Good morning all. With the second off day of Euro 2008 upon us, and MLS action still two days away, it’s a relatively slow day on the news front so I’ll get the day started with another portion of the most recent Q&A.
Here are some more answers to questions asked earlier this month (the last portion of these will be done later today). Enjoy.
NEWCASTLE FAN- How is MLS regarded by the casual fan in Europe? Do they watch MLS games to get a ‘fix’ during the off-season? Are they aware of any of the teams or players beyond the big int’l stars? Do the fans follow their teams pre-season tours over here very intently? I know they look down on the caliber of play, but do they still watch because it’s there when there’s not much other footie on the tube? Is MLS even broadcast in Europe?
IVES- I’ll leave this one for one my European-based readers to answer but I think it’s fair to say that folks in Europe have access to far more MLS games than they used to. I think David Beckham and ESPN have helped lead to that. I know clubs like New York, LA and D.C. are known about more than most but I’m not sure how closely MLS teams are really followed. I’m sure when players who have strong followed there come here they bring some fans over. How many of those fans actually stay remains to be seen.
AMIT- I think that there is a general concensus that Taylor Twellman will eventually be the all- time leading goal scorer in MLS. Do you think that the record he sets will ever be broken? It seems that any player good enough to do so would be snatched up by a European team.
IVES- I agree that it looks like Twellman will eventually get the record but I don’t know if it will be an unbreakable record. I think it will take some time, and I don’t think the player who breaks Twellman’s record is in MLS right now, but just as players like Jason Kreis and Ante Razov came before Twellman, I think there will be another MLS goal machine coming along who stays long enough to break the record.
KEVIN- Hey Ives,
I live in philly and can’t wait until the new team begins play, have you heard any new rumors about who seattle or even the new philadelphia team may be looking to sign? Is henry to seattle a real possibility and are players like sheva and ronaldo looking to make the move to mls soon?
IVES- Philly is a bit far away to speculate on but I’m convinced that Seattle will sign a high-profile Asian player. I gave the name Shunsuke Nakamura as a possibility last winter and am sticking to that one. I know Nakamura’s hometown team in Yokahama plans on making a move for him but I can see Paul Allen dropping the big cash on a player who is not only good, but extremely marketable. Folks in Seattle know the impact Ichiro had in that market and Nakamura could have an even bigger impact.
GREG- What kind of effort goes into getting dual nationality players (like Subotic and Rossi) to play for the US National Team? Do you have any insight into that process?
IVES- From what I know, the federation was in communication with Rossi’s family and made an effort to see if he would play for the USA but he had already made up his mind. From what I know, the same thing is going on with Subotic and at this point he is weighing his options. You must admit that he’s in a pretty good position, being a 19-year-old hot-shot prospect set to play at a big Bundesliga club. The sense that I get is that U.S. Soccer is pretty diligent when it comes to identifying and communicating with prospects with dual nationality. I’m sure they’re wary of having another Shalrie Joseph fall through the cracks.
MZ- 1. Will freddy adu move to a new club in the summer, or stick around and languish on the bench?
2. What is your opinion on the signing of Sven for Mexico, personaly i’m scared to see him on the bench for Mexico but what is your opinion of the signing
IVES- I think Adu makes a move. He needs to play and Benfica has to realize that so I think a loan will happen. That’s just a hunch, no info on that. 2. I thought it was an odd fit but Eriksson’s resume is pretty impressive.
JSquaredNY-I’ve read in a couple of spots that RBNY was already close to landing Rojas way before Altidore’s deal. What is your take on that? I can’t say that I can believe that Rojas went from being too expensive to attainable over night. Some of the allocation has to be going his way, no?
Also, if you were JCO how would you fill the vacancy at forward left by Altidore? Do you think Echeverry is the answer?
IVES- Rojas’ club wanted a transfer fee and since MLS clubs can only pay transfer fees using allocations the Red Bulls were stuck because they didn’t have the allocation to get the deal done. Now they have allocation funds from the Altidore deal. So while I think Rojas and the Red Bulls had reached an understanding, the deal couldn’t get done until Altidore was sold and he can’t join the club until the July 15 open of the transfer window. So to answer your question, I believe some Altidore allocation money will go to Rojas’ club and some to Rojas. How much remains to be seen.
As for the forward position, I don’t think Echeverry is the answer. I actually think Dane Richards could wind up being a solution, but the club still needs to sign a forward capable of starting. That would give the Red Bulls Angel, new forward, Richards and Echeverry, which might leave John Wolyniec out in the cold.
BATTERYGUY- Who’s playing in USL right now that should be in MLS? Any real ‘stars’ at that level that could/should/would make the jump?
We see USL teams beat MLS squads in US Open all the time, so it seems that some players would be good enough to at least make the MLS rosters, if not play regularly.
IVES- Seattle’s Sebastian Le Toux and Chris Eylander are two players I have heard as being quality MLS prospects. With that said, I think the gap between MLS and USL is wider than people realize. While I think there are plenty of USL players who could make the fringes of MLS rosters, and some who could play minutes in MLS, I think you’re putting too much weight into the history of U.S. Open Cup results. Yes, USL teams beat MLS teams, but I think that is caused by a variety of factors. Whether it’s MLS teams not fielding full strength squads because of schedule demands or USL teams stepping up their play against MLS teams overlooking them. I also think that soccer is a game that lends itself to weaker teams beating stronger teams on a given day. Ultimately, I have seen a lot of players who just weren’t good enough in MLS go to USL and do really well. That doesn’t mean the soccer in USL isn’t entertaining, just that there is a very real gap in talent between MLS and USL, as there should be.
