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MLS Ticker: Timbers set to sign new DP; Torres cleared by MLS, arrives in Houston; and more

LucasMelanoLanus1PontePreta (EFE)

By DAN KARELL

The Portland Timbers are reportedly the latest MLS club to take advantage of the league’s new target allocation money rule.

According to SI.com, the Timbers have signed Argentine forward Lucas Melano to a four-year contract after paying a $5 million transfer fee, paid for solely by the Timbers. Melano will reportedly be paid in the region of $1 million per year, and the team holds an option year on the contract.

The Timbers, who have yet to comment on the report publicly, are reportedly set to announce the signing at a press conference on Friday.

Melano, 22, becomes the Timbers’ third Designated Player, after the club used their target allocation money to buy down the salary cap hit of forward Fanendo Adi. Based on figures provided by the MLS Players Union, Adi held a guaranteed salary of $580,800 as of September 2014.

So far in 2015, Melano has scored five goals in 14 league matches for Lanus, under former Columbus Crew star Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Melano has been with Lanus since 2013, and helped lead the team to a Copa Sudamericana title in 2013.

Here are some more stories to catch you up around MLS:

TORRES ARRIVES IN HOUSTON, CLEARED TO PLAY BY MLS

Erick “Cubo” Torres has arrived in Houston, ready to finally begin life as a member of the Houston Dymano.

But more importantly for him, MLS has allowed him to do so.

In addition to announcing his arrival, MLS stated in a long press release that after an independent investigation into allegations of sexual assault by Torres, the league came to the same conclusion as the attorney general for the Mexican state of Jalisco, who approved the Guadalajara district attorney’s recommendation to close the investigation and clear Torres of wrongdoing.

“MLS also initiated its own review of the findings of the Mexican authorities and engaged an independent legal firm in Mexico (LVWHB Abogados) to assist with that review,” the league wrote. “According to Mexican Law for the State of Jalisco, such local counsel was granted permission from Mr. Torres to have access to the official investigation file and to review copies of the findings. The files included evidence such as the toxicology and psychology reports, independent witness statements, text messages, and interview transcriptions.

“Based on the conclusions reached by the District Attorney of Guadalajara and the Attorney General for the State of Jalisco to close the investigation, along with the review conducted by MLS’ independent legal firm in Mexico, the league is clearing Mr. Torres to play for the Houston Dynamo.”

The district attorney stated on June 19 that evidence reviewed in the case had found Torres innocent of the alleged crime.

Torres could make his Dynamo debut next Tuesday in the U.S. Open Cup against Sporting Kansas City, or on July 25 against the LA Galaxy at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

POWELL, TAYLOR RETURN FROM GOLD CUP

Hours after reportedly walking out on his teammates in Toronto, Portland Timbers right back Alvas Powell became one of Jamaica’s two replacements between the group stage and knockout stage of the Gold Cup.

According to the Jamaican Observer, Powell walked out of the Jamaican team hotel in Toronto on Wednesday following a 1-0 victory over El Salvador, citing an unhappiness in his lack of playing time. Powell’s agent, former MLS forward Damani Ralph, didn’t necessarily confirm the report, but admitted that it was a “sad time” for Powell and for the Jamaican National Team.

On Thursday, Powell, and Houston Dynamo defender Jermaine Taylor were released back to their clubs. In their place are a pair of U.S. college players, Sean McFarlane from Florida International University and Omar Holness from the University of North Carolina.

FRENCH MIDFIELDER TRAINING WITH EARTHQUAKES

The San Jose Earthquakes could be adding their second Frenchman to their roster this summer.

Veteran midfielder Mathieu Coutadeur has been training with the Earthquakes for the past week, according to French publication L’Equipe, and Coutadeur even featured for the Earthquakes in their International Champions Cup match against Club America last Tuesday, coming on as a halftime substitute.

Coutadeur, 29, is a free agent after spending the last four seasons at FC Lorient. Last season, the central midfielder only played 12 times in all competitions for Lorient. He previously played for AS Monaco and Le Mans.

L’Equipe’s report states that while nothing has been decided yet in relation to a contract offer from MLS, he is on the radar of multiple MLS teams over the past year.

