MLS Ticker: D.C. United sell Jakovic to Japanese club; Kronberg re-signs with Sporting KC; and more

Dejan Jakovic

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

D.C. United’s offseason overhaul continued on Friday with the departure of a long-tenured starting defender.

Following a season where he started 17 of 18 matches for the league’s worst franchise, Dave Kaspar and D.C. United have reportedly agreed to sell Dejan Jakovic to Japanese club Shimizu S-Pulse. According to a report, D.C. United would receive a transfer fee in the low six figures.

While D.C. United will have to replace another starter in their lineup, the transfer gives the team some much needed salary cap relief. During the 2013 season, Jakovic earned more than $300,000 in guaranteed compensation. Jakovic’s future was certainly in the air after D.C. United acquired center backs Bobby Boswell and Nana Attakora through the MLS Re-Entry Draft this month.

It’s not the first time that Major League Soccer has been linked with Shimizu S-Pulse. Former Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Daigo Kobayashi formerly played with Shimizu before going on trial and eventually signing with the Whitecaps. Shimizu finished the 2013 J-League season as a midtable team in ninth-place out of 18 top-flight clubs.

Here are some more stories from around MLS:

KNONBERG RE-SIGNS WITH SPORTING KC, LOOKS TO BE NO. 1 GOALKEEPER

After eight seasons waiting patiently at Sporting Kansas City, Eric Kronberg is hoping that the 2014 MLS season is one where he can become the team’s starting goalkeeper.

Sporting KC announced today that Kronberg had signed a new contract with the club, and it looks as though the 30-year-old will have the chance to battle newcomer Andy Gruenebaum for the starting position this spring.

“I’m really happy to be back with Sporting KC,” Kronberg said. “Kansas City has become my home over the past eight years and I’m very much looking forward to the future and stepping into a starting role with this club.”

Kronberg hasn’t appeared in an MLS match in the past two years, though this past year he appeared twice in the U.S. Open Cup and all four times in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Sporting KC has a goalkeeper opening after Jimmy Nielsen announced his retirement just one day after leading the club to an MLS Cup title.

CREW INK DEAL WITH PALADINI

The Columbus Crew were in search of a solid midfielder to add depth to the squad and they found one in a trade with the Chicago Fire.

After acquiring midfielder Daniel Paladini on Dec. 12 in exchange for a fourth-round draft selection in the upcoming MLS SuperDraft, the Crew came to terms with the 29-year-old veteran Friday. Paladini originally had an option declined by the Fire but opted-out of the MLS Re-Entry Draft to execute the trade to Columbus.

“Daniel is a very technical player who has good vision and passes the ball well. He’s also good at quickly turning with the ball and these qualities will help complement our attack,” Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said in a statement. “He’s a strong two-way midfielder in our league and we look forward to working with him soon.”

Paladini played a big role off the bench for the Fire last season, playing in 20 matches and scoring two goals as well as adding three assists.

FC DALLAS PLANS PRESEASON TRIP TO UAE

When making their preseason plans, most Major League Soccer clubs choose to travel to either Arizona, Florida, or South Carolina. This preseason, FC Dallas is taking the road less traveled.

FC Dallas will become the first MLS club to take their preseason training to the United Arab Emirates when they visit Abu Dhabi from Jan. 30 to Feb. 12. FC Dallas will spend time at the Al Jazira Sports and Culture Club and are in the process of scheduling three friendly matches during that period.

“We are honored to be the first MLS team to spend our preseason in the UAE and believe this will be the beginning of a long-term relationship with the wonderful people of Abu Dhabi,” Dan Hunt, vice president of Hunt Sports Group said in a statement.

While it’s the first time that a team will visit the UAE for preseason, plenty of sides have used Mexico as a base for training in the past.

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What do you think of these reports? Did you expect Jakovic to leave this offseason? Do you think Kronberg can win the starting spot with Sporting KC? How do you see Paladini fitting in Berhalter’s system?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Columbus Crew, MLS- D.C. United, MLS- FC Dallas, MLS- Sporting Kansas City. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to MLS Ticker: D.C. United sell Jakovic to Japanese club; Kronberg re-signs with Sporting KC; and more

  1. Jacknut says:

    Salary cap relief for DCU? What happened? I thought the team lots of cap space.

    • bryan says:

      who cares how much we already have, $300,000 is another good chunk off. EJ is going to end up getting around $370,000 so it almost counters that. i’m still hoping DC have another good signing in them too, other than Dean in the draft who doesn’t count against the cap anyway.

    • JoeW says:

      1. Jakovic had a great 2012, got a huge salary increase so this means his salary comes off the books PLUS we add some allocation money.

      2. This now makes more sense. DCU had Ethan White and Conor Shanofsky already–two young, promising CBs. They added Boswell and Attakora. Christian Dean is generally regarded as the top choice in the draft. That’s a lot of CBs.

      Jakovic has good speed for a CB and I think he would have combined well with Boswell (who isn’t the fastest guy around but is generally a good organizer–which ain’t Jakovic’s strength). But instead, it looks like Boswell will start and then the other spot will be a battle between White and Attakora. And then Dean (if he is indeed DCU’s pick) is the starting left back.

  2. El Paso tx says:

    What league is better, the Korean, Japanese or Chinese?
    Is MLS better than them or same level.
    Because if MLS is getting there with ligaMX, then I guess even the A league or Some Middle East league must be catching up as well.

    • Kingsly Alexander says:

      The K-league is just under the J-league as far as quality on the pitch and the talent their academies produce, even though K-League teams usually do better then Japanese (in recent years) in AFC Champions League.

      China, maybe in the same way as MLS. throw big money at players, but I think the reason they have such a hard time with that is because the huge cultural difference, but their really not on par with other countries in the area. A-league is a better product then Chinese Super League also.

      • Kingsly Alexander says:

        I’d like to see future exchange between MLS and the J-League. A lot of players well up in age have traveled to the NASL and former USL and have done extremely well for their clubs and I’d like to see that take the nxt step and try to get established Japanese players, aged 21 – 31 or so, try in MLS.

        Burgeoning, national team players probably wouldn’t want to try it, but I think solid role players would a practical target. They have very good football minds and are very sharp technically and I think flank players and attacking mids could do well.

  3. Kojo says:

    DC selling Jakovic is the best thing DC has done in the off season. Time and time again he was too slow in reading the game coupled with the fact that he is not that physically fast nor does he have a quick first step. I also suspect that he was not that vocal as a CB so he was not a CB that organized the defense. By releasing him DC has to go out and get another CB as either a starter (Attakora or White could be starters) or at least for depth

    • MJC-DC says:

      Gotta slightly disagree. Jako was one of the fastest defenders in the league … Just not an organizer and not fast of mind/ smart with his decisions (as you mentioned). I have watched many a game were he would run down some of the fastest strikers in the league … After being terribly out of position.

      • Reid says:

        And the dc’s trainers job just got a lot easier. It always seemed to me this guy couldn’t go one int’l break without getting injured

      • MJC-DC says:

        Feel the need to add to my comment as it can come off has overly harsh. 2013 was a down year for the team and Jako. When at his best he was one of the better defenders I’ve seen for DC. If the reports are true, I wish him the best of luck in Japan. Hope he recovers on form and then some.

    • MiamiAl says:

      +1

      Jakovic was always good for at least one costly blunder per game. Upgrading this position was certainly a priority for the overhaul.

      • bk says:

        Agreed…he was the Collocini (sp?) of MLS. I have no idea how they both still see the field. This is a long overdue move by dc united. First tough decision this team has made correctly in a long time

  4. DWE4 says:

    I always wondered if there was a way DCU could send Jakovic to one of the three Canadian MLS teams. I was never a true fan of him. This is great news for United. Well….great with an asterisk, because it requires that Dave Kaspar signs another player who is good enough to play professional soccer. That’s always the rub, isn’t it? Based on Kaspar’s track record, I’m only modestly optimistic that Bill Hamid won’t be facing an onslaught.

    • JoeW says:

      What with Attakora, Boswell, White, and Shanosky on the roster plus Kitchen able to play CB and Christian Dean a very tempting #1 pick, I think DCU is going to focus on other holes in the roster…CB should be more or less set for now.