Top Stories

The PM roundup: Jaqua rejoins Houston, McBride deal looks dead and is Parkhurst headed to the Olympics?


                                                             Photo by

Good evening folks. I spent a large part of the day dealing with the Red Bulls so I wasn’t able to get to a handful of stories that made the rounds today. Here is a recap of several stories from the weekend and Monday that you may or may not have heard about:

Jaqua returns to Dynamo

We mentioned last week that Nate Jaqua might return to the Houston Dynamo and he has done just that. Jaqua has agreed to a new deal with the Dynamo, a deal that could see him leave Houston for expansion Seattle in 2009.

I don’t know about you but I see the Dynamo suddenly being the title favorites again. No, not because Nate Jaqua is a goal-machine, but because Houston was already starting to regain its championship form (as evidenced by its 4-0 whooping of Mexican champions Atlante) and now they add a strong forward who looked pretty good tearing things up in Austria earlier this year.

No McBride for Fire?

If you ordered a Brian McBride Chicago Fire jersey you may want to hold off, or at least put it away until next year. Growing rumors that the chances of a Chicago-Toronto trade to send McBride’s rights to Chicago are dying have turned out to be true, with Toronto refusing to budge on its demand for either Chris Rolfe or Justin Mapp from Chicago. Barring an injunction from MLS, which has been known to change the rules in the past, McBride will have to wait until 2009 to suit up for the Fire, assuming the next team to have the top Allocation spot doesn’t do what Toronto FC is doing.

Is Toronto FC wrong for demanding so much and not budging? I don’t think so. While it would be a great thing for McBride to be in the league, it does Toronto FC no good to strengthen a team it is trying to beat out in the playoff race, and potentially beat out in the playoffs. Yes, getting a draft pick and/or allocation money would be better than not getting a thing for McBride’s rights, but Toronto is right to want to keep a conference rival from getting that much stronger.

Besides, at the rate Toronto FC keeps fleecing San Jose in trades, TFC isn’t likely to miss whatever picks/allocations it could have gotten from Chicago.

Also, Chicago is smart not to budge either. With Rolfe and Mapp in the process of signing long-term deals to stay in MLS, the Fire has two cornerstone type players to build around. It isn’t worth two months of McBride to give one of those players up. That said, anybody who buys the "Chicago doesn’t really want McBride" theory is kidding themselves (or bad at reading bluffs). All you need to do is watch a lowlight reel of missed chances by Chicago forwards to know that the Fire want McBride badly.

Will Parkhurst get the Olympic call?

The Washington Post’s Steven Goff asks that very question, with sources telling him that New England defender Michael Parkhurst is likely to get the call for one of the three overage spots on the U.S. Olympic team.

Parkhurst getting the nod wouldn’t be much of a surprise. As I stated recently, both he and Jimmy Conrad are the best candidates to be the defender to go, but with Conrad’s KC Wizards clawing their way back into the playoff race, and New England riding high with the best record in MLS, it makes sense for Parkhurst to go. Parkhurst is also younger and a national team prospect who should benefit from the Olympic experience.

I’m sticking with the McBride-Guzan-Parkhurst trio to be the overage players. Yes, Guzan could be kept from going by new club Aston Villa, which would create a very interesting situation in goal. Would Peter Nowak really hand the job to young and inexperienced Chris Seitz? Or might we see a team-less Kasey Keller step in and fill the void?

Beasley injured again

U.S. national team and Glasgow Rangers winger DaMarcus Beasley is set to miss three weeks, including Rangers’ Champions League qualifying matches with a hamstring injury.

The injury comes less than three months after Beasley returned from knee surgery that had sidelined him for more than six months.

San Jose acquires Sealy

The San Jose Earthquakes continued attempts to bolster their stagnant offense by acquiring Trinidad & Tobago forward Scott Sealy from the Kansas City Wizards for an allocation.

Smart deal or act of desperation? I go with the latter. Why? Well, let’s see. San Jose isn’t making the playoffs this year and needs to focus on the future. By trading an allocation away for a player who is in the final year of his MLS contract, and who has stated that he wants to go abroad, San Jose just spent an allocation for a rent-a-player for three months.


