SBI Friday Free Kicks

SBI's Friday Free Kicks: What about Shalrie, where will Schelotto go, and more

SHalrie Joseph 3 (ISIphotos.com)

Landon Donovan was named the 2009 MLS Most Valuable Player on Thursday, and while it is tough to argue against awarding the U.S. national team star for his performance this season, the MVP results still raised a glaring question.

What about Shalrie Joseph?

It isn't a question so much about choosing between Joseph and Donovan, which is a subjective debate that has supporters on both sides. The question is how can a player who so clearly carried his team to the playoffs and who enjoyed a career year winds up a distant third in the voting.

In case you missed the voting breakdown (votes are taken from players, coaches, general managers and media), Donovan finished with a weighted score of 39, while Jeff Cunningham wound up with a 25.3. And Joseph? He finished with a 17.6 total.

Those totals make no sense and are an insult to a season by Joseph that deserved far more respect.

With all due respect to Cunningham, he was invisible for half the season before going off on a goal-scoring tear in the second half. He became a goal machine, but also benefited from the stellar play of FC Dallas midfielders David Ferreira, Dave Van Den Bergh and Dax McCarty.

Joseph didn't take half the year off. He was a force from beginning of the season until the end, helping the team as a forward when the Revs were desperate for help up top, while also playing his usual dominant central midfield role the rest of the time. He took a Revs team that lost leading scorer Taylor Twellman for the season, and Steve Ralston for the stretch run, and dragged it into the playoffs.

So how in the world did Joseph finish a distant third in the voting? One possibility is the league's flawed voting process, which has all voters except for players providing a top three on their ballots, while players simply select one player. In fact, MLS players often ignore voting for post-season honors (voting isn't mandatory), which winds up hurting a player like Joseph, who is easily one of the most respected players in the league.

In the end, it is tough to argue against Donovan, who had somehow gone this long without winning an MVP award. He did enough this year to be an MVP winner, but he didn't just win. He ran away with the award in voting that should have been much closer than it wound up. Joseph deserved a better finish, and as far as I'm concerned, he deserved the MVP Award.


With all signs pointing to Guillermo Barros Schelotto's days in Columbus being numbered, it is time to start thinking about what may be next for the 2008 MLS MVP.

Sources tell SBI that Schelotto is already looking into potential destinations within MLS, and Columbus may have no choice but to deal the Argentine star if it can't reach an agreement on a new contract. A deal seems unlikely given the Crew's lowball offer.

Schelotto could take a payday in Argentina, but he has enjoyed life here and appears intent on staying in MLS. Where might he wind up? If the Crew look for a trade that lands them the type of package D.C. United scored from Colorado for Christian Gomez then a trade may never happen, but

Who might be able to land Schelotto? The New York Red Bulls could use a player with Schelotto's playmaking ability (An Angel-Schelotto tandem would be outstanding), as could Chivas USA. One club that could use his attacking spark is Toronto FC, a club whose fans have come to despite Schelotto for his theatrics in past meetings with Toronto. Something tells me TFC fans would embrace Schelotto if he showed up wearing red (something also tells me that Crew fans might go crazy if their hero signed with their most hated rival).

There is no guarantee Schelotto will even return to MLS, but if he wants to stay in North America, there are too many teams in need of a player like him for a deal not to be made.


Preki didn't waste much time making an impression on his team in Toronto. He has already let it be known that he will run a disciplined ship and will waste no time unloading players who don't make the grade. One player who seems destined to depart is Amado Guevara, but not just because of Preki's arrival.

Toronto FC has too many midfielders and needs money to sign a forward capable of addressing the team's most pressing need, a reliable goal scorer. With Julian DeGuzman and Sam Cronin looking set to run the central midfield, Guevara is expendable and will have plenty of teams interested in his services.

Who would be in the market for Guevara? The list would be similar to the list that would want Schelotto, but Guevara would probably be the cheaper of the two alternatives. Red Bulls fans would welcome Guevara with open arms, while the Honduran midfielder would probably be more inclined to return to Chivas USA with Preki out of the picture.

It will be interesting how much the interest in Guevara is diminished by the fact that he will likely miss between six weeks and two months of the 2010 season to play in the World Cup (yes, MLS is taking a break during the World Cup, but Guevara would miss time for the pre-World Cup camp, he'd miss time if Honduras reached the second round, and would likely miss a match or two as he recovers from the tournament). Teams in dire need of a playmaker might overlook that and consider what he could give the team the rest of the season.


What did you think of the MVP voting? Think Joseph got a raw deal? Could you picture Schelotto playing for another MLS team? Where do you see Guevara winding up?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Socrates

    Right, but… don’t forget how many MLSers were rumored to be leaving for Europe last year but ended up staying (including some of the same names in the rumors again this year): Beckham (many thought he wouldn’t come back), Donovan, Kljestan, Chad Marshall, M. Wynee, B. Boswell, W. Conde, B. Soumare (well, he lasted 1/2 the season), Fred, P. Mastroeni, Blanco, McBride, R. Findely, K. Cooper (also stayed for 1/2).

    MLS is a small time league, so promising players will always be rumored to be going somewhere better. But that doesn’t mean they all will.

    The players who did actually transfer out of MLS after 2008 are somewhat less impressive — guys like S. Sealy, L. Marmol, T. McManus, K. Deuchar, H. Freeman, F. Mendoza, V. Sikora, M. Parkhurst, D. Jimenez, G. Peralta. So, the transfers out are not all up-and-coming US stars — they can sometimes be foreign players who got injured or didn’t latch on in MLS.

    So maybe look for MLS to “lose” guys like G. Badilla, J. Rojas, A. N’silu, P. Richetti, B. Stepanovic, etc. just as examples.

    (SBI-Socrates, you’re not really seeing what’s going on. The major difference between this year’s talk of departures and last year’s is that only a few of last year’s rumored departures were actually free agents (Marshall, Boswell, Mastroeni). This year ALL the rumored departures are free agents (Holden, Clark, Bornstein, Rogers, Larentowicz, Segares, etc.). With so many free agents on the market, there will be more departures than last year. You can take that to the bank.)


  • JMS

    Regardless of what Fire fans think, Crew fans certainly see Chicago as their main rival.

    I think the most likely scenario is for the Crew and Guille to sign a one year/$325,000 or so contract with Guille retiring at the end of the season. He wants to stay, the team wants him, but at a much lower price tag then last year. They lowball him to start the negotiation low (This is HSG we are talking about), he talks them up just enough to feel ok with the situation and that’s that.


  • Steve T.

    I’m an RBNY season tix holder, and I most certainly do not want Amado back under any circumstances!


  • Socrates

    GBS has proven what he can do. RBNY are starved for talent. They should do whatever it takes to get him. Of course, they don’t have much to offer…

    GBS to ChivasUSA also makes sense. They have several players in the 100K+ salary range that might get dropped (Curtin, Marsch, Saragosa, Stepanovic, Razov, Victorine, Thomas, Talley), so they might be able to absorb a high salary for GBS without a problem.

    In a no-salary-cap MLS I bet GBS would find his way to the Galaxy.


  • Tony in Quakeland

    Just to be clear: my comment had nothing to do with Donovan vs Joseph. It was in response to Jeff Luckas’s implied suggestions that scoring PKs should somehow diminish Donovan’s total.


  • Tim From Texas

    Thats what i was thinking. I’m not sure if either is a Dom. Kinnear type guy, but their gonna need a play maker after stevies gone


  • Supsam

    okay…….now imagine the Galaxy WITHOUT Donovan. We will then see who is the difference maker


  • Doom Boy

    No way in hell TFC fans would welcome Schellotto. We’d welcome most other players from the Crew (with perhaps the exception of the red-haired Q-Tip Lehart), but not that petulant Argentinian. He’s everything we feared that Guevara would bring (but didn’t).


  • JoeW

    Ives, I don’t think it was a disgrace that Shalrie finished third. Shalrie had a tremendous season and would have been a worthy MVP. But the reality is that this year, there was an incredible number of MVP candidates.

