Sylvae MLS News

29Jan/140

MLS: Breaking Down the League’s Hectic Offseason

Ever since Sporting Kansas City hoisted the MLS Cup on their home pitch in early December, the clubs of Major League Soccer have been involved in some interesting offseason business, to say the least.  There have been plenty of eye-popping transfers as well as some progress in the expansion of the league.  So, the question is how do you make sense of everything that has occurred over the last two months in MLS in one piece? That is what I try to answer here as the top offseason storylines are analyzed.    Transfers  The easiest starting point here is the hardest part of the offseason to understand: the transfer market.  The biggest splash was made earlier this month by Toronto FC, who brought in United States international Michael Bradley and former Tottenham star Jermain Defoe, as well as a third designated player in Gilberto.  While the marquee transfers involving the Reds caused plenty of celebration, another Canadian team faced a ton of frustration over the departure of their star from a season ago. The Camilo saga enraged many in Vancouver and across the league as the Brazilian outdid Peter Odemwingie's drive up to the QPR offices last January by having a picture taken of him in a Queretaro ...
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21Jan/140

Can MLS Take Advantage of Loan System More Efficiently?

In 2013, there were 69 loans involving Major League Soccer players, but the system still sits largely in the shadows. In fact, this past MLS season was the first year intra-league loans were an option for MLS clubs, but not a single club took advantage of such an arrangement. On the other hand, in many other leagues around the world, these types of loan deals are common. This season in the English Premier League, Tim Howard’s Everton has made quite the splash, competing for a top-four spot, in large part due to the contributions of loan signings Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry—both from other EPL clubs. With the league growing each year and the MLS academy system starting to produce some real results, the loan system should be a more integral part of league business.   The Success Stories While high-profile loans remain uncommon in MLS, the 2013 season did see a number of positive examples coming from loans to and from other leagues. The Portland Timbers' remarkable turnaround this past season was due, in part, to the fantastic play of loan-signing Diego Valeri. In 2013, Valeri contributed 10 goals and 13 assists to the Timbers offense in the regular season, making him a part of 43 percent ...
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19Jan/140

Tottenham to Toronto: Jermain Defoe’s Last Decade in Pictures

As he prepares to join Toronto FC next month, Jermain Defoe's long goodbye to Tottenham Hotspur will continue over the coming weeks in one form or another. A goal-scoring substitute in Tottenham's 2-0 win over Crystal Palace just over a week ago, it was a watching brief for Defoe as his soon-to-be ex-club beat Swansea City this weekend. The foreknowledge of the England international's transfer gives us a longer chance than usual to examine the ramifications of such a high-profile move. Or in this instance, reflect upon the path that led to it. The tale of Defoe's decade since first joining Spurs is in many respects a story of the club's fortunes itself. Arriving as he did, in trying circumstances, and since playing a part in a largely healthy period for the North Londoners. Accompanied and told through images of some of that journey's significant steps, we take a look back at a memorable 10 years.Begin Slideshow
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17Jan/140

Xavi Rumors Show Growth of Major League Soccer

Since its inception in 1996, Major League Soccer has been looked at as a little brother of sorts in comparison to its competitors across the pond. On one hand, MLS didn’t have the resources and culture to compete with its overseas brethren, as years of history gave leagues all over the world the upper hand. On the other, the league tried too hard to stand out from those that came before, as the Americanizing of the world’s game was seen by many as soccer suicide. Finally, the league repeatedly took hand-me-downs from its older, wiser siblings, as players like Thierry Henry, Allessandro Nesta and Rafael Marquez were passed on to the league despite being used goods. However, a new day is dawning in the American soccer universe, as MLS is finally beginning to attract players that legitimize the league to the rest of the world. Recent rumors from MLSSoccer.com's Simon Borg linking Barcelona midfielder Xavi to the New York Red Bulls show the league is moving in a different direction: one that involved bringing in the world’s best to ply their trade on American soil. For years, Xavi has been the midfield maestro of the brilliant Blaugrana, and has shown little signs of slowing down, as ...
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16Jan/140

New England Revolution and Philadelphia Union Shake Up 2014 MLS SuperDraft

The 2014 MLS SuperDraft was held on Thursday in Philadelphia, with the hometown Philadelphia Union and the New England Revolution making the most talked-about moves. Right off the bat, the Union traded up for the top spot in the draft, selecting University of Connecticut goalkeeper and Jamaican international Andre Blake. Blake was a highly regarded prospect, coming into the draft as a three-time collegiate All-Conference player and two-time NSCAA All-American. The issue with the Union taking Blake, and trading up to do so, is that they already have a starting goalkeeper in Zac MacMath, who is only 22 years old and was the Union’s No. 5 pick in the draft only three years ago. The pick was obviously not a vote of confidence for MacMath, and speculation has already begun that one of the two may be headed to Vancouver (many mock drafts had the Whitecaps taking Blake). The other big surprise out of the draft was the fact that the New England Revolution picked up both Patrick Mullins and Steve Neumann, although surprisingly not in that order. Many had projected the Revs picking up Mullins with the fourth pick of the draft (some projected him as the No. 1 pick), but they passed up the two-time Hermann Trophy winner and went ...
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16Jan/140

