Category Archives: News

Los Angeles Signs Jamaican International Ricketts

No longer seeing double in goal, the LA Galaxy signed 31 year-old Jamaican International goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.  The terms of the deal, in compliance with strict, totalitarian MLS policy, were not disclosed, and are subject to Ricketts’s receipt of a work permit, a technicality that has plagued Ricketts throughout his career.

Ricketts was thurst into the international spotlight when he was the backup keeper on Jamaica’s surprise 1998 World Cup squad.  In 2004 he made a move to Premier League side Bolton Wanderers, but never played in a match and was loaned to League Two Bradford City.  Ricketts eventually became a fixture in net for Bradford City, starting 80 consecutive games, and was in line for a move to Queens Park Rangers before work permit complications forced him back to Jamaica.  Back in his home country, Ricketts joined Village United last season and has split time between club and country, taking up the role of Vice Captain of the Jamaican National Team.

In his first match with Village United, Ricketts was replaced after complaining of double vision from being hit in the head with a ball.  Even with double vision, Ricketts could probably still mind the goal better than 2008 keeper platooners Josh Wicks and Steve Cronin who combined to allow 56 goals in 28 games, an even 2 goals allowed per game.  Clearly, Bruce Arena’s latest signing addresses a pressing need for Los Angeles.

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Surprise! Warzycha Named Columbus Head Coach

As presumedby IFK last week, the Columbus Crew announced the promotion of Assistant Coach Robert Warzycha (pictured left wearing one of the ugliest MLS shirts ever) to the Head Coach position after Sigi Schmid’s alliteration-perfecting move to the Seattle Sounders.  Warzycha brings several years of experience as both a player and coach in Columbus, along with stability carrying over from the Schmid years and lessons learned during the latter years of Greg Andrulis’s somewhat disastrous tenure.

This can be nothing but good news for Columbus fans, as the official announcement means the Crew can get on with their offseason roster finagling.

DDR Back to the Great White North

A few days ago, Houston sent 30 year-old midfielder and face of the club Dwayne de Rosario back to his hometown, with Toronto FC surrendering young defender Julius James and cash.

The winner in the deal?  Who knows?  Toronto gets a three-time Canadian player of the year and someone who has won 4 MLS Cups.  However, de Rosario’s production slowed down considerably last season and he is on record saying that he does not like Toronto’s turf.  The veteran will sell jerseys and tickets, and returning to his hometown team has to be great for Dwayne, but if he doesn’t come out of his slump, this could be just another in a long line of failed high-profile moves by Toronto FC Manager Mo Johnston.

Houston, on the other hand, got some much needed cash and a young defender who spent most of his rookie season injured.  When he did play, James showed some offensive capability in the air, as well as potential in central defense and the right wing.  James ended the year as a bench player, so he may not be an immediate upgrade for Houston, but the T&T National and UCONN grad still has plenty of upside.

The Dynamo also received cash considerations.  In combination with offloading de Rosario’s salary, this will help the Orange out considerably as they seek to find a backup keeper, a replacement for DDR in the midfield and someone to fill departed Nate Jaqua’s shoes.  Houston will also need to find some immediate depth if they want to have any chance of extending their run in the Champions League.

Oh and they need to find a new face for their franchise.  Throughout Houston’s run at the top, de Rosario was one of Houston and MLS’s marketable players.

Sounds like a busy winter for the Dynamo.

MLS Combine List Released

Wake Forest forward Marcus Tracy is considered one of the top prospects in this years draft

You can see the full 65-player list for January’s predfraft combine at Goal.com.

My go-to source for College Soccer info, Joe Mauceri of College Soccer News and his own Pro Player Pipeline blog, differs a bit from the committee who made the initial selections, as some of his picks as top prospects–notably UMass and Depaul keepers Zack Simmons and Brian Visser, Michigan defender Michael Holody, and midfielders Alejandro Bedoya of Boston College and Ohio State’s Danny Irizarry.  It is worth mentioning that this is only the initial list, and more players will be added from the Generation adidas pool, NAIA, and the NCAA ranks.  Still, there is definitely a lack of seriousness for some MLS teams regarding how they scout the country’s top talent.  There is quite a low rate of success for first-round picks compared to later draft selections, and some MLS teams reportedly do not scout any college games aside from the Combine matches.

If MLS wants to be a successful platform to develop soccer in the United States, its organizations need to be more serious about doing so.

Joe Mauceri’s top prospects for the MLS Draft can be found here, and his blog with incredibly detailed scouting reports can be accessed via the first link in the list on the right.

Deadline Roundup

With the September 15 MLS Roster Freeze coming and going, it’s time to take a look at who got what.  Of note was the extent to which USL sides were farmed.  In a drastic change of approach from just a few weeks ago when the MLS told New York they could not sign forward Macoumba Kandji from Atlanta for their desired amount, several MLS sides went after USL players whose clubs are done for the season.

