Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Boom and bust for first-year imports
by Paul Kennedy, April 29th, 2014 10:42PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS SPOTLIGHT] How tough is it to break into MLS? Even for big-name imports, there is often a period of adjustment. Just 18 first-year players signed from foreign clubs have played more than half the time for their new MLS clubs. While Jermain Defoe has been injured and Designated Player signings like Gilberto and Andres Escobar have gone without scoring, other, lesser known players have contributed in big ways to the early success of their clubs.

One can think of Costa Rican defenders Waylon Francis and Giancarlo Gonzalez and American keeper Steve Clark, who all started every game for the Columbus Crew, first in the Eastern Conference.

No player has been a bigger surprise than Gonzalo Pineda, who was signed by the Seattle Sounders three days before their opener and only got a chance to play when Brad Evans was injured. The former Mexican international quit the Liga MX last season because of a sports hernia and almost gave up soccer after a tryout last year at Chicago.

Economic troubles in Spain mean lots of players are looking for security abroad, and Cristian at D.C. United, Armando at New York and Jose Mari at Colorado have translated moves to MLS into starting jobs. But all moves have not panned out. A fourth Spaniard, Daniel Fragoso, is already out of MLS after being released following just 11 minutes of action.

Vincent Nogueira
and Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi both left starting jobs at small French clubs for the American dream, but while Nogueira has played every minute for the Philadelphia Union, Pierazzi lost his starting job in midfield at San Jose two weeks ago to rookie JJ Koval.

Argentines were supposed to turn around Philadelphia and Chivas USA and put Portland over the top, but the first two clubs have one victory each and the Timbers are still winless.

Leandro Barrera and Agustin Pelletieri have played well for Chivas USA, but DP Cristian Maidana has been in and out of the Union lineup. The same goes for Gaston Fernandez and Norberto Paparatto at Portland. Fernandez has three goals for the Timbers, but Paparatto has come under lots of criticism for his shaky play in the middle of the Portland backline.

FC Dallas has arguably been the hottest team in MLS over the first two months, but it has done it without much support from Uruguayan forward David Texeira (one goal in 298 minutes) and none from Colombian winger Andres Escobar (38 minutes), playing on a DP salary on loan from Dynamo Kiev.

The inconsistency has been evident in the play of Uruguayans Sebastian Fernandez and Nicolas Mezquida and Chilean Pedro Morales at Vancouver, but when they have been on they've looked tremendous. Fernandez has two great goals, while Morales has contributed a goal and two assists.



Perhaps the best first-year import has been Swede Stefan Ishizaki, who has two goals and two assists in two starts for the LA Galaxy. His excellent passing skills contributed to a change in tactics -- a switch to a diamond midfield -- and personnel with Landon Donovan moving back up top for the Galaxy and a couple of other imports, Canadian Rob Friend and Brazilian Samuel, finding themselves on the bench.

2014 MLS First-Year Imports:
MIN. PLAYER, TEAM
810 Vincent Nogueira, Philadelphia-France (1 goal, 1 assist)
630 Steve Clark, Columbus-USA
630 Giancarlo Gonzalez, Columbus-Costa Rica
622 Cristian Fernandez, D.C. United-Spain
618 Agustin Pelletieri, Chivas USA-Argentina
601 Waylon Francis, Columbus-Costa Rica (1 assist)
601 Gonzalo Pineda, Seattle-Mexico (1 assist)
587 Leandro Barrera, Chivas USA-Argentina (2 assists)
544 Armando, New York-Spain
540 Julio Cesar, Toronto FC-Brazil
479 Gaston Fernandez, Portland-Argentina (3 goals)
472 Pedro Morales, Vancouver-Chile (1 goal, 1 assists)
431 Jose Mari, Colorado-Spain (2 goals)
423 Gilberto, Toronto FC-Brazil
369 Cristian Maidana, Philadelphia-Argentina (2 assists)
362 Bradley Orr, Toronto FC-England
360 Thomas Piermayr, Colorado-Austria
360 Norberto Paparatto, Portland-Argentina
350 Sebastian Fernandez, Vancouver-Uruguay (2 goals)
327 Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, San Jose-France
299 Stefan Ishizaki, LA Galaxy-Sweden (2 goals, 2 assists)
298 David Texeira, FC Dallas-Uruguay (1 goal)
242 Jermain Defoe, Toronto FC-England (3 goals)
222 Issey Nakajima-Farran, Toronto FC-Canada (2 goals)
218 Benji Joya, Chicago-USA (1 goal)
180 Andreas Goerlitz, San Jose-Germany
142 Luke Moore, Chivas USA-England
132 Rob Friend, LA Galaxy-Canada (1 assist)
121 Yannick Djalo, San Jose-Portugal (1 goal)
110 Samuel, LA Galaxy-Brazil
103 Adolfo Bautista, Chivas USA-Mexico (1 assist)
56 Nicolas Mezquida, Vancouver-Uruguay
54 Antonio Dovale, Sporting KC-Spain
39 Santiago Gonzalez, Montreal-Uruguay
38 Andres Escobar, FC Dallas-Colombia
11 *Daniel Fragoso, Chivas USA-Spain
*Released.
Note: Players in bold have played more than half the time for their team.


No comments yet.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
U.S. Abroad: Gator star Jordan heads to Glasgow City    
Savannah Jordan, the first University of Florida player who was named an NSCAA All-American four times, ...
U.S. Abroad: Hyndman, Arriola, Yedlin set up winners    
Emerson Hyndman came off the bench to steal the ball and set up Kenny Miller for ...
What They're Saying: Dax McCarty    
"To my beautiful wife: Not only did I postpone our honeymoon, I also told you we ...
Video Pick: Self-assisted free-kick volley is gamewinner    
Our favorite goal of the weekend comes from a 24-yard free kick in England's second tier. ...
U.S. Abroad: Young signs with Werder Bremen    
Isaiah Young became the sixth American from the high school class of 2016 to join a ...
Video Pick: Lewy volleys twice for Bayern    
Bayern Munich is the Bundesliga "fall champion" thanks to a 2-1 comeback win over Freiburg on ...
What They're Saying: Joe Greenspan    
"Luckily, the higher ups in the Navy and the government made the decision to say we ...
Orlando City: Kaka has no plans of leaving    
Kaka says offseason reports out of Brazil that he'll leave Orlando City at the end of ...
Canada: Ten MLS players named for Bermuda friendly    
Toronto FC teammates Jonathan Osorio and Tosiant Ricketts lead a Canada squad that includes younger players ...
MLS Expansion: Tuesday is key day for stadium projects    
MLS expansion bidders are rushing to garner support for their stadium plans before the league's Jan. ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives