MLS- New York Red Bulls

Mid-Day Musings (on MLS roster moves, Gold Cup roster slots and more)

Khano Smith (ISIphotos.com) 

As we grind our way from the post-Confederations Cup glow to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, things in the American soccer world have slowed down quite a bit. There was the rash of U.S. Open Cup upsets last night, tonight's much-anticipated Seattle SOunders-Portland Timbers Open Cup match, but not much else going on really.

There are still plenty of topics to address, so here are some notes, thoughts and topics to discuss this Wednesday:


Wondering why that player is still on your MLS team's roster even though it seemed by all accounts that the player would be cut today, July 1st, when MLS contracts become guaranteed? You probably forgot that MLS teams are allowed to designate two players into a non-guaranteed mode after July 1st. Of course, the players have to agree to make that switch.

So why would a player agree to have that guaranteed protectection removed from their roster? They could be faced with either agreeing to that or being waived immediately. On rare occasions, such as with John Wolyniec last season, players survive that and stay the whole season. In cases such as Khano Smith, who sources tell me is one of the Red Bulls players to agree to that this season, it just means his departure from the team will come later. In Smith's case, it will probably come once Ernst Obster is eligible to join the Red Bulls on July 15th.


There has been some questioning of why exactly the U.S. national team was given seven extra roster slots for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. According to my sources, the United States never asked for them. For some reason, CONCACAF felt compelled to help the US national team out. So will this mean a 30-player traveling party for the United States? Not really. It simply means that some players will be named who only join the United States for training and games at specific venues. Who might that include? Don't be surprised if Brian McBride makes that list. With the Gold Cup semifinals slated for Soldier Field, it would be a nice touch to have him train with the U.S. team and suit up for a match (assuming the United States gets that far).


Another note regarding the U.S. national team. I know there's growing concern about Michael Bradley and a possible suspension for his alleged altercation with referee Jorge Larrionda. While nobody knows exactly where the FIFA investigation of the incident stands, what I can piece together is that there should be no worries about Bradley missing the World Cup Qualifier vs. Mexico on Aug. 12th. Even if he is suspended by FIFA he would be able to be named to the Gold Cup roster and serve out any suspension during that tournament.

So what exactly happened? What I have heard is that Bradley made some remarks toward Larrionda after the match when the two crossed paths, but that reports of Bradley attempting to "attack" Larrionda (which came from Spanish media) are grossly inaccurate.


More Fire talk: Sources within MLS are denying the SBI report about a French club making a bid for Chicago defender Bakary Soumare. We will stick with our story and see where the big Malian winds up come August.


In more European transfer news, Karim Benzema is on his way to Real Madrid, joining Kaka and Ronaldo (and possibly Franck Ribery as well). Benzema has been a beast for Lyon, but has never really looked THAT impressive for France. It may be hard for Benzema to NOT impress with players like Ronaldo and Kaka around him. What this all means for Gonzalo Higuain remains to be seen.


A special thank you goes out to all SBI readers for helping make June a record-breaking month for us traffic-wise. We will look to keep it going in what continues to be a great summer for American soccer.


That's all for now. Please feel free to share your thoughts on today's Mid-Day Musings in the comments section below.

  • Brandon

    CONCACAF saw the squad the US was taking, so they added the 7 roster spots trying to get the US to bring more A-team players.


  • adam b

    how much more can real spend? been a real fan for a long time now. all this spending is making me nervous…..


  • PVFC

    from downthebyline.com (wizards blog) yesteray :

    The Wizards made a small trade today. Today the team traded away one of their 7 remaining international roster spots to New England for a 3rd round pick in the 2010 Super Draft. The Revolution will hold on to that roster spot for a year and a half, with the Wizards getting it back on January 1, 2011. This leaves the Wizards with 6 international spots, 3 of which are currently being used by Claudio Lopez, Santiago Hirsig, and Kevin Souter.


  • Speedball

    Please don’t tell me that Pietravallo is the other non-guaranteed player … please don’t tell me that Pietravallo is the other non-guaranteed player … please don’t tell me that Pietravallo is the other non-guaranteed player …


  • Chase

    Not sure this has been addressed elsewhere, but Madrid just announced they signed Benzema (rumored to have cost them £30 million).