  1. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo – I wonder if you even watched the quals… the wings were one of our stronger points, outside of Adu obviously….

    but i agree, i see Rogers getting the nod….

    LD wont get called in b/c of WCQ matches….

    if BMB gets called in, then i see Nowak running Jozy and BMB up top with Adu running the middle….

  2. 3 Overage players, I’m expecting: McBride, L.D. & Parkhurst. I only bring McBride if no Jozy due to his new club commitments. If no McBride or L.D. I bring Bornstein. Seitz gets the pipes.

    the U-23’s suffered terribly from the wings in the qualifiers. They had terrible play from there. So I expect Rogers to be named as well as L.D.

    I personally weight the Olympics over the Guatemala WCQ away game from a long term viewpoint. I understand its a QUALIFYING game, but I’m a capitilist. I believe a good showing by the U-23’s goes very far in selling soccer to the U.S. market.

  3. I love how some people are comparing the Landon Donovan situation to the McBride situation. MLS forced LA to trade Carlos Ruiz to get Landon Donovan (they pulled “the we own half of the team” card). If you want the same situation in Chicago, then MLS will force Chicago to trade Rolfe or Mapp for McBride.

  4. Strider:

    “Back to Guzan’s age. If he turns 24 in September (we are assuming that is 2008 since it is future tense) then he WAS 23 on January 1 of this year (2008).”

    If you look back at what KC wrote, it was “Because he wasn’t under 23 yrs old on January 1st of this year.”

    You are pointing out that Guzan was 23 as of 1/1, but, as KC noted, he’d have to be UNDER 23 at 1/1 to be eligible.

    A simpler way of saying the same rule is that the Olympic age is set by year of birth, not age at time of the games. So, for Olympics, “U23” = born in 1985 or later. Guzan was born in 1984, so he could only participate in one of the 3 overage spots.

  5. Ives, Stephen Goff reported that a deal had been apparently reached. Is that true and if so what happened to make the deal fall through?

  6. I think it’s great that McBride didn’t get to go to the Fire. Any time Fire fans are unhappy, the world is a better place.

  7. there is no “brett vs NY/NJ”…. i make simple comments that everyone else is either thinking or saying and i get pinned up as a Redbull hater just b/c im a fire supporter… its all quite funny to tell you the truth…

    i have said nothing bad about either the fans nor their team, and i certainly havent started the arguements.. ive responded

  8. I like the passion of these comments, hope that it sticks around its been awhile since i’ve noticed it on SBI (well besides Brett vs NY/NJ)

  9. Hey, I wasn’t accusing you of that Steve (you’re one of my guys so I know you weren’t saying anything), just clarifying what I wrote since I’ve seen some people take what I wrote and run with it as me saying any chance of McBride going to Chicago is dead. Based on what I know, the only way I see a deal getting done is if MLS makes Toronto give up the spot, which would get REAL messy because Toronto shouldn’t have to based on the rules as they are written now.

  10. Ives – Unlike others psoting I wasn’t nitpicking on your word choice or reporting. Reference to not being dead was to the tone of posts not your original article and just my opinion of this situation.

    Keep the info and opinions coming. My ego is only big enough to argue with the rest of the masses.

  11. A.S. – I think all your argument makes 100% sense. THe thing that is missing and that is consistently missed on these arguments is that fact that this league does not have enough cash flow or strong enough fan base to function even as a restricted free market.

    MLS cannot afford teams to fall behind and be non-competititve. Therefoere the rules are designd to ensure parity of talent, as well as press, as well as potential revenue streams. And most importnatly they are loaded with trap-doors to allow the league itself to intervene.

    As much as folks clamour for the end of allocations etc…. this woudl still lead to the collapse of the league. So, allocation systems may change but I’m guessing we’re still 10 years minimum from them going away. And as much as people hate them its the right path.

  12. Steve, if you look carefully I wrote that the McBride deal “looks” dead and “is dying.” So no, it isn’t completely dead, but given the position of the two sides, and the unlikelihood that either will budge, the only way McBride is going to Chicago this year is if MLS steps in and I’m not sure people should assume that will happen. And when I say step in, I mean force Toronto’s hand, which could get messy because Toronto is not going to budge, whether McBride will play eight games or 18. Toronto isn’t going to play a part in Chicago getting McBride on a silver platter, and as much as the current allocation rules in MLS stink, they are the rules and MLS circumventing its own rules would look pretty bad in my opinion.

