Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
2. MLS REPORT: Early salvos
February 23rd, 2007 2:33AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

By Ridge Mahoney
Senior Editor


Less than a month into preseason, Real Salt Lake coach John Ellinger is questioning his latest experiment with a 3-5-2 formation, and Toronto supremo Mo Johnston axed three trialists for stinking up the place while mentioning more than a few of the bodies still on the roster weren't doing much better.

This is good. Volatility at any stage of the season, even preseason, livens up the often staid world of Major League Soccer.

NEW ADU. One beneficiary of RSL playing five in midfield would be, of course, Freddy Adu, as the additional support would enable him to concentrate on ripping open the opposition as designated playmaker. Whether he's ready to assume that role at this point in his career is as much a function of the league's style and his teammates' ability as it is his own talents and experience. Of the playmakers in MLS - Dwayne DeRosario, Christian Gomez, Amado Guevara, Justin Mapp, Andy Dorman, Jose Cancela, Andy Williams about exhaust the list - only the first two are bonafide stars, with Guevara capable of regaining that status with a move to Chivas USA. (Guevara's MVP award two years ago notwithstanding.)

It's way too early to panic, yet Ellinger certainly is under some pressure. He is in the final year of a three-year contract, Adu's arrival adds another complex, glaringly visible element to his task, and now that the RSL stadium issue is finally resolved, the considerable press coverage - several reporters were on hand to track the team's visit to Florida - will focus all the more on the team's performance.

That Ellinger has a strong cast of midfielders isn't in dispute. Preseason is the time to try out various formations and combinations. But of the three teams (Kansas City and Columbus are the others) that have failed to reach the playoffs the past two years, only Ellinger has been in charge since 2005.

MO KNOWS. Junaid Hartley (South Africa), Garfield Reid (Jamaica) and Hector Hurtado (Colombia) were sent home earlier this week from Toronto's training camp in Sunrise, Fla.

Toronto FC lost to the Canadian under-20s, 2-1, on Tuesday, and Johnston mentioned a few of them looked better than his group, several of whom play for the full national team. Thursday, TFC rebounded to outscore the U-20s, 3-0, in two 30-minute scrimmages. Probably not a coincidence.
Johnston has been putting the players through double sessions and even a few triples. The grueling, intense work is being directed by strength and conditioning coach Paul Winsper, who has worked with several English clubs.

From the Telling It Like It Is Dept. (Preseason Section), comes this observation from Canadian international midfielder Jim Brennan on what aspect of camp he dislikes the most: "The training. I hate preseason."

On the front-office front, the team has sold 12,500 season tickets and is probably destined to become the first team in league history to cap season-ticket sales. That's an amazing accomplishment, and Johnston knows with big crowds and intense media scrutiny come high standards.

DAMAGED GOODS? Just a few months after helping Houston win MLS Cup 2006, midfielder/defender Adrian Serioux has been diagnosed with knee problems that will require surgery and at least four months of recovery.

Serioux was claimed by Toronto in the expansion draft and traded to FC Dallas for Ronnie O'Brien. He had a history of knee ailments while in England with Millwall, yet he not only came through the season with Houston, he'd trained with the Canadian national team before joining Dallas for preseason training. Obviously, somebody missed something.

While medical exams are a routine procedure when a player is transferred or otherwise changes clubs in most countries, they haven't always been conducted in MLS. In the first decade of league operations, players being traded while injured caused some friction between clubs.

And Toronto learned his week that No. 1 overall SuperDraft pick Maurice Edu has a fractured pelvis and will be out a month or so. Not a good start to a very talented young man's pro career.


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Woodwork can't hold down USA     
[CONCACAF WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP] About the only thing that stood in the way of the U.S. women's ...
Fire goes out with late win over Houston    
[MLS: Friday] Frenchman Florent Sinama-Pongolle made sure Chicago did not finish the MLS season with another ...
James' skills highlight Real Madrid pre-clasico practice    
[VIDEO PICK: Skills] The Real Madrid-Barcelona clasico delivers entertainment even before kickoff. Here's a 40-second peek ...
What They're Saying: Luis Suarez    
"Everyone has different ways of defending themselves. In my case, the pressure and tension came out ...
Ft. Lauderdale is ready for challenge against red-hot Eddies    
[NASL: Week 16] Minnesota United FC and the 2013 champion New York Cosmos played to a ...
Finlay signs new deal with Columbus    
[MLS TRANSACTIONS] For helping drive Columbus into the playoffs after a two-year absence, midfielder Ethan Finlay ...
Referee suspended after felony arrest on fraud charges    
[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Referee Jose Carlos Rivero, who has worked 17 MLS matches in 2014, has been ...
Wambach nominated for Women's Player of the Year    
[AWARDS] Abby Wambach, who leads the U.S. women with 10 goals but is no longer a ...
Soccer America Men's Top 25 Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Thursday] Seyi Adekoya teamed up with fellow freshman Chase Gasper to break a 1-1 tie ...
What They're Saying: Sunil Gulati    
"None of this is personal. Some things could have been phrased differently because the actual opinions ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives