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MLS Combine Day Two: News and notes

Good evening folks. It was a busy day at the MLS Combine. The action was better today than day one, with six goals scored compared to yesterday’s one goal.

I will post my game observations later on tonight but for now I will fill you in on all the activities from today.

The SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES have identified the player it will choose with the No. 1 overall pick but is still considering offers for the pick. The Earthquakes are looking for an impact veteran in exchange for the pick. Head coach Frank Yallop wasn’t about to reveal his target with the No. 1 pick but it is a safe bet that the Quakes will take either Patrick Nyarko or Eric Avila if they keep the pick.

COLUMBUS CREW president Mark McCullers downplayed the reports out of Argentina that Guillermo Barros Schelotto wants to leave MLS. According to reports, Schelotto commented on Argentine television that he wants to leave the league and return to Argentina to play for his hometown team, Gimnasia. McCullers still insists that Schelotto will show up for camp later this month.

U.S. Under-17 winger Brek Shea is enjoying a solid Combine but he appears unlikely to play for the one team that essentially put him in the draft. The HOUSTON DYNAMO vouched for Shea as a prospect the team would draft. Unfortunately the Dynamo doesn’t pick until late in the third round and Shea has played himself into first-round consideration. The Dynamo like Shea but trading up to get him seems unlikely, unless the team can deal a future high draft pick to move up in this year’s draft.

In other DYNAMO news, Houston could wind up being the first MLS team to sign a youth academy player. Team officials wouldn’t reveal the name of the player the Dynamo has in mind to sign but a team source says the club has identified a top prospect it is expecting to present to MLS as its first graduated player signing.

A DC UNITED source revealed that the club will retain the player development rights to highly-regarded youth player Shaquille Phillips, who spent a year with D.C. United’s youth program but has joined the U.S. Under-17 residency program. The sources suggested that the league’s policy on this issue is that if a player has spent one year with a youth development program before joining the U-17 residency program then he remains part of the team’s homegrown player list and therefore can be signed his club team.

TORONTO FC head coach Mo Johnston played coy when asked if he was planning on some of his trademark wheeling and dealing. He denied the possibility of Toronto trading up with San Jose for the No. 1 overall pick, citing the club’s need for several useful players from this upcoming draft. A more likely scenario could be trading one of the team’s picks (No. 9 or No. 10 overall) for a package of picks in a later round. With Los Angeles overloaded with draft picks, look for Johnston to speak with Ruud Gullit about a deal.

Clint Mathis’ move to Greek club Ergotelis became official on Saturday, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed.

According to multiple sources in Ft. Lauderdale, Richie Williams is staying on with the RED BULLS but not as an assistant coach. No word yet on what his new role with the club will be.

CHICAGO FIRE fans will appreciate this sighting. New head coach Denis Hamlett huddled in conversation with former Fire greats Peter Nowak and Lubos Kubik.

Long-time MLS standout and former U.S. national team player Mark Chung was in the house but he wasn’t there working for any club. He was just visiting and catching up with old friends.

According to a source at the U.S. Under-23 training camp, Houston Dynamo youngsters Stuart Holden and Patrick Ianni have been impressing, as is Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan (my apologies, Kljestan is not with the U-23 team). Chicago Fire forward Chad Barrett hasn’t had the best time.

Sources down here are saying that MLS commissioner Don Garber is feeling confident about Miami’s chances of landing an expansion franchise. With the city appearing willing to build a stadium, the former home of the Fusion is gaining momentum.

That’s all for now. I’m sure there are things I forgot. I will post the day two review and player analysis tonight.


  1. Simona: Kljestan is in the full NT camp, that’s why he’s not with U23s. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be called in later (and I would expect he would.) Until rosters are named for, first, qualifying and, later on, the actual Olympics, everyone who meets the criteria remains eligible, major injuries aside.

  2. Baysider: You can’t go by context in American English. Pluralities always take have, singulars always take has. It’s one reason sportswriters hate the rise of singular nicknames — it limits what you can do, forces you to use “it” rather than “they.”

    Matthole: A lot of us give a crap. Just because you don’t doesn’t mean we can’t.

  3. Wait why isn’t Sacha Kljestan not part of the U23 team? He’s playing against Sweden but can’t he join in later or something? He wanted to be in the Olympics and I think really bad. That’s horrible if it didn’t work out!

  4. Eugene, from the reports I’ve read, Samir Pena looks to be Houston’s top prospect. Whoever it is it’s exciting that Houston is bringing someone up from their youth organization.

  5. It’s best to go by context (whether American English or English English). If you’re talking about the players (collectively) it’s plural. If you’re talking about the organization, such as with a draft, it’s singular.

  6. Thanks Yo Adrian. I’m not trying to make mistakes but the it-they thing is a bit tricky sometimes.

    And Nick, I get that Lockhart is a half hour away from Miami but the team’s name was the Miami Fusion. Last time I checked the Redskins didn’t play in D.C. but they’re not called the Maryland Redskins.

  7. Forget drafting, go after Andres D’Alesandro on a loan or whatever. The kid can flat out play at the #10 position. Would be a league MVP for sure.

