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MLS Ticker: Timbers sign third DP; Xavi linked again with NYC FC; and more

Liam Ridgewell of West Bromwich Albion

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Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter is hoping that his latest defensive signing can be a big presence in the back line for the long-term.

The Timbers announced on Wednesday that they’ve signed long-time English Premier League defender Liam Ridgewell to a multiyear contract as the team’s third Designated Player. The 29-year-old defender’s signing will become official pending the receipt of his international transfer certificate and P-1 visa.

“Moving into the summer transfer window it was no secret we were looking to strengthen our squad with a top-level defender, and we are extremely pleased to announce the signing of Liam Ridgewell,” Porter said in a statement. “Liam is still in his prime at only 29-years old and he’s been playing game in and out in the English Premier League versus many of the top attacking players in the world. This pedigree, along with his leadership qualities and technical ability as a left-sided central defender, makes him an ideal choice to enhance our backline for the second half of the season and beyond.”

Ridgewell last season played in 33 EPL matches for West Brom, scoring one goal. Ridgewell previously played with Aston Villa and Birmingham City. Ridgewell joins midfielder Diego Valeri and forward Fanendo Adi as Portland’s three DPs.

Here are some more notes from around MLS:


Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez looked all but set to move to Qatari club Al Arabi, but now those plans are up in the air.

According to reports in Spain, Al Arabi have withdrawn their offer to Xavi, leaving him in a bit of limbo heading into the summer. The same reports say that Xavi’s representatives are negotiating with another Qatari club, El Jaish, but that if Xavi decides against going to the Arab Gulf, he could take up the offer from New York City FC.

Spanish newspaper Marca reports that Xavi has received a verbal offer from Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano to join NYC FC, likely as a Designated Player. Xavi’s former Barcelona and Spain national team teammate David Villa has already completed a move to NYC FC as a Designated Player, possibly helping the club’s chances of landing Xavi.

Salary figures seem to be an issue however. The report states that Xavi is likely to make upwards of 8 million euros ($10.9 million) per season playing in Qatar, while the maximum that NYC FC could offer is 6 million euros ($8.2 million).


FC Dallas Homegrown Player signing Richard Sanchez has finally completed a transfer move to Tigres UANL. The transfer was initially reported over a year ago.

While FC Dallas did not disclose details of the transfer, sources told SBI in May 2013 that the deal was worth $1 million in transfer fees and that it was a full transfer.

The 20-year-old California-born goalkeeper had yet to make a competitive appearance for FC Dallas but he’s been a regular for both the Mexico Under-17 and U-20 national teams, competing in qualification matches as well as the 2011 FIFA Under-17 World Cup and the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.


Nelson Rivas’ latest injury has given him a one-way ticket out of town.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Montreal Impact announced that they have removed the Colombian defender from their roster, after he limped off just two minutes into the Impact’s road Canadian Championship match against Toronto FC on May 25.

Despite being the Impact’s first MLS signing in 2011, Rivas made just 11 appearances in that first year and didn’t play in a single regular season match for the club in each of the last two years due to injuries.

Impact sporting director Nick De Santis told that there was a mutual agreement in place that if Rivas was hurt again, the player and club would go their separate ways.

“When he got hurt in Toronto, he understood that it was time to look at what’s ahead of him in his career,” De Santis said. “For us, there was an agreement that, should he get hurt, we had to think of something else, of other players to replace him. He’s not on the roster anymore, but there was already a mutual agreement.”


In somewhat surprising news on Tuesday afternoon, Chivas USA announced that they’ve added a veteran defender with World Cup experience to their back line.

Chivas USA on Tuesday signed former Japanese international Akira Kaji from J-League side Gamba Osaka. The deal will become official pending the receipt of Kaji’s international transfer certificate and his P-1 visa.

“Akira is a very experienced player who is going to help us solidify our back four,” Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera said in a statement. “He brings World Cup experience along with an impressive career in a league that is very strong, athletic, competitive and that has a very fast pace.

“He is a very technical and smart player capable of not only defending but also distributing and possessing the ball when going forward. We are very happy to have Akira join Chivas USA as his addition will strengthen our team in all aspects.”

Kaji earned 64 caps in his career with the Japanese national team and was part of the squad at the 2006 World Cup, 2003 and 2005 Confederations Cups, and the 2004 Asian Cup title-winning squad.


What do you think of this news? Do you believe Ridgewell is the defender Porter has been looking for? What are NYC FC’s chances of landing Xavi? Do you wish Sanchez had been given a chance to start for FC Dallas?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Imagine if NYFC could take all the money they are wasting on the likes of Villa and Xavi and instead build a well rounded team that could play high quality football. Unfortunately they can’t because MLS has a salary cap.

    The DP system is insulting. It reinforces the fact that MLS fans aren’t sophisticated enough to enjoy quality football. MLS gives it’s fans a few washed up players and they eat it up because they don’t know any better. The league would be so much better without the cap.

