Top Stories

MLS Ticker: Fire declines Castillo option, McDonald appeal denied and more


Photo by

Nery Castillo is officially the latest Designated Player bust.

The Chicago Fire declined its option to maintain the Mexican striker on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk ahead of Friday's deadline, and his stint in Major League Soccer is over.

Castillo joined the Fire as a DP last July but struggled to find his way with the club and didn't figure into a single goal in his eight appearances. The Fire loaned him to Greek club Aris FC in the winter and will not give him the chance to atone for his poor showing by relinquishing his rights back to his Ukranian parent club.

The Fire has revamped its forward corps by adding Diego Chaves, Gaston Puerari, Dominic Oduro, Gabriel Ferrari, Orr Barouch, Davis Paul and Cristian Nazarit since the end of last season.

Here are a couple of more items from around MLS:


San Jose Earthquakes centerback Brandon McDonald had his red-card appeal denied, the club confirmed via its official Twitter feed.

McDonald was shown red against the Columbus Crew over the weekend for elbowing Crew striker Tommy Heinemann in the midsection during a corner kick in San Jose's 3-0 victory.

Video of the foul can be seen here.

With the league denying McDonald's appeal, he'll serve an automatic one-game suspension this Saturday, when the Earthquakes host the New England Revolution.


Philadelphia Union Homegrown Player Zach Pfeffer had his appendix removed on Monday.

The 16-year-old midfielder was forced to miss the Union's reserve game against D.C. United and will be sidelined for at least the next two weeks, according to the club's Web site.

The injury certainly won't help his chances of being included on the final roster for the United States Under-17 World Cup team. While he wasn't part of the U-17 team that competed at February's CONCACAF championships, Pfeffer was included on a team that competed at a tournament in France last month.


How will you remember the Castillo-MLS era? Do you think McDonald's foul was red-worthy? Expecting big things from Pfeffer down the line?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Completely ridiculous red card on BMac. That was a foul, maybe even a yellow, but a straight red is utterly unwarranted, especially considering how he’s being bear hugged at the time, and how hard he actually hit him. The only reason that was even a card at all was because Heineman was giving an Oscar-grade acting performance. Complete nonsense.

  2. Yes, tripping over their egos caused Zakuani to break his leg, O’Brien White to have a blood clot, Evans to have a groin strain, Mauro to have a hamstring strain, Friberg to have ankle issues, and Montero to have a fractured wrist. Those blasted egos.

  3. i get that they didn’t reverse the call because you can maybe see his elbow move a little bit and that means its not 100% clear the ref was wrong (only 95%).

    What I don’t get is why they can’t add a suspension for Heinemann because you can 100% see that McDonald was nowhere near his neck which he was clutching like a mule kicked it

  4. lets see.

    1. mexican
    2. large mexican population in chicago
    3. chicago had just lost a mexican superstar
    4. chicago needed to sell tickets and jerseys.
    5. IF castillo ever reverted back to his old form it would have been a massive coup for the fire.

    need more?

  5. This sounds EXACTLY like some of the comments I heard when Adu was in MLS….about his teammates weren’t skilled enough to work with him and once he was surrounded by talent in Europe, he’d take off and dominate matches.

    I think Castillo was worth a gamble. The reality is that young attacking talent who have had some success professionally (even if it’s then followed by some down years) are expensive and rare. That’s why EJ keeps getting opportunities overseas. If you’re going to sign foreign players for big bucks you have to recognize upfront that some aren’t going to work out. Now….for Chicago’s chagrin, they’ve got a whole class of foreign signings that were mostly wastage (with Castillo only being the most prominent of the bunch).

    But I’d much rather spend money to speculate on a Castillo than, say, an Omar Bravo. And I say that expecting with the expectation the Bravo would be more likely to succeed in MLS (before he was signed I expected that) than Castillo. But younger players with high upsides have a greater likelihood of boosting the visibility and credibility of the league and also can lead to possible transfer fees if they work out.

  6. Eh, I don’t think he had “too much technical skill for the players around him”. That doesn’t seem to bother Beckham or Henry. They’re playing pretty well right now and have much more technical skill than the players around them.

  7. He did better at a higher league (Greece) than Adu at 2nd division in Turkey and all of a sudden there is a big hoopla for him.

  8. Castillo did very well at Aris during his second half loan spell there. Why is that not mentioned here?

    He was their best player. I honestly think he had too much technical skill for the players around him. Players like him will learn to stay away from the non-technical skill lacking leg breaking MLS.

  9. But to answer your question, probably by cutting out an image of a soccer ball and pasting it on my poster of Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait.

  10. “How will you remember the Castillo-MLS era?”

    I think you meant to say “How will you remember the Castillo-MLS error?”

  11. Well yeah, Bmac threw an elbow but at his elbow. Clutching his throat like he’s choking on a piece of turf is the embarrassing part.

  12. So Ives, any news on the rumor of Dempsey heading to PSG? They’re qualified for the CL, so that’s a bonus I’m sure.

  13. Goodbye to the final DLC. signing of 2010 season. One of the most disastrous signing periods in recent memory for the Fire. Literally they all failed.

    My favorite memory for the failed Blanco 2.0 player they called Nery Castillo : Toyota Park front office shooting fireworks off when he came on as a sub. Truly embarrassing on a number of levels.

    Just thankful the pyrotechnics didn’t catch his unibrow on fire.

  14. Why did they bring Castillo here in the first place? Guy hasn’t been good enough to play pro soccer for years. Or does MLS still have an inferiority complex vis-à-vis gigantic global leagues like the Ukrainian first division?

  15. No way dude. There was a second elbow that came from the grassy knoll. McDonald is taking the fall for it, but its a conspiracy. Just watch his throat on the replay…back and to the left, back and to the left.

  16. There’s definitely an Aris-MLS connection, now with Koke making the switch from Aris to MLS this season as well.

  17. McDonald threw an elbow. I don’t even see why he would appeal? No wonder it was denied, it’s pretty blatant.

    Any why would Heinemann be embarrassed. I agree he looks like a goof and he hasn’t been scoring goals, but on this play he has nothing to be embarrassed about.

    McDonald should be red carded and suspended. And he was.


Leave a Comment