    “Andrés D’Alessandro has already expressed an eagerness to return home to Buenos Aires for a six-month loan spell, in order to keep match-fit and playing first-team football, since he’s not being considered regularly for the starting lineup at Real Zaragoza.”

  8. Actually, GOODSPORT is wrong, according to American English. Earthquakes always are HAVE, no matter how it is meant. (The punctuation follows the word rather than any intent.) In English English, Earthquakes HAS can be used, but not in American English.

  9. Ives,

    Any word on whether the Houston youth player they intend to pull up is Mario Perez? I understand that like Dempsey traveled hours to develop as a soccer player, Perez also travels hours to participate in Houston’s youth academy. Or maybe that’s just myth. Perez is listed on their website as a midfielder from Brownsville. I think he also played with the US U-18s. From what I’ve read, he appears to be both a scoring threat and a creative playmaker.

  10. English English works both ways….as in:

    The team have done it again….


    The band are not quite right (to quote the Beatles)…

    Silly stuff, but all fine as long as we get what is meant by the phrases.

  11. Goodsport-

    You’re correct, according to typical American usage. It’s interesting though, the differences between soccer and football: in England, a team is always referred to in the plural sense, a collective noun. “Chelsea FC have purchased Anelka… England have failed to qualify…” etc.

  12. I agree with Denz. Garber has gone off on a nut. Giving San Jose a franchise again without a stadium plan in place is ridiculous. He seems to have lost touch with the “only give franchises to owners that are ready” philophy.

    I think his ego is starting to expand to the point that he’s more interested in adding franchises than good franchises. A couple relatively good years combined with the Beckham effect led him to believe that the league is secure. That’s why it’s ok that Chivas, Salt Lake, San Jose, and Seattle were awarded clubs with out their own stadium.

    I guess “we’ll try really hard to get a stadium if you give us a franchise” is as good as gold with him now. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

  13. Actually, I’m still sure that you would conjugate your verb in the plural form since when Ives refers to the “Earthquakes” he is referring to everyone that is a part of the organization.

    If you were taking about The Cowboys then you would say “The Giants are going to the NFC Championship.” You wouldn’t say “The Giants is …” the same rule applies.

  14. Ives,

    FYI, MLS has never had a team in Miami. The Fusion played at Lockhart Stadium where you were today in North Fort Lauderdale. It’s the equivalent of saying MLS currently has a team in Baltimore…

  15. I think Vegas should be picked on the fun you could have naming that franchise!
    Las Vegas Fc is too dull of a name for that town. Im thinking Las Vegas Aces

  16. “‘The SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES has identified the player it will choose with the No. 1 overall pick but is still considering offers for the pick.’

    Sorry to nitpick, but since the name of the team from San Jose is a plural noun (Earthquakes versus Earthquake) the proper conjugation of the verb-to-be would be “have”. So that passage should have read “The SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES have … “.”

    No, Ives was correct the first time. It doesn’t matter if the team has a singular or a plural name, the subject of the sentence still refers to a single team.

    “The SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES has … ” is correct, especially considering that it can be substituted with “The TEAM has … “.

  17. Any word on what the Dynamo are doing about Romario Corrales’ possible transfer to back to MLS? You would think that RBNY or TFC would be willing to give up at least a mid first round pick for the rights… unless the need for a fee has killed the deal.

  18. So wait Las Vegas has had the money and plans for a stadium, and has the MLS franchise check waiting, but Garber chooses another city that has had a team and lost it. I am sorry Miami doesn’t support baseball, they only started to support the heat when they signed shaq, the only team to get solid support has been the dolphins and Don wants to put another team there. Dumb move, I also think that San Jose will run into problems again, they still do not have a solid stadium plan in place.

    The rules for a new franchise were clear a couple years ago, a soccer specific stadium was part of the rules. Now I can understand letting Seattle come into the league playing in a huge NFL stadium, since the group owning the team owns that stadium. But Vegas has been sitting there waiting on Garber to take their money and now it looks like once again Don will play favorites, over smart business. Las Vegas has been the fastest growing area in the US for a decade, and has no top level professional team to compete with. Miami, people would rather be at the beach during the spring and summer, they simply will not support a team, history has already shown this.

  19. Great reports Ives!

    Were Klopas and Jeffries at the combine with Hamlett and Guppy again today? Any word on what roles they will be playing with the team, if any?

    Chad Barrett….not having the best of times? Theres a shocker…..

  20. The SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES has identified the player it will choose with the No. 1 overall pick but is still considering offers for the pick.

    Sorry to nitpick, but since the name of the team from San Jose is a plural noun (Earthquakes versus Earthquake) the proper conjugation of the verb-to-be would be “have”. So that passage should have read “The SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES have … “.

  21. Chad Barrett’s not had the best U-23 camp? The only characteristic he possesses of a good soccer player is looking like Wayne Rooney. Watching a Fire game is always a catch-22: on the one hand, there’s Cuah and Conde, on the other there’s Barrett and Calen Carr.

  22. Thanks for the report Ives. Interesting that Richie Williams is staying on but not as an Assistant Coach. I like Richie and I’m glad the Red Bulls are finding a home for him!


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