MLS- Toronto FC

Eastern Conference Notes: Ochocinco humbled, Lekic on trial with NE and more

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The first day of the Chad Ochocinco era in Kansas City wasn't exactly a smashing success.

The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver acknowledged he was behind the pace Wednesday as he began his trial with Sporting Kansas City, telling reporters, "The only thing I'm probably good at is just being fast as hell."

Wearing his signature No. 85, Ochocinco seemed to particularly struggle during a crossing exercise with assistant coach Zoran Savic. Coach Peter Vermes deployed the 33-year-old as a right forward for the reserves during a full-sided scrimmage.

He showed some improvement on his second day with the club, coming up with an assist and a converted penalty kick.

Here is some more news from around the Eastern Conference:


The status of Serbian midfielder Bratislav Ristic for Saturday's home opener against Sporting Kansas City remains in doubt after the 31-year-old injured his quad during the first half of Chicago's 1-1 draw with FC Dallas. Patrick Nyarko replaced Ristic in the 42nd minute of that contest.


The drama surrounding Robbie Rogers took another turn Wednesday when Crew technical director Brian Bliss told MLSsoccer.com the club is not actively looking to trade the disgruntled midfielder, noting it would take a "heck of a deal" for Columbus to consider any offer.


With rookie center back Perry Kitchen called up to the U.S. under-20 national team and right back Jed Zayner day-to-day with a hamstring injury, coach Ben Olsen will have to change his back line for Saturday's trip to New England. The likely candidates to step into the lineup are Uruguayan Rodrigo Brasesco and second-round pick Chris Korb.


Wednesday's trade of strikers that saw Houston ship Dominic Oduro to Chicago in exchange for Calen Carr was in part driven by Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear's familiarity with the speedster from when he was coaching in San Jose and Carr was playing college soccer at nearby California.


The Revolution's quest to bolster its front line with a proven goal scorer has led to a two-day trial for 6-foot-2 Danish striker Rajko Lekic that began Wednesday. The 29-year-old, who currently plays for Silkeborg IF in Denmark, has 110 professional goals to his name.


A slew of absences due to international obligations means coach Hans Backe will get to test his squad's depth early this year. With center backs Tim Ream and Rafael Marquez called up to the U.S. and Mexico, respectively, Backe will be counting on veteran defender Carlos Mendes, who started 20 regular-season games and both of New York's playoff contests last season, at Columbus on Saturday.


Although the Union would appear poised to move to 2-0 with a home game against the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, Philadelphia's players are not taking anything for granted against the team that notched a 4-2 win over Toronto FC in its first MLS game. In fact, midfielder Brian Carroll told MLSsoccer.com he doesn't "even refer to them as an expansion team."


After its 4-2 loss at expansion Vancouver, Toronto will get another crack at an expansion side Saturday when it hosts the Portland Timbers. Coach Aron Winter told TSN the team will be counting on a boost from the support of Toronto's vigorous fans.


Do you think Ochocinco has any chance of sticking with Kansas City? Are you surprised Columbus said it isn't trying to deal Rogers? Does Lekic sound like the solution to New England's forward troubles?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Raymon

    A smashing success, by publicity stunt standards. We wouldnt even be reading about SKC crossing exercises but for.


  • socnow

    The Crew have zero leverage when it comes to trading Rogers. After being benched and now after his tweet, nobody is going to give the Crew a lot in return.


  • jonk

    If ever there was a perfect opportunity to put the new KC logo up next to the Eastern Conference logo…


  • DeliBelly

    If soccer doesn’t work out for Ochocinco, he can always try playing rugby. Rugby would be a much easier cross-over sport than soccer for most NFL players, and in rugby Ochocinco could use his speed, strength and soft hands to excel.


  • tony

    Ive seen a fair number of ex-college and NFL guys do just that, especially rugby sevens. The pace and space of the sevens game can make up for a lack of tactical awareness for alot of guys in matches with nations outside of the top 5-8. Plus its alot of fun!


  • Brent McD

    No way can Ochocinco play a field position. Give him some gloves, put him in goal, and let him use those NFL hands and quickness.


  • PetedeLA

    I wouldn’t mind seeing him at centerback. Quickness, good eye, raw athleticism. Just get someone else to begin play.


  • David

    Hey does anyone know a site to watch streamed MLS games similar to ATDHE for the Euro games?


  • JoeW

    Typical Crew. Remember when NY came a calling about Danny Szetela? Or Ray Hudson asked to trade for Dante Washington (the Crew demanded the #1 pick in the entire draft and then released Washington for cap reasons in the off-season so got nothing for him). They typically try to drive a really hard bargain even if it makes sense to do addition through subtraction: if Rogers wants out than it’s probably a healthier locker room if you replace him with someone who wants to be there.


  • JayMah

    Sad when the main page for SKC is all about 85’s trial. Goes to show what kind of team they are. I think the whole 85 trial is non-news but a publicity crap, I mean, stunt


  • jonk

    Yeah, don’t worry about the decades of reading the game and positional awareness that goalkeepers usually need to become elite.


  • crosebud

    So I am going to go out and say it. Even with out Ream, Marquez, Henry, Agudelo, and Richards New york will beat Columbus on the road 2-1. New York dominated control in the midfield last week and will again. Columbus’ attack won’t crack the second string back line.


  • BlueWhiteLion

    lol, I just love Chad’s evaluation of his performance. Cracks me up every time.

    Too bad we can’t pair him up with Marvell Wynne . . .


  • EA

    MLS Matchday Live is $39.99 through the 28th. HD quality, and up to three games at once. And you’re helping MLS grow.

    I’m normally all about “free” streaming, but Matchday Live is a no-brainer.


  • Angu

    85 has never been the fastest receiver, but always tremendous athlete. His size makes him a nice candidate for Center Back. He isn’t even a scorer in the NFL at this point. I don’t think he could pick up the goal-scoring knack.


  • abc

    He doesn’t have to be “elite”… also at 34 he wouldn’t even be ancient compared to others who play the position.


  • abc

    “Goes to show what kind of team they are.”

    A team that’s doing everything right, from their rebranding, to their new stadium, to partnering with Livestrong, to their roster of talented players, to getting serious publicity?


  • The Dream

    I would totally be willing to pay that, but they block the service internationally (besides Canada). I guess I have to resort to stealing feeds of the games here in Taiwan.


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