BY DARRELL LOVELL
Could Diego Restrepo be the goalkeeper to push Zac MacMath? He will get his chance to show just that to John Hackworth.
Restrepo told SBI Wednesday that he will make his way to the City of Brotherly Love after a week-long training stint with D.C. United as the former University of Virginia standout is working to find a landing spot in MLS. Could that be with the Union and a coach in Hackworth he has a standing relationship with from his days in the U.S. youth system? We will see.
Since leaving college Restrepo has spent the past two seasons in Colombia with America de Cali and Venezuela’s Deportivo Tachira. Out of contract in South America, the goalkeeper is looking to return home.
Here are some other notes from around the MLS Eastern Conference:
Fire midfielder Corben Bone’s offseason has gone from having his option declined, to being re-signed and now to a training stint with Spanish club Atletico Madrid. Bone signed up for another tour of duty with the only club he’s ever known and will now get some experience in Spain before catching up with the club – which is stacked with trialists – in California.
“There were a number of reasons behind sending Corben to train with Atletico Madrid during the first phase of preseason camp,” Fire Vice President of Soccer Operations Gui Petrei told the club’s website. “We feel the opportunity to train in Madrid will give him momentum as he comes back to fight for a spot in our midfield.”
February 24th the Crew will take the next step in honoring the memory of a fallen teammate when they take on the University of North Carolina in the first Kirk Urso Memorial Match. Urso passed away in August of 2012 from congenital heart disease at the age of 22. Proceeds from the match will go to the Kirk Urso Fund that supports research for heart health.
There are few gaps on Houston’s roster. One place the club is looking for depth, however, is in defense and there is a familiar face, Mike Chabala, in camp looking to provide just that. The defender spent six seasons in Houston, making 47 appearances, before being traded to the Portland Timbers in 2011 with Lovel Palmer for Adam Moffat. Now he is back and looking to latch on for another run with the Texas club.
“Dominic [Kinnear] and I spoke on and off during the off-season,” Chabala told the club’s website. “Obviously, the team has been doing extremely well over the past few years, so it’s a matter of whether or not this is a good fit for both of us. [Dom and I] had some good conversations and I’m just here to make the most of this opportunity.”
On draft day the Impact took a chance when it selected Louisville midfielder Paolo DelPiccolo, who was on trial with Eintracht Frankfurt during the draft, in the second round. That risk will not yield a return, for now at least, as DelPiccolo has signed a short term deal with the German club. According to reports, the youngster will play with the U-23 team in hopes of earning a full time deal. If things do not work out, Montreal remains an option for the young midfielder.
“Montreal has been really great,” DelPiccolo told Yanks Abroad. “They’ve been really supportive of the decision. They said ‘look, we’re very happy for you. We’re drafting you knowing you may not be with us this season.’ They still have my rights. They made it really easy. There’s no bad feelings between us and they know I can potentially come back to play for them. Right now I just think this is a great opportunity to work my way up over here in Europe.”
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
With the news of MLS and USL Pro coming to an agreement, New England is poised to become one of the first clubs to take advantage. News is filtering, and reported on SBI Wednesday, that the Revolution will sign an affiliation with the Rochester Rhinos to take advantage of the agreement. The deal will go into place for the 2013 season.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting are set to get an injection on the wings without having to go outside the organization. According to reports, Bobby Convey feels back to his old self with no extended ramifications from the hamstring injury that marred his 2012 season. If the left winger has found his fountain of youth, it could pay off for SKC.
“I don’t feel old any more,” said the 30-year-old Convey. “I feel good. We’ll see what happens going forward. I really hope to be doing well. I probably haven’t felt this fit since I’ve been in England.”
Ryan Nelsen is not the only new staff member whose career with TFC will start soon, as the club formally announced the addition of Pat Onstad as Chief Scout and Manager of Football Partnerships. Onstad worked with TFC President and General Manager Kevin Payne for two years in D.C., and is being brought to the club to head up their scouting division and developing relationships with other clubs, academies and agencies.
“I had the pleasure of working with Pat at D.C. United and have great respect for him. He’s meticulous, diligent, and he knows our league very well,” Payne said in a club release. “He’s a perfect fit for this role and will be a great asset for our club.”