A primary reason for the U.S’s decline has been strong leadership or lack thereof. The poor showing in World Cup qualifiers saw the coach Jürgen Klinsmann fired the resignation of his successor Bruce Arenas, and also the resignation of the U.S. Federation president. This continuous change in important leadership roles is certainly not healthy for U.S. soccer. However, some may argue that change in leadership can be a very good thing for U.S. soccer given their performance in qualifiers. Regardless, it’s imperative that the U.S. make smart hires and find people they are confident can lead the U.S. out of the darkness and into future glory. Change in leadership is a very bittersweet subject. Naturally, it is human nature to be optimistic of change. However, change more often than not does not yield drastically different results. Although changing the coach and president for the U.S. is a solid public relations move it’s difficult to see it significantly improving the talent at the disposal for the U.S. A prime example of this is when the U.S. in the summer of 2011 fired Bob Bradley. His tenure was actually quite successful. Among his accomplishments was winning a Gold cup and guiding the U.S. to an unlikely second place finish in the Confederations Cup including a victory over Spain effectively ending the Spaniards’ 35-game unbeaten streak and 15-game winning streak. He was subsequently replaced by legendary German coach Jürgen Klinsmann. This move was received with jubilation since many thought he could take the U.S. to the next level and transform them into one of the world’s top soccer nations. In essence, the move was reflective of the U.S.’s ambitions exciting many fans. Klinsmann was notorious for attempting to convince German players with U.S. family lineage to permanently switch their nationality to American. He was successful in many of these attempts his most notable likely being defender John Anthony Brooks. Despite the infusion of talent the U.S. was undeniably regressing. A highlight of this regression was the 2015 Gold Cup where the U.S. placed fourth. Under Bradley, the U.S. had either won the Gold Cup or at the very least made the finals. Many journalists wrote this off saying that the Gold Cup was not of that much importance. However, this poor form under Klinsmann continued through World Cup qualifiers until he was fired and replaced with Bruce Arenas. Klinsmann had failed. Despite convincing some players to switch their nationality to that of American, the U.S. did not reach the next level under Klinsmann largely because of the U.S.’s average talent. The U.S. wanted more by hiring Klinsmann but instead ended with less. In retrospect, the Bradley era was quite impressive since he did more with less talent and developed an identity for U.S. soccer. The lesson here is why fix something that was not broken. When the U.S. fired Bradley it was a very similar situation to when the Denver Nuggets of the NBA fired their head coach George Karl. The Nuggets were extremely successful under Karl however management fired him since they did not believe he was the person to take them to the next level and win a championship similarly to how the U.S. fired Bradley because they did not believe he would ever make them into a top soccer nation. The outcomes were very alike. The Nuggets posted three consecutive losing seasons after Karl was fired and the U.S. regressed to the point where they are not even good enough to qualify for the upcoming World Cup. This displays that change is not always in everyone’s best interest and instead can be very detrimental. Klinsmann went to greater lengths than many of his predecessors in his attempts to acquire more talent for the U.S. but he still failed this suggests whoever is hired to be the U.S.’s next manager will also be at mercy of the U.S.’s pedestrian talent. One can only hope that the next manager is cut from the same cloth of Bradley by reestablish U.S. soccer’s identity. In the coming years, the U.S. will see if the two steps the U.S. went backwards under Klinsmann will in fact take them one step forward.
A major concern for U.S. soccer is that while their domestic league the MLS is rapidly improving the national team is regressing. This past year was historic for the MLS. New expansions teams like Atlanta United and Los Angeles FC raised the quality of the league to unprecedented levels. However, over the last few years in the MLS the number of Americans starting in MLS lineups has been declining. This statistic indicates that the rise of the MLS is credited more so to the league’s foreign players than American players. Another statistic that supports this is that according to transfermarkt.com only four out of the top 25 most expensive players in the MLS are American. The MLS’s rise is clearly because of the introduction of better foreign players to the league than the development of American players. Thus, the MLS despite its growth is not supporting the growth of the national team. Unless MLS teams make it a priority to commit to developing American players by providing them with ample playing time the U.S. will likely not find more talent from the MLS in the coming years.
