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3. MLS: Players on the move
December 14th, 2006 2AM
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By Ridge Mahoney

NATE DOWN TO ONE. Agent Pat McCabe says by the weekend Nate Jaqua will know if he has found a club in Europe. There supposedly had been interest from several clubs but apparently the choices have been boiled down to one, which McCabe would not specify.

"There is no resolution yet on Nate," said McCabe in an e-mail. "He has identified the club he would like to play for and we hope for an agreement in the next few days."

If nothing materializes, according to sources -- not McCabe -- Jaqua will become the property of his third MLS team in three weeks, the Galaxy. A trade has been in place since Toronto FC claimed him from Chicago in the expansion draft, with Los Angeles giving Toronto FC a portion of the major allocation it received for missing the playoffs.

"My gut feeling is that he'll be back in MLS," says Fire coach Dave Sarachan, who says a forward will be on his shopping list next month at the MLS SuperDraft. "Everyone has different motivations when they go over and with Nate, obviously he'd like to make more money. I don't think money is the driving factor, for some players it is.

"It's a combination of a lot of things: the opportunity, the ability he's able to do it now because he's out of contract, his age, maybe a little bit of the money. It's more about the experience."

Sarachan used Jaqua at right midfield, rather than at his preferred forward spot, much of last season. And the coach might find a forward without the draft, as Brian McBride is probably bound for MLS this summer. He grew up in Arlington Heights, Ill.

The Crew would certainly like McBride back and sits No. 2 on the allocation list with the major allocation it received for missing the playoffs last season. Chicago ranks 12th on the current MLS allocation list. It has yet to use the most of the major allocation it received in 2005 when Damani Ralph was sold to Russian club FC Rubin Kazan.

MLS is still formulating procedures to avoid conflicts between teams using the Designated Player option and those using allocations. But in the case of U.S. players -- such as McBride or Claudio Reyna -- whose contracts expire next summer, the allocation procedure shall prevail.

KEEPER SHUFFLE. Several clubs bid for Galaxy keeper Kevin Hartman in the wake of the trade that brought Joe Cannon back to California (he played for Coach Frank Yallop in San Jose in 2001 and 2002) but the Gato Sweepstakes is apparently going to be won by Kansas City.

The Wizards hold the third pick in each of the SuperDraft's four rounds next year and were discussing, according to a source, trading one of them to Los Angeles and in another round swapping places with the Galaxy, which has six selections overall and picks fifth and 10th in the first round. LA also has two picks in the second round. But the source admitted this hadn't been finalized and picks in 2008 have also been discussed.

Los Angeles is the only team with two first-round picks. All the other teams except the Red Bulls have one. The draft is scheduled for Jan. 12 in Indianapolis.

PABLO. Italian club Brescia has renewed efforts to acquire Rapids midfielder Pablo Mastroeni in the January transfer window. As reported in the Confidential at the time, a loan offer was turned down by MLS in late August.

Rapids coach Fernando Clavijo stated at the time he didn't want Mastroeni leaving during the season but wouldn't block an offseason move. He's also aware a transfer would net him a major allocation.

A source says Brescia, which is trying to earn promotion back to Serie A, has upped its original offer of $750,000, perhaps doubling it.

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