Top Stories

MLS Ticker: NYCFC, LA Galaxy sign two players each; Whitecaps sell out opener; and more



New York City FC inked two more players two days before their inaugural season kicks off.

NYCFC announced the signing of Spanish midfielder Pablo Alvarez while also officially announcing the signing of Shay Facey on loan from Manchester City today.

The 34-year-old Spaniard last played for Langreo, a club that currently plays in the third division of the Spanish league system. He spent the beginning of last year making appearances for Spanish second-division side CD Lugo, but Alvarez changed clubs midyear and made 13 appearances for Langreo to end 2014. He started for NYCFC in their 2-1 preseason loss to the Houston Dynamo and Jason Kreis sees him being an important role model going forward.

“Pablo has integrated well with the squad over the course of the preseason,” Kreis told “His experience will add an important veteran presence to the team both on and off the field. We have worked hard to build a team with a balance of youth and experience and that should serve us well as we head into the season.”

Meanwhile, NYCFC also officially announced the signing of Manchester City defender Shay Facey on loan until June 30th.

The Englishman has appeared many times throughout NYCFC’s preseason, and Kreis hopes the young defender can help his expansion side in any role required of him.

“It’s great for the Club to have added Shay to our ranksm” Kreis said in the press release. “He’s fit in well during pre-season on and off the pitch and his defensive talents will add depth and quality to the back line. Shay is also a versatile defender that can play in numerous positions across the defense. I’m confident he will bring a lot to this roster.”

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


LA Galaxy have announced today that they have signed Finnish international midfielder Mika Vayrynen and have also signed former Galaxy player Edson Buddle.

Vayrynen will join the Galaxy pending the acquisition of a P-1 VISA and ITC and will occupy an international spot on the club’s roster.

“Mika is a player that brings additional experience to our midfield,” said head coach and GM Bruce Arena, via LA Galaxy. “We saw his abilities during preseason and are confident he can contribute to our team this season.”

Vayrynen, 33, is vastly experienced at both club and international level. He has enjoyed the majority of his club career in the Netherlands’ top-flight league, Eredivisie, where he won back-to-back league titles with PSV Eindhoven in 2006 and 2007, and a KNVB Cup with SC Heerenveen in 2009.

Vayrynen has 59 international caps for the Finnish national team with five goals, and has played in several UEFA Euro Qualifying matches as well as FIFA World Cup Qualifying fixtures.

Meanwhile, LA also announced the signing of forward Edson Buddle. Buddle, one of eight players to score more than 100 goals in MLS history, will return to the Galaxy after playing with them from 2008 to 2012.


The Vancouver Whitecaps will welcome Canadian rival Toronto FC to open their 2015 MLS campaign Saturday, and they will do so with a roaring crowd behind them.

The Whitecaps announced that BC Place is sold out for their home opener. With Toronto’s big signings coming to town and the Whitecaps hoping for an even better season after making the MLS playoffs last season, this Canadian rivalry will be rocking Saturday afternoon.


Former Notre Dame captain Luke Mishu has signed with D.C. United a day before their season opener against Montreal Impact.

“Luke had a very good preseason with us, and he has earned his spot on our roster,” D.C. United General Manager Dave Kasper said in a press release. “He will provide us with solid depth at the wide back positions, and we believe he has a bright future as a professional.”

Mishu helped the Fighting Irish claim the 2013 NCAA National Championship while also playing every minute of their last campaign.


The New York Red Bulls officially announced Dax McCarty as their captain two days before they kick off their 2015 campaign.

McCarty joined the Red Bulls in 2011 and has made 110 appearances for the club since, scoring 10 goals and bagging 14 assists along the way. With Thierry Henry out of the picture, the veteran Red Bull midfielder will have to shoulder the load, especially with a new head coach, Jesse Marsch, introducing a new team philosophy.


Audi and MLS officially announced a multi-year partnership, which will begin with the start of the 2015 season.

Audi will be the promoting sponsor of the MLS Cup playoffs while the partnership will also include activation right at the MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup.

“Audi’s partnership with MLS parallels the aggressive, challenger spirit of the two brands,” said Audi of America’s director of marketing Loren Angelo in the statement. “Audi remains committed to soccer and raising the profile of the game in the United States. Last year the league’s attendance hit an all-time high. As a major supporter of the sport globally, we’re looking forward to cultivating the enthusiasm of soccer stateside and driving participation of the sport in a new way.”

Audi will air MLS-themed commercials throughout the year and during important MLS matches, including games televised on major networks, like ESPN, FOX and Univision.

Where will Pablo Alvarez fit into Kreis’ system? How will LA Galaxy signings Buddle and Vayrynen fare this year?W hat do you think of Audi partnering with MLS?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. MLS needs to go over these loans with afine tooth comb. For some reason some of dont trust the wall between the two teams…andit seems like a valid reason

  2. Sebastian Velasquez is getting no mention anywhere for NYCFC, i think he can have a big year

    • This was my exact thought too.

      Is this a 54,000 seat sell out or the 21,000 seat variety?

