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MLS Ticker: TFC reportedly first in line for Jozy Altidore; clubs vying for Sacha Kljestan revealed; and more

Jozy Altidore Sunderland 93 (Getty Images)

By CAITLIN MURRAY

If Jozy Altidore is serious about returning to Major League Soccer, the team with the best chance to acquire him is Toronto FC.

Although reports have indicated the New York Red Bulls are out of the running, Goal USA is reporting the Red Bulls are still part of the conversation, but TFC is willing to spend more money to secure Altidore.

The Portland Timbers, Goal USA reports, were also vying for the U.S. National Team striker, but have fallen by the wayside.

Another factor at play could be that the Canadian side has a higher standing in the league’s allocation ranking, which would give TFC the edge as Altidore looks at a move back home, according to a report from ESPN. Other clubs, however, could make trades or deals to move up in the order to secure Altidore’s services.

The ESPN report indicates MLS does not want to repeat the controversial “blind draw” that led to Jermaine Jones joining the New England Revolution, although he had expressed a desire to join the Chicago Fire. For Altidore’s move, the league is looking to return to its typical allocation procedure and use an allocation order, the report said.

TFC does have three Designated Players at the moment, but is openly pushing hard to sell Jermain Defoe, who is looking to return to England.

Here are more news and notes from around the league:

REPORT: KLJESTAN DRAWING INTEREST FROM SEVERAL MLS CLUBS

Sacha Kljestan is looking poised to move to MLS as clubs clamor to sign the U.S. Men’s National Team pool player.

Clubs vying for Kljestan include the New York Red Bulls, the Philadelphia Union and the Los Angeles Galaxy, according to a report from Goal USA. To secure Kljestan, they may have to enter a bidding war for the Montreal Impact’s allocation spot.

Kljestan has 18 months left on his contract with RSC Anderlecht, but the club is reportedly willing to let the midfielder go.

The Galaxy had actually agreed to terms with Kljestan last year before MLS’s international transfer window closed in early August. But the deal was nixed by MLS, something Galaxy coach Bruce Arena criticized in the press and was later fined over.

MLS TRIED TWICE TO SIGN MEXICO’S CHICHARITO

MLS tried twice to land Mexico’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, but alas, it was not to be.

According to a report from Goal USA, the league had approached Chicarito about coming stateside, but the El Tri standout rejected the offers, preferring to play in Europe.

The striker has been with Manchester United since 2010 and last September joined Real Madrid on loan.

It’s not clear which MLS teams were interested in Chicharito’s services, but the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chicago Fire are clubs that have popped up as possibilities. Signing the 26-year-old likely would have required a record-setting contract for the striker.

D.C. UNITED SIGNS FINNISH NATIONAL TEAM PLAYER HALSTI

D.C. United has signed Finnish international and Malmö FF player Markus Halsti, the club announced Monday.

Halsti, 30, has spent the last seven seasons with Malmö FF in Sweden’s top Allsvenskan as a defender and midfielder, appearing in 115 games and scoring six goals. He helped Malmö to three league championships in the last five seasons, the first in 2010 before consecutive titles in 2013 and 2014.

“We are pleased to be adding a player with solid European playing experience at the club, Champions League, and national team levels,” said D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper in a statement. “Markus can play as both a central midfielder and central defender, and this was quite attractive to us. He is a tough competitor and another very good character piece for our club. We look forward to having him join our family.”

Internationally, Halsti has represented the Finland national team 20 times since his debut in 2008, last earning caps in November.

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What do you think of this news? Would you like to see Jozy Altidore land in Toronto? Think it’s good to avoid another “blind draw” transfer? Wish Chicharito had taken up MLS on its offers?

Share your thoughts below.

59 comments
  • TP

    “Last time we made up a random rule it didn’t go so well, so let’s make a new random rule that supercedes the last random rule. That should make everyone happy, right?”

    Like

    • Josh D

      The aspect I find funniest is that TFC will have two of the biggest USMNT stars playing on it. Sad?

      Like

      • Pele-

        To be fair Defoe was battling injuries for half the year while Bradley was off playing in some little tournament in Brazil. TFC needs to fix things at the club from the top down if they want to have not just star players on a sub-par team but rather a team that’s the star, a la RSL. Hopefully 2015 will be remembered as the year TFC and Jozy Altidore got firing on all cylinders and took MLS by storm! (And Bradley was right, TFC got hosed against Chicago in September.)

