MLS Ticker: Sounders likely to be without Martins; D.C. United decline option on Ruiz; and more

FC Dallas at Seattle Sounders FC

By DAN KARELL

With the 2013 MLS Cup playoffs set to begin on Wednesday evening, the Seattle Sounders will likely be without one of their most talented players for a must-win game.

On Tuesday evening after training, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid confirmed to reporters that it’s very unlikely for forward Obafemi Martins to play a part in the knockout round game against the Colorado Rapids at CenturyLink Field. Martins has missed the last three games with a groin injury and has scored just twice since the start of August due to a number of injuries.

“If we had to decide today, he wouldn’t be playing.” Schmid told the Seattle Times, “We’ll have to see how he feels tomorrow.”

Martins is still listed as questionable for the game, but Mauro Rosales, who played just ten minutes last Sunday against the Los Angeles Galaxy, is no longer on the injury list.

Here are some more notes from around the league:

RIVERHOUNDS MAKING MOVES WITH MLS EXPANSION IN MIND

The Pittsburgh Riverhounds enjoyed a solid first season at their own soccer specific stadium in downtown Pittsburgh, and are keeping an eye on the future in case Major League Soccer expansion comes calling.

While the league is looking to expand into the Southeastern United States in the next few years, Riverhounds majority owner Tuffy Shallenberger became the majority owner of the stadium, allowing the team to potentially expand if they accrue higher and higher average attendances. The team already has plans to expand the stadium to seat 5,000 next season and Riverhounds CEO Jason Kutney wants to expand all the way to 7,000 if attendances increase.

“I think reasonably, you have to consider that it’s going to be somewhere between seven to 10 years,” Kutney told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette when asked for a realistic estimate of when his club could join MLS. “When I say reasonably, I think nothing shy of seven to 10 years.

“I believe [the MLS] will be looking in seven to 10 years for a market similar to Pittsburgh. Will it be Pittsburgh? That’s up to us.”

D.C. UNITED DECLINE OPTIONS ON THREE PLAYERS INCLUDING RUIZ

The writing was on the wall earlier this season, but on Wednesday, the news finally became official: Carlos Ruiz is no longer with D.C. United.

D.C. United announced that three players, including the 34-year-old forward, had their contract options declined, making them free agents for any team to sign when the next transfer window opens. Forward Lionard Pajoy and midfielder Marcelo Saragosa also had their options declined.

Ruiz, a former MLS MVP winner, started five times in his 13 appearances but he couldn’t recreate his former glory, failing to score a single goal in the league. Ruiz last played for Ben Olsen’s side on July 20 of this year, as Olsen preferred Conor Doyle, Dwayne De Rosario, and Chris Pontius up top to Pajoy and Ruiz since then.

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see the Sounders struggling without Martins? Do you believe Pittsburgh is a viable MLS expansion location? Do you see Ruiz ending up with another MLS team next season?

Share your thoughts below.

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28 Responses to MLS Ticker: Sounders likely to be without Martins; D.C. United decline option on Ruiz; and more

  1. Dominican Lou says:

    I think MLS will have selected team #24 well before Pittsburgh is ready. Orlando, Miami and Atlanta see to be the frontrunners for 21, 22 & 23. I’m guessing a lot of cities/groups will be pushing for 24 and it will probably take a couple of billionaires and a ready-to-go stadium situation to secure the bid.

    • Beto says:

      The race for 24 could be interesting. A lot of exciting options developing in NASL and USL. I like how Pitt’s owner is looking at it, its up to them to show MLS they belong over the next x-years…

    • PSU says:

      I’m guessing that within the next 10 years Chivas USA is sold and possibly moved, so there is always that option for teams that miss out on getting the 24th franchise.

  2. DB says:

    we’re not Seattle, but Pittsburgh is more soccer-crazy than some people realize

    • Joe says:

      And a cool city it seems, hate the Steelers but always respected them. Love the Pirates and Cutch so hey, as a PTFC fan, maybe we could visit Portland East as everyone seems to label Pitt. Good luck, hopefully you guys kick butt and get it done the right way.

    • Gerald says:

      Fair enough, now prove it by averaging 5K in the near future then 7K after that

    • Rex says:

      No one is Seattle. They pretty much invented the game.

  3. dan says:

    “DC united decline Ruiz option”…. when are they going to decline ben olsen’s option??

    • Leonardo says:

      so true! it drives me nuts how DC fans are super loyal and the franchise is such a stalwart for MLS, but they cant fire the worst coach in the league?

      • Citronomics says:

        Ummm…. Here’s one DCU fan that thinks Ben should be let go. While the “talent” on our roster is lacking, he made puzzling decisions (e.g., keeping Pajoy as the starter where we actually may have competed in games if shots were directed on goal) and also think some in the squad playing for him. And we should send the front office packing too given the piss poor acquisitions of Pajoy, Ruiz, that young Brazillian forward, etc.