      I’ll just make the assumption that it’s the 21,000 kind and hoped to be surprised when I tune in to watch the game.

      I’m betting it’s only 21,000 though, which is kinda meh.

  3. Sponsorship deals, 100 million expansion fees, 19,000 attendance , tv contract and you don’t even double the salary cap. Crazy.

    • Agreed. MLS signs all these deals but won’t invest on their teams. Yet, Garber wonders why MLS is losing TV ratings and sells merchandise to Euro leagues and MX, in U.S., and continue to look mediocre in CONCACAF’s Champions League.

    • I’m not sure you can really quantify this point in dollar amounts and have it make sense. Frankly, without profitability numbers, it’s all just vague…. kinda like saying “well that number sure looks big”…. big compared to what?

      Expansion fees are irrelevant to wages. These are one-time payments that can’t be relied on to pay operating costs. For example you could just as easily argue that the amount owners have spent (and continue to spend) building stadiums is far greater than the amounts generated from new franchise fees. This argument doesn’t help the players.

      Sponsorships like the one with Audi are not that lucrative– most reports have the number around $2 to $2.5 million per year… or perhaps a $1 million or so increase per year over the VW contract it is replacing. Hardly a game-changer or a source of big salary increases for players.

      The TV money is also pretty mediocre, though this is where the “big upside” lies in the future. $80-90 million per year is laughably small in the context of American sports. When MLS finally gets a big-money $500mm-$1bn deal, then you will have the sort of money to pay world-class salaries for full teams.

      Ultimately, it’s about getting to the point where all the teams make positive operating income. The good news? It’s not that far away…. based on the Forbes estimates, over half the teams are now making modest positive profits. Within 3-5 years, this may be 90-100%. Once this happens, I think you will see a much better environment for getting the players paid.

      • No doubt, but the argument is that you have to spend money to grow the league. If they wait until everyone is profitable and stable, MLS may never become a top league. The question is whether the league has an opportunity here to take the next step and drop the salary restraints so they can compete globally or whether they’re not ready yet. The current deal pretty much condemns them to being a 3rd/4th tier feeder league for the next 5 years and probably more, since without spending big money on salaries, they won’t be able to attract the top talent that will drive TV ratings and their next TV deal probably won’t be a huge step forward, which means their next CBA won’t be a big change either so it becomes a self perpetuating cycle. At some point, they will probably have to drop the safety net in order to take that big leap. The question is whether it should have been with this CBA. Was this a huge missed opportunity?

        My only hope is that the owners will be more aggressive in tweaking the DP rule to bring in more stars without them crippling the team in terms of their cap. If you have 5 or 6 top players on every team, that could really help grow the league and that is something the owners could institute themselves without collective bargaining.

      • Well observed and articulated. My argument within this framework is that MLS is clearly (in my view, anyway) not ready to make that “jump” yet, and that any significant spike in player spending is unlikely to be rewarded with a commensurate boost in top line revenue.

        My reason for feeling this way is fairly straightforward and effectively boils down to league-level TV revenues (which actually can’t be increased during the CBA period, but we’ll leave that aside). In order for MLS to command “serious” national TV revenues, it’s not about simply increasing the quality of the soccer a bit and adding some stars. This might improve the quality compared to its global peers, but it would not make much difference in displacing MLS’s “true” competition on a time slots basis, which is actually American sports like (NFL/college football, some baseball, etc.). These big-money sports are very deeply entrenched and I suspect there really is no way to accelerate this through simple spending — it’s requires a degree of cultural transformation (which is happening, I believe, but still a long way from done). No matter what, it will be slow… perhaps even generational– but the money is HUGE and once it happens the league will be unstoppable.

        So I preach patience here, and slow improvement. No need to abaondon the strategy while the growth is still coming along well in the non-TV rev streams. TV was always going to lag.

      • Diego and Tom, thanks for the great discussion on this.
        Regarding the ways to accelerate the process, I think it boils down to demand.
        The generation thing is big, so is the TV piece for MLS, but also key is the wall to wall coverage of the top 4 leagues in the states now, and the cultural impact and learning that comes with being able to actually watch the best play all the time, just like it has for American kids in the other sports here in America since sports TV started, and how that accelerates things conceptually and developmentally. All that on top of the big commercial that TV coverage is, something the American sports landscape simply did not have not too long ago

        we’ll see where it all goes. the growth arc has been nice to see and exciting to experience through its various developmental stages from nothing to now, and better equipped now to keep on truckin

      • $90 million from TV divided by 20 teams equals $4.5 million per team.
        That pays for the team salary cap plus $1 million, or the cost of one or half of one DP. Remember that the measly increase to the salary cap is back loaded. If you pro-rate the expansion fees over 5 years (because within 5 years at least one and probably up to 4 franchises will be added), the $200 million from Orlando and NYFC equals another $2 million per year per club, or enough to pay for another DP. So, almost all the team’s salary is paid for without a single ticket being sold. Your argument doesn’t fly in the face of the actual numbers.. As currently set up, most every MLS team is now set up to make money unless they are mismanaged.

      • A lot of problems with this accounting.

