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MLS Ticker: FC Dallas linked with Michael Essien; TFC deals Kyle Bekker; and more

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By RYAN TOLMICH

AC Milan’s Michael Essien is set to see his contract expire in June, leading to reports that the midfielder may be bound for a move stateside.

The Ghanaian international has been linked with a move to FC Dallas, as Milan are reportedly looking to sell Essien before his contract expires. FC Dallas have reportedly made an offer for the 32-year-old midfielder, who has made nine appearances for Milan this season.

Essien is believed to be interested in a move to MLS and has reportedly rejected recent advances from the Premier League’s Burnley and Leicester City.

Prior to joining Milan, Essien played seven seasons for Chelsea, as well as a one-year loan spell with Real Madrid.

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

TFC TRADES BEKKER TO FC DALLAS

The shakeup of Toronto FC’s roster continues with the departure of one of the team’s local products.

TFC has dealt Canadian national team midfielder Kyle Bekker to FC Dallas in exchange for allocation money. Bekker, 24, spent two seasons with TFC, making 13 appearances for Canada while playing just 35 times in all competitions for TFC.

Bekker joins an FC Dallas squad with a growing Canadian presence on it. He joins fellow Canadian-born midfielder Tesho Akindele, and recently-drafted Canadian Jaineil Hoillett.

TFC ANNOUNCE DETAILS OF USL PRO TEAM

Toronto FC has a name, home and logo for the club’s USL Pro team that is set to begin play in 2015.

TFC II is set to become the eighth MLS-run side in the USL Pro and will play 12 home games at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada while training at the club’s Kia Training Grounds.

“I would like to thank MLSE for the continued support of Toronto FC,” said general manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “I believe that MLS clubs with their own USL PRO teams’ in-market will be able to close the gap between academy and our first team on a number of levels. This investment signifies our commitment to winning and preparing our young players, both Canadian and our draft picks to become professionals.”

The team’s new logo is reminiscent of that used by the MLS club,but will be differentiated by the addition of II in the background.

DI VAIO HIRED AS MANAGER OF BOLOGNA FC

Just months after the conclusion of his playing career, former Montreal Impact forward Marco Di Vaio is set to embark on his career as a manager.

Bologna FC announced Wednesday that the club had hired Di Vaio as the team’s manager. Di Vaio featured for Bologna, who currently sit second in Serie B, from 2008-12.

“I am pleased and proud of the hiring of Marco,” said Bologna chairman and Impact owner Joey Saputo. “I knew him as a player and enjoyed him for more than two years, both the human and professional qualities. He made a great career as a player and I am sure will become a great leader and contribute to the development of our club.”

Di Vaio retired as the Impact’s leading goalscorer at the conclusion of the team’s 2014 season.

LOUISVILLE CITY SIGN FORMER D.C. UNITED HOMEGROWN SHANOSKY

Conor Shanosky started his career as a 19-year-old Homegrown product of D.C. United, but the 23-year-old midfielder is set to start anew in 2015.

The USL Pro’s Louisville City announced Wednesday that the team has signed Shanosky, who scored for D.C. United in the CONCACAF Champions League this past October. In total, Shanosky made five appearances for the MLS club while also going out on loan to the Harrisburg City Islanders, Richmond Kickers and Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

“Conor is a massive signing for us,” said Louisville City head coach James O’Connor. “To have had MLS, U.S. National Team and CONCACAF Champions League experience, Conor is someone that we are extremely excited to join us, and his character and leadership will definitely make a difference this season.”

Comments

  1. Essien is an intriguing option. He can control the pace of the game, but the question is his knees. FC Dallas is a quick, offensive team, and him playing that holding midfielder role could really open it up even more for them. Again, the question is his health.

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  2. During WC 2006 we stayed in the same hotel as the Ghana soccer team and I got my picture taken with Essien that morning in the lobby. Then we went to the game and we got knocked out of the Cup. He was super nice, but that day sucked.

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  3. This could be the biggest off season for big name signings in MLS!…

    Essien is okay, hardly ever plays though. i’d rather FCD go after FWD to TBH. I thought FCD’s midfield was pretty good last year despite all the injuries they had to key players.

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  4. Essien to FCD would be awesome, one of the best CDMs in the world (at one time considered THE best by many) teaching one of the most exciting young CDM prospects in Ulloa could pay exponential dividends in the long term. I like the Bekker move too, he’s not flashy or tricky but seems like a good, blue-collar style box-to-box mid that I’d imagine would mainly be used as cover for Ulloa.

    The question is, what other pieces will we be able to put into place before what’s shaping up to be the most difficult MLS season yet? I think this is David Texeira’s “sh*t or get off the pot” season, if he is as virtually non-existent this season as he was last season (opening the door for Tesho) I can’t imagine he’ll be suiting up in the hoops come 2016.

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  5. Essien is from Accra, Ghana. Over the course of a year, the temperature typically varies from 74°F to 91°F and is rarely below 70°F or above 94°F.

    I think he could handle it.

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  6. I hope MLS and FCD are at least giving Essien full disclosure that it’s hot as frik’n balls in Dallas during the season…especially June, July and August.

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    • Hahaha, I can just see FCD come June “Oh yeah we forgot to mention that it is going to be hot as frik’n balls for the next few months.”

      Essien reaction: “What?”

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      • Believe it or not the average high temperature in Dallas in the Summer time is much higher than the average high temperatures in Ghana. The average high temperature in Ghana doesn’t get above 82 whereas. Average temperatures range from 21°C to 28°C (70 to 82°F) with a relative humidity between 77 percent and 85 percent.

        The average high in Dallas in the summer is 96. Again, 96 degrees.

        I had a friend from Ghana in college and I joked with her about how hot it was in Ghana. She schooled me (rightfully). Dallas heat is MUCH, MUCH worse – pushing 100 degrees and humid.

    • You do know Essien is Ghanaian right? He’s not from Italy or England or Scandinavia.
      Pretty sure he played in extremely hot conditions for a number of years prior to moving to Europe and there are many reasons Africans love Texas. The climate is a major reason.

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      • Yes boys, I know he’s from Ghana. …but he hasn’t played in a league with these temps …in…well…forever.

        He’ll do fine, however… just pointing out a variable that pretty much spans MLS with the exception of the NW, LA and Toronto.

        Speaking of heat, can’t wait to see Orlando City’s games on field turf, mid day, in July, in Orlando. That’s like “Africa hot”.

      • …but Dallas heat is much worse that Ghana heat. Seriously, look it up on Climatetemp.com or weather channel. I had the pleasure to work with quite a few African professionals (North, West and Southern Africans) in the course of my career. Even they complain how unbearable the hear and humidity is in Houston and Dallas.

  7. I don’t like the Essien to FCD…I respect his pedigree, but he barely suits up for AC Milan now. He will be like the Denilson 2.0

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    • what the heck? How can you compare the two? Denilson came to the league thinking he could just juggle a ball all the way into the net. Essien is a 90 minute work horse and will defend and jump into the attack with frequency

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    • What in the world are you talking about? This comparison is soooo off the mark it makes me wonder if you know either of those players. This is such a strange statement.

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