MLS Ticker: Mastroeni hangs up his boots; Ching testimonial rosters revealed; and more

Pablo Mastroeni

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

One of Major League Soccer’s legends has decided it’s time to hang up the boots.

Pablo Mastroeni announced his retirement today after a 16-year professional career that began with the Miami Fusion and ended with the Los Angeles Galaxy. In between, the 37-year-old spent 11 full seasons with the Colorado Rapids, amassing a total of 334 games played in his career, good for eighth all-time in league history. Mastroeni was a key member of the Rapids side that won the 2010 MLS Cup.

“After spending the last 16 years playing in Major League Soccer and with the U.S. Men’s National Team, I have decided that this is the appropriate time to retire from the game,” Mastroeni said in a statement. “I am honored to have spent my entire professional club career playing in MLS and I now look forward to watching this league continue to grow as I begin the next stage of my life.”

The defensively stout central midfielder parlayed his success with the Fusion and later the Rapids into 65 caps with the USMNT and appearances at both the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. Mastroeni joined the Galaxy mid-way through the 2013 season in exchange for an international slot for the 2013 and 2014 seasons and a second round draft pick. The Mendoza, Argentina native made a total of 12 appearances for the Galaxy, recording one assist.

Here are some more notes from around the league:

CHING TESTIMONIAL ROSTERS RELEASED

As Brian Ching begins his retirement, many of his current and former teammates will join him this Friday at his official testimonial match.

The Houston Dynamo revealed the rosters for the match today, which will see the likes of Landon Donovan and Jimmy Conrad grace the White squad while Brad Davis, Paul Dalglish, and Chris Wondolowski will join Ching on the orange squad. For this game, Donovan is listed as a goalkeeper.

In addition, Matt Reis, Corey Ashe, Ricardo Clark, and Stuart Holden will all serve as coaches for the match at BBVA Compass Stadium.

SOUNDERS DECLINE OPTION ON GSPURNING, ACQUIRE FREI

The Seattle Sounders will have a new starting goalkeeper next season.

After two years as their starter, the Sounders announced on Monday evening that they had declined to pick up an option on the contract of Michael Gspurning, parting ways with the 32-year-0ld Austrian goalkeeper. Reports in Seattle speculate that Gspurning was let go because he struggled late in the season for the Sounders and was earning a base salary of $285,000.

During his time with the Sounders, Gspurning made 55 regular season and playoff appearances combined, winning 27 games and recording 20 shutouts.

With Gspurning gone, the Sounders made a move today to bring in want-away goalkeeper Stefan Frei from Toronto FC in exchange for a conditional first-round draft pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.

RAPIDS EXERCISE OPTIONS OF IRWIN, POWERS, KLUTE, AMONG OTHERS

Though the Colorado Rapids weren’t able to make a deep run into the playoffs, the fact that they even made it that far exceeded many early-season expectations of a team that was riddled by injuries.

On Tuesday, the Rapids announced that many of the starters from the 2013 season including goalkeeper Clint Irwin, midfielder Dillon Powers, and defender Chris Klute would be returning for next season after picking up their contract options. The club also retained Designated Player signing Gabriel Torres, who will have a full year with the Rapids to work with after scoring three times in seven matches.

Meanwhile, the Rapids are still in contract negotiations with eight players who had their options declined, including winger Danny Mwanga, midfielder Martin Rivero, and midfielder Hendry Thomas.

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What do you think of these reports? What’s your favorite memory of Mastroeni? See Ching’s team defeating Donovan? Surprised that the Sounders decided to cut ties with Gspurning? Think Frei can earn the Sounders starting spot?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- Colorado Rapids, MLS- Houston Dynamo, MLS- LA Galaxy, MLS- Seattle Sounders, MLS- Toronto FC. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to MLS Ticker: Mastroeni hangs up his boots; Ching testimonial rosters revealed; and more

  1. Dinho says:

    Congrats to Pablo on a great career. Always respected his tenacity.

    Did I read that right? Landon listed as a goalkeeper for the Ching testimonial?

    Does Frei demand a much lower salary than Gspurning? If not, I don’t get this move by Seattle, as Frei is not an upgrade.

    Colorado doing the right thing by retaining their guys. They will show well next year, again.

    • Beto says:

      +1 my thought exactly on all of this.

    • futbolisimo says:

      Mastroeni – one of my favorite players all-around at the 2002 W.C. Such intelligent distribution and telepathic defending. I still savor his utter maddeningly-frustrating shut-down of Mexico. Wonderful player with brains and brawn. Lucky his family landed in the U.S.

    • Chris says:

      Not sure re: Frei’s salary demands, but I’d imagine so. Seattle desperately need to clear cap space, and the cost-to-performance ratio had grown unfavorable on Gspurning, so letting him go makes sense, but Frei as the replacement is a bit of a headscratcher unless he’s dirt cheap.

