  2. Hard to argue the Ronaldo win… CL Cup and UEFA.
    .
    Hardest working guy maybe in the history of the sport. Never been a big Ronaldo fan, but he commands respect for sure… this notion of who is greater is silly anyway….varying degrees of greatness…dDoesn’t even matter a bit.. as Messi is anyway. 🙂
    .
    Dear ES…Please sign a veteran solid defe3nder. Thank you. Been arguing this for months and months. Not that complicated really. Richie is the 3rd guy. Assuming Josh is healthy he is the 2nd.

  3. Speculation about Letoux’s return in 3… 2… 1….

    • Maybe the Union should look to bring back LeToux. After all, he’s a proven goal scorer in the league. (How is that?)

      • I’m pretty sure I saw him at YSC two weeks ago.

      • I think Le Toux to Colorado to bring in Davies might be the biggest mistake Stewart made last season. There’s no way Le Toux wasn’t a better option later season as a 20-10 minute, late game sub. Hell, he might have been a better starting #9 than Sapong between Sept. and Nov….

      • By all accounts, it was a financial decision, more than anything else.

      • It had to have been a financial decision. Otherwise it made no sense.

      • Clearly think Le Toux would’ve been a better option than Sapong at that time, but unlikely Curtin would’ve put him in. I say bring Le Toux back to Philly. Why not he wants to be here he likes the city fans love him and he helps the team. He was clearly still busting his ass coming on as a sub for the Union last year. And he was producing enough from the wing I think he was at 3-5 goals and 2-4 assists. I have no problem with bringing him back to the team. Is he likely a starter no but he is a solid backup at either wing and even an option at the 9 for change of pace and no one on this team besides Carrol ever works harder for the team.

  4. Phil in Wilmington says:

    The union protected Warren Creavalle.
    The union protected Warren Creavalle.
    The union protected Warren Creavalle.

    I find this alarming.

    • Who should they have protected instead. Warren had some great games last year for us, can fill in ok at multiple positions, and has great stamina to play every game. I don;t want him anywhere near starting but the dude is a very solid MLS bench player.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Yeah thinking about to today, and seeing your post, I am really not overly happy about this at all… despite my acknowledgement yesterday that I liked their protected list. (I did say tho – I wouldn’t have been mad if Creavalle or Ilsinho were unprotected). Regardless, if used correctly – AND THAT IS THE KEY – Creavalle can be a nice backup

  5. Ethan White is pretty good sports photographer. Some nice shots there.

  6. Couple of names that strike me as interesting that didn’t have their options picked up/out of contract:

    1. Ivanschitz
    2. St. Ledger (assuming he’s healthy)

    Both of those guys could help the Union, imho.

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