MLS Ticker: Norwich eyeing Kamara, Whitecaps signing Japanese playmaker, and more

By VINCE MADURI

Sky Sports in England are reporting that Norwich City have made a bid to Sporting Kansas City aimed at securing forward Kei Kamara to help them avoid the drop in the second half of the season.

The forward has scored nine goals or more in each of his last three seasons, including eleven this past season and was recently named Sierra Leone player of the year.

Kamara is the most recent of several SKC players to benefit from the club’s recent success and be linked with English clubs, following former teammate Roger Espinoza’s move to Wigan and Graham Zusi’s trial at West Ham.

Here are some more MLS stories to get you through Wednesday.

WHITECAPS TO SIGN JAPANESE ATTACKING MIDFIELDER

The Vancouver Whitecaps continue to add attacking talent to their repertoire as they look set to sign Japanese midfielder Daigo Kobayashi.  Kobayashi will join the Whitecaps Wednesday for medicals ahead of his signing, assuming all goes well.

The 29-year-old began his professional career in 2001 with Tokyo Verdy, where he went on to win an Emperor’s Cup in 2004 and Japanese Super Cup in 2005. He was loaned to Norwegian champions Stabaek, and played in Europa League qualifying. In 2010, he signed with Iraklis in Greece and returned 18 months later to join Shimizu S-Pulse in the J-League.

Kobayashi has played for Japan at the U-20 level and has been capped once for the senior team in a friendly.

The Whitecaps have also reportedly signed a trio of forwards to the roster. Corey Hertzog, Tom Heinemann and Paul Jr. have all been added to the Vancouver roster, increase speculation about the future of current forwards Kenny Miller and Omar Salgado.

TIMBERS RELEASE FRANCK SONGO’O

The Portland Timbers have released midfielder Franck Songo’o as they look to clip their roster.  Under the new leadership of Caleb Porter, the Timbers have been busy adding several players including midfielder Will Johnson and some difficult roster decisions were bound to be made.

Songo’o probably is a casualty of being surplus to requirements as he had a very good first season in MLS.  The Cameroon international appeared in 27 games for the Timbers, scoring one goal and assisting on 5, the second best on the team.

LABROCCA TRADED TO COLORADO

SBI reported Tuesday that Chivas USA continued its facelift by trading midfield playmaker Nick LaBrocca to Colorado Rapids for Mexican-American midfielder Eric Avila.

Nick LaBrocca returns to Colorado, where he started his career in 2007.  He made 61 appearances for the Rapids, scoring four goals before moving to Chivas USA.  The midfielder had a career year in 2011, scoring eight goals and six assists.

LaBrocca had been hailed as the Goats most impressive outfield player over his two years at the club.

Eric Avila enjoyed his best season of his career thus far last season with Toronto FC, scoring one goal and assisting on two in a career high 24 appearances.

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What do you think of these developments?

Share your thoughts below.

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64 Responses to MLS Ticker: Norwich eyeing Kamara, Whitecaps signing Japanese playmaker, and more

  1. Tony in Quakeland says:

    If they are saying Kobayashi for midfield, it’s only a matter of time before they sign Keyser Söze

  2. MMV says:

    I hope to goodness Norwich get Kei so they leave Gary Hooper alone. Can’t they get the hint of rejection?? My club, Celtic, needs Hooper for the Champions League — dammit! As for Kei, he’s certainly earned the opportunity and I would be elated if he were to catch on at Norwich. Houton’s a decent manager and Kei could probably thrive in his sytem as a winger.

  3. Travis says:

    I think that Chivas downgraded talent in order to keep stockpiling latino-americans, just dont see the experiment ending well. They are reaching all over and will be left with a below average team

    • Gnarls says:

      Eric Avila is a talented player, but you’re right. LaBrocca was the only outfield player at Chivas who looked like he knew how to play soccer. It’ll be karmic justice if all these Mexican-American players flop. I don’t wish them ill, but scrapping players due to their ethnicity is just wrong.

      • ed - houston says:

        yeah man, they ARE going about it the wrong way. if chiva usa want to be a “latino club” its ok but they are going about it the wrong way. kind of like canadian mls teams want to be “canadian” or “european”, that’s ok too, but they are going about it a bit differently than C-USA.

    • ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

      Chivas went full retard.