    • you are right and wrong, IMO. the league would not be better without it. right now, it’s a necessary evil to get big name players, or very talented lesser-known players, paying a fair market value, and not hitting the cap too fast. the salary cap is also a necessary evil for a million reasons that have been well drawn out and explained.

      that said, i would agree that the league needs to make some serious changes to both rules. the cap needs to be drastically increased and DP slots reserved for players demanding $1,000,000+. as much as we all love Besler, Omar, and Wondo, they aren’t what the DP rule was made for. the DP rule is for players like Bradley, Dempsey, Villa, Henry, etc. but in order to increase the DP from $387,500 to $1,000,000, there needs to be a proportionate increase in the salary cap. and i don’t mean simply taking the difference and adding that to the cap.

      the DP rule does not need to go against the quality football in MLS. when it was introduced, it did the exact opposite. given the growth of the league though, a re-evaluation should be in order on how a system with a salary cap and DPs can be enhanced in MLS 2.0. and since the CBA is coming up, my guess is that this process is already underway.

  2. Why can’t he xavi be successful? Blanco still pulled strings pretty well in Chicago. Think of him as a el pibe type. He won’t defend and others will cover for him, but with the ball at his feet with guys in the mold of Darlington nagbe and Fabian Castillo in the side he could take their games to the next level.

  3. Xavi, if you go to Qatar, just make sure they don’t take your passport and rip up your contract when you enter the country. We may never hear from you again. Go to NYCFC instead.

  4. does 2.7 million reall matter to a guy like that? who the hell would want to play in Qatar? it’s 120 degrees…literally

  5. I posted elsewhere about the Sanchez transfer, as follows:

    Well, it’s a done deal…I’m pretty bummed as I had really high hopes for him being our starting GK for years to come, but I’m happy for him. He’s pure class on and off the pitch and is on track to be the Mexican No. 1. I was hoping we could hold on to him for another few years with loans, but I’m not surprised that someone was able to come along and lure him away…though he’s 4th keeper at Tigres now instead of 3rd at FCD.

    Best of luck to the kid, he’s got a very high ceiling and look forward to cursing his sturdy hands when Mexico plays the US in 8-12 years.

  6. I would rather go for robinho or ronaldinho 🙂 or tevez.
    It’s a lot of money, Xavi is just looking for a pay check and he would be in another European team but he knows he won’t even get a division 1 teAm.
    I’m surprise MLS doesn’t go after ronaldinho before he breaks.
    If you got the money, why not altidore, tevez, robinho, Lampard, Rooney, chicharito,
    If I’m altidore and I’m offer 5 million a season, I would do 3 years and go back to Europe.
    Look at the World Cup, am I the only person seeing cheap very good talent that teams will steal like candy.

  7. We have to get out of the habit of paying has beens but Xavi’s talent was never in his physique or athleticism it was in his world class IQ thats why he’s probably still worth the money. Lampard on the other had is done.

  8. If you’re going to pay $8m+ you can bring in a really good player close to his prime instead of this attempt to make headlines by signing an over the hill legend. And I’m a huge Xavi fan, he’s one of my all-time favorite players and he’s arguably the greatest player Spain’s ever produced. But those days are over.

  9. Xavi is “done”? That’s a ridiculous statement. Not as good as in his prime? Sure. However, the guy just started a whole season in Attacking Mid for Barca, he is far from done and would still be a force in MLS.

    • Nah, he’s finished. He’ll be 35 by the time NYCFC starts up. He’s looked done for a while and he isn’t up to the physicality and travel that comes with MLS. Pure name signing who won’t add much to the product on the field or, if he does, won’t do so for very long. If the goal is improving the product on the field, this is not the kind of DP MLS should be looking for. MLS should be signing guys closer to their prime.

      • idk man, for a brand new team like NYCFC, they need these big names to get people hooked. sure, it’s not the ideal DP signing in terms of age, but Xavi is Xavi. it’d be a big deal and would get people at the games. they still have a 3rd DP to use and Villa was a good use of their 1st.

        to me, this is a great DP signing (if it happens) for a club looking to start from scratch.

      • I see what you’re saying but I think for that salary you can get a pretty big name who will also contribute more on the field and stick around for a while.

  10. Villa was a great signing because he’s still got something left, like Henry when he joined in 2010. Xavi is done and would be a step backwards for MLS. It just lends more credence to the retirement league accusations.

    • Whoa, didn’t read the salary. Not sure why Man City can’t offer more than the figure quoted in the article but wow that’s a lot of money for a guy whose career is basically over.

    • maybe.

      with the role he’ll play, it probably depends on the team around him. if his teammates can make up for his lack of pace and physicality, he could be very influential.

    • He had a subpar season with one of the best teams in the world and he is done? The guy was still a key player for them. Lol at some of you guys. He would be the best MF in the league and thats a step backwards?

      • If someone offer me a job to work in Qatar or NY I would say NY any day even if the pay was a 40% difference. Maybe I’m biased, but what there to do in the middle east?

      • Earn a lot of money. It isn’t like it is a long term job, though there might be an issue with not getting paid and being unable to leave the country.

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