MARC- Do you think that RBNY’s acquisition of the Venezuelan left footed midfielder (I forget his name) is likely to occur given Jozy’s transfer? Or will RBNY set their sights on another (perhaps more expensive) player? Thx and keep up the good work.
IVES- I think it’s a safe bet that Jorge Rojas will be joining the Red Bulls this summer and I don’t think his arrival would preclude the Red Bulls from going after a truly expensive player. Why? Because the only way the Red Bulls can go after an expensive player is if Claudio Reyna chooses to retire, and if that happens then the Red Bulls will have the DP slot and transfer funds to sign a big-ticket player, whether they sign Rojas or not.
ZUNGAZAN- I think your name is way cool but how in the hell do you pronounce it?
IVES- First name is pronounced EYE-VISS. Last name is GUL-ARE-SEP.
JOSHUA GOD- What are the rules on cap tying players. It never is very clear when people talk about it?
IVES- There seem to be so many confusing permutations on the rules but what I know the rules to be are that a player becomes cap-tied once they turn 21 if they have already played youth international level matches for a country (like Giuseppe Rossi). Now, if you are under 21 and have played in an A match for the full national team then you are cap tied (actually that cap-ties you regardless of age). Now, a player can play for a country if he was born there, has parents or grandparents from there, or has lived there for two years. One of the more confusing aspects of all this is the designation of FIFA A matches and whether certain matches do or don’t cap-tie a player.
ART- Bocanegra and Onyewu are the best possible centerback duo for the National Team for now. They are very good against CONCACAF opposition, but they were exposed to quick, one-touch teams in Europe. Can you see a possible tandem of Onyewu and Orozco (Or another quicker centerback) used by Bob Bradley, so that he has Onyewu for the physical presence alongside a quick centerback against those fast teams?
IVES- Here’s a question. Why is it that just because Bocanegra and Onyewu were "exposed" by quick one-touch teams in Europe we automatically assume other defenders in the pool wouldn’t have been? Actually, the better question is where were all these goals created by quick one-touc soccer? I’m a little confused about the suggestion of being exposed by one-touch teams. England scored two goals, one off a set piece, and Spain scored off a great turn and dribble, so I don’t recall a flood of goals via quick one-touch passing.
Argentina did create a bunch of dangerous chances thanks to their speedy attack and amazing one-touch passing but A) they’re the best in the world at the one-touch game and B) Bocanegra wasn’t there. I’m not saying Bocanegra would have shut that down but your question pertained to the Onyewu-Bocanegra partnership.
Here’s another question for you. How many goals were scored by forwards during the big England-Spain-Argentina trio of friendlies? Yep, zero. So a group of forwards that included Wayne Rooney, Fernando Torres, Julio Cruz and Sergio Aguero managed zero goals against the American center backs. So where is the problem exactly?
I will say that Michael Orozco is a great prospect who has a bright future, but is still some time away from challenging the top center backs in the U.S. pool.
TED HILL- 1. What should we expect from Altidore at Recreativo? Will he struggle to get playing time like Adu at Benfica or will he be on the pitch often and doing well?
2. What are your thoughts on the Canadian national team? They had a good run in Gold Cup 2007 and just performed well against Brazil and Panama. What would you say there chances are of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.
***Thanks again as always for answering all these questions.***
IVES- 1. The Recreativo move is not set yet so we will have to wait and see where Altidore spends the first half of the La Liga season. If he does go to Huelva I think he could gradually work his way into a starting role. I don’t think he’ll just walk right in. There will be an adjustment period, but I also don’t think Villarreal spent the money they spent on him for Altidore not to be playing.
2. I’m a big fan of the Canadian team and think they’re in the top four of the region. Unfortunately, two of the other three are in their World Cup qualifying group. The Canada-Honduras matches will be key and right now I’m giving the edge to Canada. I think their midfield has an edge on Honduras and I think Rob Friend could be a star in qualifying coming off his big season at Monchengladbach.
IVES IS MY HERO- Any word on expansion into Canada? Is MLS going to look north, or is Toronto going to be the one odd team in the league? Seems weird that only 1 MLS side isn’t eligible for teh US Open Cup but instead would just beat the tar out of the lower Canadian sides to win the Canadian trophy.
IVES- Nice name. I know there’s been plenty of talk about Montreal and possibly Vancouver being in the mix for MLS but I just don’t see it happening. Montreal wouldn’t shock me that much, but any place else definitely would. I just think there are too many good expansion possibilities in the USA for MLS to put a second team in Canada.
BKNY- Does a player get to keep a share of his transfer fee? I heard somewhere that they keep 10 percent.
IVES- Players generally get 10 percent of their transfer fee but I’ve been told that MLS has its players sign a waiver relinquishing their rights to that 10 percent. Not sure if that’s true in every case, but I suppose it’s a sort of ransom for letting the players leave.
DR. MODIBO- If Conde’s not playing for the Fire because of personal problems, and Marmol’s not playing because he’s injured, did the Fire and Hauptman really win their little tiff with JCO and RBNY?
IVES- I actually thought Conde was also injured. And I’m not sure either side is winning the tiff between Hauptman and Osorio. On one side the Fire has two players making six figures who aren’t contributing while on the other side you have a coach with a roster starving for talent. You also have both teams equal on points. Right now it’s a tie. Wait for the end of the year before trying to keep score on that one.