        Like

  • Old School

    The Hernandez signing would have been a huge coup for MLS. At this stage in his career it was always unrealistic but I’m glad to see this MLS having this frame of mind for a target.

    As a Chicago resident, I can confidently say the amount of energy and interest he would have conjured up as a signing for the Fire, specifically, would have been historic for this fan base/demographic on the level of David Beckham. No hyperbole.

    Like

    • Nico C.

      As a Chicago resident, I have to 100% agree with you. I get chills thinking about how rabid the fan base would get with Chicharito on the books. He would be worth every penny.

      Like

  • Rowsdower

    Center back Raúl Rodríguez joined Houston Dynamo on free transfer from RCD Espanyol.

    Like

    • Rowsdower

      Which was already posted here back on the 9th which I missed obviously. Search before posting…..

      Like

  • CMac88

    Wow, damn near every story/section of this article was based on news/quotes “according to a report from Goal USA/goal.com”. Kind of makes me wonder why all football/soccer fans shouldn’t just cut out the SBI middle man, and simply going to Goal.com for all the news/info/etc–considering we’re pretty much doing that already reading SBI articles such as this one.

    Like

      • Ian

        Exactly. That’s why I started coming here years ago. Readers are civil and more grown up.

        Like

    • Chivo

      Goal.com site is garbage compared to Ives, especially when you cannot find the comment section.

      Like

      • Old School

        Goal.com’s layout is a huge eyesore. It’s as if they said: “Let’s see how many images, links, story headlines and categories we can throw together on one page. Oh yea, and add some advertisements.”

        Like

    • Quit Whining About Soccer in the US

      Goal.com is terrible for the most part.

      And the comment section…..I would be hard pressed to find anything more obnoxious.

      Like

      • Ian

        So true, and true of virtually the entire internet. Comments sections are where civility goes to die.

        Like

      • InterTheQuake

        Too many keyboard warrior trolls that come onto Goal.com! Way better here!

        Like

  • Old School

    While this isn’t a new discussion, I’m reminded of it once again with the possibility of Altidore re-joining MLS. I’ve been a consistent critic of Altidore, but I have a huge philosophical issue with a 25 year old American international (accomplished for the Nats, too) being unable to choose where he plays while the likes of 34 year old Steven Gerrard skates in with choices.

    From my vantage point, this parity driven objective is fundamentally broke on this . For the player, and for the fans.

    Like

    • Quit Whining About Soccer in the US

      Probably more the execution of the parity model, more than the model.

      The reason both guys, and many more, are coming here is because they can be part of a winner again.

      Like

      • Old School

        Can you clarify what you mean on the execution rather than the model itself?

        Also, I don’t share the sentiments the reasoning for either player’s motives for coming to MLS is to be a part of a winner. One is seeking a paycheck/continuation of a career while another is simply seeking to play.

        Like

      • RAMONE

        While I can’t speak for him, I assume by execution he means that every time a Nat has come back to MLS recently MLS has changed the rules around to justify where he went.

        Dempsey we were told was not subject to allocation order (though others claim he was and teams ahead of Seattle passed, MLS released a statement saying DPs were not subject to allocation and Seattle didn’t use its allocation order spot when they took him). It upset fans of those teams ahead of Seattle that they didn’t at least get an opportunity to consider/negotiate … bluff even to see if they could get something of value for their place in line.

        I may be out of order, but I think Houston then took Demarcus Beasley – really the exact same situation, Nat player returning from another league and a DP … yet they forced Houston to trade up so they were first in the Allocation order to take him.

        Then we had Jermaine Jones who by all rights should have gone down the line and had Columbus, Dallas, DC, Vancouver, Chicago (who wanted him), Montreal, San Jose and then New England (who got him) each have their opportunity … he professed wanting to play for Chicago, the first 4 teams passed. By all rights should have gone to Chicago then (or forced a move up by New England in the allocation order) yet the MLS pulled a blind draw out of their behinds and gave him to New England.

        With Altidore they are now trying to tell us that Allocation Order has always been how it has worked … cough, cough. That is poor execution because they keep suspending the rule and then enforcing the rule when convenient.

        Going even further back, when Portland attempted to sign Mix Diskerud 2 years ago they were told by MLS that he would be subject to allocation order. The Timbers traded up to position to take him and then they changed their minds and said any team could bid for him if he came in as a DP. He wanted Portland if he came to MLS period (at the time) so went to Rosborg instead rather than deal with the shenanigans.