        You are assuming player salaries are the only expense of the team. Really, they are not even close. Operating expenses are generally about $20-30 mm per team, of which salary is a mere $3-4 mm… the rest of the staff (usually about 30 FT employees), leases, marketing, youth infrastructure… it all has to be paid from revenue.

        Treating franchise fees as operating income simply doesn’t work. For starters, you’d have to keep selling franchises forever, which is a dysfunctional business model (effectively a Ponzi scheme). Moreover, if you are counting one-time fees as regular income, then you really should be even-handed and count stadium expenses as well (these are larger, as the avg cost of a new stadium has been $150mm)

        Really, you should check out the Forbes article (I’ve included a link below). The numbers are almost certainly not exactly right, but they are close enough to illustrate the principal. MLS is approaching the point you are talking about, but I don’t think you can argue they are all the way there yet.

      • Well, that article, which is almost a year and a half old, states that 90% of their revenue comes from tickets, use of stadium fees for others, and other forms of in-stadium revenues. Even before the latest TV deal, according to the article, 10 of the 19 clubs were profitable. Considering that the new TV deal is about 10 X more valuable than the old one, then my guesstimate that almost all the teams are in a position to be profitable would seem very likely. As for the franchise fees, that is why I pro-rated it. Remember, I didn’t even count the money paid by the Chivas group that won’t take the field for another year at least, but is still paying for the privilege. Then, it looks like Beckham and the Miami government have just about agreed on a site for a stadium. A team there can only be a couple of years away at most. Atlanta is also definite for 2017, so that’s $300 million more in the next two to three years. And I’m not even counting another team from cities like Indianapolis, Minnesota, or Sacramento, which have all expressed interest.So, if you pro-rate those out from 2017 for 5 years, you get another $3 million per year. At the end of that 5 year period, the TV deal will have expired and you can expect a much bigger TV payout. As for the stadium cost, as the article points out, costs vary widely and where the teams control the facility, they make money renting it out for other events. And if they don’t control it, they are paying rent instead of mortgage payments. you wouldn’t have investors eager to buy in if the future wasn’t looking very profitable. I have been saying for a couple of years that I hoped the new stadiums were designed for easy expansion because I thought they were too small. Considering how attendance seems to be really taking off, I think ;that you will see US soccer attendance among the top 5 leagues in the world or even better within a few years.

      • I like this argument better, but it still has problems. And remember, I agree with you that top-to-bottom profitability is not far away, so I don’t think we are talking about a really big difference of opinion (probably a few years).

        Yes the article is a bit stale, but it is far and away the best thing out there as far as market study so until something else comes out, it’s the best we’ve got (you see it referenced often for that reason).

        The stadiums vs. franchise fees argument still doesn’t work. $150 million is simply average cost to erect the structure itself… it excludes any acquisition or ongoing land-related costs. It’s a one-time expense much like the the franchise fee is a one-time inflow.

        You just can’t use franchise fees for operating income… for starters it assumes these funds are still “there” or not already spoken for, such as to compensate losses that we already have already been borne in past years by existing owners. Owners would be perfectly justified in using the money for this reason. Very common in business to reward those who took the higher/earlier risk by at least reimbursing for losses.

        No good business uses capital infusions to fund wages unless they are still pre-revenue…this only happens for when operating businesses are failing and need to be propped up, and you never see them actually use new capital to fund wage increases (typically, workers under such scenario are accepting compensation decreases, such as the case with American automakers a few years ago)

        It’s simple, really. What you make every day on a recurring basis should fund what you pay out every day on a recurring basis. Everything that doesn’t fit this model is one-time cash and not sustainable.

        MLS is almost there but not quite.

      • i beg to differ. that is not Chris Chelios, as one of the guys biggest fans, i tried to emulate my game after the man, i can attest to that old gray haired guy not being him.

    • If there was one single characteristic of Bruce Arena’s greatness as an MLS coach, it’s his ability to find veterans to fill clearly defined roles and fit them under the cap. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him getting something useful out of Buddle.

      • You are right. Buddle may not have much to give at this point, but I am pretty sure Arena will find something to squeeze out of him. Arena is particularly good with bit-part attackers, and he has already shown he knows how to get the best out of the otherwise-mediocre Buddle (Edson will forever owe him for that World Cup ticket)

      • Edson earned the ticket on his own thank you very much. All he did was score when Becks put the ball between the spot and the 6 yard box. IIRC wasn’t he in the running for Golden Boot!

    • I think the more important acquisition is the Finnish midfielder. Having lost Donovan and traded Sarvas, they needed another midfielder and Stevie G won’t arrive until July. If this new guy has another two good years left, this is a great pickup. PSV is probably equal to or better than any MLS team, so if he was a regular there, he should be good enough to do well in MLS.

    • Buddle is top ten on the all-time scoring list and probably a future hall of famer. He may be no Ronaldo but this is an all-time MLS great you’re talking about here. He’s scored more than Wondolowski has. Give respect where it’s due.

      • Its all good to quote stats and give Edson his props but he is definitely not getting any where near the Hall if Fame unless its as a visitor.

Leave a Comment