MLS- Sporting Kansas City

MLS Ticker: Crew trade Gruenebaum to Sporting KC; Yallop heads to Europe to scout; and more

Andy Gruenebaum

Photo by ISIPhotos.com


Sporting Kansas City’s primary offseason need was to replace retiring goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. In just over one week, they’ve solved that problem.

Overland Park, Kan. native Andy Gruenebaum was traded today by the Columbus Crew to his hometown club, Sporting Kansas City, with a second round pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft going to Columbus in return. The Crew have been busy reshaping their squad and the veteran Gruenebaum was suddenly outside of head coach Gregg Berhalter’s plans.

“Andy is a very capable goalkeeper, someone who has been successful in Major League Soccer and has had a lot of games in the league,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said in a statement. “He is a great addition to our team and a complement to our goalkeepers. We needed someone with a lot of experience because we’re in multiple major competitions in 2014.”

Gruenebaum missed 13 games this season with the Crew after suffering a shoulder injury, only returning from an extended absence in the final game of the year. Sporting KC meanwhile are acquiring an experienced goalkeeper to battle Eric Kronberg during preseason for the starting spot.

Here are some more stories from around MLS:


Frank Yallop’s trip to Europe this week isn’t just for an offseason vacation.

The new Chicago Fire head coach is heading overseas to work and he plans to use his contacts abroad as well as the club’s partners to search for talent to add to the squad ahead of the 2014 MLS season.

“I’ll be going to a number of clubs,” Yallop told Chicago-Fire.com. “Namely Tottenham and Norwich – where there are people I know well and I’m just looking at young players that we’d have the possibility of signing or getting on loan. I’m going to [Fire team for the World Partner] Atletico Madrid as well and just looking for players.

“I’ve got scouts I’ve spoken to already going to watch games and we’ll be getting a good feel of what the market is like. I’ll bounce around as much as I can and really get after it, seeing as much soccer as I can in two weeks.”

Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson just completed a two-week training stint at Norwich while the club have sent players to Atletico Madrid in the past two years for offseason training.


The Seattle Sounders’ busy offseason continued today when they inked a veteran defender to a new contract.

The club announced that they’ve signed Leo Gonzalez to a new deal, keeping the man voted by fans as Defender of the Year in Seattle for next season. Per league and team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Leo had an outstanding season in 2013, and we are happy to reward him with a new contract for the 2014 season,” owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer said in a statement.

Gonzalez, one of seven players on the Sounders roster to have stayed with the team since they joined MLS in 2009, started 33 of his club’s 42 matches in all competitions during the 2013 season, and was a starter in 14 of the Sounders’ 15 MLS victories. The Costa Rican international has started 98 times in MLS play for the Sounders, fifth-best in club history.


A former Norwegian First Division Goalkeeper of the Year could receive his first chance to start for an MLS team next season.

Just minutes before announcing that they had traded Andy Gruenebaum to Sporting KC, the Crew announced that they had acquired goalkeeper Steve Clark in a sign and trade deal from the Seattle Sounders in exchange for a fourth-round selection in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. Clark joins the Crew from Honefoss BK, in Norway’s Tippeligaen, where he spent four seasons.

“Steve is a player that has risen through the ranks of Norwegian football and has established himself as a top goalkeeper abroad,” Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said in a statement. “He was all-league in Norway and has enjoyed three consecutive strong seasons. Steve has presence, good reflexes and is extremely good in one-on-one situations, and he brings intensity to the goalkeeping position.”

Clark compiled a record of 30-32-32 with a 1.34 goals against average and 26 shutouts. He was named Goalkeeper of the Year in the top division in 2012.


What do you think of these developments? Think Gruenebaum can play up to Nielsen’s standards next season? Do you expect Yallop to be able to sign any Europeans this offseason? Like the Gonzalez signing?

Share your thoughts below.

  • SSFC_fan

    I’ve been unable to find a good explanation of why the Steve Clark deal was a sign and trade. Anyone know?


  • Big Chil

    Seattle had previously filed a Discovery Claim on Clark, meaning they owned his MLS rights.


  • Cairo

    Curious whether anyone would be willing to take Freddy Adu at a dramatically reduced salary (something like EJ’s Seattle salary–$150K or so). There are quite a few teams that possess a strong defensive midfielder but no creative offensive mid. San Jose (to pair with Cronin) and Seattle (to pair with Alonso) come to mind as teams that could afford Adu’s defensive liabilities. Let’s pretend for a minute that he’d take that salary. For teams with salary cap issues, is he really not worth a flyer at that price? Was he that bad at Philly (I saw him a few times and I thought he looked ok to good, depending on the game)? Given that Seattle is likely to get gutted come World Cup time (Dempsey, Martins, and Evans) and that they have salary cap issues, doesn’t this make a little bit of sense? Who else are they going to get at that price? Or SJ, who have a big hole in the middle after Baca’s awful season? Is Freddy really truly that bad? Sigh…


    • Simpson

      No, Freddy is misunderstood. He is ridiculously talented and would easily be MVP in MLS if he would just be utilized correctly. The coaches he’s played for thus far have all been awful. I hope Freddy doesn’t sign for anything less than a DP salary because he’s got to know he’s worth that much.