  4. byob el paso tx says:

    MLS needs to communicate with NASL in order to make a proper division 2 and in 8 to 12 years have a simple relegation-promotion system. For sure MLS will go for 26 ot 28 teams, which it has to be an even number for each conference but for now is 24 teams.
    If MLS never communicates with NASL and gives them ideas in how to expand, then all those markets with ideas and money will never make it and never come back for soccer.
    For instance, MLS is pretty sure going to add, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta and San Antonio, but after that, its going to get even more intense for team 25,26,27,28.
    As for USL Pro, we all know its D3 but NASL does not want to open their eyes and say we are division 2. Therefore, NASL can end up with pretty good markets and have a good division 2 but they need to communicate with MLS, they have to go for west and east conferences as well and work with MLS.
    Picture NASL having, Pittsburgh, oklahoma, austin, albuquerque, san diego, sacramento, san francisco, buffalo, cleveland, detroit, boise, vegas, omaha, st.louis, alabama, tenessee, raleigh, baltimore, des moines……….plus the teams they have now. Eventually MLS is going to have to tell NASL,lets work together and make a powerful division 2 since there is too many markets division can not have, then thats when promotion and relegation joins the master plan in 10 to 12 years.

    • John says:

      MLS doesn’t need NASL at all. What they need to do is start an MLS 2 or Minor League Soccer league. Essentially all current NASL teams would probably leave NASL and join MLS 2 which would probably make NASL go under and leave MLS 2 as the one and only 2nd division. Once there is an MLS controlled 1st and 2nd division, they can flirt with relegation and promotion and League Cups.

    • packy says:

      If NASL expands correctly I’d like to see a primarily promotion oriented approach adopted with 2 NASL slots in MLS. The number 1 team each year would get a slot and the number 2 team would play off against the prior year winner for the the 2nd slot. Would be interested in what others think of this approach.

      • Mason says:

        There’s hole in your promotion logic.

        In the prior year you automatically promoted the NASL winner. You can’t have them play the current year NASL first-runner-up because the PY NASL winner is already in MLS. Did you mean to have NASL #2 play NASL#3 or the MLS #(n*-1) team?

        *Where n is the number of teams in MLS.

        • packy says:

          The promotion would be for one year only. Thus NASL #2 would playoff against previous year #1 for the 2nd slot.

    • Arkie says:

      humbly suggest replacing Alabama with Arkansas. Already have a huge Hispanic population (considering where we are located) and could have a completely untapped market if they go into the Fayetteville area (Arkansas doesn’t even have men’s soccer at the University of Arkansas) . Get that Wal-Mart/Tyson’s money on it!

    • chowbox says:

      Boise?

      • ImaGoalMan says:

        Boise == LOL, it’s not a sports town. Locals support the BSU team more on the couch than in the stadium. Still I’d pay money for them to trot out “Young Boise FC”, and there are plenty of soccer fans for a minor league setup

    • RAMONE says:

      As always ….

  5. Beto says:

    Will Vicente Sanchez be available for CO tonight?

    • OldPuebloFC says:

      From everything I’ve read, he should be available. Both he and Powers traveled to Seattle, but Powers looks less likely. My guess is that Sanchez starts and that Pareja goes with LaBrocca for Powers (though I’d prefer Rivero).

      • RB says:

        I’m thinking (and hoping) it’s Rivero. The spark he immediately showed for the offense on Sunday night is going to be hard to forget, as it was pretty much the only bright spot of that whole match for the Rapids.

        Anyway, the absence of Powers and/or Sanchez will be harder for Colorado to overcome than the absence of Martins will for Seattle.

      • RB says:

        And indeed they just announced it’s Rivero, but Sanchez and still no Powers…

  6. DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

    Thank Goodness. I was really scared that one of these guys might be back. Saragossa wasn’t bad, but Jeffrey is just as good and cheaper. I still think Danny Cruz -> Lionard Pajoy was an awful trade. I wonder if Cruz and DeRo were at odds well before DeRo head butted him in an exhibition game…

  7. Joamiq says:

    Pittsburgh eh? Interesting. A dedicated ownership group is the most important thing for an expansion bid, so this is one to watch down the road…

  8. Turgid Jacobian says:

    If you’re going to have pro/rel, there’s a straightforward way to do it. Implementing but messing with it will just make the purists angrier.

    We definitely need unified and healthy 2nd and 3rd divisions, where EVERYONE can make a living.

  9. The Imperative Voice says:

    Add DeRo to the list of declined DC options.

  10. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Another moronic move by Sounders, oh well, they never learn.