Eastern Conference notes: Boskovic avoids injury, Collin red rescinded & more

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 Photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIphotos.com 

By THOMAS FLOYD

The D.C. United faithful can breathe a sigh of relief.

After suffering a knee injury that knocked him out of the closing minutes of United's 3-2 U.S. Open Cup qualifying loss to New England on Tuesday, midfielder Branko Boskovic underwent an MRI on Wednesday, and the results were negative, meaning the Montenegro international should be available for D.C.'s Friday night match at the Houston Dynamo.

"We expect him ready to go," assistant coach Chad Ashton said. "Other than some slight swelling and some soreness, everything is fine."

Just a week ago, a significant injury to Boskovic would have been disappointing but not cause for serious alarm in the nation's capital, as the Designated Player was out of favor with coach Ben Olsen. But Boskovic has strung together back-to-back standout performances, striking woodwork twice as a substitute in a 4-0 loss to New York last week and scoring both of United's goals Tuesday.

Here is some more news from around the Eastern Conference:

CHICAGO FIRE

Having struggled out of the gate to a 1-3-2 record, the Fire is trying to pinpoint exactly what hasn't been clicking in the Windy City thus far this season. According to midfielder Patrick Nyarko, Chicago needs to work on maintaining possession to find some attacking flow.

"We obviously haven't had possession at most parts of the game," Nyarko told ESPN Chicago. "Either the centerbacks get under pressure and just whack the ball and not bring it up — I have yet to figure it out. But it definitely shows in long periods of the game that we're not moving and not passing the ball along. I think that will come a long way to help us if we try to keep possession of the ball at most parts of the game. That's where we look the most dangerous, when we keep the ball on the move and try to create chances off of that."

COLUMBUS CREW

Columbus officially signed midfielder Santiago Prim on Tuesday, bolstering an attack that has lacked creativity since the offseason departure of playmaker Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Prim trained with Columbus during the preseason but could not sign due to contract issues with his previous club, San Lorenzo in Argentina. Those issues have since been resolved, leaving Prim as a free agent.

"He's a young player we see with a lot of potential," coach Robert Warzycha told The Columbus Dispatch. "It's not like he's going to be a star player right away. I think he's someone who could be good in the future."

HOUSTON DYNAMO

Newly acquired Spanish striker Koke trained with the Dynamo on Wendesday, just hours after his flight from Madrid arrived in Houston. The 28-year-old forward, who scored 30 goals in five years with Greek side Aris, impressed coach Dominic Kinnear during a 9-on-9 scrimmage.

"He's traveled so long to get in late and then come out and train," Kinnear told the Houston Chronicle. "[He has] a good first touch. I watched his movement in the game, and holding the ball up was the one thing that I noticed. Obviously, I'll find out more with the more time he spends here."

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

In order to make his professional debut during New England's 3-2 U.S. Open Cup qualifying win at D.C. United on Tuesday, 16-year-old Revolution rookie Diego Fagundez had to ask for permission from Leominster High School outside Boston to skip a few days of school.

Fagundez, a Homegrown Player signing, got the green light and came on as a sub against United, replacing Ousmane Dabo in the 76th minute. "I was happy just to fly here," Fagundez said after the game. "But playing now? I'm even happier."

NEW YORK RED BULLS

After last week's three-assist performance in New York's 4-0 win at D.C. United, Jan Gunnar Solli discussed his switch to right back for the Red Bulls after making a name for himself as a central and wide midfielder in Norway.

"I saw it like a challenge," Solli told MLSsoccer.com. "The way we play here, I have a lot of space to run into –- that’s one of my strengths. As a right fullback here, I'm on the ball so much."

PHILADELPHIA UNION

The Union could be getting a key midfield cog back in the lineup Saturday against San Jose as midfielder Brian Carroll nears his return from a hamstring strain that has sidelined him since April 9.

"We're very hopeful he'll be available for us this weekend," coach Peter Nowak told MLSsoccer.com. "We'll probably make a Friday decision. We just need to make sure we have the green light from our doctors."

SPORTING KANSAS CITY

In a rare move, MLS rescinded the red card given to newly acquired defender Aurelien Collin last weekend against New England, making the Frenchman available for Kansas City's match against New York on Saturday. After colliding with Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis, Collin received the red card amid a scuffle that saw New England midfielder Benny Feilhaber fall to the turf after contact with Kansas City's Birahim Diop.

"I appreciate that the referee admitted that it was an error in judgment, because he didn’t have the best line to see it, and it was off the reaction of the player," Kansas City coach Peter Vermes told MLSsoccer.com. "I like the fact that there was a process, and there is no doubt in my mind that it was the correct decision on the situation. It's a step in the right direction."

Diop was not punished for his part in the fracas after the league's disciplinary committee found that his actions did not warrant further punishment.