    Wow…I just pray Alonso isn’t next (unless they fork over a £30-35 million + Javi Garcia)…


  • Chase

    Perhaps I should have read the fine print on the post. Ignore my first sentence…


  • Caldwell

    Isn’t there some kind of international monopoly law that can be used to stop Real Madrid? Who are they going to sign next, Pele? I wish they were coming to Seattle instead of Chelsea this summer.


  • ernj


    Pietravallo’s contract was bought out 5

    days ago. He is no longer on the roster.


  • whatagame

    Perez got a 200 Million Euro loan from a couple of Spanish Banks to go shopping. He claims Real can make it up in merchandising but that’s a lot jerseys. What will be interesting now is the fire sale on Dutch players. Van Nistelroy, Van der Vaart, Huntelaer, Robben – some clubs out there should make some good pick-ups at a reduced markup.


  • CSD

    Ives we need a Landon Donovan update…

    Posted by: brad | July 01, 2009 at 02:28 PM

    Maybe he stopped over in London on the way back from SA to join the Beckham is a prick book tour with Wahl.


  • EA

    I’d love to see McBride suit up in Chicago.

    I don’t know if it’s been mentioned before, but shame on US Soccer for not giving McBride, Reyna, Pope, Keller, Friedel and Lewis a proper send-off/tribute match.

    The contributions that group made was SO HUGE for US Soccer.


  • Erik

    According to a Dutch soccer site Ajax is interested in signing Onyewu. If true that would not be a bad move at all.


  • RedLine55

    I’ve heard that FIFA wasn’t happy with the inadequate “B” team Bob was about to send to the Gold Cup. I think that’s a bit unfair given we just played in the final of a huge FIFA tourney, but I understand where they’re coming from.


  • RK

    Ives we need a Landon Donovan update…

    Posted by: brad

    Brad, you are really annoying.


  • kpugs

    Real’s squad is unreal. And they have that quintet of touch players who are apparently not in their first XI. Somebody needs to pounce and pick up one of Ruud, Sneijder, Huntelaar, Robben or Van Der Vaart at a discount.


  • seamus

    why would CONCACAF care who is on the USA roster? Worried about ticket sales? If that’s the case they should have granted Mexico more spots, since they sell way more tickets than the US.


  • seven

    So every Gold Cup is held in the US & how about you get extra players too. I don’t remember concacaf helping out Canada when we had to bail on the Confed Cup.


  • Heffe

    Can somebody spell Bankruptcy (or Administration, if that is what they call it in Spain) in the Real Madrid front office?


  • Barry U

    Bradley should have attacked that ref then he would have got his moneys worth for the red card.

    Just saw that Villareal are expecting Jozy to be in Spain for training camp in two weeks. They also said that he is not going Olympiakos. Jozy needs playing time and I do not care how he gets it.

    Also, Castillo keeps talking about the US. I want to see him play first but I think it is a good thing.


  • ga-gone

    thanks for the update Ives, was curious about Khano as he’s clearly not worth his paycheck.


  • Scott A

    Weird about those roster slots. I wouldn’t put it past CONCACAF to have the reasoning that Brandon said as I’m pretty sure they view Gold Cup as a pure moneymaker. Why else would they have it every two years even when it doesn’t make sense and charge the prices for tickets that they do? Clearly not for competition. I may be a cheapskate, but I don’t think that 50 bucks for lower level seats for US-Honduras Gold Cup game is responding to the demand in this country


  • Futblito

    The Bid for Soumare is real. The League and The fire F.O are known for denying ongoing deals. Just like they all denied the McBride deal to Fulham during preaseason.


  • KCB

    Personally, I think the Spanish media made up the whole MB incident and that FIFA won’t find anything other than a bunch of empty media Haterade.


  • Nick

    Maybe if CONCACAF had the Gold Cup every 4 years instead of every 2 like the Euros and Copa America, we wouldn’t need special treatment to bring 30 players. Make it the summer after the World Cup so people will watch it. That way you’ll have year 1 WC, year 2 Gold Cup, year 3 Euros, year 4 Confed Cup. Not a bad little schedule for American soccer fans.


  • RK

    Just saw that Villareal are expecting Jozy to be in Spain for training camp in two weeks. They also said that he is not going Olympiakos.