      • Jay

        What your worth and what you can get can be two different things. Is his talent worth a DP contract yes. Off topic we have to get a new name for a DP. That said, a team with a strong coach would be great for him him at New York, Sporting, or even LA would be a perfect fit. Good team who don’t really need him and strong coaches who will hold his feet to the fire.


      • SonicDeathMonkey

        Leave Freddy alone. A 30 year man does not need his moms permission to use the computer.


      • Toño

        “The coaches he’s played for thus far have all been awful.”

        He’s played for a about 8 different teams and has mostly been riding the bench in a ll of them except the MLS teams. I think that speaks more of him as a bad player than having bad coaches. He has talent but there are other players out there who are more talented and he needs that reality check. He stood out in the youth level but he hasn’t developed his game since those days.


      • Shyam

        The first part of your argument has some merit to it, but not the second. Freddy isn’t “misunderstood” as much as he doesn’t really have a set of talents that really suits the modern game. He is a great dribbler, but with only decentish speed and few moves that allow him to take players one on one (making him a poor winger or second striker/CAM). He has good vision, but his ability to make key passes is more pronounced the farther he is from goal (and he lacks the tacking ability and work rate to be a deep lying playmaker). He’s not the kind of finisher who can be a classic CF, even if you overlook the issue of size.

        He has a lot of talents, but they don’t really mesh well into a coherent whole that can fit with most team dynamics. If he were good enough to build a team around his strengths, it’d be one thing, but he really isn’t.


    • chris_thebassplayer

      Yes, he really is that bad. Every team and coach thinks they can solve the mystery and turn him around…and it never ever happens…huge red flag. How many teams has it been now nine? I’d give up my season tickets if the Quakes signed Adu.


    • S

      “Curious whether anyone would be willing to take Freddy Adu at a dramatically reduced salary”


      He wasn’t the worst player on the field for Philly but he was way, way overpaid and performed poorer than players making a third his salary (like Le Toux). I could see him taking an Eddie Johnson type deal- he was the one who talked EJ into a training that lead to him eventually joining the Sounders. As a Philly fan I would enjoy playing and subsequently beating the team that fielded Adu.


    • Joamiq

      The question isn’t whether anyone would be willing to take Adu. It’s whether he would be willing to take a drastically reduced salary. So far in his career the answer has been a resounding “no”. He would rather get paid in an irrelevant second division than play for less in MLS.


  • Andy Gruenebaum

    Andy Gruenebaum will certainly fit in nicely at SKC. He is an athletic keeper where Nielsen’s strength was certainly in his positioning. The SKC backline has a proven track record, and whether they hold onto Collin or not, Besler will become the outspoken leader of SKC from 2014 on, unless of course he moves to Europe after WC14. Solid move for Sporting.


  • chris_thebassplayer

    Watch, Yallop will sign Simon Dawkins right out from under Doyle’s nose.

    I feel bad for Watson having to function under Kaval and Doyle…two pairs of clown shoes.


    • frank from santiago

      I doubt SD is coming back to mls, he’s doing pretty good in the championship.
      Also, yallop wouldn’t know good talent if it fell on his lap, fire fans are going to be very frustraded with the kind of coach he is, …..not a very good. still living of those 2 cups that in reality had not much to do with him, but instead the asst. coaches and players around at the time.
      As far as doyle & kaval, they may not be the best pair, but i think the bigger issue there is wolff. when you don’t have much of a budget to play bigtime ball with, there’s only so much you can do.
      and finally watson……not much different than yallop, although he did try and at time succeded playing a bit more passing & on the ground, than the route 1 style of boring ball that yallop shoved down our throats for waaay to long. yallop should of been let go after the .09 season…if it wasn’t for wondo going on a tear on the 2012 saeson, dude would of had nothing but losing seasons every year since ’08.
      rant over, thx., for listening….chris_thebassplayer , lol!


      • chris_thebassplayer

        Haha, nice. Well Frank, there are two kinds of Quake fans…one side are die hard Yallop supporters and the other side are clueless f***s

        Let’s see how he does in Chicago.

        I won’t be back to read your response, life’s too short for your bulls**t Thanks for listening newbie.


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