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Wednesday Kickoff: Castillo loaned to Aris, Cosmos hire Cantona and more

Nery Castillo 1 ( 

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After parting ways with Freddie Ljungberg earlier in the off-season, it appears the Chicago Fire will begin the 2011 season without either of its 2010 Designated Players.

According to reports in Mexico and Greece, Mexican striker Nery Castillo is set to join Greek club Aris FC on a loan for the rest of the European season.

The Chicago Fire has yet to announce the loan. If Castillo goes on loan, the earliest he would rejoin the Fire would be in July.

With Brian McBride retired, and Collins John having failed to work out, the Fire could be struggling at the forward position in 2011. That may explain why the team stockpiled five forwards in the MLS Draft and Supplemental Draft.

Here are some other stories to get your Wednesday going:


The New York Cosmos marketing push continued on Wednesday with word that the club has hired French striker and Manchester United legend Eric Cantona as the club's Director of Soccer.

The Cosmos recently hired former U.S. national team star Cobi Jones, and have now added Cantona as the club, which doesn't exist in physical form yet, continues to make headlines.


Manchester City and Wolverhampton both scored victories in Tuesday replays to advance in FA Cup action.

Carlos Tevez and Adam Johnson scored goals in Manchester City's 4-2 win against Leicester City while Marcus Hahnemann posted the shutout in Wolves' 5-0 thrashing of Doncaster. In other FA Cup action, Stoke defeated Cardiff, 2-0.


What do you think of these developments? Wondering why the Fire let Castillo go on loan? Think the Cantona hire is just a marketing stunt?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The mere fact that you’re using Castillo as a barometer for skillful & talented players to stay away from MLS is simply amusing.

    I just skimmed the rest of your post after that proclaimation and couldn’t muster the will to respond point for point.

    I will note that, literally, all the examples you gave were of players that were out of form, out of shape or out of the spotlight on a once promising career.

    That certainly has NOTHING to do with their performance (or lack thereof), right?

    A+ on the ol’ insight, Frank.

  2. The Cosmos do exist in physical form but as of now they just have academy soccer teams (the way other MLS clubs do). Before they have a first team, I guess the stadium decision needs to be made and acceptance by MLS as the 20th team (unless they choose to and are able to join FC New York in the USLPro league).

  3. Actually, I did read the Wahl IV and I was distinctly not impressed. This strikes me as a bunch of guys who want to instantly create something like the Real Madrid Galacticos b/c they want to be associated with glitz and glamour and drive in limos and be treated like royalty. At least TB admits that you couldn’t purchase the talent of a Cosmos today (ie: Beckenbauer, Pele, Chinaglia, etc.). But he’s selling “sizzle” and there’s no steak.

    How do you create a Cosmos consistent with that brand with an expansion draft and a salary cap? Furthermore, they’ve got almost no contact with MLS soccer. What the experience with foreign coaches and managers has shown in MLS is that foreign expertise doesn’t automatically translate into success. Hans Backe is one of the rarest of exceptions…and I suspect that’s b/c he’s the anti-glamour and glitz example. He was all about learning to adapt to the talent you had (rather than going out and just buying better players), competing with less quality players, being a smart judge of value, being tactically astute.

    You know who would be a great choice to coach the new Cosmos as currently envisioned? Ruud Gullit–he’d fit in perfectly with his commitment to “sexy football” and his rep and stylish demeanor–yep, he’s got Cosmos stamped all over him.

  4. I think they’re trying to get rid of Castillo, didn’t find a good offer so instead they went with a loan. If he shows well, that might increase interest in him come August.

  5. shaktar still owns Nery Castillo, it is up to them to determine where he will play. The Fire have wiped the slate clean with him and have no contractual obligations moving forward.

    if the Fire wanted him back they would have needed to work a deal with Shaktar, they never owned him outright.

    (SBI-This is pretty inaccurate. Chicago has an option on Castillo for 2011, so the slate is not wiped clean. The Fire can part ways at this point, but they can also bring him back if they choose to.)