  13. This argument between Ives is brought to you by SuperLiga. The tournament no one watches but the fans of the winning team get to split one mEEEEEEElion dollars.

    The xfer window opens today so the McBride situation hasn’t even warmed up yet. A litle early to be ‘dead’. Once it becomes official that McHead will play in the olympics Frank Klopas calls Mo and says we’re talking about 8 games plus playoffs now. Who do you want not named Rolfe or Mapp? Then a deal gets made. Or if McBride has a decent Olympics and garners a little attention Garber makes the call to Toronto himself.

    You can see by the reaction to this situation by the neutrals that thhere is somethign at stake for the league as a whole and if nothing else we know the suits in New York are whores for publicity. McBride will be in Chicago in September playing alongside Mapp and Rolfe.

  14. “It seems to me that if MLS had a hard salary cap that they consistently enforced then they would not need things like allocations, discovery claims, and roster size limits (etc.).”

    I was thinking the same thing. I don’t really understand the MLS rules at all – the allocation system, allocation money, etc (is there anywhere on the web that has an easy to understand primer on this?) – so maybe I’m not understanding things. But why is the allocation system needed at all? If every foreign player wants to play in NY, CHI or LA, wouldn’t those teams quickly run up against the salary cap? And once that happened, they would have to trade players away to less-popular destinations just to make room under the cap for new players – or alternatively the foreign-based players would have to sign with the less-popular clubs to get paid a decent amount of money. So there is no possible way that NY, CHI or LA could accumlate all the talent coming in from overseas (the McBrides and the Beckhams and the Angels). What am I missing about the MLS salary cap that doesn’t make this already the case?

  15. Dearest Mark,

    Glad to see that delusions of grandeur are not limited to the Big Soccer forum.

    Ill leave it at that as your nonsense speaks for itself.


    Ossington Mental Youth

  16. It seems to me that if MLS had a hard salary cap that they consistently enforced then they would not need things like allocations, discovery claims, and roster size limits (etc.). MLS is a business and money should be able to talk. If a team wants McBride and they have the money (or can clear the money) then that team should be able to sign him. If many teams want to sign him for the same price (limited by the salary cap) then he should be able to pick where he plays. This is good for the players and good for the league. If the Revs can sign 34 Brian McBrides and still be under the salary cap then nothing should stand in there way since the players and team agreed to those contracts. A strict salary cap at MLS levels ($2-3M) and reasonble contract lengths (in years) will do its best to ensure parity. Some teams will thrive and others will be less successful, but that is business and it would lend to the kind of transparency that MLS HQ seems to fear.

  17. Aristotle, you are right. My picking KC as a surprise team in 2008 isn’t looking like a good prediction, at least not yet (and at no point have I denied making that prediction). That’s fair, but I STILL don’t get the tie-in between KC and San Jose. That’s where you lose me everytime because you seem to be under the impression that they have the same record when that’s not close to being true.

    I believe I picked KC some where around fourth overall in the preseason. As it stands today, KC is three points behind the No. 4 team in the league in points (Real Salt Lake) with two games in hand on them. Now you apparently made the point in pre-season that you didn’t think KC was much better than San Jose. KC is SEVEN points better than San Jose. So how exactly am I even losing that argument?

    As for the rest of what you just wrote, none of it makes a bit of sense.

    You wrote: “You just said you don’t have a problem admitting when you are wrong yet you make my comment seem like it’s offensive.” Your comment, the one tying my KC prediction to my San Jose prediction, just made no sense to me. You wrote:

    “You were wrong on K.C. because you assumed that unproven players would be good, but for some reason you make the opposite assumption about San Jose.”

    To which I wrote:

    “Aristotle, I’m really trying to grasp your argument. First off, Kansas City isn’t in a playoff spot, so how does comparing them to San Jose prove anything exactly?”

    I then go on to make what I think is a pretty clear case for why San Jose is finished. I really don’t get how, at that point, you took my comment to be some sort of attack.

  18. Ossington Mental Youth –

    I now know why it says “mental” in your name. All of those players you mentioned are garbage players who play on low-end crap teams. And none of them have ever played at the highest level – the World Cup

    And your smoking some major drugs if you think Canadians will ever be counted as domestics in MLS.

