By DARRELL LOVELL
If you think D.C. United’s signing of Brazilian 20-year-old Rafael is a move for the future, think again. Not only does the one-year loan suggest the 6-footer will get a real look, head coach Ben Olsen thinks he may have found his true, physical center forward to head his attacking formation.
“I believe in having a hard-working, physical No. 9, and I think he’s all pretty well-rounded in his hold-up game, good in the air, composure in front of goal,” Olsen said in a conference call with local media. “He’s very mature at a young age, but he is young. He’s 20-years-old, so there’s gotta be certain patience we have with him, but I certainly think he has the potential to be a big-time forward in this league.”
Olsen – while also pointing to the youngster’s persistence in the box – made clear his affection for a forward who works both sides of the line and can add that edge and he feels that the club has found just that in Rafael.
Can a 20-year-old bring that in a physical league like MLS? That is the answer that Olsen and everyone involved will be looking for. If he does then D.C. may have find a much needed piece to the puzzle.
On the same call, General Manager Dave Kasper confirmed there is an option to buy and the potential transfer fee has already been agreed. Read the full transcript here.
Here are some more notes from around the MLS Eastern Conference:
Could the Fire have found a diamond in the rough? His name could be Samuel Archer. The former Rutgers striker won a spot in preseason camp through an open tryout, which hosted over 150, to show what he can do. A Queens, NY native, Archer, 23, is not your ordinary, off the street winner. The youngster has been in camp with the Colorado Rapids before and has spent time with the Harrisburg City Islanders and Wilmington Hammerheads of USL Pro.
Will Archer make the opening day roster? Time will tell but one can hope.
Wednesday the Dynamo announced what could be an under the radar signing, bringing forward Cam Weaver back to the club. The tall striker picked up steam late in 2012, thanks to a good run of form in the reserve league and CONCACAF Champions League where he notched 13 goals combined. The success led to important minutes off the bench down the stretch and a hopeful look towards 2013. With over 40 games on the Dynamo’s slate in 2013, Weaver provide quality depth, at the least, alongside club icon Brian Ching.
“We’re going to need a deep team with all the games we’re playing,” the striker told MLSsoccer.com. “You know you’re name’s going to be called at some point during the season, that’s a nice thing to know as a player and is a good motivator.”
Could Dennis Hamlett’s and Mike Sorber’s time with the Montreal Impact be extended? According to a tweet from Impact boss Joey Saputo (@JoeySaputo), who uses social media like few others in the league, the decision is theirs if they want to stay. Here is Saputo’s tweet:
“For the record, both Mike and Dennis were offered other positions in the club, balls in their court.”
Whether either chooses to stay on with the organization is yet to be determined. But one thing’s for sure, things are never boring when it comes to the Impact.
NEW YORK RED BULLS
One of the final parts of the Hans Backe era was swept aside recently when midfielder Victor Palsson and the club agreed to part ways. Palsson appeared in only 16 games for the Red Bulls in his brief stint with the club.
Also, if you want to get a glimpse of rumored boss Paulo Sousa check out the film Four-Year Plan, a documentary that follows Queens Park Rangers which covers the potential Red Bull boss’ brief time with the club.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
With the news that Graham Zusi’s training has morphed into a trial (is there really a difference?) and Roger Espinoza officially gone, the club would normally be eager to get Benny Feilhaber – who they acquired earlier this off-season from the New England Revolution – integrated immediately. But the club will have to wait, and understandably so, while the newcomer takes care of business in Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT camp in California. Until his return the club is content to make due without their new midfielder.
“I’m sure we’ll have time enough to get him acclimated, and we’ll do what we have to to get him indoctrinated into the team,” Sporting boss Peter Vermes told MLSsoccer.com. “I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t be better if he were there from Day 1, but we’ll work with it.”
Apparently the Hondurans are not invading Toronto. After reports Wednesday had TFC and CD Vida MF Arnold Peralta close to a deal, Walkingthered.com is reporting the player has turned the move down.
According to another report from Honduran outlet La Tribuna (Spanish) personal terms and a transfer fee of $350,000 were agreed to, but it was the 23-year-old midfield bulldog that re-buffed the idea of a move to kill the deal.
In the same report, Director of Team and Player Operations Earl Cochrane said that former wing sensation Joao Plata may need another year of seasoning in either his native Ecuador or another South American venue.
“I think he could do with another year of playing a lot. In this environment that we are trying to create (at TFC) he may not enough playing time. That’s going to be important for him for his development and we’re going to try to find an environment for him to succeed,” Cochrane explained in the story.
Has Olsen found the “right guy”? Is Feilhaber’s missed time a worry? Can Weaver help a Dynamo squad that has to do double duty in CCL? Will Peralta end up in Toronto? Let us know what you think below.