LAFC made a splash this past week when they acquired midfielder Benny Feilhaber from Sporting Kansas City in exchange for 400,000 thousand dollars in allocation money. The funds will be split evenly between general and targeted allocation money. Thus, Feilhaber will not qualify as the club’s third and final designated player. Feilhaber, who turns 33 later this month, totaled 29 goals and 41 assists across five productive seasons in Kansas City, including a 2015 campaign that placed him into the league’s most valuable player race. Feilhaber who is from Irvine, California and played his college soccer at UCLA this trade essentially represent a return home. In addition, Feilhaber is currently listed as being worth 750 thousand euros according to transfermrkt.com. The highest evaluation he has ever received across his lengthy career is 1.5 million euros. He received this evaluation while he was playing for Derby County in England and Aarhus GF in Denmark. Transfermarkt.com also ranks Feilhaber as the 142nd best player in the MLS. The method they utilize to calculate this ranking is based off worth. Feilhaber has made 44 appearances for the U.S. men’s senior national team during his career and has scored two goals. Some of his most memorable performances for the U.S. men’s national team were in fact under current LAFC manager Bob Bradley. His first goal for the U.S. was against China in 2007 and his second goal for the U.S. was against Mexico also in 2007. Following his MVP finalist 2015 season he failed to make the U.S. national team then managed by Jurgen Klinsmann. This lead to Feilhaber becoming very critical of Klinsmann and his selection of his players. However, this did not change his fortunes as Feilhaber was never selected back to U.S. national team by Klinsmann.
LAFC has made some more roster moves. They’ve acquired midfielder Calum Mallace via the MLS Re-entry draft and signed free-agent left back Jordan Harvey. Interestingly, both players acquired by LAFC have ties back to the Sounders. The former is described as possessing a very similar skill set to that of Brad Evans. Mallace, 27, is currently listed as being worth 300 hundred thousand euros on transfermarkt.com. The latter has enjoyed a lengthy MLS career having played for the Seattle Sounders, Colorado Rapids, Philadelphia Union, and most recently the Vancouver Whitecaps. He is currently listed as being worth 600 hundred thousand euros on transfermarkt.com. In addition to these roster moves LAFC has also been linked to a move for the disgruntled Mexican defender Oswaldo Alanis. Alanis, 28, refused a contract extension from his club Chivas and they subsequently demoted him to their third division side. He was forced to stay back in Guadalajara as the rest of the Chivas squad flew to Cancun on Monday for the start of preseason training ahead of the 2018 Clausura. Alanis, who played a significant role for Mexico at last summer’s Confederations Cup, has said the situation “is not easy” but has been turning up to train with Chivas’ third division side and has been gaining support from his international teammates and the players’ association. Alanis is currently listed as being worth 2.3 million euros on transfermarkt.com. If he were to be signed he would likely join Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi as a designated player. Even if it’s not LAFC it’s looking very likely that Alanis will be playing for a different club come January.
LAFC began to fill out their roster this past week. Prior to the expansion Draft LAFC traded general allocation money (GAM) to FC Dallas in exchange for the young promising defender Walker Zimmerman. Zimmerman, twenty-four, is currently listed at having a worth of 950 euros on transfermarkt.com. He also had made an appearance for U.S. National Team this past February. In the MLS expansion draft LAFC selected five players. These players included the twenty year old Ghanaian Latif Blessing, twenty-four year old American Tyler Miller, twenty-nine year old Finnish Jukka Raitala, twenty-seven year old Costa Rican Marcos Urena, and twenty-two year old Raheem Edwards. Subsequently following the expansion draft LAFC traded Raheem Edwards and Jukka Raitala to the Montreal Impact in exchange for one of the league’s best defenders in Laurent Ciman. In fact he won the prestigious MLS Defender of the Year accolade in 2016. Ciman, 32, is currently listed at having a worth of a worth of 1.25 million euros on transfermarkt.com. LAFC then spent 3 million euros on the nineteen year-old Uruguayan striker Diego Rossi making him the second youngest designated player in MLS history. The club that LAFC purchased Rossi from, Peñarol in Uruguay, will apparently receive ten percent of any future sale of Rossi. Regarding the acquisition of Rossi LAFC manager Bob Bradley said, “Diego is a young and exciting attacking player. His experiences at Peñarol and his ability fit perfectly with our vision of the team we are building at LAFC. We believe Diego will mature into a top-class player.”
LAFC has began to assemble a very talented roster as they prepare for their inaugural season.
Hey guys, I have more MLS transfer news.
Atlanta United is nearing an agreement to sign Argentinian Phenom Ezequiel Barco from Independiente. Barco, 18, is widely considered to be one brightest young prospects in South America and even perhaps the world. Barco, 18, is typically deployed as an attacking midfielder. His strengths include dribbling, agility, vision, and acceleration. His primary weakness is body strength since he is only 5 foot 9 inches and 147 pounds. He made his league debut on 2 August 2016 against Defensa y Justicia. He scored his first goal professional against Godoy Cruz. According to transfermarkt.com he is worth 6.5 million euros. Considering his age that is an extremely high valuation and is representative of his immense talent. The reported fee that Atlanta United would pay to Independiente for his services would be 12 million USD. This would be the highest transfer fee ever paid by an MLS club. The structure of the deal would be two installments of 6 million USD over the year.
The New England Revolution are rumored to have interest in U.S. International Eric Lichaj. It has been reported though that numerous MLS clubs are interested in his service the Revs are just the only team that have been mentioned thus far. Lichaj is typically deployed as a right back and currently plays for Nottingham Forest of the English Championship. His future is currently up in the air since his contract expires this summer. This means tat he could transfer to any club of his choice without a transfer fee. According to transfermarkt.com he is valued at 1.75 million euros.
this past Thursday our Seattle Sounders advanced to the MLS cup final by defeating the Houston Dynamo 5-0 on aggregate. They will once again be facing Toronto FC in the MLS cup final since they beat the Columbus Crew 1-0 on aggregate. The game will be hosted in Toronto because they finished the regular season with more total points than the Sounder’s. In fact, Toronto won the Supporter’s Shield, an award for the team that has the most total points at the end of the regular season.
Toronto FC boasts arguably the most dynamic attack in the league. They scored a league leading seventy-four goals during the regular season. Their feature offensive players includes U.S. International Jozy Altidore and Italian sensation Sebastian Giovinco. This season the former scored fifteen goals in twenty-seven games while also tallying seven assists. The latter scored sixteen goals and provided six assists this season. In addition Toronto also possesses a very experienced midfield. Their two notable midfielders are Victor Vasquez and Michael Bradley. Vasquez, a well traveled Spaniard, had a very productive season that would see him scoring eight goals and recording ten assists. Bradley, a U.S. international and the former captain, did not have a great statistical season by his standards, but he is still considered by many to be one of the better midfielders in the league.
Seattle is a very balanced team that can score in flurries. They possess a great defense, solid attack, and creative midfield. Their marquee players comprises Uruguayan international Nicolas Lodeiro, U.S. international Clint Dempsey, and to a lesser extent goalkeeper Stefan Frei. I presume that the Sounders will play defensively in effort to slow down Toronto’s potent attack.
LAFC has made another signing! The club has agreed to sign Egyptian defender Omar Gaber from Swiss giants Basel on loan. Gaber will not be one the clubs three designated players since the signing is said to be made with Target Allocation Money (TAM). Gaber, 25, is a Cairo native who played for Egyptian giants Zamalek professionally from 2010-16 after coming through the youth ranks there. An Egypt international since 2011, he played for his country under new LAFC manager Bob Bradley from 2011-13. He recently helped Egypt qualify for their first World Cup since 1990. Gaber moved to FC Basel last year, but after getting some playing time in his first season with the Swiss champion, he has seen very limited action this season under Raphael Wicky. Currently on transfermarkt.com Gaber is listed to be worth 1 million euros.
In addition, LAFC is rumored to be targeting Egyptian attackers Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan and Abdallah Said. Hassan, 25, is currently on loan at Turkish club Kasimpasa from Belgian giants RSC Anderlecht. According to transfermarkt.com he is worth 2 million euros. Hassan’s playing style is said to include a great deal of flair but also some indecisiveness. LAFC manger Bob Bradley has recently been attempting to convince Hassan to come play for him stateside. Said, 32, is a crafty midfielder who plays for Hassan’s former team Al Ahly in Egypt. He played under Bradley on the Egyptian National Team. According to transfermarkt.com he is worth 1 million Euros. Considering his age and transfer value he would likely only require TAM money to sign.
The Colorado Rapids are coming off a disastrous campaign in which they finished in 10th place in the Western Conference. They finished with 33 points total which ranked third worst in the entire league and scored the fewest amount of goals in the league with 31. Therefore the club will likely be looking to bolster their squad with numerous signings during the upcoming transfer window.