  19. Michael F: “Now, how can the NYRB get McBride?”

    it cant… simple as that…

    now you can offer TFC a good deal for the allocation slot…. but that doesnt mean you get BMB…. he’s pointed out that he wants to play in chicago… he doesnt HAVE to play in the MLS… his brother has stated that if he isnt signed by chicago he’s retiring…. and at that point i wouldnt be surprised if he gets a job in the Fire organization…

  20. Back to Guzan’s age. If he turns 24 in September (we are assuming that is 2008 since it is future tense) then he WAS 23 on January 1 of this year (2008).

  21. Ives:

    I know I said my previous post was going to be my last on the subject but since you are asking me questions it’s hard not to respond one more time to answer them. I assure you this is the last post by me. I know your rules and respect that it is your blog. Actually, this will probably be my last post on your blog period since you feel I resort to comments instead of debate, whatever that means. It’s no big deal. No hard feelings.

    Your “debate” as you call it, is not an honest debate. A lot of the things you have said about me are projection on your part. You are the one who seems to get frazzled. The great Claudio Reyna debate is just one of many examples of this. It’s interesting the way you keep harping on the comment I made that you say I expected you to remember from the beginning of the season, when in fact I just told you in my last post that is not the case. Keep repeating it, it won’t make it anymore true. I couldn’t tell you whether or not you would remember the debate about K.C. and S.J. in your early season predictions for how teams would fare this year, but I think you are being dishonest if you are claiming you don’t remember your prediction as K.C. being one of the top teams. That was my point in comparing K.C. with S.J. If you picked K.C. as a top team and K.C. is not that much better than S.J., obviously K.C. wouldn’t be faring too much better than S.J. who you are saying is finished already. Then for some reason you made a ridiculous comment about how I then talked about something else and was just trying to point out that you were wrong. So what? You just said you don’t have a problem admitting when you are wrong yet you make my comment seem like it’s offensive. Your sarcastic “but I’ll apologize for thinking we could tangle a little in a debate” comment was also typical of you and is a clear demonstration of your insincerity. You don’t debate, you just act like people are attacking you and pretend you are some kind of victim of some awful comments. This whole thing is absurd. If you were a good sport you probably would have just said something to the effect that “yeah, that K.C. prediction isn’t looking to good right now, but I still think they will do a lot better than S.J.”, and that could have been the end of it. But no, you have to act like I’m wrong to even mention K.C. and try to discredit me. Sad. I bear you no ill will and wish you the best of luck.

  22. Aristotle, I’m not trying to have a beef with you, I just really didn’t get where you were coming from with your original comment in this section. I read it, re-read, and just didn’t get how it made any sense.

    Now here’s a question. Why is it that I can’t get into a debate with people without being accused of being sensitive or insecure? Can’t I defend my points and and question other people’s comments and opinions? Everybody does it so why can’t I?

    I think some people get a little too frazzled when I come at them in discussions so I generally stay away from that, but since you’re a regular, and I know you love expressing your opinion, I figured you would debate me and not resort to the comments you wound up making. I thought you would clarify your initial point but you didn’t get any closer to making that original point. Maybe we should ask other readers to read your comments and see if they can make sense of what you were trying to say because I know I couldn’t.

    And I never have a problem admitting when I’m wrong. I have opinions and they’re not always going to be right, but you must admit that you bringing up a conversation we had in the pre-season out of the blue and expecting me to recall that is a bit of a stretch.

    Like I said, I know you’re a regular and I appreciate your support and respect your opinions, but I’ll apologize for thinking we could tangle a little in a debate.

  23. despite Goff reporting that Mcbride to Chicago is a done deal (most speculation being that Mapp is gone since they are on the verge of signing the kid from…Guatemala or Costa Rica (blanking on which country right now, who can play LM or RM with equal facility)

    If it is indeed dead, it will be a good thing as it will force the league to think LOOONG and hard about the arcane allocation rule especially where it concerns returning national team members.

    I’m not sure how trading the allocation for $100K of the allocation money Chicago got from the JCO deal would ‘weaken’ TFC. $100K can buy a team an Emilio or another young striker from South America. I guess they aren’t confident in their scouting, their prerogative.

