1. New York City shores up the backline.
The building of any MLS expansion team is an intriguing process to watch, so varied are the acquisition procedures available and styles envisioned by head coaches.
His success in transforming Real Salt Lake from an expansion straggler to elite team and the backing of Manchester City’s ownership group shone the spotlight quite brightly on Jason Kreis at New York City FC, which endured an 11-game winless streak before posting back-to-back victories.
Kreis has bolstered his squad with two defenders from the opposite extremes of age and background. Veteran defender Andoni Iraola has been signed on a free transfer from Athletic Bilbao and Manchester City youth product Jose Angel Tasende (known as Angelino) has been acquired on loan.
Iraola, 32, played 510 games and scored 38 goals for Bilbao over the past 12 seasons. He has played against NYCFC forward David Villa in La Liga and with him on Spain’s national team.
“I think it’s fantastic to be able to add a player with that much experience and quality at a critical time of the season,” Kreis said in a press release announcing the deals. “We are adding a versatile player like Andoni who is comfortable playing in a number of different positions within the team. We are adding a great professional and a very experienced player.”
Angelino, 18, is a Spanish youth international and a member of City’s Elite Development Squad (EDS). He follows in the footsteps of Shawn Facey, an EDS player who has appeared eight times on loan for NYCFC this season.
They will be eligible to play when the domestic transfer window opens July 8.
2. Sporting KC's Myers ends long absence.
It’s been a long road back for SKC defender Chance Myers, whose return from one of the more devastating injuries an athlete can suffer has taken more than a year.
He was sidelined since suffering a torn left Achilles tendon on May 23, 2014, until Tuesday night when he played 55 minutes as SKC beat Saint Louis FC in a U.S. Open Cup fourth-round match.“The biggest challenge is going to be game fitness,” Myers toldkansascity.com. “Training is a lot different than a game. You get breaks to battle fatigue. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Myers, 27, took over the starting job at right back in 2011 and played 92 games before suffering the injury. This season, Jalil Anibaba -- who has played in the middle as well as on the outside -- has been starting most of the games at right back.
SKC resumes league play Sunday at Real Salt Lake riding a seven-game unbeaten streak in MLS play. Myers didn’t get a lot of publicity during the team’s championship run in 2013 but after playing 27 regular-season games he played every minute in the playoffs.
Said coach Peter Vermes, '“Leadership is something I think maybe is not used a lot when you mention his name, but for us, his leadership is a big piece that we’ve missed for awhile.”
Several times in the past two weeks, MLS president Mark Abbott has reiterated the league’s stance that Minnesota United, which was announced in March as a MLS expansion team, must have a detailed stadium financing plan in place.
“July 1 is the deadline that we put out there in March, and it remains the deadline,” Abbott told the Star-Tribune on Monday. “We’re going to decide [what happens next] on July 1, or closer to July first.”
The Minnesota Legislature adjourned for the summer in May without considering a package of subsidies and property tax breaks being sought by the ownership group headed by former healthcare executive Bill McGuire. A sales tax exemption on construction materials would have saved about $3 million and waived property taxes would further cut costs. The stadium’s construction is expected to cost about $150 million. McGuire says his group will pay for the stadium with private funds and wants the concessions to increase the team’s chances of making a profit.
During a visit to San Jose in late May, Abbott was vague as to what might happen if the deadline isn’t met.
4. Akindele, Larin on target for Canada.
A 4-0 defeat of Dominica at BMO Field in Toronto on Tuesday propelled Canada into the third round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying on aggregate, 6-0.
Canada jumped on top with first-half goals from Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas) and Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC). Tosaint Ricketts, who plays in Israel for Hapoel Haifa, scored his ninth and 10th goals for Canada in the second half.Akindele and Larin are contributing to the Canadian team very early in their international careers. They scored in both legs of the series against Dominica. Akindele's goals came in his first two appearances after committing to Canada, while Larin had scored three goals in as many games. Akindele also set up the Ricketts’ first goal by delivering a precise low cross, and TFC midfielder Jonathan Osorioslipped a through ball for Ricketts to score his second.
Canada’s next qualifying opponent will be known after a draw on July 25, and the games will be played in September. The six winners of the September series will join the six seeds in the Concacaf semifinals that begin in November.
5. Revs finally cut ties to Bengtson.
Signed as a midseason Designated Player midway through the 2012 season, Jerry Bengtson never found his feet in MLS and on Tuesday the Revs officially severed their relationship.
The Revs sent him on loan to Argentine club Belgrano last summer after he scored just four goals in 36 appearances (23 starts) for New England. His playing time had dwindled as New England bolstered its attacking corps with the emergence of Diego Fagundez, acquisitions of Lee Nguyen and Charlie Davies and return of Juan Agudelo. He scored one goal in seven games last season before going on loan.
Bengtson's 2013 salary was only $138,840 but he counted as a DP because of other costs associated with his acquisition. The Honduran international represented his country at the 2012 Olympic Games and 2014 World Cup.