It has been reported by numerous sources that legendary Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick could possibly be leaving the Red Devils for the Colorado Rapids of the MLS. On the surface this would appear to be a very good marketing move since it would likely boost jersey sales. Carrick, 35, is typically deployed as a deep-lying midfielder and is currently valued at 1.28 million pounds on transfermarkt.com. The timing of this move would be very surprising since Jose Mourinho had anointed him captain of Manchester United last season and he signed a contract extension only a few months back. Presumably Carrick would be the Rapids third designated player. Currently, the Rapids designated players are Tim Howard and Shkelzen Gashi.
Update: Michael Carrick has remained at Manchester United, however, he has received limited playing time. This campaign he only has one appearance for the club. Despite his limited playing time, Carrick has made it known that he would prefer to stay at Old Trafford rather than switch clubs for more consistent playing time. A possible reason for this could be his coaching qualification since he currently looks after the U14 side as he builds up his coaching badges.
New MLS expansion club Los Angeles FC (LAFC) is preparing for its inaugural season. The club has hired former U.S. Men’s National Team coach, Bob Bradley, to be their first manager. Bradley has revealed to the media that he intends to utilize his 1998 Chicago Fire as a template for LAFC. This team, which was also an expansion team in 1998, was extremely successful under Bradley winning both the league championship and the U.S. Open Cup in their first season. It will be interesting to see if Bradley is able to replicate this immediate success with LAFC. On 8 August 2017, the club agreed to make eccentric Mexican forward Carlos Vela the club’s first designated player. Vela currently listed on transfermarkt.com to be worth 10 million euros would make him one of the more prolific MLS signings in recent years. Let’s take a look at other players the expansion club could possibly sign.
Chris Pontius: The winger is out of contract with the Philadelphia Union making an exit from the club very likely. Coming off of a remarkable season in which he lead his team with twelve goals, en route to earning the 2016 MLS Comeback Player of the Year accolade, would see his production fall off considerably. This campaign he only netted 2 goals for the union. Perhaps the Southern California native will rediscover his prior form in his home town.
Diego Rossi: According to reports out of Uruguay, LAFC is on the brink of signing the Uruguayan teenager for a price in the neighborhood of 3 million euros. For that kind of money, it is very likely that he become the club’s second designated player.
Hatem Ben Arfa: According to a report from New York-based reporter Kristian Dyer, Arfa is a player that could be potentially moving to LAFC. Arfa currently listed to be worth 9 million euros on transfermarkt.com would join Vela as another very prolific MLS signing. Arfa is coming off a very fruitful season with French club Nice. His success prompted French giants Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) to sign him. However, his spell with PSG has largely been unforgettable since he has yet to appear in a game for the club. A move stateside would certainly provide him with more playing time.
Chilean international Alexis Sanchez uncertain contract status has prompted significant interest, particularly, from Paris Saint-Germain. French giant, PSG, have reportedly made numerous bids for the Arsenal winger. According to the Mirror, PSG’s most recent bid was worth £80 million. Previously Arsenal had rejected a bid from PSG for £35 million.
Arsenal has entertained serious contract negotiations with Sanchez and even reportedly offered him £250,000 per week. However, that is substantially less than the bumper £400,000 per week contract offer PSG is prepared to make him.
Arsenal’s prominent manager, Arsene Wenger, was adamant that Sanchez would not depart the club in the summer.
Regarding Sanchez’s contract situation he stated,
“Nobody knows today if he will be in the final year next season because he can extend the contract with us at the start or during the season so it is not necessarily the last year of his contract at Arsenal Football Club.”
Although if News Trend Today sources are accurate, it had appeared Arsenal teammates believed Sanchez was eager to depart the club despite returning to the Gunners training. In addition, Sanchez told Chilean media that he desires to play Champions League football.
PSG are hopeful that the lure of Champions League football will ultimately convince Sanchez to join their club. Expect more developments in this lengthy transfer saga.
Update: Alexis Sanchez’s transfer to PSG ultimately fell through. A transfer to English club Manchester City is looking much more likely. However, with the conclusion of the summer transfer window, he will have to remain an Arsenal until the January transfer window opens midnight on Monday, January 1. So far this campaign for, Sanchez has tallied two goals and three assists across all competitions for Arsenal.