MLS: Old Faces in New Places Part 1
Old Faces in New Places Part 1
The only thing more exciting for an MLS fan other than the playoffs and MLS Cup Final most certainly is the offseason. The offseason is the time where fans of all MLS clubs can dream about their team adding the stars and role players needed to turn their fortunes around. Fans of perennial winners as well as lowly lovable losers can all--for at least a few months--imagine that THIS is the year when things will get better. THIS is the year when that rumored European superstar finally comes to save their team. THIS is the offseason when the front office finally makes the right moves and gives supporters hope that next season will be THE season.
As with every offseason, the story lines are usually very similar: aging European players looking for a final big payday may be coming to an MLS club near you, a new head coach is taking over to right the ship and change the club culture, a young stud player will be drafted in the MLS SuperDraft, who will turn around your favorite club and etc.
You get the idea. Simply put, the MLS offseason is where dreams are born!
Of course, most often those dreams don’t last long as the reality that every team cannot and will not have a successful offseason once the regular season begins. Many fans will quickly become disappointed that the big name superstar player has instead decided to play for the hated rival team or maybe even decided to chase their dreams oversees for yet another season. Some of the draft picks selected in the SuperDraft will undoubtedly be “busts” that never live up to their hype.
So here is an update of some familiar faces that, for one reason or another, have found new homes within the MLS in hopes of a brighter future next season.
Midfielder and former Seattle Sounder Steve Zakuani is now part of the Portland Timbers via the Re-Entry draft (12/12/13 - Re-Entry Stage 1).
Portland Timbers Owner/President Merritt Paulson wasted little time egging on rival Seattle Sounders on Twitter:
Welcome Steve Zakuani ... cannot wait to see you in a real shade of green! #rctid— Merritt Paulson (@MerrittPaulson) December 12, 2013
In a move that seemingly all but guarantees U.S. National Team player Eddie Johnson will not be retruning to Seattle, the Sounders picked up Kenny Cooper via trade with FC Dallas.
Cooper will be playing for his fourth MLS club in as many seasons. Surely, Cooper, Seattle and the Sounders supporters will all have their fingers crossed that the imposing striker can provide numbers on the field similar to his 2012 season when he scored 18 goals with New York.
Toronto FC is hopeful that Brazilian Gilberto will be the type of designated player signing that provides both victories and increase in fan attendance.
Gilberto is 24 and has experience in a top flight league having played in the Brazilian Série A.
Brazilian dp's have a track record of being hit-or-miss for MLS teams so the verdict is still out on the impact Gilberto will provide for struggling Toronto.
D.C. United have been one of the more active teams so far this MLS offseason. United have parted ways with a number of aging veterans, including 2012 MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario.
Looking to shore up a leaky back line, the Black-and-Red added both Sean Franklin and Bobby Boswell via the MLS Re-Entry Draft.
Although the cost for the pair of defenders will most likely be higher than many fans would like, United had to do something to improve on the 22 goals they allowed in 2013.
Apparently the club are not done yet as rumors swirled this past weekend that D.C. United are possibly interested in adding U.S. National team player Eddie Johnson (currently with Seattle).
The New York Red Bulls added a solid veteren to help out in the midfield by trading for Bobby Convey. New York sent draft picks to Toronto FC for the services of Convey.
With his MLS experience, as well as his time with the U.S. National team, Convey should be a solid addition to an already capable Red Bulls team.
Sal Zizzo got some good news when he was traded by Portland to 2013 MLS Cup Champion Sporting KC.
Zizzo played in 60 matches for Portland in his three seasons with the team after arriving from Chivas USA in 2011.
The addition of the 26-year-old attacking midfielder is a solid move by Kansas City, as they prepare to defend their title in 2014.
Marc Burch is headed to Colorado after the Rapids selected him during Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Process. The defender has been in the league since 2006 and Colorado will be his fifth club.
Burch provided solid defense for D.C. United during his five seasons in the nation's capital. The Rapids where bounced from the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs in the knockout round by Seattle, Burch's former club.
Another player added this offseason by D.C. United is former Montreal Impact captain Davy Arnaud. At 33 years old, Arnaud will be yet another veteran presence on the roster for head coach Ben Olsen, as D.C. look to turn things around following a woeful 2013 campaign.
Arnaud may be a great addition in the midfield to help mentor the young core of United midfielders, including Nick DeLeon, Jared Jeffrey, Colin Martin and Perry Kitchen.
As stated earlier, Bobby Boswell was selected by D.C. United along with Sean Franklin during the Re-Entry draft. He will be tasked to help a porous United defensive group reduce the number of goals allowed next season.
After having played for both MLS clubs located in his hometown of L.A., Tristan Bowan is now headed to rainy Seattle via trade with Chivas USA.
Bowen has only managed to score four goals in 48 MLS appearances, so he does not seem to be an instant impact, but may have better luck while playing alongside another Seattle newcomer, Kenny Cooper. Bowen is still young, 22, and could be a nice addition should he go on to find success with the Sounders.
One of the many new faces that will already be calling Seattle home, Chad Marshall joins Cooper, Bowen and Stefan Frei heading to the Pacific North West.
At 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, Marshall is a big defender that can hopefully help shut down some of the opposing strikers in 2014. Marshall has spent all of his 10 MLS seasons with the Columbus Crew where he was named to the MLS Best XI squad in 2008.