By DAN KARELL
With the Major League Soccer playoffs approaching, the New England Revolution just beefed up their backline for the final stretch run of the season.
The Revolution announced on Thursday the signing of Jamaican international O’Brian Woodbine on a free transfer. The 25-year-old left back adds depth to the back line that has been using Chris Tierney for a majority of the games played after Kevin Alston’s leukemia diagnosis and Tyler Polak’s loan to the Rochester Rhinos in USL.
Woodbine is expected to join the club at training for the first time next Tuesday. For the last two seasons, Woodbine has been playing in Finland for VPS and a three month spell at HJK Helsinki. The Jamaican had a trial this June with D.C. United but didn’t sign.
Here are some more stories to check out from the Eastern Conference:
The Chicago Fire announced on Thursday that they will be without new signing Arevalo Rios for two matches next month due to international FIFA dates.
Rios has been selected for Uruguay’s squad to face Peru in Lima (September 6) and Colombia at home in Montevideo (September 10). In addition to Rios, Fire winger Joel Lindpere has accepted a call up with the Estonian National Team for matches against the Netherlands in Talinn, Estonia (September 6) and against Hungary in Budapest (September 10).
Both players are expected to miss the Fire’s match on September 7 at the Seattle Sounders and their home match against Toronto FC on September 11.
Despite the club’s summer struggles, the Columbus Crew sit seven points out of a playoff spot, and are reportedly two weeks away from returning their starting goalkeeper to the lineup.
Andy Gruenebaum has missed the Crew’s past four games with shoulder weakness and what head coach Robert Warzycha says is a nerve problem, but the Hebrew Hammer as he is known locally could spell backup Matt Lampson in time for the Crew’s match against the Montreal Impact on September 14, if not earlier.
“Probably he needs another two weeks,” Warzycha said to the Columbus Dispatch. “He said everything is better. He’s getting his strength back, but still the way he’s progressing probably another two weeks.”
This Saturday marks the third and final match between D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls, with the Atlantic Cup on the line.
Last year, D.C. United took the title from the Red Bulls with an 8-6 aggregate advantage, but this year the capital club trails the Red Bulls in goals by two and will need to make up that deficit on the road, something D.C. United has struggled with all season. In road games this season, D.C. United has scored just three goals, a far cry from last year’s total of 16.
In other news, three D.C. United players, Dwayne De Rosario, Dejan Jakovic, and Kyle Porter, have been called into Canadian National Team camp in Spain and will miss the team’s match against Chivas USA on September 8.
Although the Houston Dynamo defeated Arabe Unido, 2-1, in the CONCACAF Champions League, many players and head coach Dominic Kinnear weren’t happy with the way their opponents wasted time and feigned injuries.
On multiple occasions, a player was stretchered off, only to return to the field moments later as if nothing was wrong. In addition, Kinnear called out the performances of the referees in the CCL so far.
“I think these guys should be assessed,” Kinnear said to the Houston Chronicle. “If they fail their assessment, whoever the assessor is, they shouldn’t get any games anymore. We have seen a lot of retreads in this tournament, and the performances don’t change.”
Even though he is serving a two-match ban for being ejected for the fourth time this season, Marco Schallibaum isn’t on the hot seat in Montreal.
Montreal Impact owner Joey Saputo has once again backed his Swiss manager, in his first-season in MLS, and has even said that he hopes Schallibaum will sign an extension to be with the club next season. The Impact are currently in first place in the Eastern Conference and look a lock for the playoffs this season.
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls announced on Thursday that two of their key starters will be missing a match due to international call ups.
Midfielder Tim Cahill was called up by the Australian National Team for a friendly match against Brazil on September 7, and defender Roy Miller was called into camp with the Costa Rican National Team ahead of two World Cup qualifiers on September 6 (vs. USA) and September 10 (at Jamaica).
Miller’s call-up is intriguing due to the fact that he suffered an achilles injury last Saturday that’s ruled him out for at least two weeks. Both players will miss the Red Bulls trip to face the Houston Dynamo on September 8.
Heading into the stretch run of the season, the Philadelphia Union may have to start to get used to seeing the ‘star of the spring’ Jack McInerney sitting on the bench alongside designated played Kleberson
Union head coach John Hackworth has defended his lineup decisions on Wednesday, saying that he likes the competition from reserve Antoine Hoppenot and the play of Sebastien Le Toux, while also considering going with a five-man midfield once more and leaving Conor Casey alone up top. McInerney hasn’t scored a goal for the Union since June 1, despite bagging ten until that point.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City are hoping to break a four-match streak of draws when they meet the Colorado Rapids this Saturday.
April 10, 2010 was the last time a team recorded a victor in the series, with then-named Kansas City Wizards defeating the Rapids, 1-0, at Community America Ballpark. Also interesting to note from this year’s edition. Atiba Harris leads MLS with 211 duels won. Aurelien Collin of Sporting KC is in second place with 203 duels won.
The tough season that Toronto FC has been navigating has become even more difficult.
TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen confirmed on Thursday that Matias Laba’s broken toe would likely rule him out for the rest of the season, and not for just one month, which was the original timetable.
Since joining the team at the end of April, Laba started 16 straight games for the club and was finally beginning to gel before injuring his foot in a defeat two weeks back to the Columbus Crew.
What do you think of these notes? Do you see Woodbine starting the last few weeks of the season? Do you agree with Kinnear’s statements? Which team will miss their international players the most?
Share your thoughts below.