Chivas USA:
Battling the injury bug, Chivas picked up two midfielders to help them overcome the loss of several players recently added to the DL.  First was Sasha Victorine from Kansas City.  The 30 year-old midfielder has four international caps and should help add a little depth in a supporting offensive role.  Chivas also acquired Brazilian midfielder Dejair Ferreira, another 30 year-old, from ABC FC in Brazil.

Columbus:
The Crew signed midfielder Stanley Nyazamba from USL-2’s Richmond Kickers.  The 25 year-old will be on a developmental contract after his brief loan spell impressed the Columbus staff.  This season, Nyazamba’s play garnered him league Rookie of the Year honors after scoring 6 goals.   At NAIA Lee University, Nyazamba was awarded first-team All-American honors in his senior season.

DC United:
DC added some depth by signing ex-Crew fullback/midfielder Ryan Miller.  Miller is in his rookie season after earning second team All-American honors at Notre Dame.  He never made an appearance for Columbus, but played in two games on loan with Cleveland in USL-2.

New York:
The Red Bulls added G Terry Boss and F Macoumba Kandji, both from USL (Boss is from USL-2’s Charlotte Eagles, Kandji is from USL’s Atlanta Silverbacks).  Boss, a 24 year-old Puerto Rican international, will be brought in for depth and given a look for the future.  He led USL-2 in both wins and shutouts this past year.  Kandji may get a more immediate look in the New York lineup.  The 23 year-old from Senegal utilized his height (6’4) and pace to notch 13 goals in 28 appearances for Atlanta.  As a compromise in the saga of Kandji’s signing from Atlanta, MLS only allowed New York to sign him to a three-month loan with an option to sign, rather than signing him directly from USL with an unprecedented price tag for a USL player.

Preview: Thoughts on MLS Week 25

After Week 24, Columbus had cemented their position at the top of the league table, while Houston continues to prove that they are turning into a consistent power in the west.

The Revs may be a bit down after getting knocked out of the Champions League and getting steamrolled in Columbus, but don’t look for them to stay down for long.  Chivas USA comes to Foxboro tomorrow battered by injuries, and New England’s injury list is gradually shifting towards the “Probable” end of things.

Columbus travels to Toronto for a game that may just claim the position as the league’s most forced rivalry.  TFC has won once since June 14, doing little to suppor the notion that strong home support propels teams to better records.  Columbus will be without captain Frankie Hejduk, but I’m not convinced he is the heart of the team or even the defense, and the Crew usually score enough to cover their holes in the back.  Look for Columbus to keep the streak going.

Just like Toronto, Los Angeles hasn’t won since June 14, and travels to Kansas City to try to break that streak.  The Wizards haven’t exactly been world beaters lately, but they usually play well at home, so count on them to earn at least a draw against Beckham’s boys.

DC has both the home field advantage and current form edges over FC Dallas, and I’m sure with as much as MLS teams care about the Champions League, they’ll be playing as full a roster as possible.  Dallas needs points to keep from slipping further into the cellar, but I can’t see it happening in DC.

New York and Real Salt Lake have both been enjoying strong stretches in August and early September, but The Red Bulls may have the home edge, claiming three consecutive home wins in August.  NY has been playing well lately, and Salt Lake has only won once on the road all season.  The Red Bulls will triumph in the Big Apple.

Houston travels to San Jose in what is probably the game of the week.  The Quakes and Orange are both red hot, and the two teams actually play a week later in Houston.  I’m thinking draw on this one, with the next week’s contest deciding the mini-series.

Chicago has been wildly inconsistent, so a trip to Colorado might be the cure for what ails them (like it has been for so many other teams).  The Rapids will have to fight to prove that their win over KC in their last game at Dick’s Sporting Goods park wasn’t a fluke.  I forsee a draw, as Colorado fights to stay in the playoff hunt, and Chicago continues to baffle the pundits.

Seattle Adds Gambian Youth International Midfielder Sanna Nyassi

Seattle Sounders FC have added pacy, 19 year-old winger Sanna Nyassi (5’8, 145)as their third player, joining American International goalkeeper Kasey Keller and forward Sebastien Le Toux.  Sanna played for the Gambian U-20 squad in the 2007 FIFA Championships, and had been playing with Gambian side Port Authority FC until his trial in Seattle.  With Port Authority FC, Nyassi scored the game-winning goal in the national cup final last season.

Nyassi, the twin brother of New England’s Sainey Nyassi will join the USL Seattle Sounders on loan until the end of the season, where Sanna could potentially be playing for his future coach.  Current Seattle Head Coach Brian Schmetzer is the only confirmed candidate for the expansion team’s Head Coach slot.