Spanish pipeline picks up steam

[MLS 2014 COUNTDOWN] Given the economic problems facing Spanish soccer, it was only a matter of time before the exodus of players to MLS began. Not big stars like Xavi, the subject of speculation about a move to one of the New York clubs, but journeyman players who still have value in MLS. The latest to arrive: midfielder Jose Mari, who will join the Colorado Rapids in Las Vegas this week.

Jose Mari, 26, played for Zaragoza last season in La Liga and this season in the second division after it was relegated, but he had his contract terminated last week. He played 24 games in 2012-13 and 14 in 2013-14. He picked up 15 yellow cards and one red card in the 38 games.

"We're bringing him with the hopes that we can finalize a contract with him," Rapids technical director Paul Bravo said in a statement.

The New York Red Bulls recently added central defender Armando, who was most recently playing for Spanish second division club Cordoba, and D.C. United signed 28-year-old left back Christian Fernandez from La Liga's Almeria.

The best Spanish signing to date has been that of young midfielder Oriol Rosell, who left Barcelona B and started on Sporting Kansas City's MLS Cup 2013 championship team.

Preseason Action ...

CHICAGO-ORLANDO CITY. The Fire improved to 3-0-0 with a 3-0 victory over Orlando City on Tuesday evening at IMG Academy. Homegrown signing Harrison Shipp out of NCAA champion Notre Dame scored in his second straight game, while guest player Daniel Jackson and Freddie Braun also had goals.

The success of the Fire's young players and trialists will give Coach Frank Yallop a lot of thinking to do about who to cut and who to keep after Wednesday's final match in Florida against D.C. United and before the Fire heads to Tucson next week.

UNAM-LA GALAXY. The LA Galaxy lost to UNAM, 2-1, in a closed-door scrimmage played Tuesday morning in Mexico City. Rookie Kyle Venter had the lone goal for the Galaxy.

REPORT: New Swedish signing Stefan Ishizaki talked with LA Galaxy Insider's Adam Serrano about the Pumas scrimmage.

-- The Portland Timbers have added Zimbabwean forward Schillo Tshuma out of Maryland to its roster and signed Washington defender Taylor Peay, both selected in the 2014 SuperDraft.  Tshuma, selected No. 17 overall in the SuperDraft, was a Generation adidas signing by MLS after two collegiate seasons at Maryland. Peay, 22, was selected No. 26 overall.
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