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What should Vancouver do with Salgado?

Salgado (Getty Images)

Omar Salgado is stuck.

There's no other way to describe the situation in which the first overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft currently finds himself. 

After the Vancouver Whitecaps acquired all sorts of attacking talent during the offseason to add to an already full stable — bringing in Sebastien Le Toux, drafting Darren Mattocks and signing NASL golden boot winner Etienne Barbara — it is no wonder that 18-year-old Salgado has yet to see the field this season. But aside from trotting him out for a 90-minute reserve league performance last week, the club does not seem to be making a whole lot of effort to get him consistent playing time. 

Sources told Fox Soccer that Vancouver has turned away multiple trade offers within MLS while also turning down a loan opportunity in Europe for Salgado, whose Spanish passport makes him more attractive to clubs overseas. Sources also said that the Whitecaps have turned down potential loan moves to NASL clubs. As a result, Salgado is one of a number of U.S. youth internationals left in club purgatory, a topic that U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann touched on during his talk with the media on Wednesday.

"We need to find ways to get our 18-to-22-year-olds, 23-year-olds more playing time and maybe here and there more help," Klinsmann said. "On the other side, they also need to realize that they have to fight their way through the system. They have to find a way to break into the team."

For Salgado, who is still eligible for the 2013 U-20 World Cup even after competing in the 2011 cycle, the mountain to climb with the Whitecaps is quite steep. Breaking through on a club that starts Eric Hassli, Camilo and Le Toux and has all of that depth behind them is a brutal challenge, especially for the rather untested Salgado, who has 14 MLS games, five starts and one goal to his name.

If Vancouver won't trade or transfer him and is not willing to take the steps to accelerate his growth with a loan, then it appears that all of Salgado's talent and potential will toil on the bench along with him, restricting his chance to grow and contribute for both club and country in the near future. 


How should Vancouver handle Salgado? Should they remain patient and bring him along on the reserve team? Do they have an obligation to loan him out if he won't get minutes with the first team? What's your take on the situation?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Well Seattle would still be wrong.

    Try fielding two 18-player teams each week when there are 30 paid roster slots eligible for the senior team.

    If players are paid by the lower division teams, they won’t be eligible to provide depth for the senior squad, which is in MLS.

    Academy players can’t be expected to fill out a reserve team roster for a full season when they have things like high school to deal with.

    Let’s put it this way. German teams, between Their first and second squads, have 65+ players.

    MLS can’t compete with those numbers, yet.

  2. Are you serious guy? Here is what the regulations state for NCAA the super league of the world of the sport “You are allowed unlimited subs, but a player who leaves the game can only return once. (Cannot re-enter in the 1st half.)” and then for example the elite world power of Akron’s schedule to use as an example started in August and ended in November…count them guy…freaking count them…do a simple google instead of looking like a genius there guy…

  3. hey, you’re right man, add them too. You can add Seattle in there as well

    all MLS clubs are not poorly managed evidently

  4. stupid decisions by Vancouver and they clearly overvalue him but not much USSF or Salgado can do about it… it’s a free market and “buyer beware” just like Agbossomonde’s stupid decision to sign with traffic… taking money over guaranteed first team minutes when you are young is silly. development is much more important than the money you make in your first contract. salgado should have gone to college and boss should have gone to MLS.

  5. college soccer has its flaws but it would be better than what Salgado is dealing with right now

    what a waste and a poor decision by salgado… he would have done much better to go to Akron or the ACC big names or UCLA

  6. Dallas coach just said how ridiculous Vancouver was when trying to do a trade…..Vancouver front office are nuggets

  7. The risk with a downward North American loan is he either fails to impress or gets hurt and the meal ticket is worthless then.

    And I wonder if people remember he was in minor league Vancouver before he was drafted there, between the Chivas fallout and the MLS draft the following year. So I’m not sure I’d ascribe a minor league stint with magical powers. Been there done that bought the tee shirt.

