Commentary

Fowled up? Rogers Returns; Simon Says ...

According to a source, negotiations with Robbie Fowler's representatives broke down when the player's salary demands suddenly increased from $1 million to $3 million.

An unidentified MLS club (not New England) was bidding to bring Fowler to MLS as a Designated Player at a salary of approximately $1 million. Fowler's contract with Liverpool expires in June and his place with the club could be under threat with Dirk Kuyt, Robbie Crouch and Craig Bellamy already on the roster and Ukrainian Andriy Voronin arriving on a free transfer from Bayer Leverkusen in a few months.

The Revs apparently entered the picture late in the process, by which time Fowler's salary demands had terminated talks with the other MLS team. Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has said the club will offer Fowler a new deal but with several other proven forwards on the roster, unless Bellamy's recent fracas with teammate John Arne Riise prompts the club to jettison him instead, the offer may not be to his liking.

ROGERS RETURNS. Less than a year after leaving the University of Maryland for Dutch club Heerenveen with three years of eligibility remaining, Robbie Rogers has left Holland and will be placed in a special lottery among the MLS teams interested in acquiring his rights.

Rogers, a member of the U.S. U-20 team two years ago, scored seven goals and recorded five assists for the champion Terps in 2005 before signing with Heerenveen.

He never broke into Heerenveen's first team and the club has released him. Rogers had joined Heerenveen on a three-year contract. In the special lottery, conducted for players ineligible to be discovered and who were not drafted, teams interested in the player are assigned a probability in reverse order of recent performance. In this case, the probabilities will be based on last year's final placings, with expansion team Toronto at the top, as it is for the allocation and discovery lists.

With several teams in the hunt for scorers, and highly touted products of last year's college senior class - such as Charlie Davies (signed with Swedish club Hammarby) and Ryan Guy (offered a contract with St. Patrick's of the Irish League) - bypassing MLS, at least a few teams will be pondering a move for Rogers. Tops on the list is Toronto, which as an expansion team will be assigned the greatest probability if it chooses to enter the lottery.

SIMON SAYS. Also joining the list of attackers heading to Europe is Simon Omekanda, a Penn State product of Moroccan descent who was taken by Chicago in the fourth round of the SuperDraft but instead has opted to sign a three-year deal with Swedish club IF Norrkoping.

The Fire had offered him a developmental slot after he scored 20 goals and 26 assists for the Nittany Lions in his college career. Because he holds a Belgian passport, he will be registered as an EU player. He will receive free housing and a salary of $50,000 his first season.

"Simon preferred to utilize his Belgian passport rather than face the prospect of a developmental contract stateside," said agent Patrick McCabe.
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