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MLS Ticker: Orlando City to play three preseason games in Brazil; Pogatetz could make debut; and more

KevinMolinoOrlandoCity2 (OrlandoCitySC)


Following the signing of superstar Kaka, Orlando City have developed quite the contingent of Brazilian fans. With the club’s inaugural season just months away, the MLS newcomers are set to begin their first MLS campaign by paying a visit to their samba supporters.

Orlando City owner Flávio Augusto da Silva announced Tuesday via Facebook that the club was planning a three-game preseason against undetermined opponents in Brazil ahead of the club’s MLS debut in 2015.

“2015 is coming and a pre-season in Brazil is planned for the beginning of the year,” da Silva wrote. “We will do three games in Brazil with three great teams in three different cities. Which Brazilian team you would like to see play Orlando City in 2015?”

The preseason tour is Orlando City’s latest move into developing a Brazilian fan base, as the club has already unveiled a Portuguese-language Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channel.

Here are some more of Wednesday’s MLS news and notes:


In the midst of a playoff battle, the Columbus Crew could see their backline boosted as soon as Saturday by the debut and return of a pair of defenders.

Defenders Emmanuel Potagetz and Justin Williams each featured in the Crew’s scrimmage with the NASL’s Indy Eleven Tuesday. Potagetz, who joined the club in September, played 63 minutes in his first action with his new team.

“It’s so different (from) training, so it was important that I got the opportunity to play today,” Pogatetz told the Columbus Dispatch. “It was only (63) minutes, but for my first game in nearly three months it was enough. I liked it and it was a good training for me and another step forward in the right direction.”

“From a leadership standpoint, from a communication standpoint, it was all there,” added head coach Gregg Berhalter. “You could see he’s a little bit rusty and he needs to get into the rhythm of playing games, but overall we’re pleased.”

Meanwhile, Williams made his long-awaited return Tuesday, as the Crew’s most tenured player has missed the past four months after having surgery to remove a rib after he developed a blood clot back in June. Williams, who played both right back and center back, suffered a collision just minutes into his return.

“I took a hard knock there, and in midair I was kind of like, ‘I wonder how I’m going to bounce back from this,’ ” Williams said. “I landed all right and popped back up. That was the one, you kind of get a test, and that was definitely it. Once I had a bounce-back from that, I knew I’d be alright.”

“I think it was a positive performance,” Berhalter said of Williams. “I think it’s a big boost for the team to have him back.”


The New England Revolution are the latest MLS side to find an overseas partner.

The Revs announced Wednesday that the club has partnered with Sporting Club de Portugal to better develop and share training methods between the two teams. In addition, the Revs will be able to bring in Sporting players on loan, while the two’s youth sides will also spend time training with one another.

“We’re very excited to partner with a club with such history and prestige as Sporting Club De Portugal,” said Revs president Brian Bilello. “The opportunity to not only partner on activities to improve our first team, but also to work with their prestigious academy on youth development, will benefit our club for many years. We will also assist Sporting in their efforts to explore opportunities to increase Sporting’s reach within the United States, both on and off the field.”

“Sporting has been one of the most consistent and successful programs in Europe, and we’re looking forward to working with their staff to share best practices, player talent and scouting resources,” added general manager Michael Burns. “Both clubs have been recognized for our youth development programs, and we’re anticipating a tremendous shared benefit by this partnership.”


After nearly a month of speculation, Zat Knight is finally a Colorado Rapid.

The club announced Wednesday that the English defender’s visa had finally been approved and that Knight could be set to feature as early as Sunday when the Rapids take on the Seattle Sounders.

“It’s been a long process, getting all the paperwork finished, but I’m really thrilled to be here,” said Knight. “I’ve followed the club’s matches while being back in England and am working hard to get into the mix quickly and contribute the best I can for the final matches of the season.”

Prior to joining the Rapids, Knight featured for Fulham, Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers while also earning a pair of caps with the England National Team.


After spending the last three years with the club’s Soccer Development Academy, Alejandro Zendejas is set to join FC Dallas.

FC Dallas announced Wednesday that the club had signed the 16-year-old  midfielder as the team’s league leading 13th homegrown player. Zendejas marks the club’s first signing from youth affiliate FC Dallas El Paso since the partnership began in Sept. 2011.

“Zendejas is a very complete player,” said FC Dallas assistant coach Josema Bazan. “He is a left-footed midfielder that can pass very well and be creative. He is very composed in front of the goal. If the game changes and you need to be tough defensively, he can do that as well. But for me, his best quality is that when you pass him the ball, he can go in any direction. He is very aware of where the pressure is coming from and he can escape.”