  4. zeygote note says:

    seriously Kamara? why not CJ Sapong or Bunbury? Why not Altidore? Are Norwich just looking for rhe cheapest option and then ler him provide depth. They need to respecr MLS

    • Reid says:

      My first thought, and then thought maybe of work permit issues limiting the other 2

    • Nick4235 says:

      Haha what are you talking about? They need to respect MLS? They are showing respect for MLS by bidding for MLS talent. Sapong and Bunbury are fine but it seems like you are more upset that they’re not going for an American. Would I like for EPL teams to buy more American talent? yes but why complain that top league clubs are buying MLS talent? Perhaps they are going for him because they think he will be a better fit or cheaper cuz of his age but don’t complain about EPL teams coming in for MLS talent.

      • fischy says:

        This.

      • Vern says:

        US fans want MLS to pay and keep it’s talent.

        • Nick4235 says:

          Eh debatable. MLS fans want that and there’s a difference between MLS fans and US fans if you know what I mean. I consider myself an MLS fan however that being said if there’s one thing MLS needs its $$. A lot of people don’t like to hear it but money talks and if MLS is going to improve it needs to sell some players. So for now MLS needs a nice balance between retaining talent and moving on players who they can make some money off.

    • ed - houston says:

      huh? kamara is better then CJ and bunbury. altidore is fine where he is at, just because its norwich in the epl does not mean they are entitled to him… as far as respecting mls, what are you talking about?

    • Jr says:

      because Kamara is better than them ….

    • Bobb says:

      Bunbury??? That guy sucks, PLUS he’s coming off a serious injury, you just lost all credibility by mentioning him with Kamara, Sapong, and Jozy freaking Altidore.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      (a) Having scouted Espinoza presumably they’ve figured out for themselves who else they like.

      (b) Kamara played here in Houston and based on what I’ve seen then and since, Kamara’s a better player with superior touch and finishing. His issue to me has been getting along with coaches.

      (c) Kamara is a Sierra Leone citizen and I believe there is a work permit exception for Commonwealth citizens with at least one grandparent born in the UK. If Kamara’s parents were born there while it was a colony of the British Empire, pre-independence, that might count?

    • DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

      Kamara is better than CJ and Bunbury, and I am sure he will be far cheaper than Altidore because of the age thing.

    • Patrick says:

      Bunbury is hurt, and Sapong is way way too young to contribute to a relegation battle in the EPL. Kamara has proven to be reliable and consisten over the years, and on the X and Y axis, probably is at the sweet spot of age and price (or so they think). With Bunburys injury and a packed season of games, I can’t see them selling unless the offer is too good to pass up

    • Mike in Missouri says:

      Kei’s also a freakish athlete, much better than Bunbury and Sapong in my opinion. He’s also versatile where he plays, and is a better finisher than either of them right now (granted, that’s not saying a whole lot.)

      That being said, let’s hold this SKC team together for one or two more years. Let’s see how they do in a CCC run.

  5. Edwin in LA says:

    Well Bunbury is coming off an injury so I doubt he is anywhere near ready to be in form and play, let alone worth a transfer. I doubt CJ is ready for the EPL

  6. Nick4235 says:

    Haha what are you talking about? They need to respect MLS? They are showing respect for MLS by bidding for MLS talent. Sapong and Bunbury are fine but it seems like you are more upset that they’re not going for an American. Would I like for EPL teams to buy more American talent? yes but why complain that top league clubs are buying MLS talent?

  7. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    Chivas Owner does learn from his mistakes. If you want more “mexican feel” bring mega stars aren’t mexican (because the main mexican stars are Guadajada) like Benitez, ‘Chupete’, Villa, Jimenez etc…stars that appeal to mexicans, south americans and some euro snobs.

  8. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    Kamara does deserve go to EPL, but should leave at least $2million.

  9. pgloerse says:

    Would love some more insight to this: link to mlssoccer.com

    Sporting KC and Orlando City are partners…

  10. Schteve Town says:

    Having recently seen both Avila and LaBrocca recently for TFC (and noting LaBrocca’s surge with Chivas, especially last year), that is a huge steal for the Rapids.

    Yikes, ethic-based acquisition policies at a club really distorts the concept of value in football.

    • Gnarls says:

      I know you meant ethnic, and yeah, it’s messed up. I don’t even know how it flies with MLS. it’s one thing to build around an ethos, but to literally drop solid players because they’re not Mexican seems damn-near illegal.