MLS SuperDraft 2014: Complete Round-by-Round Results and Reaction

The 2014 MLS SuperDraft started with a bang, as the Philadelphia Union acquired the top overall selection in a trade with D.C. United. By moving up one spot, the Union ensured they could draft goalkeeper Andre Blake. Even though the draft expanded to four rounds this year, only two took place on the first day of the event. As Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times points out, teams will make the remaining selections via conference call on Jan. 21. Here are the draft results from the first two rounds, followed by a recap with reaction to some of the most notable moves and picks.   Round 1 Results   Round 2 Results   Recap and Reaction Philadelphia's radar must have been locked in on Blake because the Union felt the need to move up one spot to get him rather than risk losing him to another club. After they made the pick, the goalkeeper couldn't even turn his emotions into words, as the team noted: In a draft class that's a step down from recent years, Blake is one of the players capable of stepping right in to make an instant impact. ESPN Stats & Info points out he also earns the distinction of being the first goalkeeper ever selected ...
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16Jan/140

MLS SuperDraft 2014: Live Pick-by-Pick Results, Highlights and Reaction

The first and second round of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft has taken place, with 38 picks over the two rounds being made by the MLS clubs. Highlights: Philadelphia Union take goalkeeper Andre Blake as first pick Blake is the first goalkeeper ever taken as first pick DC United select Steve Birnbaum NER take forwards Steven Neumann and Patrick Mullins Highest international pick was Andre Lewis, who went to Vancouver Chicago Fire take right-back Marco Franco, a potential starter Follow @karlmatchettRead more MLS news on BleacherReport.com
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16Jan/140

MLS SuperDraft 2014: Breaking Down Teams in Best Position to Improve

Unlike the NBA or NFL drafts, players drafted out of college in the MLS aren't generally expected to make an instant impact. Rather, they are drafted for depth and groomed, with the hope being that someday they'll develop into players like Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey, Brad Guzan, Michael Parkhurst, Maurice Edu, Omar Gonzalez or Matt Besler, among others, all players selected in the SuperDraft. Yes, some of them may make an instant impact. Yes, certain teams are positioned excellently to add those impact players. But if nothing else, a few MLS teams are in a great position to either find those instant performers or build great depth for the future. Let's take a closer look at those clubs.   Philadelphia Union No team is in a better position to improve themselves than the Philadelphia Union. The club has the No. 2 and No. 6 picks and, even better, they are in a position to simply take the best player on the board if they so desire, since they have plenty of positions they could solidify.  But it sounds like Union manager John Hackworth has a plan in place for the draft, as he told Matthew De George of The Times Herald: We need to maximize this draft. We need to do a really ...
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15Jan/140

MLS SuperDraft 2014: Critical Last-Minute Info for Thursday’s Event

Major League Soccer's marquee offseason event will kick off Thursday, Jan. 16 from Philadelphia as the league's 19 franchises look to rebuild and retool for the 2014 season. There are a handful of stellar prospects available this winter capable of turning teams around, but where they'll wind up remains a mystery. Keep in mind that Thursday's event will feature the first two rounds (38 picks total) of the four-round draft, which will conclude on Tuesday, Jan. 21. Here we'll get you set with everything you need to know ahead of Thursday's MLS SuperDraft.    Date: Thursday, January 16, 2014 Start Time: 12 p.m. ET Location: Philadelphia Convention Center, Philadelphia Watch: ESPNews Live Stream: ESPN3.com   Breaking Down Draft Order   Top Prospects to Know Patrick Mullins, F, Maryland A 21-year-old striker with an incredible nose for goal, Maryland's Patrick Mullins has been one of the most productive and dynamic strikers at the college level in recent years. Mullins has racked up 36 goals and 18 assists over his past two seasons with the Terrapins, catching the attention of professional scouts, per MLSSoccer.com's Matthew Doyle and Simon Borg: The two-time MAC Hermann Trophy winner has been scouted so thoroughly that teams have maybe lost sight of how much he does well. He’s always in motion, he’s a ...
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14Jan/140

MLS SuperDraft 2014: Date, Start Time, Live Stream, TV and More

Every MLS franchise has a chance to start anew on Thursday at the 2014 SuperDraft. The concept of a draft isn't unique to American sports fans, but to foreign soccer fans, it's anathema. The idea that a player would be obligated to move to a team not of his choosing doesn't make any sense, nor does the fact that teams with losing records would be rewarded by having the lowest picks. But the draft offers a great chance for those teams who had a forgettable 2013 season to hit the reset button in 2014. A couple of key moves here and there, and you can go from worst to first in no time—especially with the unpredictability of the playoffs. With so many talented players in the draft pool, plenty of teams will receive major upgrades on Thursday and add another piece to the foundation of what they'll hope will provide future success. Here's a quick preview of the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, with the draft order and a couple of key players worth following ahead of Thursday.   When: Thursday, Jan. 16, at 12 p.m. ET Where: Philadelphia Convention Center, Philadelphia, Pa. Watch: ESPNews Live Stream: Watch ESPN   SuperDraft Order   Stars to Watch Andre Blake, GK, Connecticut Andre Blake has been on the top ...
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