Zendehas was recently called into the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team squad for this week’s Panama U-17 International Tournament.


Sporting KC’s Eric Palmer-Brown has been heralded as one of the league’s most promising young defenders, but the 17-year old’s MLS career will be put on hold until 2015 due to injury.

The club announced Tuesday that Palmer-Brown is set to miss the remainder of the 2014 season with a stress fracture to the fifth metatarsal in his right foot suffered in training Tuesday. The defender underwent is expected to undergo surgery Friday.

Palmer-Brown made six appearances in all competitions for Sporting KC after making his professional debut in May when the 17-year-old became the youngest defender to start an MLS game.


Colorado Rapids midfielder Carlos Alvarez may have seen his celebration as a moment of joy, but the MLS Disciplinary Committee saw it as a suspendable offense.

The league announced Wednesday that Alvarez would be suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount for entering the field of play and leaving the bench and technical area. Alvarez, who was warming up on the sideline, ran onto the field to celebrate a Gabriel Torres goal late in the Rapids’ eventual 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes.

Meanwhile, Sporting KC defender Igor Juliao was fined an undisclosed amount for violating the league’s policy regarding hands to face of an opponent. Juliao appeared to slap Revolution forward Charlie Davies in stoppage time of the Revs 3-2 win.

Finally, RSL head coach Jeff Cassar was fined due to improper bench behavior in his side’s 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps.


Ben Swanson has been on the Columbus Crew’s radar for quite some time now and the 17-year-old is now set to join up with the team for an extended period of time.

Swanson played 80 minutes of the team’s scrimmage with Indy Eleven Tuesday before limping off with an undisclosed injury. Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter is excited to work with the young midfielder and was pleased with his play in Tuesday’s action.

“I think we’re right in line with our expectations,” Berhalter said. “He’s a guy where we want to figure out the right way to develop him. We’re working through that right now, and it’s a conversation with his parents, with him, about what’s the best for his development.”

Berhalter revealed last week that he was looking to have Swanson practice with the team “indefinitely”, while the club is also looking into signing the 17-year-old in the near future.

“I think when we talk about that, we’re talking about how do we make improvements to the academy that can affect future generations,” Berhalter said. “He’s a guy that is the here and now. He’s a guy that we’d be looking to sign. He’s a guy that we’re interested in and we see him as a guy who can contribute in the short term.”

What teams do you expect to see Orlando City play during their preseason in Brazil? How do you think Palmer-Brown will perform next season? Do you agree with the Disciplinary Committee’s decisions?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. i just wonder if orlando can hang with miami from the marketing point to the money.
    we also all know beckham will have a strong ownership group like galaxy, LA2, nycfc, red bul, seattle, tfc, and orlando seems to be like san jose and portland.

    • Why? What evidence is there to support that conclusion? The owner of Orlando City has already signed Kaka and has big plans for more and extremely deep pockets. Also, its rather obvious he is exploiting the connection with Brazil like no other club has done.

      OTOH, we don’t even know if Miami is even going to have a team. I think they will eventually but to compare a situation with (a) no clear ownership group (b) no clear spot for a stadium and (c) no idea when they will start play (just a “hope” for 2017) to a situation with a SSS being built in the heart of downtown, a committed and rich owner and play starting next year is downright silly.

    • Dude, what are you talking about? Orlando just signed KaKa to the richest contract in MLS history? How does that remotely make them like the SJ Earthquakes in your mind?

  2. I don’t get these partnerships…at all.

    I could guess. Is Sporting paying money to the Revs to try get into the American market ?

    If so, how pathetic…and does anyone think that is going to work ? There is a huge need for more soccer in the US and a team from Portugal whose leading scorer wasn’t good enough for the Sounders is going to fill it ?

  3. Wish someone would elaborate on what Cassar’s behavior was that got him fined. Neither this site nor actually explained it.

  4. looking forward to seeing how OCSC does down in Brazil. also pretty cool to see the Revs partner with Sporting, hopefully it actually has some tangible benefits. these partnerships seem so-so as a whole.

    as for EPB, that is a huge bummer. hopefully he recovers quickly and can get back at it.

  5. It should be noted that prior to the “slap,” Davies kicked out at Juliao, and then executed a splendid dive that made it seem that he had been punched by Manny Pacquiao.


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