  6. The FO have no direction. They did a cleaning a couple of months ago. Now they have new people in who have no idea what the club history is or what it stands for. Right now the president did an interview which only brought up more concerns about the direction of this club.

    Yet still, I have a positive outlook about this. There is one simple thing they have yet to do that’s starring them right in the face. Once they address it they will stop looking like a minor league team.

  7. Fire pushed a loan to get Castillo back in form. Guy hasnt really played much in near 2-3 years.

    Ultimately it takes $$ off the Fire and either Castillo comes back all the better or just the same. In the end he’ll either come in ready to play or he’ll come back but with half the salary (perhaps both).

  8. marquez had a monster start for Red bulls. He solidified the midfield and played quite well. Henry was hurt/out of shape the entire season so there’s not much to judge. Ljundberg was clearly ready to leave and had become disinterested. His first year in the league he did quite well. Geovanni also had a nice start, but all these guys came in mid season and out of shape. The point your trying to make doesnt exist.

  9. Garber has been saying for what, a year, that he wants a second NY team as the 20th franchise.

    Connect the dots people, it’s really in plain sight.

    And what the Cosmo’s are doing is fantastic. Their FO and forming coaching staff ALL have great soccer minds; From on the field to off the field.

  10. I still think Castillo has way more talent than any of the crap forwards coming into the Fire. This is a lesson to be learned for talented skillful players to stay away from MLS. The overall quality is crap and is where skillful players (except Donovan of course) come to die. Same goes for Lundjburg, Marquez, Henry, and Geovanni. What have they done? Castillo was a star for Olyampacos before his stupid move to Shaktar and I believe he will pick up his game there. It was foolish to expect anything from Castillo in his first 6 months since he had not played for the last two years.

  11. Cantona, Jones, Pele, et al. are simply advertising gimmicks to keep Cosmos 2.0 in the news. My perception is that these new guys have adopted their own version of the “glitz and glamor” approach of the old Cosmos. And that is not likely to be effective in MLS.

    Ives (or anybody else out there): Even though they no longer have territorial rights that would allow them to block another NY-area franchise, wouldn’t Garber have to listen to the views of RBNY about such a move? What does RBNY think about all this talk of another local team, whether it’s the Cosmos or somebody else?

  12. Note that, a) the Cosmos are not even a real professional team and have not fielded even a practice team for Cantona to even so much as theoretically “direct,” and b) this is a position Cantona has never held before–though, I do think he managed a beach soccer team once–which tells you exactly how this revamped Cosmos operate.

  13. To attract moneymen might be a possibility…bigger picture, he is probably there to give some recognition to the future franchise…not only here in the states however, from abroad as well. At one point Cosmos was a global brand and they are attempting to revive it along those lines. Now whether it is going to give the desired results, I’m not so sure. One positive thing about the hiring is that Cantona is a legend and with that comes respect and credibility as well as great relationships in the footballing world. Securing big names for these friendlies will be difficult enough however, by attaching Cantona to the franchise it greases the skids.

  14. Goodbye Castillo.

    May you not find your way back to the club with your bloated belly and bloated contract.

    Fire have zero strikers that we can put an ounce of faith in. Hopefully that changes in the coming weeks…

  15. As Aaron said,

    Anyone who hasn’t read the interview by Granth Wahl needs to give themselves 5 minutes to do so.

    After which, you’ll see why people are starting to feel they’re “doing things right”.

    The Cantona isn’t even the tip of the iceburg. They’re doing A-Z from the ground up and even as a loyal Chicago fan, you can’t help but be envious of their aspiration, goals & gameplanning.

    Read the Wahl interview.

  16. Oh they do have players… just that they are 10 year olds.

    If they do ever get a team they should be on the right track with youth development. This is just a way to recapture a bit of the old Cosmos (at least off the field)… as there’s an icicle’s chance in hell they can swing those types of name on the field.