    Donovan is a worthy MVP candidate. And look at it this way–in theory it’s just for this year. But the reality is that Landon may leave and despite being probably MLS’s best play over the past 10 years (cumulitively) this is his first MVP. Can you see him leaving to go to Europe and despite how well he’s played, he’d never won MVP? How ridiculous is that? On the whole, you look at the LAG’s season, the combination of aging players and youngsters, Beckham arriving late and yet the run they had from about June on–maybe the best results overall in MLS. Donovan is a deserving MVP.

    And Cunningham….I”m no fan of his. I think he’s a locker room cancer, a lousy teammate, not good to have on most teams. Yes, other FCD players stepped it up. But Cunningham was the single biggest reason that FCD went from comatose to a game from making the playoffs–just an amazing run. The only teams with better runs were LAG and Columbus (until the end of the season). Believe me, I don’t think Cunningham will duplicate it. But he had an MVP-worthy season.

    Heck, you can also make a persuasive argument for Schelotto. Or for Cameron. Or for Keller. Or some other players. There were a lot of guys in MLS this year who:
    (a) had great seasons
    (b) were invaluable to their teams and teammates.
    I have complete respect for Shalrie Joseph and would have had no complaint if he’d gotten MVP. But for me, I think Donovan deserved it and there were a bunch of very deserving players this year (unlike some seasons where it was just about someone having a good year rather than carrying their team or also being a leader and locker room force).


  • dave

    To echo the comments of other Red Bull fans earlier, ship Guevara somewhere else. I don’t want that punk back.


  • Mitch

    I’m sorry but the New England Revolution is a disgrace and no way Schelotto would play on that throwball stadium field.


  • art

    i think part of the point here is NOT to use goal scoring or reputation as the sole factor, as neither by itself has much to do with being an MVP ultimately. Ives is 100% correct, Shalrie got robbed and the MVP voting system is a poor joke.


  • martha_c15

    Sharlie doesnt get the love he deserves playing in the fanless frozen tundra with the Buffalo Bills of MLS.

    He needs to go to a real team like the FIRE so his career isnt a total waste playing in front of an empty stadium.


  • Austin

    Ives, i would love to see an article on all of the big name MLS players that are going to most likely be on a new team next year, like Holden, Clark, Guevara, Schelotto, Rogers, Segares, Blanco, maybe Donovan, Larentowicz, and any others…..i know you wrote about GBS and Guevara here, but i would like to see your opinion on all of them in one sort of big article. Who ends up in Philly? Who goes to the Red Bulls to turn their history around? that type of stuff…..


  • prizby

    GBS won’t be coming to TFC simple. He demands DP money and we already have JDG as our DP and DeRO at 425k, RoBo, Guevara, Vitti at 300k (although i see at least 2 taking a pay cut and 1 leaving)…simple enough, GBS wants DP money and we already have one


  • Juan Carlos Osorio, Super Genius & Master Strategist

    Why would Red Bulls want Scheletto when they have Jorge Rojas?????????


  • sciroccer

    Yes that is true, everyone should play defense on any team. My over sight. I was thinking of a big guy that could hold a ball and work alongside the speed of Findley, and Espindola. But you are correct Casey get’s lazy, then again so does GBS when your talking about defense. You know- come to think of it RSL is the only true team out there with all 11 working together. They really don’t need either of them!


  • RapidsMan

    Word from upper management in the Rapids house are that they are pushing hard for Schelotto. They say they may be moving Casey around as well.


  • Ken

    As a season ticket holder for NYRB I think we desperately need a playmaking midfielder and hope we get anyone in the starting lineup that DOES NOT include Luke Sassano who sucks and can’t run, stammler who sucks in my opinion and dane richards who cannot cross the ball in the penalty area. Lets go out and get a real playmaker or else we will be in the same boat and have a losing season again.


  • Austin

    agreed ken…..you guys dont have a playmaker, but i still dont think this is likely to happen unless he takes a high salary b/c everybody knows red bull is going to try as hard as they can to bring in Henry and if JPA is still there then that is 2 DP’s unless JPA takes a cut below DP or walks away from NYRB


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