    It sucks for the league but I have no desire for the Fire to get gutted for a player who will be here for 1.5 years an miss time for the Olympics as well.

    P.S. I pray Chicago sent a fax that simply had ‘hahahahaha’ on it when TFC asked for Rolfe. Trading him would be absurd and WAY over value for McBride.

  24. Ives:

    This will be the last post by me on this. You can have the last word. I must say for someone who is supposed to be a respected sportswriter you are extremely oversensitive and insecure. It doesn’t seem like anyone can call you on being wrong about anything without you defending yourself with nonsense and acting like you are being attacked. Are you never wrong? Is that your point? It’s no wonder the blog appears to be shrinking so much.

    I didn’t expect you to remember the discussion at the beginning of the season. You didn’t need that information to understand what I was saying, but typically you tried to make it seem that was the case. Your pretty good at creating stupid points and then dishonestly attributing them to people your arguing with. I guess by now I should have known better than to think you can except any kind of criticism without reacting like a petulant child.

    Even if what you said about me making this post just to point out you were wrong about K.C. was correct, so what? I made a prediction at the beginning of the season about K.C. not being anywhere near that good and I was clobbered by a lot of posters. I’m not allowed to point out now that K.C. never did achieve anywhere near what you predicted? Despite what you say I don’t operate that way. I didn’t throw a hissy fit because nearly everyone disagreed with me. It’s a sports blog, isn’t that what it’s all about? You seem to feel way too much pressure to be right all of the time. I’ve been wrong on predictions just like anyone else and I’ve been a good sport about it and even posted making fun of myself for being off the mark. I’m not trying to attack you or make you look bad. I’ve seen plenty of posts that really do that and you certainly are wrong often enough for me to do that easily, but I haven’t. I think I’ve directed posts at you stating that I disagree with you a total of two times out of all the times I’ve posted here, and I have posted here for quite a while. I guess I just shouldn’t use your name or disagree with you personally.

  25. @eric

    “Adding talent around the league, raising the level of play, that benefits all.”


    And that, in a roundabout way, is the point of allocation. What you are talking about isn’t even distribution though, you’re talking about letting international transfers sign wherever they want.

    Suppose McBride wanted to sign with Los Angeles instead? Is it right for the league to rewrite the rules to allow LA to have Beckham, Donovan, and McBride? Simply because he is a good American talent?

    Suppose every American player currently playing in La Liga, or EPL, or Serie A, or Bundesliga decided to come back and play for L.A.? Should we facilitate that? How is that good for the league as a whole? Where is the line drawn?

    If MLS is just supposed to be an American football showcase, then take “ML” out of the acronym, add an A, and call it “American Soccer”. Because that isn’t a “major league” in the slightest.

    As I said before, the point of allocation is to give new or struggling teams another bargaining chip to improve their fortunes – which is absolutely imperative in a young league like MLS, with many young clubs in new markets.

    Allocation is hugely flawed system, but blaming Toronto FC for playing by the rules and not “thinking of the league” is ridiculous. Any other American team would do the exact same thing, and saying this is why you were hesitant about allowing a Canadian team is ignorant.

    Teams are out to do what is best for the team. No club would give away something for nothing.

    Lastly, I’d like to point out that Toronto FC has been a great success story for MLS to date. The kind of fan enthusiasm and support TFC has, has become the envy of many other sides. And I personally look forward to Montreal and Vancouver inevitably getting MLS clubs in the future.

  26. Aristotle, so I was supposed to remember a point you made before the season? Really? And why would I remember that exactly?

    You started off with “I think your wrong about writing off San Jose so quickly” but then your whole next point had nothing to do with that at all really. To me it seems like you brought this whole thing up for the simple chance to point out that I was “wrong” and you were “right” about KC.

    KC has struggled, and had a long winless streak, and still sits just a point out of the last playoff spot. San Jose has been awful for most of the season and sits seven points behind the entire rest of the league (except for FC Dallas). Not really sure how you think I’m wrong for writing them off. Are there some players coming off injury who I have forgotten about? Is their schedule suddenly really soft in the second half? (Actually, their sked the rest of the way is very tough.)

