[MLS 2013 COUNTDOWN]The rumor mill is working overtime, like Red Bull management seemingly is, as the search for a New York Red Bulls head coach continues. The latest names being tossed around: a coach whose team has the worst defensive record in the English Premier League, an MLS coach who didn't last into the summer in his one season in charge, and a former U.S. international whose only professional head coaching experience is as an interim coach in the NASL?
(UPDATE: The Red Bulls have a head coach. They've removed the tag of "interim coach" and named Mike Petke, an assistant in 2012, as its head coach for the 2013 season.)
Scotsman Paul Lambert is the manager at Aston Villa, which is one point out of the relegation zone in the EPL after a recent run of crushing defeats. Lambert got the Villa job after doing an impressive job at Norwich City, but Villa has won just four of 23 games. He is on thin ice following Villa's humiliating exit to Bradford City in the Capital One Cup semifinals.
Perhaps the most curious name of the three is Icelandic coach Teitur Thordarson, who coached the Vancouver Whitecaps in the U.S. Soccer D-2 League and until May of their first season in MLS. His connection to the Red Bulls: he played for Red Bull director of global soccer Gerard Houllier at French club Lens in 1981. Most of the 61-year-old Thordarson's coaching career was spent in Scandinavia.
Eric Wynalda was last week named the technical director of the Atlanta Silverbacks, whom he helped turn around last season before handing over the reins to Brian Haynes. Wynalda had talked with the Red Bulls earlier about their vacancy but was considered a long shot for the job. The Fox Soccer analyst, who has battled MLS establishment, says his work last year for Atlanta and Open Cup sensation Cal FC made him fall in love with the game again and wasn't bitter about being passed over for various MLS jobs in the past.
-- The Red Bulls came to a deal with defender Wilman Conde to mutually agree to terminate his contract. Conde's one season with the Red Bulls was, to say the least, a bust. He was often injured, was arrested for assault in an incident at his New Jersey apartment and had a run-in with Red Bulls star Thierry Henry. He had been a Best XI pick in 2009 with Chicago.
CHIVAS USA.Chivas USA's plans for a makeover mean -- no surprise here -- that veteran midfielder Shalrie Joseph won't be with the team in 2013. Coach Jose Luis Sanchez toldmlssoccer.com the former New England star is not in his plans. “He showed up the first day with an injury and after that has not returned,” El Chelis said. “Maybe he’s sick, maybe he’s injured, I don’t know what’s going on with him.”
COLUMBUS. The Crew will play a preseason exhibition game against the University of North Carolina on Feb. 24 at Macpherson Stadium in Browns Summit, N.C., with all proceeds benefiting the Crew Soccer Foundation’s Kirk Urso Memorial Fund. The Urso Fund was launched in late 2012 to support heart health research and programming in memory of the UNC and Crew midfielder who passed away at the age of 22 from a congenital heart defect last August. The match will follow an 18-day trip to Orlando, Fla. for the Disney Pro Classic.
PORTLAND.Cameroonian Franck Songo'o has been cut from the Portland Timbers just as his younger brother, Yann, arrived at Sporting Kansas City. Franck Songo'o had one goal and five assists in his first season in Portland -- good enough to probably earn a spot on another MLS club. Franck and Yann are the sons of former Cameroon goalkeeping starJacques Songo'o.
VANCOUVER.The Whitecaps have stocked up on forwards, signing a trio of players cut loose by other teams in the offseason: Corey Hertzog (New York), Tom Heinemann (Columbus) and Paulo Jr.(Real Salt Lake).