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MLS Ticker: Fire agree to terms with Shaun Maloney; Crew sign Hernan Grana; and more

ShaynMaloneyScotland1-BelgiumEuroQuals2014 (Getty)


The Chicago Fire are expected to add an international winger in the coming days.

According to Wigan Athletic head coach Malky Mackay, the Fire have agreed on a transfer fee for Shaun Maloney to join the MLS club ahead of the 2015 season. Maloney, 31, has reportedly been in discussions to join the Fire for the past few months.

“We’ve agreed terms with Chicago Fire for Shaun to leave imminently, so that is something that is going to be happening in the next day or so,” Mackay told BBC Radio Manchester.

Maloney has scored two goals this season in 20 Championship games for Wigan, and scored twice for Scotland in four qualifying games in 2014. If Maloney joins the Fire, he’ll be their seventh international player on the roster.

Here are some more stories from around MLS:


The Columbus Crew have finalized a move that will add some depth to their team along the back line.

The club finally made official on Friday the news that Argentine right back Hernan Grana has signed a contract to join the team. Sources confirmed to SBI that Grana’s deal is a one-year contract with two option years.

Grana’s signing with the Crew is a long-time coming, after reports of interest between the two sides were floated in December.

Grana most recently played with Boca Juniors, struggling in their Apertura campaign last fall but playing 20 times in the 2013/2014 season. He’s also played with All Boys, Lanus, and Quilmes in his career.

The 29-year-old joins fellow Argentine Federico Higuain on the Crew and becomes the latest Argentine player to immigrate to MLS.


Fresh off his fifth MLS Cup title, Bruce Arena has received U.S. Soccer’s highest honor.

U.S. Soccer awarded Arena on Thursday the Werner Fricker Builder Award, which goes to “an individual who has worked tirelessly on furthering the interest of the sport of soccer without regard to personal recognition or advancement.”

“Every year we are presented with examples of extraordinary individuals who have developed the game of soccer in this country and this year we are extremely pleased to honor Bruce Arena with the Werner Fricker Builder Award,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a statement. “Bruce’s contribution to soccer in the United States began as a coach at Virginia 37 years ago and during that time he has guided college, professional and National Teams to national and international titles. The path he paved certainly set the bar higher and the legacy he created will last for future generations.”

Since joining the LA Galaxy, the former U.S. Men’s National Team coach has won three MLS Cup titles, two Supporters Shields, and three Western Conference Champions. He’s currently the winningest head coach in USMNT history with a career record of 71-30-29 between 1998-2006.


John Strong, who’s voice is no stranger to MLS fan’s living rooms, will continue to broadcast the league’s games into the near future.

FOX Sports announced on Thursday that they’ve hired Strong full-time to lead their MLS coverage for the 2015 season, as well as provide play-by-play for games at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and other international soccer matches.

“John has quickly won the heart of the nation’s soccer fans and is accepted as one of the top American voices calling the game today,” Executive Vice President, Production, John Entz said in a statement. “Locking John up exclusively is another demonstration of FOX Sports’ commitment to present soccer in a way that’s embraced by the game’s passionate fan base as we take on new properties like the MLS and FIFA Women’s World Cup this year.”

Strong spent the past two seasons covering MLS with NBC Sports, as well as covering European soccer matches and other international competitions for FOX Sports.


D.C. United depart on Saturday for Bradenton, Fla., and they’ll be bringing a few players hoping to win a roster spot with them.

Defenders Mamadou “Futty” Danso and Rauwshan McKenzie are among a number of unsigned players heading down to Florida with D.C. United. Joining them is goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, most recently with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, and former D.C. United midfielder Rod Dyachenko, who played last season with Samut Songkhram BTU FC in Thailand.

Danso spent last season with between the Montreal Impact and the Portland Timbers, while McKenzie spent last season with the Timbers as well.

Draft picks Dan Metzgar and Miguel Aguilar are included in the preseason roster as well, as is 21-year-old Italian goalkeeper Riccardo Anedda.


What do you think of these developments? Do you see Maloney helping change the Fire’s fortunes? Do you see Grana starting at right back for the Crew? What do you think of Arena’s award?

Share your thoughts below.


    • I think it’s really a 50/50 how Maloney fares in MLS… at his peak, he was a very good player and creative force, who produced strong performances in the EPL and SPL, and also in the Champions League.

      But it’s fair to ask how much the guy really has left to contribute…. if he is fit and settles in well in Chicago, I would say it’s not unreasonable to think he could contribute as an attacking MF in MLS… he has a good soccer IQ and should not have trouble adapting to the physicality of MLS. But can he be a force? We shall see… seems his powers were fading over the past few yeasr considerably

    • The guy is 31 and was just playing for Wigan and Scotland with interest from Premier League teams. I don’t see this as being an inept signing unless he gets hurt early on which is unforeseeable.

      • Check his age tomorrow, because he will be 32. He’s being cast off from the 23rd place squad in the second tier in England.

      • I believe the main reasons he was being “cast aside” was because of budget reasons not performance related.

    • I had hoped the Fire were getting younger by signing Accam (24), but some of the other signings are over 30 too. I believed any work stoppage would be disastrous for MLS, but I am not sure if I could bear to watch the Fire’s continued demise.

  1. Dyachenko?

    Ooooh, nothing personal against the dude but that name reminds me of some of the team’s darker days. It’s been a while since I’ve seen him play (and have thankfully forgotten the details) but from what I remember he was sloooooow. But I could be wrong because like I said, I try not to remember much from those days.

    • I saw him play two seasons ago for Pattaya Utd when they were in the Thai Premier League; he’s much more consistent as a player and also his passing is more decisive than DCU days; he hit a couple of long through balls in that game and was among the best player for the TPL teams he’s played with.

      He’s a very solid player so I wouldn’t be surprised if he sticks with the team this year.

      • Oh, OK. Thanks for the update, Helium-3. To be fair he was younger back then and DCU was at the start of it’s dark, dark days – man they still hurt!

        If he’s upped his game and can do the business then that’s cool. But, no disrespect to the TPL, this is MLS we’re talking about here. That said, Benny knows what he needs and wants and if Dyachenko can deliver then cool.

        I remember when he couldn’t join the team in Canada because he didn’t have a country. Man – he;s come a long way. As have the team.

        Vamos United!!

      • Yeah how can any DCU fan forget those days like drafting
        that Van Sicklen dude and throwing into him in against Pumas in the CCC, and then lose 5-0. Those decisions are not players’ fault but poor management in thinking just fresh out of college guys can play at MLS level, let alone CCC level.

      • OUCH!! You had to go and bring that one up, huh? 🙂

        That was one of the toughest games I had to watch as a DCU fan. That was slow motion slaughter. I was soooo bad.

        You have good times and bad, but I hope that kind of bad will never happen to us ever again. Heck I don’t wish that on our rivals.


  2. One of the top AMERICAN voices. Glad you put that qualifier on there. To think that any American could do anything in soccer that is tops without a qualifier is preposterous.

    Does it surprise me that a Fox guys was the one that correctly put the qualifier on there ?…….not one bit. They have been getting it correct for many years now.

      • Not gonna happen. Slights on US soccer get under my skin….it will change, but not until I am 6ft under.

    • When it comes to announcing this is actually a welcome distinction. I don’t mind Brits on EPL games, but I feel that they have been imported by the big broadcast companies as a quick fix for our MLS markets. There are plenty of guys out there that have been doing games in their local markets since day one of MLS that I would like to start hearing nationally.

      • Silver Rey,

        You view this as a distinction ? I view it as a qualifier. He is good, great even…for an American.

    • ?

      anyway, top American play by play voices:
      1. Schoen
      2. Strong
      3. can we get Cantor sometime! if not JPD, Joe Tutino
      anyone else?


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