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.