  8. I agree. But he clearly has fans on here who think he should be played just because they see something in him.

    Then again, I have my favorite prospects in the Dynamo system that I wish we played instead of some of the veteran lunchpailers, but Kinnear likes a controlled, defensive product and I don’t make the decisions. So maybe my heart is with the Salgadoites but my brain knows many coaches want to deploy finished products to specific ends.

  9. Notice how the article does not mention what has been offered to Vancouver in trade. Notice how the European clubs interested in a transfer were not mentioned.

    If you are Vancouver, and you think you have a valuable asset that you do not need to use right now (The team is playing great), then you wait for the right offer.

    It is a few weeks into the season for crying out loud. I bet the current trade offers are for less than should be accepted, and the transfer offers are to clubs were his experience will be worth less than what he might get in a move that will happen a few weeks from now.

    I’d bet he goes to the NASL/USL in the next few weeks, once Vancouver has heard the “best” offers from MLS clubs. I predict he’ll be playing for FC Edmonton by the end of April.

  10. Dude, its Agudelo’s own fault that he can’t get minutes, not the coach’s. Agudelo needs a lot of training and development, he needs to work harder in practice and gab less to the media. Even if he can’t beat Cooper for mins, he could still be getting some super sub mins if he worked harder. He could also compete for right or left wing, if he had a better attitude.

    Look at Dempsey or Herc Gomez — how many times did those guys start a season with a new coach, being on the outside looking in. They consistently break into the first team through hard work and quality play. That’s what Agudelo needs to do. Quite frankly, Jozy was better at this age than Juan, and he needed an attitude adjustment also.

  11. He is definitely a rare talent. It’s rare to draft someone with the first pick that isn’t good enough to crack his team’s top 11 after more than a year. Rare, indeed.

  12. You’re the missing the point:
    1. Okay, may Salgado isn’t good enough to be a starter or first reserve for Vancouver. Then loan him out to an NASL team! Get him minutes. Sitting on the bench does almost no good. This isn’t about being an NFL QB where you learn to read defenses by watching film. If you made soccer stars by watching, then the US would dominate the world–we were the first soccer culture that got into watching serious amounts of film of opponents and we’ve got financial resources for our youth players that most Central and South American and African players never have until they move to Europe.

    2. You say he has trouble working or handling physical play. If you put him in the USL or NASL level of play, he’ll get kicked around plenty. MLS practices are generally less physical than matches (b/c players need to save themselves for matches, the scrimmage rarely is 11v11 and rarely goes 90 minutes). So if everything you say about Salgado is true, than the Whitecaps are CODDLING him and holding him back by not farming him out to a lower club in a lower league where he’s going to get his shins kicked and jersey grabbed by players who are slower, shorter and less skilled than he and play more of a “kick and run” style of play.

  13. First of all, they play for more than four months. Second of all, there aren’t unlimited subs. Third, to suggest that training and not playing in any games is somehow better than training and playing in games is ridiculous. You are 0-for-3.

  14. This may have been discussed above, and if so I apologize. But has there been any loans in the MLS to other MLS teams that need that type of player? I know they tend to loan to usl teams and such, but some teams in the MLS could use tere service. Thanks.

  15. My critiques of the MLS2 notion would be that MLS is barely solvent as-is — though still improving — and some teams would be lucky to afford themselves much less own a minor league team. Now, a minor league team might defray the cost of the reservists by selling tickets, but it would also be an added expense.

    Of course, the teams could be independently owned, mere affiliates, but then there may be tug of war about the affiliate preferring Player X while the MLS team wants to focus on Player Y instead. Which is closer to the present voluntary, let’s make a deal system.

    I’m not sure minors affiliates will let MLS control their rosters unless MLS at least pays some salaries if not has an ownership interest in the team. PR might want local veteran talent to sell tickets where you might want them to play your under-used, un-charismatic draft pick instead.

  16. I agree. My college experience was that I went to a less regarded team, played, and progressed, while some of the more recruited players rotted and deteriorated. Of course, some of the studs also played and progressed, but I think you can’t beat PT for player development.

    I think the old Project 40 forerunner to GenAdi was an interesting concept, a touring equivalent to a minors team composed of marginal draft picks.

    I also like the idea of U23 squads a la Germany — although isn’t that the PDL in a way? — or having minor league affiliates like baseball or basketball. Personally I think the 30 man roster is awful for the low guys on the totem pole. No real hope of first team play, deteriorating motivation for even reserve play, next thing you know you’ll be lucky to be in the minors…..and you might once have been a first or second rounder.

    I know MLS likes the deep rosters just in case, and they have distanced the league from the minors from the period when teams like Puerto Rico were catching up…….but for reservists I’m not sure we have the ideal setup for them to maximize their careers. And Salgado in particular is in the bind of the super-prospect who may have an asset value even as the coach sours on his first team potential.

  17. Except, like I said, Rennie may not see him as a first team Whitecap — in which case strike that option — and while a loan to the minors might be better for the player (if he’s humble enough to make use of it), the team might see a foreign loan with an eye to a sale as the more lucrative option. You say his value doesn’t go up rotting but it might go down or disappear if he’s a minor league flop or gets hurt. At least at Vancouver he has an air of mystery.

    It’s also worth noting that if they want to sell there are “two teams in a year” problems with a player registered by the Whitecaps being loaned to a second team with an eye to getting him fit and in form for a third team.

    I’m sure I sound like a cold hearted jerk but the reality is that I am a Dynamo fan who often likes some of the talent Kinnear signs for his reserve side, but what I’ve seen here is how risk-aversion will often limit the first team play of prospects, the reserve league isn’t long or serious enough to develop, etc. Houston just shipped Josue Soto, an interesting young midfielder, off to expansion San Antonio.

    In theory it could help, but the reality is that if you’re staying put the coach has to become convinced you’re first team material, and you could do anything and everything in the minors but if we bring you back you’re back in the same spot of having to convince.

  18. This is nonsense. Soccer players in MLS have an entitlement culture? Far from it. MLS players get paid duddly compared to Europe. Nowhere near the perks. They don’t get worshipped by the fans like in Europe or S. America.

    Furthermore, no-one is saying that Salgado should be starting for Vancouver. Or even that Vancouver should be forced to play him. It’s that for a young player to develop, actually playing is a good thing. So loaning him out would be a decent alternative. That’s not entitlement. He goes from a major league team playing in front of 12k-15k fans in a major league clubhouse that flies to games to a team that maybe has 2k fans at games, takes a bus to games (including overnight trips), might have a crappy field, only one trainer, players seeking to make an impression try to show him up (to show “I”m as good as the MLS kid”). That’s an entitlement culture? And the thing is, I”m not aware of anyone saying that Salgado doesn’t work or doesn’t try or doesn’t compete. He’s simply buried behind a lot of outstanding attacking talent.

  19. Yep, he could do all those things. And he still wouldn’t be among the top 2 attacking subs. This isn’t an Agudelo situation (where the player supposedly doesn’t work hard in practice). This is about a young talent who is way behind a bunch of guys who are also very talented, far more experienced and ahead of him.

  20. Nope, that’s not the bottom-line. MLS was created in part to boost the USNT. USSF was one of the initial investor/supporters by providing seed money and organizational support. So if MLS doesn’t do a good job developing US talent, that’s a bad thing.

    Salgado is a rare talent. Most young players don’t work out to be something special (just look at Adu who still has mad skills, shows glimpses of impressive talent but struggles to win PT with Philly for a coach who wants him to succeed). The US can’t afford to just let young attacking talent waste away. And that’s what’s happening at Vancouver. I’m not arguing he should be starting. But he’s not even close to be the 12th or 13th or 14th or 15th man. They have probably 2, maybe 3 other attackers who would come on before Salgado. It’s almost as if they’re trying to punish him.

  21. Why don’t they trade him for some midfield talent? Vancouver could get pretty good value for him, and if they use that to build, they could be a very good team. And f**k NY for not playing Agudelo. Trade him, sell him, or something dang it!