    Back to your original point, you can go ahead and disagree with me about writing off San Jose, just make an argument that actually relates to why you think that is rather than making an argument that San Jose is arguably better than ONE team that isn’t even in the playoffs right now.

    Is it too soon to say they have no chance? Sure, mathematically they are alive, but the circumstances surrounding what it would take for San Jose to come back are essentially insurmountable for a team that has only added a slightly above average forward in Scott Sealy and a veteran European second division attacking player.

    You say San Jose “can” catch Dallas, KC, Red Bulls and Colorado. I say they won’t. We can bet right now any amount you want that San Jose won’t catch more than three teams in the entire league. Let’s make a friendly wager, what do you say?

  27. Mark-

    Love when nationalism rears is ugly head.

    Yes, canadian players are crap, godforbid any one would want the likes of DeGuzman, or Stalteri or even DeRo. Pure garbage the lot of em. Or any of those Canadian players playing for other national teams like Hargraves or DeGuzman 2. Who would want the likes of Will Johnson (chicago?) or any of those players that play for the same canadian team that has given you a run for the money on more then one occasion. The Canadian team that barely lost 3-2 to Brazil. Christ those Canadians are terrible.

    Fact of the matter is none of those guys are coming back to Canada/MLS to play, let alone to play for TFC for a looooooong time. By then im sure that allocation will have been changed/dropped (as it should be) or TFC (or any other canadian teams, godwilling there is at least 1 more) would prob put a discovery claim on them. Im willing to bet that the majority of teams wouldnt care less about a canadian player returning and they would fly under the radar (with exception to Yallop and fair enough, youve got your national team favorites, we have ours).

    Couldnt one argue that IF Canadian national team players are treated the same as American national team players, then shouldnt Canadian players count as domestic players on American teams and American players count as domestic players on Canadian teams?

    Still too many loopholes in all the rules of this league, obviously its going to change (especially with the CBA coming up) but its going to take time and garbage like thsi will happen.

    That being said, i hope TFC walks away happy from this.

  28. The McBride situation illustrates one of the reasons I wasn’t sure about letting Toronto into the league. I’m a Revs fan but I’d love to see McBride back even if it was with the Crew or the Fire. Why? Because it’s good for American soccer. And that’s what MLS was supposed to be about. Good things in one place (stadium, players, fans, sponsors) meant the league as a whole was stronger and that was good for everyone. Getting Landon back in MLS from limbo in Germany, or getting Freddy to stay here for a few years and all the attention from that, those helped their teams but added to the whole project. I can understand why TFC doesn’t want to help a rival, but this is when the Single Entity league needs to step in and facilitate something. Adding talent around the league, raising the level of play, that benefits all.

  29. TFC is doing the right thing by playing hard ball. Its about time Chicago got a taste of their own medicine.

    Do they plan to play Conde or Marmol anytime this year? Waa waa waa, I’m crying for you Chicago…

  30. Now that TFC is in the league, why aren’t Canadian national teamers subjected to the allocation process? Maybe that is something that will be addressed in the off-season.


    Because Canadian players are $hit and nobody wants them

  31. @scott

    “This is f’ing ridiculous. Here’s a player with no contract to any MLS team who wants to play in MLS and he can’t. He doesn’t have a contract with any team and still can’t play even though he wants to?? If TFC doesn’t sign McBride then the next team in line should get a chance and so on, if we really need to have this rule.”


    Toronto has first dibs because they were the worst team in the league last year (by FAR). Now suppose they use their allocation to sign a player, and he refuses, not wanting to play for a crummy side. Toronto FC should be forced to simply let their rights go, because they can’t sign him? That negates the point of the rule.

    The rule is in place so that if a player refuses to sign, and hence, better the struggling side, they can trade away the rights for something or someone else. The idea is to have any influx of quality international talent raise all boats equally, because THAT helps the league in the long run.

    Maybe when MLS is on-par with La Liga and Premier League, they can relax the rules to be more like the European leagues, but at this point, such rules will absolutely kill Major League Soccer’s sustained growth, as rich teams in desireable locations like Los Angeles buy up the best talent, effectively becoming the New York Yankees of the MLS, and small markets like Kansas City go under.


Leave a Reply to PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo Cancel reply