        I can see where this rule (Allocation order) had a place 5-10 years ago when it was used like a parity mechanism for down teams. If a Nat was coming back to MLS it was generally for a fairly low salary as a pre-retirement gig. Since then player budgets have gone way up, teams can and do have multiple DPs (the average team has over 2), and the league is appealing to some of them in their primes now because they can make not just DP money but be overpaid as stars. Frankly I think USMNT allocation order should just plain go away. If a team has a need for a DP at a certain position and he happens to be a USMNT player, then sign him if he wants to play for you. You shouldn’t need permission from other teams to take him and if he really wants to be at those other teams instead and they want him too, then they would also be talking.

        There are lots of dumb MLS rules like this (discovery lists, etc.). I have no problem with the waiver and re-entry drafts because the journeymen players WANT those (trying to stay in the league at good salaries they don’t have to renegotiate every year). Superdraft should be 1 round, everyone else is a free agent.

        Like

  • @Herb_Maldonado

    I’m pretty sure TFC isn’t first in line for anything. Jozy does not want to play for TFC… Either Red Bulls step up and make Jozy an attractive offer or Jozy will go elsewhere… He is DEFINITELY NOT going to TFC.

    Like

    • jb

      Does it matter what team Jozy wants in MLS?

      Serious question, I don’t understand the details of this USMNT player allocation. I thought he was allocated somewhere and had no say, other than to refuse the deal with MLS…

      Like

      • @Herb_Maldonado

        Exactly my point, MLS is hoping that

        1) Jozy won’t get the same amount of money elsewhere.
        2) Jozy wan’t to be back home in the states.

        I say this because if Jozy didn’t want to play for Toronto FC but TFC want to sign him then either
        1) TFC have to accept that Jozy doesn’t want to play for for TFC and pass him on the next bidder
        2) Don Garber lays on the smack down on TFC and force there hand behind close doors.

        Like

    • RAMONE

      Elsewhere there are rumors that this is all part of an “Interleague trade”. Both Jozy and Defoe are under contract with their respective clubs. Defoe has an enormous price tag and apparently Sunderland wants him. In effect it would be Jozy + cash (transfer fee) for Defoe.

      I find that absurd and again reinventing everything MLS has ever said they will and will not do … but on some level MLS just wants to get him into the league, rules and mechanism be damned.

      Like

      • Rory

        I would love to see Defoe at Sunderland… Struggling for chances with that horrible midfield. Would love to see Jozy return to form here and more money put into the league to boot!

        Like

  • MLS_Soccer_Talker

    Other than a money-grab. This move makes no sense. He is going from club in disarray in the EPL to another club in disarray in MLS.

    Coming back to MLS at such an early age…Not a fan of it.

    Where have all the brave Americans Abroad Gone?

    ….Germany…( i couldnt resist!).

    Like

      • Anthony

        Correction: where YOU want them to be (to a certain degree). While Clint stated that he was thinking about coming home (the money played a huge part in it. He said that the final contract set him up where he could take care of himself and his family (parents, brothers, sisters). He apparently bought a huge plot and land for the entire family), Jozy is not the case. He made it clear that he wanted to stay in Europe but you gotta figure that he has limited options especially given what Sunderland want and he wants. That is why he wants such a high salary to come back. You woudl have to double his salary to make him come back. MLS had to Double MB salary to have him come back. If they paid he about the same and he was still a starting player at Roma, he would have stayed there.

        Like

      • Old School

        If they paid he about the same and he was still a starting player at Roma, he would have stayed there.

        MB wasn’t starting when he left.

        Like

      • Paul

        I think that is why he said “if”. He was starting when he got there, but the 2nd year he was coming off the bench. The 3rd year, he saw that his time would shrink as per the transfers.

        Like

  • McQ

    MLS bidding for Chicharito is the soccer equivalent of Saturday Night Live offering the Beatles $3,000 to reunite.

    Like

  • Elninho

    I know things look bleak at Sunderland, but going to the dumpster fire that is TFC would mean Jozy scoring even less than he does in England.

    Like

    • RAMONE

      Unlikely, but you never know. He at least would have Bradley for service at TFC and in MLS you can turn around your fortunes in 1-2 seasons (worst to first and back again).