  22. Its on Omar and all these young players to work harder, whine less, and break into the first team. I don’t believe that Omar whines, don’t know really, but for some of the other young players Klinsmann mentioned, its a problem.

  23. Agudelo should be getting, at least, lot of sub minutes upon return. Omar isn’t even sniffing the field, possibly because it is artificial turf and lacks the lovely aroma of grass. Anyhow, the situations differ in another way, too. It seems somewhat accepted knowledge that Agudelo perhaps is not the most assiduous in practice and off field work. I have not heard anything similar for Omar.

  24. whoever is the business manager for this team is very bad. Here is player who has mexican passport and european passport/ USA passport. Move to another team in any of those 3 places where he is not foreign player. Team will take him. If they are trying than clearly they ask for something crazy for him and other team answer saying he is now your 6 forward how can you want so much. We can take him in chivas again or any mexican team.

  25. People keep pointing out that the reserve teams should play in a lower division.

    The problem here is depth. Half of the regular reserve team starters man the bench in any given first team game.

    One solution could be integrating more older Academy players into the reserve team, but you can’t expect 16 year old part-time soccer players to travel cross-country on a weekly basis.

    It would be nice if the reserve teams played the same teams/schedules as the senior team, but again it’s not feasible due to the overlap in players.

  26. Not enough depth on the reserve squads. Half the reserve starters fill out the bench in the eighteen every weekend.

    Now, if you built a reserve team from the older academy players and some of the reserves that don’t get as much senior team PT, then you could be on to something.

  27. European teams play their youth and reserve players full time in a lower league.

    The MLS reserve season is a measly 10 games and the teams don’t have enough depth to do as they do in Europe.

    Your argument is busted. Plus, by all indications after a rough last season, Salgado has a better mentality and is working hard to break into the team.

  28. Maybe something like MLB’s farm system? I always thought that would be an interesting idea for MLS Div2. I believe Philly has some lower division affiliates. If the lower division clubs had youth academies that fed into MLS through affiliation, that would help promote the youth movement and expand the geographic reach (like RSL in Arizona)

  29. Ok college players play only 4 months if that in an amateur level with unlimited subs and timeouts and other shenanigans. I’ll rather have Salgado be training with pros even if he doesn’t play.

  30. Good post Ives and analysis. 20/11 and 22/11 is the rule the Mexican league did. Let’s implement it Mr Garber? But no instead we have this and a club like NYRB fielding 10 of 11 foreigners. So if that’s the case then let’s continue to be satisfied in being #2 and #3 in the region and a league which will continue to be inferior to the Mexican league.

  31. What a stupid thing to say. Open the gates to all, let the cream rise to the top. Discrimination is not the answer. Nurturing talent is. How does only letting 5 foreigners give this kid more playing time? What do we do for Canadian teams? There aren’t enough good Canadians to field their national team, let alone three MLS franchises.

  32. Agreed. BetaMale sounds like my Dad complaining about L. James’ deal with the Magic. This is not that kind of an issue at all. This is poor management of an organization.

  33. My mom could play with enough quality to make the starting 11 with Vancantver. I’m sure he has the talent. The management there just can’t manage the best out of him. It is more than a failure of a single player. It is a failure of a whole organization.
    The only other team that has had these issues is NYRB where the management problems have been well documented for years. Vancantver is the Chivas USA of the north.

  34. (Not Omar) This is a very sad situation. He his a skilled player with excellent touch who has added 20 pounds of muscle to his 6′ 4″ frame since last year. He needs to be playing somewhere NOW to continue his development. He has just been wasting away in Vancouver since the coach who drafted him was fired. Klinsi needs to mount a rescue mission to smuggle him out of Canada and get him an opportunity to grow into the player he has the potential of being. Otherwise, he is destined to become just another draft trivia question…”Who was actually the first player selected in Darlington Nagbe’s draft class?”

  35. That’s more about US discrimination law than anything else. You can’t differentiate between a citizen and a Green Card holder unless there is really a valid reason (usually related to security clearances).


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