      • Juest says:

        It’s not illegal b/c MLS owns the players’ contracts, and they’re not getting fired, just relocated. But the blatant discrimination reeks. The Canada teams are different–since they’re in Canada, why shouldn’t they want Canadian talent? Maybe if Chivas moved south of the border it would make some sense, but this situation is inexcusable and embarrassing for MLS.

  11. Drew says:

    I’m not sure how many goals to reasonably expect from Kobayushi this season, but I’m much more concerned with how many hot dogs he’s going to eat on July 4th.

  12. Brain Guy says:

    Is there room at RBNY for Songo’o? He sounds intriguing.

  13. Steve-o says:

    Kobayashi – that name reminds me of the movie “the usual suspects”

  14. The Imperative Voice says:

    I like the idea of us looking at J-League, K-League, A-League type players. Fred was decent. I like Marcos Flores and Shane Smeltz. Similar salaries, similar level league.

  15. DrewCore says:

    Hope Songo’o stays in the league, whatever the reason for him leaving Portland, he was my favorite player to watch in their games, wasn’t always consistent but he brought a clear higher level to the game when he was on the ball.

  16. The Imperative Voice says:

    Minor league rumor is true:
    link to mlssoccer.com

    • Riggis says:

      This is huge news! I expect that the level of play in MLS to get much better. Isn’t it the case that in Germany and Spain that reserve sides play in second and third divisions and that this day-in and day-out competition has not only increased the level of play in the first division teams but of the national teams as well? I know other leagues have looked into taking this model as well as it raises the level of competition at all levels and it’s hard to argue with the results.

    • DCLee says:

      HUGE!

  17. Dudester says:

    Wow, that’s huge news.If this happens the black hole people talk about for youngsters in MLS will diminish tremendously.

  18. Good Jeremy says:

    lol. How long until Chivas Jr. gets hit with a major lawsuit by non-hispanic players who were cut, traded, or dropped from their academy? Or will the team by sold to someone with a background in either soccer or business and moved to another city by then? I’m sure LaBrocca was absolutely heartbroken to leave that dumpster fire.

    Can we unanimously acknowledge that mocking Chivas Jr. endlessly doesn’t make someone a eurosnob?

    • Citizen says:

      Chivas USA is a complete disrespect to the league and to this nation. For a country that prides itself on diversity, allowing Chivas to get away with turning down players based on their cultural makeup is inexcusable. This team needs to be removed from the league, or someone better grow the balls to throw a lawsuit against the league if Chivas eventually fulfills their desire to field only Americans of Mexican descent.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      How do you move Chivas from Mexico or Athletic Bilbao from the Basque country and make it work? Logical muddle and compromise from the start, and instead of being content to be “branded” but not exclusive, they keep wandering off in different directions but not really building for good in any particular direction. Which is kind of like TFC a la Winter where he decided to play a 433, tore the team down, then started playing with a teardown team. Kinnear’s boring tactics and lack of adaptability drive me nuts but there is no question what the team is and that he is trying to fit the players into some sort of mold. Since roughly Bradley/Preki the driving concept has just disappeared (and in those years it was basically a standard MLS team that generally drafted Mexicans into its international spots, which is not the worst idea out there if you can find a way to afford it……but at least wasn’t some self-defeating exclusivity project….how are you ever going to have a “Mexican” or “hispanic” or “SoCal” team under MLS roster rules?).

      • Citizen says:

        It is possible, Chivas USA’s agenda is to be like the Chivas down south. In the U.S. find or develop the best Mexican-Americans and sign them to the club, from the first team all the way down to the youth academys. The goal is 100% Mexican, Vergara said it last year when he took over full ownership. He wants the team to be just like Chivas. If they have their way, neglecting all other Americans of various ethnicities in favor of Mexican youth and their success. MLS roster rules allow for up to 8 international player spots (which are tradeable). Again they can choose Mexiican’s with U.S. citizenship, and fill the international spots with foreign born Mexicans, and of course sign Designated Players that are Mexican.

  19. Footballer says:

    Lugano just got loaned till the end of the season to Malaga. Onyewu’s chances went from zero to -10.

    • Citizen says:

      Onyewu is probably done, after that injury he had a few years back he has never fully recovered. He is not getting any younger it is unfortunate for Oguchi. Maybe he can retire if he wants to, or take a pay cut and play in MLS, or just simply retire. USMNT opportunities are over with Klinsmann likely preferring a young Cameron/Gonzalez duo to start at centre back.

  20. chris says:

    Haha Chivas’ best academy player is a 6′ 5″ white kid. Not that it matters because hes with Molde FC for their preseason