TORONTO FC

Despite walking away from the first leg of its Nutrilite Canadian Championships semifinal on Wednesday with a 3-0 lead over FC Edmonton, Toronto coach Aron Winter was still not pleased with his team's play.

"The result was nice but our play was not," Winter told The Canadian Press. "We have made lots of improvement in the last few games and we were able to give some players a rest and give other players an opportunity in this game. But I was not satisfied with how we played towards the end. We were not sharp enough."

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Chicago Fire, MLS- Columbus Crew, MLS- D.C. United, MLS- Houston Dynamo, MLS- New England Revolution, MLS- New York Red Bulls, MLS- Philadelphia Union, MLS- Sporting Kansas City, MLS- Toronto FC. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Eastern Conference notes: Boskovic avoids injury, Collin red rescinded & more

  1. Dainja says:

    I saw where Fagundez was born in Uruguay, but moved to the US when he was five. Does anyone know which country he will play for internationally??

  2. Josh D says:

    Does it matter at age 16? Let’s not start the hype-wagon just yet…

  3. Tyler says:

    From the Revs Website bio on Fagundo: “U.S. NATIONAL TEAM: Was a member of the U.S. Under-14 National Team pool from 2007-2008 … played as a member of the U.S. Under-14 National Team from 2008-2009 … was called into camp with the U.S. Boys Under-15 squad in 2010.”

    +1 to Josh D though, let’s let him enjoy his rookie season/professional debut and then break into the 1st team before even having that discussion

  4. lurking says:

    Frenchman vs. Frenchman is on at RBA this weekend. Without Collin, the game could have gotten ugly, but he seems to be a good plug in KC’s backline if he can tone down his aggressiveness a notch. One bad tackle on Henry and he WILL see red. U can’t touch this!

  5. chris says:

    am i the only one who thinks signing players to the first team at 16 is not a good idea? Dont get me wrong i like the HGP rule but i think players should be at least 18. Siging players to the first team takes up slots that more experienced players should have. I think the MLS should start some sort of a developmental league like the NBA with every team owned by a MLS team. It gives places that would otherwise not have a soccer team, like Austin, Texas, have a chance to have a team and rooting for a team that is affiliated to your team is more practical. Let young players and players not signed after getting drafted develope in the league and if they impress call them up to the first team. It might also help MLS sign younger foreign players that have potential but not worth a first team spot. Just look at the T&B player winchester who scored three goals while at trial with Celtic, trained with Colorado but because of taken spots he didnt get a contract.

  6. Graeme says:

    -1 – No disrespect dude, but…

    Developmental league = reserve league games? MLS expanded the number of allowable players on the roster for EXACTLY this reason – to develop young players.

    And Austin had a 2nd tier team in the Aztex until they were purchased and moved to Orlando. Come on, buddy. Averaging 3700 fans per game is not going to attract anyone but Class A minor league baseball.

    As for foreign youth development, the point of MLS is to develop homegrown talent.

  7. chris says:

    no i mean another way to develope players then meaningless reserve games. The idea is not to make money but to develope players and i’ll take 3700 fans per game than 50 at reserve games anyday. the idea would be to simulate first team games better and it would be its own league with standings and a champion. And if the reserves are supposed to develope young players than why is Boskovic playing? Ik Austin had a team buddy but they didnt keep it, did they? Plus if a 16 year old can be on a team and not be amazing then the MLS is pretty poor.

    -10000000 if thats really your response

  8. Jason says:

    The reserve league has a number of different functions. It serves as a place to develop for young players, it serves as a place to get some minutes coming back from an injury, and it serves as a place to get minutes for those players who are on the bench that aren’t getting minutes. Minor league baseball serves the first two functions all the time and occasionally even fills the third.

    For developmental players, “meaningless” games are exactly where you want them. Playing against a better level of talent pushes a player to grow. Having the matches be without ramifications (perform or that guy on the bench gets your spot) creates an environment that fosters that growth. Once a player is pushing for time with the first team, reserve matches are no longer “meaningless”. Performance in these games can ultimately determine who fills a spot when an injury occurs or someone is struggling with form.

    At this point in soccer coaching and development in the US, I would much rather have Steve Nicol and the rest of the Revs staff handling the development of a 16 year old than I would a club in a farm system halfway across the country. Managers have styles and are looking for certain things in developing players that I wouldn’t trust another coach to handle outside the close confines of the club itself.

    Fianlly, with the reinstitution of the reserve league, a 16 year old does not need to be amazing to be signed. They just need to be at a place where the coaching staff feel that its better for the player’s development to be playing in reserve league matches and making sub appearances in USOC than it is for the kid to be in the academy system. Admittedly, that’s probably still a high bar to attain, but it doesn’t mean that he’ll be seeing first team action in MLS next month.