According to a source, New York Red Bull has asked, and
been refused, permission to talk to Fire head coach Juan Carlos Osorio
. But that's not the end of it, not by a long shot.
The source says
Red Bull, while not ready to pay Osorio the salary it forked out for Bruce Arena
(between $500,000 and $600,000, depending on results), it is prepared to
perhaps double the value of his current deal. Osorio is making "in the low 200s" at Chicago, according to the source.
Osorio left Colombian club Millonarios to take the Fire
job, and if he bolts for New York the Fire would lose a major impetus (along with Mexican star Cuauhtemoc Blanco
) for its strong late-season run to reach the playoffs and upset D.C.
United in the conference semifinals. Even if Osorio prefers not to leave, Red Bull bidding could give him leverage in asking Andell Holdings, which purchased the team from AEG a few months ago, for
a better deal.
Midfielder Chris Armas
has retired and veteran Diego Gutierrez
has been left unprotected
in the expansion draft, so player decisions need to be made rather quickly. Gutierrez isn't sure if the team is planning to pick up the option on his contract, which has one more year to run.
Teams must inform players by the end of November if options are not being renewed.
The Galaxy extracted a third-round draft pick out of San Jose to let the Quakes take Frank Yallop
rather than being forced to fire him. Los Angeles asked for San Jose's DP slot and after general manager John
stopped laughing, he said, "No."
Chicago has nothing but praise for Osorio but he's got some leverage, either way.