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The curious case of Lider Marmol has come to an end in Chicago.
The Paraguayan defender/midfielder has been granted a release from his contract with the Chicago Fire so that he can join a team in his native Paraguay, sources told SBI over the weekend. The move puts an end to saga that began with a tug-of-war between two MLS teams.
Juan Carlos Osorio found Marmol during his time as Chicago head coach and brought him for a trial, only to have then Fire VP John Guppy tell Osorio the club could not sign him. Osorio's subsequent attempt to sign Marmol once he was Red Bulls head coach was thwarted by the Fire, which put in a Discovery claim for him. Marmol spent weeks training with the Red Bulls in anticipation of something being worked out to allow him to join New York, but MLS upheld Chicago's Discovery claim and Marmol reluctantly joined the Fire.
Marmol never settled in with Chicago, struggling to find playing time because of the strength of the Fire's defense and his own injuries. Chicago did plan to bring him back in 2009 before he submitted a request to be allowed to leave.
It is a sad ending to what could have been a promising story. After seeing Marmol for weeks, I can tell you he had considerable talent and might have thrived in New York, but Marmol was also an emotionally fragile individual who never quite settled in with Chicago despite the Fire's best efforts to make him feel welcome in the organization.
Here are some other MLS-related stories making the rounds:
Dynamo wait on Ngwenya
The Houston Dynamo need a forward and forward Joseph Ngwenya needs a job, so it stands to reason that the two should be able to come to an agreement some two years since they joined forces in Houston's 2007 MLS Cup title-winning season.
Houston has opened the door to having Ngwenya return, but the Zimbabwean striker has been slow in making a decision on whether he wants to return to MLS or take another run at Europe after a handful of failed attempts to settle across the point. The Dynamo will only wait so long though, and each passing day makes it less likely that Ngwenya has Houston as a fall-back plan.
In other Houston news, sources tell me the Dynamo has expressed strong interest in Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Chris Seitz, but a deal is unlikely because RSL is asking for a very high price for the talented young goalkeeper.
Wizards cut Lopez cap hit in half
Wondering just how good a deal the Kansas City Wizards made in getting Claudio Lopez to agree to a new, non-DP contract?
Try $200,000 good.
That is how much Lopez has re-signed for, sources told SBI this weekend. The $200,000 figure is also what the Wizards will now save on the salary cap by having Lopez slide out of the team's Designated Player slot.
Those of you trying to come up with new DP possibilities might want to hold your horses. My sources tell me that KC will most likely not use the slot on 2009, choosing instead to take the cap room from Lopez's new deal (and the removal of the half of Dave Van Den Bergh's contract they paid in 2008) and using that space to strength the full roster.