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The MLS Grapevine: Notes on Van Den Bergh, White and Wallace

DaveVanDenBergh2 (AP) 

Good evening folks. If you are like me (and are digging out of an East Coast snow storm) you might be sitting at home after some snow shoveling wishing there was some MLS news to read. While it is a slow time of year, with plenty of team officials (and journalists) going in vacation, there is always news to be found and nuggets of info to pass along.

Here are some tidbits to help kick off your weekend:

Interesting info in Van Den Bergh contract talks

New York Red Bulls fans are waiting patiently and anxiously to find out if the club will re-sign Dutch winger Dave Van Den Bergh and one of the more perplexing developments surrounding those contract talks has been the word that the Red Bulls want Van Den Bergh to take a paycut. That is something that doesn't make much sense for a player who was arguably the team's most consistent and at the very least its second most valuable player in 2008.

Some new information may shed some light into the Red Bulls' logic. According to mulitple sources with knowledge of the trade that brought Van Den Bergh to the Red Bulls from the Kansas City Wizards, the Wizards paid as much as half of Van Den Bergh's salary in 2008, meaning Van Den Bergh only cost the Red Bulls between $120K and $135K against their salary cap last season.

With Van Den Bergh seeking a similar salary to the one he earned in 2008, the Red Bulls would have to double Van Den Bergh's salary cap hit if they oblige, which is why the sides are still negotiating. Van Den Bergh has already stated that he is ready to return to Europe to play if he can't either find a deal with the Red Bulls or with another MLS team.

No MLS offer for O'Brian White

When the 2007 college season ended there was a general consensus that UConn striker O'Brian White would be a first-round pick if he came out. The 2007 Hermann Award winner chose to stay in school another season and the decision has resulted in a major injury and uncertainty about his future in MLS.

White suffered a torn ACL in October and is still on the road to recovery, but ev

"We have not been approached about a contract yet," said Patrick McCabe, White's agent. "It doesn't make a lot of sense for the best player in the draft to not even have an offer yet."

Concerns about the status of White's knee could be delaying an MLS offer, but McCabe insists that White will be ready for the 2009 season.

"He is fine and he will be fine," McCabe said. "He has options overseas and will pursue them but you would think a player with his pedigree would have an offer by now."

A Toronto native, White figured to be one of Toronto FC's three first-round draft picks next month, but his uncertain contract status has that in doubt. The MLS Draft is set for Jan. 15 in St. Louis.

Odds & Ends

Shortly after word came out that Omar Gonzalez and Jeremy Hall would be turning pro, a report emerged stating that Maryland fullback Rodney Wallace will also be turning pro. While there are still no reports on what exactly Wallace is planning to do, sources tell SBI that Wallace is very high on Major League Soccer's list of Generation adidas candidates and the belief is that Wallace would be a very high draft pick if he signed with MLS. …Kansas City midfielder Roger Espinoza has been called up by the Honduran national team for a training camp ahead of the team's participation in the UNCAF Nation's Cup. Espinoza, who has yet to earn a cap for Honduras, is joined in camp by fellow MLS players Mauricio Castro (New England), Amado Guevara (Toronto FC) and Ivan Guerrero (D.C. United). … In other Wizards news, retired KC midfielder Kerry Zavagnin has joined the Kansas City coaching staff as an assistant for the 2009 season. Zavagnin retired after the 2008 season and ended his career as the KC career leader in games and minutes played.


  1. Being the top scorer at Rio Tinto, RSL would be wise to pick up someone who can score there.

    Posted by: Jk3 | December 20, 2008 at 12:09 AM


  2. Thanks, Ives. I’ve been crumb-diving for weeks for any news on VDB, and this post is much appreciated. KC’s contribution (what a steal!) makes sense of a completely puzzling hesitation on NYRB’s part.

    In short, pay the man! He’s our second best player by a long shot and deserves to be rewarded for last year’s true grit effort. If we don’t re-sign him, another MLS club will, and then we’ll be very sad and lose. (That logic should spook Agoos into capitulating.)

    Amit, thanks for Pietrafoulo! We have a new nickname for the overpaid clod.

  3. I’m not a RBNY fan, and Van Den Bergh is SO worth having on your team at that price. It’s tough to have 2 DP’s and high price guys, but weren’t the Gals paying traffic-cone extraordinaire Xavier Abel over $200k?

