Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Even though they haven’t hired a head coach for the 2014 Major League Soccer season, the FC Dallas front office are plenty busy constructing next season’s team.
The team announced on Monday that they picked up the options of 14 players and signed former MLS SuperDraft pick Ryan Hollingshead, but one player that they’ll have to replace for next year is forward Kenny Cooper, who they acquired ahead of this past season from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for allocation money. In a statement on their website, FC Dallas said that they had been “unable to come to terms” with Cooper on a new contract and that he’s eligible for the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Draft.
Burdened with high expectations as he was coming off a superb year in New York, scoring 18 goals, and on a large salary contract, Cooper struggled to find the form that made him so successful first in Dallas in 2008 and then again with the Red Bulls in 2012. Cooper finished this season with six goals and one assist in 31 games, making only 19 starts.
Here are some more news and notes from around MLS:
TIMBERS PICK UP CONTRACT OPTIONS ON NINE PLAYERS, INCLUDING WILL JOHNSON
One of the surprises of the 2013 MLS season was Will Johnson, and the Portland Timbers have no plans of letting him leave.
Johnson was one of nine players who had their contracts picked up on Monday by the Timbers, keeping him with the club through next season. Also staying with the Timbers for the near future are Gambian defenders Pa Modou Kah and Futty Danso, winger Rodney Wallace, and midfielder Ben Zemanski.
Meanwhile the club are looking to bring back at least three forwards, as Ryan Johnson has been extended an offer and both Fredric Piquionne and Sebastian Rincon are currently in “contract discussions” with the Timbers. The Timbers declined options on David Horst and Ryan Miller. Both are eligible for the MLS Re-Entry Draft.
TFC ACQUIRES JACKSON FROM FC DALLAS
In addition to the contracts picked up and the announcement that they were parting ways with Kenny Cooper, FC Dallas did manage to make one more transaction
Toronto FC acquired Brazilian midfielder Jackson in exchange for a second round draft pick and allocation money on Monday. The trade is subject to Jackson receiving a Canadian work permit and the receipt of his international transfer certificate (ITC).
“As we continue to re-shape the club’s roster this offseason, we are excited to add a highly skilled, dynamic MLS midfielder, who at 25, is about to enter the prime years of his career,” Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a statement. “Jackson is a highly versatile player who brings with him the experience of nearly 100 MLS regular season and playoff games.”
In four years with FC Dallas, Jackson made 96 appearances in all competitions, scoring 11 goals and adding 13 assists.
U.S. OPEN CUP GAMES TO TAKE PLACE DURING WORLD CUP BREAK
Though the official U.S. Open Cup schedule for 2014 hasn’t been released, the New York Red Bulls may have just let slip an interesting fact about next year’s competition.
While MLS teams will all be taking a break from league action between June 12 and June 24 for the FIFA World Cup group stage, it looks as though U.S. Soccer is taking advantage of that break to schedule the third and fourth rounds of the U.S. Open Cup for that time. If true, this would allow many MLS teams to play more competitive sides in the prestigious cup competition.
U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Open Cup have yet to comment on the matter.
What do you think of these developments? Surprised that Cooper is leaving Dallas again? Where do you think he ends up next season? Do you expect Portland to bring in some new forwards next season?
Share your thoughts below.