There haven’t been any aging stars arriving from Europe lately, even though people at the coffee shop like to speculate about players like Alessandro Del Piero being shipped to the US. Everyone seems to love to hear about these kinds of transfers where big names with tired legs come over to play in the MLS, but this can’t happen all the time.
FC Dallas have helped out the first-place San Antonio Scorpions by loaning them their quick footed 20-year-old Mexican center-forward to give them some more fire power in the playoffs. He might as well get some playing time in North America’s second division, the NASL.
FC Dallas also acquired a young forward named Matias Maximiliano Jara from the Primera B Nacional, Argentina’s second division. It must be a big change for a 25-year-old to adapt to the way of life in Texas. I don’t know if he’ll get any playing time, but it will be a good experience for him to train with a club in the last stretch of the season, where every game is key for the playoff race.
Another player with links to FC Dallas returns to the MLS: Juan Carlos Toja is now part of the New England Revolution. This transfer happened on Aug. 27 for a transfer fee of $0. He played two years with FC Dallas and is arriving from Aris in the Greek Super league. He is a left-footed center attacking midfielder. It would be nice to see him send some through-balls to a young and speedy Diego Fagundez one of these days, if he manages to get himself in the starting line up.
Switching to the Houston Dynamo, they are in possession as of Aug. 29 of a young, versatile English offensive midfielder who can play on the wing or in the middle: Giles Barnes. He has 35 games of Premier-League experience and he is coming from the Doncaster Rovers, freshly relegated from the Championship. I love it when English footballers come over to North America because their style of play really suits ours. Soccer fans in England and the US both like hard tackles, long searching balls and hate players who don’t run about. He’s quite a physical presence, so he should be able to get his head on a few Houston set pieces.
Another midfielder arrived from England earlier on Aug. 21. Hendry Thomas, a defensive midfielder from Honduras who recently played for Wigan, tried to make the difference in his debut but even a player with 55 games of experience couldn’t help Colorado beat their western conference basement rivals, the Portland Timbers, as they were defeated 1-0.
The most recent and probably the biggest transfer involving an MLS player is the departure of Marco Pappa from the Chicago Fire to SC Herrenveen, a popular team in the Eredivisie, the Netherlands’ top flight. The Guatemalan was actually on loan from CSD Municipal, a team from his country of origin. Javier Leon, President of Soccer Operations for the Fire, said that it was a hard move to make, but he claims it will “provide the club with flexibility under the salary cap.”
Pappa is a quality player who you don’t find too often in the MLS. If teams have to let go of these players because of the salary cap, maybe it’s time for the salary cap to go instead of these game-changing players that make MLS soccer more entertaining to watch. But the salary cap debate is much too large to be discussed in this article. This topic probably deserves an article of its own. To be continued…