    I can’t believe how dumb the MLS contract situations are. If TFC wants to draft White, then he should be in the league, period.

    I’m pumped about Wallace, I was hoping Ives was talking about Rodney Wallace from Maryland. I said it here before and I’ll say it again, he and Hall are the best prospects on the Terps, just classy, classy players.

  4. Why should good money be spent on the best player for Redbull last year (my opinion) or one of the best talents coming out of college? Instead lets waste money on guys coming out of south america or washed up guys from europe who can’t cut it.

    If MLS loses out on white and RB on VDB it will be 2 black eyes for soccer in the states for the coming season.

    I don’t mind taking chances on the guys from SA or europe, but the cap hit it too great and a lot good MLS players end up getting screwed.

  5. Hit post instead of preview…sorry for all the typos…here is the edited version:

    Amit said it best:

    “Dave Van den Bergh deserves to get paid because of last year. He also deserves to make more than Juan Pietrafoulo.”

    I would go out of my way to keep VDB if I were RBNY… he was hands down the team’s 2nd best player… If they are worried about the cap…ditch P-vallo…

  6. Amit siad it best:

    “Dave Van den Bergh deserves to get paid because of last year. He also deserves to make more than Juan Pietrafoulo.”

    I would go out of my way to keep VDB if I were RBNY… he was hands down the team’s most 2nd best player… If they are wooried about the cap…ditch P-vallo…

  7. I too think it would be terrible not to re-sign Van den Bergh. He’s worth the $275k. I can count on 1 hand last year the number of games he didn’t show for or played mediocre soccer or had no impact. Arguably he had a better season than Angel (who was absolutely terrific).

    I suspect that re-signing Van den Bergh comes down to the 2nd DP. A team with 2 DP players simply can’t afford a bunch of guys making over $200k. So that means Rojas, etc. (all the players making more than $120k) become unaffordable. The classic example is the LAG last year where their two GKs were a guy who I believe was cap exempt and a USL signee.

  8. the Red Bulls are investing millions in a new stadium; they’d better be willing to pay for quality players to fill it. Don’t nickel and dime VDB. and don’t be foolish either–i bet many teams in europe would pay for him (even in MLS, probably).

  9. Considering VDB only moved here because he has an american wife we are lucky to have a verteran of the dutch league who was very successful for many teams. He also dosnt even count as a SI because he has a green card so thats even a better deal. he would be worth the 275,000 it would take to keep dvb worth to keep him which is proabably alot less tham he would make in holland. he is exactly the type of player the mls wants expierenced internationals who are proven and a lot to the league and he is even taking a pay cut. i meam the guy is the best non dp player you could ask for.

  10. Espinoza is a good kid and a quality player, maybe a little streaky, but he will be a good pro. Training with players like Suazo and Palacios won’t hurt either.

    It’s good to see him get a bit of recognition. I know it’s a dream of his to get called by the country of his birth.

  11. If JVB ends up leaving MLS should ask itself this question:

    What was worse? 1) Actually giving into a players contract demands (oractually letting him be a free agent) 2) losing a PROVEN player in MLS who will be replaced by some unknown guy for the same salary who probably stands a 75% chance of not being as good.

    Regardless if MLS doesn’t want to compete with itself, it still has to compete with the rest of the world. Change these stupid rules already.

  12. I’ve posted it before in this column and I’d say it again: NYRB would be crazy NOT to re- sign Van den Bergh. He not only gives credibility to NYRB but to MLS as well. How often do you get a Dutch international still playing at a high level (With all due respect, Ronald Waterreus and Victor Sikora do not count here)? If NYRB does not re-sign him, LA Galaxy should get him (although there might be conflict with Beckham since they have the same style of play assuming Becks comes back from his stint with AC Milan). Any which way it ends up, this is a call to ALL MLS teams to try not to let VDB leave for Europe if NYRB is dumb enough to let him go.

  13. I really miss MLS too … The news etc. If NYRB and VDB don’t reach an agreement,
    he may end up in LA galaxy?
    I have a feeling… Or Dallas

  14. Those are interesting tidbits. I can’t believe that KC was paying half of VDB’s salary; that clearly makes the trade the best in the NY franchise’s history. Red Bulls cannot expect VDB to take a salary cut.

    I also can’t believe that O’Brian White has not received a contract offer; does he half to have a physical?

    I also didn’t know that Zavagnin had retired; good luck to him.


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