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What do you think of these reports? Excited to see another Argentine come to MLS? Do you see Melano helping improve the Timbers’ stuttering attack? When do you see Torres making his debut?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. With all the big debuts I forgot about Cubo. Exciting times in MLS….Prilo, Lampard, Gerrard, dos Santos, Cubo. Spending all the money on attacking DP’s makes for lots of fun attacking play.

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  2. My friend who is a huge Chicago Fire fan but who’s also frequently inebriated just told me that Drogba has been hanging around Chicago and will be making a move to the Fire. Anyone hearing this?

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    • The Drogba thing would have been cool 5 years ago. The man is almost 38 years old! If they do sign him to a DP contract. your friend will need a large amount of hootch to get over the disappointment.

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    • I’ve seen this in the MLS FB page and somewhere else too…where there’s smoke there’s the Chicago Fire?

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  3. Damani Ralph is now an agent? He was one of my favorite players when he was with the Fire. Always wondered what happened to him.

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  4. “youth movement” my ass, then why can’t they pick up a young 22 year old DP like this guy then?

    it seems they are just being cheap, while everyone else loads up their teams, this will really start lowering the fan base over time, and it is tough to get them back – think US car companies after years of unreliable cars, they still have not caught back up even though supposedly now doing a better job decades later…

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  5. Meanwhile, Ali Curtis and RBNY remain busy counting all the money they did not have to spend this year on Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill. I understand and appreciate the willingness to build on youth and from within — Davis, Wallace, et al. — but it seems like they are making up for the missteps of the bad old days (over-reliance on big names from the outside) and gone to the other extreme. It is easy to get the feeling that Curtis’s references to the “right” DP mean somebody who will come cheap and won’t be quite good enough to upset the youth movement.

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    • This is all about saving money. Signing 2 more DPs wouldn’t do a thing to upset the youth movement. I doubt it’ll ever be realistic to have 11 homegrowns in the lineup so they will always have to look outside the club for players to some degree. Plus, right now they are playing scrubs like Perrinelle, Grella etc. They aren’t young (or good) so why not bring in DPs? Also, at a minimum, add some depth. There’s a big drop off after the first 11-14 guys.

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  6. Option years on contracts are meaningless. FIFA doesn’t recognize them, so the player is free to play anywhere else in the world, besides another MLS team if they a team tries to lock in their option.

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    • Except that even though FIFA says that they do enforce them or else why did Chivas pay a transfer fee for Salcedo or why was a fee paid for Camilo. Oh and btw, you see option years on contracts in Europe and South America too.

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  7. Interesting development in Portland. Another Argentine from Lanus, and only 22 years old. Can’t say I blame them for going back to that source given Valeri’s success. Hope he works out for them.

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    • 5 in 14 for one of the best teams in South America?–What’s not to like. His transfer fee is fairly steep, but yearly salary isn’t bad for a DP. If he’s even half as good as Valeri, it looks like a pretty good deal to me.

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      • The, quite possibly valid, argument is that the rule doesn’t come into effect in the first place if dos Santos doesn’t want to come to the Galaxy.

        The also quite possibly valid counter argument to that is that the rule would have been made to accommodate dos Santos regardless of which team he wanted to play for.

        In any case, Portland’s signing doesn’t really say anything about either argument.

      • I think we ought to just call it the Dos Santos Rule, or DSR for short. That’s easier than writing out its formal, actual name and people will know what you’re talking about immediately.

      • It already has a name. It’s call TAM. First – this concept was developed by MLS over a period of time. Galaxy were just smart enough to use it to keep Omar Gonzalez paid what he’s owed while adding Dos Santos. Anyone else on their toes could have figured this out, and still can (see the Portland signing above).

        The important thing to note about this new targeted allocation money (“TAM”) is that it goes away if you don’t use it. The league has created a $10m fund specifically for player salaries. Each team gets an equal slice of the pie for this year. But if you don’t use it, it goes away next year. The idea is to get ALL teams to spend money on players, not just the Galaxy and the Sounders. (Are you listening, Philadelphia? Are you listening, New England?)

        You can cry foul and blame the Galaxy, but really this is to try to force the Kraft family and their ilk to spend the way the big teams do.

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