    • Nicole says:

      I imagine Landon is listed as a goalie since his ankle is still messed up and he’s recovering during off-season.

      • futbolisimo says:

        No, no, I don’t think you’ve heard – he’s actually, believe it or not, going to switch positions. And apparently Klinsie has hooked Donovan up with Bayern on a winter transfer. They actually want him to tend goal based on his sheer athleticism. I’m paraphrasing Guardialo from a quote that just came out from the Bild’s website. Check it out. WIld story.

        • GW says:

          Bayern are making a big push for the US market so this makes sense.

          • futbolisimo says:

            Yeah, totally insane. Apparently now – and I just read this in Le Figaro (the major French publication) – that Bayern Munich are also making a push for a package deal from MLS for Mike Magee and Taylor Twellman (pulling him out of retirement) as long as Twellman can pass a standardized I.Q. test.

            • GW says:

              I think you have that wrong. Weren’t Harkes and Alexi included in the deal?

              • futbolisimo says:

                LOL. Sorry, my mistake, you’re correct, and it’s Lalas who has to pass the I.Q. test, and apparently the wire reports are coming in that he failed miserably.

  2. Travis says:

    Dont really like the trade the Frei trade for Seattle, TFC wanted to get rid of him and Seattle is willing to give up a first rounder? Doesn’t make a ton of sense

    • Kingsly Alexander says:

      It isn’t that Toronto didn’t like Frei, they just had cheaper options.

      Frei had proven himself a standout keeper in his 2 yrs starting there.

      Didn’t see him in cup games last yr, but if he can return to form it’ll be smart pick up for Seattle

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      Seattle has quite a bit of homegrown talent on the Washington Huskies, there are only so many spots. If they make the playoffs maybe the draft pick isn’t that valuable at that point.

  3. timothy says:

    It was really time for Pablo to retire, but the real question is: what is next for him? I was hoping he’d start his coaching career with a rapids youth team, but based on his move to la, I’d believe that’s unlikely

  4. DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

    Good, maybe West Brom will take Gspurning and keep their mitts OFF HAMID!!!

  5. bottlcaps says:

    I think Gspurning was not a bad goalkeeper, but was at loggerheads with Sigi Schmidt. Looking at some of his :bad” games he did make some silly mistakes (probably a bad thing from an experienced GK) but made a lot of good ones far more times because a leaky defense that was not his fault.

    I think that GK are a target, no matter how well they do to keep a team under the salary cap.
    Frei is pretty well under Gspurning salary in that case, but is being brought in more for cover as they look at the US and Intl market for a more permanent solution.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      Gspurning was pretty middling, I thought. And the fact that he melted down when the team needed him most is pretty significant. Then can certainly do as well as him for less $$$ and can probably do a lot better.

    • Travis says:

      Gspurning was the second highest paid GK in MLS, that is why he’s gone now

  6. Lost in Space says:

    Pablo was a fairly classy player, who did a lot of the dirty work for the USNT back in 2002 & 2006 WCs. Hopefully he’ll sign on as a youth coach in MLS to help groom the next generation of players.

    • Chris says:

      Mastroeni’s antics following a Rocky Mountain Cup match at RSL a number of years back, taunting the home fans to an extent that would probably today result in a DC suspension and heavy fine, would beg to differ.

  7. Jacknut says:

    I echo the tributes for Pablo. He even managed to lived down the infamous NYT Photo Shoot.

  8. Stinnsy says:

    Hopefully, the next stage of his life includes more of this:

    link to hifiny.com

  9. bryan says:

    i don’t understand DC United signing Arnaud. his salary was $275,000 last year. Goff reported he agreed to a pay cut, but they won’t say exactly. which implies it’s still a lot. an expensive, 33 year old, unproductive midfielder is not what DC United need.

    also surprised to see Portland and Sacramento teaming up for a MLS/USL Pro partnership. thought San Jose would be all over that.

  10. David says:

    Seattle has to be in the market for a #1 goalkeeper now. Going into 2014 with Frei and Hahnemann can’t possibly be the plan, can it?

    The Rapids should try to lock down Klute, Irwin, and Powers to long term deals if they can. Those guys did really well for them and have plenty of good years ahead.

  11. OZ says:

    Frei is a decent keeper. If he can regain his form of younger years in Toronto – Seattle fans will be more than happy with him. He was a good keeper with a non-existent defense in front of him at TFC. Great guy, great attitude, great professional he didn’t fit Nelsen’s goofy New Zealand Rugby style/image.

    Seattle picked up a great asset today.

  12. Thanks for a great career Pablo! You can take Cautemac Blanco out of your pocket now. The USA/Mexico game in World Cup 2002 was awesome.