    Posted by: Barry U

    No, they said that there is no deal to send Jozy anywhere. Things could still happen.


  • ALEX

    Ives is it true that Fulham and two french teams are looking at Kandji closely?


  • Jose A. V.

    Don’t be surprised if Brian McBride makes that list. With the Gold Cup semifinals slated for Soldier Field, it would be a nice touch to have him train with the U.S. team and suit up for a match (assuming the United States gets that far).

    Ives, are you kidding, McBride??? Its time to give the youngsters a chance, dont start again.


  • Josh

    Real had to secure multimillion-Euro loans to sign CR and Kaka; where are they getting the money to buy Benzema???


  • Adam R.

    Ives, I believe are incorrect on the potential for a Michael Bradley’s suspension. According to Grant Wahl, FIFA can give a suspension for a certain number of games, or they can suspend a player for a certain time period.

    Given the complete toothlessness of a multi-game suspension in this case, any serious infraction by Michael would certainly have them considering the latter.


  • Angel

    Futbol Picante on ESPNDeportes mentioned that Donovan will not play versus Mexico, because he is suspended for the game (card accumulation). Is this true? Yesterday when I was catching up on their stuff (espndeportes.com) is when I saw. Why would Jose Ramon and the other analysts say that? BTW, I love the new found respect and fear some of the analysts show towards the US.


  • Snuffer

    Real gets loans and threw tv revenue, promotion, huge increase in jersey sales, they pay it all back smoothly..they wont be splashing more cash around..they will be trading players if they want anyone else


  • Josh

    That’s just the problem: Real doesn’t pay it back “smoothly.” They even had to sell their training ground a couple of years ago, and in a worldwide financial crisis where Spanish banks have cut back on lending, a finance minister even questioned why Real got plum loans during a time of general pennypinching.

    These big clubs have running deeply in the red even with great merchandise sales, ManU and Liverpool as the most visible examples. Maybe these clubs are staving off a crisis, but Real showed cracks in the foundation the last time they started adding Galacticos left and right. Something’s just not adding up, and I seriously doubt Perez’s numbers.


  • RealPSL

    Whatever happened with young Bradley it was probably best that he avoided it. Trying to understand his emotions at the time, this was the second final he fought to get his team into and missed. That has to be tough on the guy. No amount of discipline that senior Bradley preaches could have harnessed those emotions.


  • ManicMessiah

    I can’t think that any Spanish bank would dare call in those loans on Real Madrid anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.


  • cbr

    Real Madrid is going to ruin fifa10 online gaming mode…EVERYONE is going to pick them (in which case i will then back out of the game)


  • SonicDeathMonkey

    RK, you are dead on the money. That guy needs to get a life. As The Special One would say…..”Shut up, Brad!”


  • Tom P

    Does anyone know how/why Simek is not on the Gold Cup squad?

    1. Still bothered by injury?

    2. Sheffield won’t release him?

    3. He wants to stay in Sheffield to win his start back?


    If the kid doesn’t get injured last year then he would of Aston Villa’s right back on a 6 million pound transfer – O’Neil said as much. And he can’t get a slot on the B Gold cup squad?

    I ‘ve seen the kid play twice in England and let me tell you has got the goods to start for our national team or split time with Spector. He is solid in the air, on the ground and passing out of the back and has a real ninety minute, balls out motor on him.

    Would one of you souls out there that has info. on this please post and explain? I would really appreciate it -Thanks in advance.

    (Ives – Don’t know if you read these Blogs anymore but if you do could you chime in on this?)


  • ThaDeuce

    Congrats Ives! WooHoo, lets go USA…only 2 more days till ANOTHER USMNT game!! This summer is awesome. like I knew it would be. It can only be topped by NEXT SUMMER, YEAH.


  • kswiss

    I just commented in the announcement of the seven extra roster spots, before reading this post, but McBride makes a lot of sense to me. I couldn’t believe no one else had mentioned him. It’s an easy way to bring him back in the fold, especially with the possible (probable) game in Chicago. Even if he doesn’t play, it would be good to bring him in to train with some of the current squad and coaches.


  • Shitsky D'Crapopotamus

    Galaxy is fillea with USL Divison 2 Players! Arena is disgusting!


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