Dec 28, 2012, 4:42 PM EDT
In assessing which teams have done the most to improve in MLS through December, there’s no one really close to New York.
The new regime, headed by the brand’s director of football Gerald Hollier, has moved aggressively to improve the team around Thierry Henry, who probably only has one or perhaps two seasons as a premier MLS man.
So on the Red Bulls build. Here is our second ranking of MLS off-season betterment:
1. New York Red Bulls
Dumping salary (Sebastien Le Toux, Teemu Tainio, Victor Palsson and Jan Gunnar Solli) helped make room for DP Juninho Pernambucano, the creator long missing around Red Bull Arena, someone to get Thierry Henry the ball in the right places. (So Henry doesn’t have to retreat into midfield and do it for himself.) The big move, of course, is capping Marquez backflow by releasing their troublemaking millionaire. In addition to the salary relief, it sheds the drag and the weight of all his drama. Meanwhile, Jamison Olave and Fabian Espindola are potential impact men who have been added. Additionally, Tainio’s departure clears room for even more growth from Dax McCarty, one of the most underrated men of 2012 in MLS.
2. Sporting Kansas City
The club’s first major-signing Designated Player, Claudio Lopez, provided precious little return for the DP dollar. Then came Omar Bravo, who did score some goals (including one very important strike) and had his worthwhile moments, even if he never became the front page star and a guy to necessarily build around. Now SKC may be moving even further forward in the DP success equation with Argentine forward Claudio Bieler. Playing in the formation ahead of quasi-U.S. international Benny Feilhaber (just acquired in a trade with New England) and MLS All-Star Graham Zusi gives Kansas City the makings of a stunning attack. Yes, Roger Espinoza’s impending departure hurts. A lot. But officials at Livestrong appear to have found a way to become stronger despite it. Once promising center back Ike Opara, still looking for top professional form, has been for defensive depth.
3. Philadelphia Union
Two big moves make Philadelphia’s off-season strong and intriguing. First came the addition of veteran center back Jeff Parke, who had proven to be such a reliable figure for Seattle over the last two years around CenturyLink Field. But he wanted to be closer to home, and Seattle accommodated. Yes, the Sons of Ben surely still miss their captain, Danny Calliff, who left for Chivas USA in the 2012 Philly shuffle. But if you’re comparing center backs, tit for tat, Parke is the younger and better of the two. The defense fortified, Philly also brought home Le Toux, who has bounced around without much success since leaving Philly two years ago. Now he’s back and (fingers crossed, Philly fans) ready to flourish again at PPL Park, where the Frenchman enjoyed that breakout 2010 All-Star season (14 goals and 11 assists). Union coach John Hackworth, not the tactical restrictor plate that former coach Peter Nowak was, will know how to get the best from Le Toux’s instincts to freelance – most likely at striker alongside young Jack McInerney. There’s also a chance he could partner with Conor Casey, who was taken by the Union during December’s re-entry draft process.
Jun 18, 2013, 12:10 AM EDT
Brazil has infrastructure concerns. They’ve also spent $3.3 billion on soccer stadia. No surprise, people aren’t happy.
Jun 17, 2013, 10:43 PM EDT
The mythology of Ajax, Dutch soccer and one stars’ struggles outside the Dutch league make this potential transfer difficult to evaluate.
Jun 17, 2013, 8:23 PM EDT
It’s only a matter of time before Ancelotti’s holding pattern’s resolved.
Jun 17, 2013, 7:39 PM EDT
It’s early days, but while City close the gap, Manchester United have yet to act.
Jun 17, 2013, 6:51 PM EDT
With a buy-out in his contract, Villas-Boas likely will be given a choice between Paris and London.
Jun 17, 2013, 5:59 PM EDT
Steve Bruce reunites with a player he brought to Wigan Athletic.
Jun 17, 2013, 5:19 PM EDT
Tahiti are a great story, but nobody wins when small countries get slaughtered by the world’s top teams.
Jun 17, 2013, 3:55 PM EDT
The U.S. midfielder has successfully completed the concussion recovery protocol:
Jun 17, 2013, 3:38 PM EDT
So just how serious are PSG? Word has it they’re ready to break the Premier League transfer record.
Jun 17, 2013, 2:21 PM EDT
“It will be difficult to leave the Rapids after growing so close to the club and the fans in Colorado,” Mastroeni said in a statement.
Jun 17, 2013, 12:49 PM EDT
If Tahiti are to score the goals will likely come from one of four Tehau family members: Lorenzo, Alvin, Teaonui or Jonathan.
Jun 17, 2013, 11:21 AM EDT
Justice has been served in Holland where six teenagers have been convicted of manslaughter for their part in kicking a linesman to death.
Three good questions for Clint Dempsey – Part III: Shunning complacency, and his second season at Tottenham Hotspur
Jun 17, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT
In the last of three parts in ProSoccerTalk’s exclusive interview, Tottenham Hotspur and U.S. international Clint Dempsey talks about expectations for his second go-round at White Hart Lane:
Jun 17, 2013, 10:26 AM EDT
You know that cute little heart sign Gareth Bale makes every time he scores a goal? It’s about to get him paid.
Jun 17, 2013, 8:07 AM EDT
Joe Kinnear, the man who drove Newcastle to relegation in 2008-09, is returning to the club as the director of football.
Jun 17, 2013, 7:30 AM EDT
In the second of three parts in ProSoccerTalk’s exclusive interview, Tottenham Hotspur and U.S. international Clint Dempsey talks a little about London and his American roots:
Jun 17, 2013, 7:19 AM EDT
“Robert will definitely be playing for Borussia Dortmund next season,” said BVB general manager Hans-Joachim Watzke.
Jun 17, 2013, 6:30 AM EDT
Big saves and red cards
Jun 16, 2013, 11:49 PM EDT
Villas-Boas, Laudrup have been linked. One makes sense, but should both show their EPL clubs loyalty?
- Huge cost of World Cups: Did we need a protest like Brazil’s to point out the obvious? 3
- Early returns from England’s offseason tell a tale of two Manchesters 0
- This André Villas-Boas to Paris Saint-Germain link makes more sense by the day 0
- Three good questions for Clint Dempsey – Part III: Shunning complacency, and his second season at Tottenham Hotspur 2
- Three good questions for Clint Dempsey – Part II: London calling 1
- Criticism, negativity may leave Seattle with few rewards for their hosting efforts (20)
- What we learned from Tuesday’s U.S. win over Panama (19)
- Which U.S. men have locked up World Cup roster spots? (16)
- Three huge positives to take from USA’s convincing win over Panama (15)
- Broadcast of U.S. v. Panama was second highest audience for World Cup Qualifier (14)
- Bruins stymie Blackhawks, take Game 3
- Survival and heartbreak at US Open
- Protesters back in streets of Brazilian cities
- Radio hosts fired for mocking ex-NFL player with ALS
- Posnanski: More Open heartbreak for Mickelson
- PHT: Bruins' little wins pay off big in Game 3
- PHT: Hossa day to day with upper-body injury
- Play Video: Police clash with protesters in Brazil
- Play Video: Highlights: Sounders win in final minutes
- Play Video: Highlights: Revolution dismantle Galaxy
- Play Video: What does New York FC have to do to succeed?
- Play Video: The Hype: Bending the screen like Beckham
- Play Video: Galaxy's Rogers talks about coming out to the public