BY CALEB SONNELAND
MLS officials simply cannot escape the spotlight.
New York Red Bulls General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler is the most recent addition to a growing number of people voicing their concern over the level of officiating in the MLS.
Soler released a statement Monday regarding the level of officiating in the club's last match against Portland, a level he believes to be "unacceptable". In that same match, Portland head coach John Spencer was forced to watch from the sidelines after being reprimanded for his own criticism of MLS officials.
The statement was prompted by the controversial dismissal of Thierry Henry and the heavily lopsided statistic of "fouls committed" in the match on Sunday evening (NYRB 25 – 5 Timbers).
Here are some other stories to keep your Monday rolling:
ROSSI MAY STAY AT VILLAREAL
American-born winger/forward Giuseppe Rossi could remain at Villareal next season as a potential transfer to Barcelona seems to have stalled after the Catalans refused to meet Villareal's valuation of Rossi.
With Barcelona's impending capture of Alexis Sanchez from Udinese, Rossi's own transfer has now been cast into doubt.
Federico Pastorello, Rossi's agent, says that the player wanted the move to Barca, but the move never materialized and now refuses to rule out another year at Villareal.
If Rossi stays, it may affect the playing time of the USMNT's Jozy Altidore, who has struggled to make much of an impact at the La Liga club. Altidore has been loaned out three times in as many seasons to Xerez in Spain's second division, Hull City (then in the Premier League) and most recently Bursaspor of the Turkish Süper Lig.
BALLACK OFFERED ANOTHER CHANCE AT FAREWELL MATCH
Michael Ballack, the midfield talisman for the German National Team has been extended another offer to end his International career with a farewell game, but the long-time German captain is having none of it.
After having been told that he no longer features in the plans of current manager Joachim Low, Ballack has been very vocal about his frustration with having been forced into retirement at age 34.
The former Bayern Munich and Chelsea player has even labelled the most recent attempt at a final game "a farce" (August 10th v Brazil).
However, Ballack insists that even before Low told him that his International career was finished, he had decided to quit.
MADRID CONTINUE TO PURSUE NEYMAR
Teenage prodigy Neymar has long been the subject of Real Madrid's admiration, and the La Liga giants have reportedly upped their interest in the Brazilian striker, says Santos president Luis Alfaro Ribeiro.
Neymar has been linked with a host of clubs as his reputation continues to climb, but Ribeiro insists that Madrid is not the only club seriously interested in securing the 19-year-old's services with Chelsea and Manchester City said to be looking.
Ribeiro holds out hope that Neymar will stay at Santos, especially if it wins the Copa Libertadores Final against Uruguayan outfit C.A. Peñarol. The two clubs played out a 0-0 draw in the first leg, and Santos will play host to Peñarol this Wednesday to settle the tie. Ribeiro stated that interested clubs will have permission to talk to the player then.
Neymar himself has decided not to comment on the transfer speculation, opting to focus on the Copa Libertadores Final.
RAPIDS TO PUT ON WHITE HOUSE CLINIC
President Obama will welcome the MLS Champions to Washington D.C. on Monday the 27th to honor the team with a ceremony, a tradition he has begun recently.
The Rapids will also put on a clinic for the families of the military on the South Lawn as a part of its visit to the nation's capital.
Did Henry deserve his red? Where do you see the future of Rossi? Is Ballack being reasonable with his refusal to play a farewell match?
Share your thoughts below