      Sunderland is a total mess. Not helping Jozy, he isn’t helping them. No sense in staying. I’d be all for him looking at all opportunities but I think that TFC/MLS splashing the cash will be too hard to resist.

      Like

  • Atx_Colin

    Only in the MLS are American Players overpaid and valued for simply being American, it makes no sense and does a disservice to the league and USMNT.

    Like

    • Old School

      England/English players are guilty of the same. MLS/American’s are hardly alone in the overpay/over-evaluation of domestic talent in the world of soccer.

      To be honest, and I do my fair share of railing on MLS, this is a positive. If we’re going to throw cash at players, I’d prefer it be in the directions of young Americans in favor of washed up foreign talent.

      Like

      • Atx_Colin

        Fair point old school but MLS is a league that overpays for mediocre American players, let that sit in. Players that are not even in form can come to back to the MLS for an inflated paycheck and decreased level of play.

        Like

  • UclaBruinGreat

    The Galaxy already have 3 DP’s, so would Sacha come in at less than DP money? That’s the only scenario I see if the Galaxy are actually still in talks with him, unless if Omar Gonzalez is on his way out.

    Like

    • RAMONE

      Or they are supremely confident the new CBA will include a fourth DP or some kind of “super” DP which has been rumored (a spot Keane or Gerrard depending on what they are paying him would take up). Add to that higher salary caps which may make it possible to not make guys who make $500k DPs (and just take the whole cap hit) … which doesn’t help LAG since their DPs all make over $1M.

      Like

  • Twosevenstreet

    I know most would rather have our players playing in Europe.

    I see it the other way. I’d rather have all of our top players playing here with the national team still being successful. This is what is going to push our league to new heights, and will start the domino of all the best concacaf players playing in MLS

    Like

    • Atx_Colin

      I see your point but for me I want the USMNT to WIN a world cup one day. The only way that happens is with having our TOP players playing abroad.

      Like

      • RAMONE

        Agreed.

        I also don’t think we are talking about winning anytime soon either. We have hit a bit of a plateau. Jozy and Bradley are realistically the only guys that we are currently talking about who will be in the next WC cycle (Dempsey will be 35, Jones will be 36, Howard 39 …). Those guys are effectively done with the USMNT except for friendlies and perhaps some of the qualifiers. Bradley will be 31, Jozy 29, so probably their last go around.

        Lots of our YOUNG talent who will be playing in 2018 and 2022 are or will be in Europe, just not top level.

        Everyone keeps wringing their hands about this but father time is going to force half of these guys to retire from the MNT before the next WC anyway.

        Like

  • dude1

    The league apparently is happy to use whatever means lands the arriving USMNT player at their club of choice. Clint goes to Seattle, no allocation. Bradley goes to Toronto, no allocation. JJ decides to go to MLS, and ends up at the club that struggles to energize the fanbase. Now Jozy is coming in, and MLS decides that they’d rather see him in Toronto, instead of the well-attended Portland side.

    The league will continue to pull rules out of their @$$ as long as they get what they prefer. It is turning into a running gag that isn’t amusing, but makes the league look like the most conniving, calvinball playing league on earth. Please, let’s decide on a method and at least have some semblance of fairness. This is getting old.

    Like

  • The Don

    Where Jozy will play will be decided by a blind draw. Four teams will be selected. Those four will be part of a larger blind draw where their team names are dropped in a hat while every other team’s name is in the hat once. Six team names will be drawn from the hat, after which, in “worst picks first fashion,” they all get to pick a number from 1 to 10. Then first team that guesses right wins.

    Then I assign Jozy to LA or NYCFC.

    Got it?

    Like

    • Limey

      Pretty sure the Gals do not need or want Jozy so I doubt that happens, and that’s not what happened in the blind draw for JJ so you’re pretty much talking nonsense.

      Like

  • The Don

    I may also have the owners wives engage in a foot race to decide where Jozy will go.

    I and I alone will decide. The players and teams have no say.

    I am Lord.

    Like

  • MLS_Soccer_Talker

    Jozy will sign as NYFC’s other DP. You heard it here first folks.

    This will be NYFCs way of showing their 2 fans…”Hey, we do care. Kind of.”

    Jozy will want to be close to NJ. So, he’ll make demands. Which Don Garber will bend over and grant.

    Allocation be damned!!

    Like

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