[MLS 2014 COUNTDOWN]As MLS training camps opened around the country, clubs confirmed the departures of more players. Veteran Italian keeper Carlo Cudicini, who endured a rough season with the LA Galaxy, won't be back, nor will midfielder Michael Stephens.
MLS Preseason: Schedule
Their departures follow that of six other players. The eight played a total of 149 games for the Galaxy in 2013.
LA Galaxy (Players Out):
GP PLAYER (NEW TEAM)
33 Sean Franklin (D.C. United)
26 Hector Jimenez (Columbus)
22 Jose Villarreal (loan to Cruz Azul)
21 Carlo Cudicini
21 Michael Stephens
11 Colin Clark
6 Laurent Courtois
Report:Toronto Star columnist Cathal Kelly has the inside story on Toronto FC's signings of Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe, a must-read for anyone who follows MLS. The story could be called the "Tim and Tim Show" as MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke and Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko worked the deals.
Their initial targets included Italians Rolando Bianchi, Fabio Quagliarella and Alberto Gilardino, but they soon focused their attention on Defoe, who plays for Tottenham. Leiweke used props (a personalized club jersey for Defoe when they met a London hotel, flowers from Drake for Defoe's mother Sandra at the Ritz when she visited Toronto in November, and a Maple Leafs’ jersey emblazoned with Defoe’s name hung in every stall when she toured the locker room) and enlisted the support of LeBron James, who came over to Sandra sitting courtside during a Raptors-Heat game and told her her son would be happy in Toronto.
Bradley's signing, on the other hand, came out of the blue as Bradley's agent, Ron Waxman, sought out Bezbatchenko by text after Christmas with the idea of the U.S. midfielder leaving Roma and returning to MLS. The big mystery of the Bradley sweepstakes: Waxman told Kelly one other team was prepared to match Toronto's bid but Bradley wasn’t interested in going to that club, no matter what the offer.
JOSEPH ABSENT.Veteran midfielder Shalrie Joseph, who earned MLS Best XI honors with New England four times, was not with the Seattle Sounders as camp opened, and Coach Sigi Schmid told reporters "right now he’s not really in our plans."
PABLO IS IN CHARGE.With the departure of head coach Oscar Pareja to FC Dallas and his No. 1 assistant, Wilmer Cabrera, to Chivas USA, the Colorado Rapids are still searching for a coach. When they open practice on Wednesday at their Dick's Sporting Goods Park complex, former player Pablo Mastroeniwill be in charge of practice. He was recently named special assistant to technical director Paul Bravoand he's been mentioned as a possible replacement for Cabrera.