  17. Anybody interested in the Cosmos story should check the Wahl interview with Terry Byrne (pretty recent).

    From the sounds of it, they won’t need any help with investment. I would assume that means the Wilpons would be on board though, as they have the cash. They have two academies now, although I’d have to think they’d have to get the LA one approved by MLS or drop it as it encroaches on other’s territory.

  18. I agree but it seemed Ljungberg was more the supposed savior of the season more so than Castillo. It seemed right away we were hearing quotes of, “he’s not in form, give him time”. He hardly got that time to prove himself. It seems harsh to expect for some one to adjust to a new league, country, team, right away after sitting on the bench for a year or so, playing out of position and coming in mid-season and expect them to produce. I’d find it hard for any player to flourish under those conditions.

  19. Nah, I hate them too, because I think it sucks that NY could get a second team. To be fair, though, I don’t like the Timbers because their supporters whined so much about the new logo, and the Timbers haven’t played a match either.

  20. the only people talking about the Cosmos are the Cosmos. as long as they keep hiring well known soccer related people, they’ll keep getting ink, its as simple as that. This whole thing is going in one of two directions: Colossal failure, or massive hit. If they can continue spending money like they are and attract investors, MLS could finally have the NY team they want so badly

  21. I honestly don’t think this was “always a move with the future in mind.” Nery came on at a moment when the Fire were still close to a playoff spot, and he got PT right away. He and Ljungberg were supposed to carry them over the top. It was midsummer, and nobody, certainly not Klopas (who brought Nery in — worked on it for 2 years), was saying wait until next year. This is a flop, another gamble that failed. Collins John was another, McBride was hardly a great move after all and De Los Cobos’ Salvadorans also were abject failures. Ljungberg did not impress until it was too late and didn’t stay either. No way to spin any of this except to say the Fire canned a coach who had them twice in the conference finals, overhauled their roster at great expense and now they are better than only DC and TFC. The question is how long the I-married-well little owner keeps patience with the crew that he has in there now if the Fire get off to a poor start.

  22. I agree. I hope one of the drafted forwards can step up and start. Nyarko is really all Chicago has now. Could bone play as a Withdrawn striker maybe?

  23. Cantona is the kind of name that will help attract investors. Investors can lead to stadium. Stadium will inevitably lead to MLS.

  24. It seems premature. He wasn’t good with Chicago, and no one expected him to be at first. The intention in the beginning was for him to get playing time and get back to form. The fact that he wasn’t even playing his natural postion in the first place probably has something to do with with his lack of success. It seems like a waste of a move if the fire are ready to unload this quickly. This was always a move with the future in mind.

  25. Yeah, what a waste of time Castillo was. Very happy to see him out of Chicago… Cannot wait to see all the headlines in Greece saying “give him time to regain his fitness” YEAH, pretty sure he has more problems than that.

  26. I assumed it was a loan to sell deal. Castillo was not much of a boost to Chicago last year and I figure they’re looking to get rid of his contract.

  27. I think Castillo’s contract only ran through July with the Fire, so if this loan goes through, it’s probably the last MLS will see of him. And good riddance!!

  28. Cantona should stick to acting (and telling the French public to withdraw all their money from the banks…).

    All of this — stockpiling of Pele, Cantona, etc etc — is weird. What in the world is Cantona going to do as Director of Soccer (for a team that doesn’t have an actual soccer team)? Seems like mere publicity. Which is good in the short run, but eventually — if they win the rights to a team — they’ll have to actually wheel and deal in the arcane world of MLS in order to put out a competitive team.

    They can have all the billboards, British chairmen, and “Manchester United legends” that they want, but ultimately that stuff has nothing to do with MLS.

  29. they could have done the same thing but may have chosen not to because this takes half his sallary off the books for this year. The Fire may think that is better for their salary cap then actually having him here and playing? this is just a guess though.

  30. When are MLS clubs gonna realize that their players ought to make MLS a priority? This is stupid. Donovan’s loan only went into March, why couldn’t they have done the same here?


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