Thursday Kicker: Things I’m Hearing…and Thinking

Thursday Kicker: Things I’m Hearing…and Thinking

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On January 31, 2008
  • 0 Comments

Last day of the winter transfer window. Many clubs are hoping this day passes as quickly as possible while others are wanting more time to sign more players.

I will start with something I meant to touch on yesterday but got too caught up at work to ever get to it.

Reports all around the web say that New England boss Steve Nicol is on a scouting trip. Seems as though he knows he needs to find some scoring and defensive help for his club, which will have a long season with a couple more club competitions than normal.

He is in Honduras, but he is not looking at Amado Guevera. Thankfully.

But he is finding some talent that could be in New England in the next couple weeks. From Steve Goff, Nicol is actively scouting two Honduran players:

Emilio Izaguirre (left), 21-year-old midfielder for Motagua and the national team

and

Victor Bernardez, 25-year-old defender for Motagua and the national team


Honestly, those are two areas that the Revs have holes at. Defense and in the midfield. I did some digging on both players and I like the idea of how young each are. Bernardez is only 25, so he has some experience both on a club level and a national team level to be able to handle himself in defense. Izaguirre is very young and probably still pretty raw, which knowing Nicol he will be a good project to have on the bench.

Depth is the key here for the Revs and this kind of scouting trip is exactly what the Revs need to stay with the DC’s of the MLS. I think if the Revs can sign a couple players in this little trip that Nicol is on they will be fine this season against DC and in these club competitions.

Apparently there are more names out there on his shortlist and he plans on visiting another country, probably Costa Rica or Guatemala.

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Still waiting to hear and see the final word on the Christian Gomez to Colorado deal. From what I’ve been told Colorado is going to offer him a pretty fair contract, one that he wants and one that will keep him in the MLS.

Doesn’t look like a player will come in the deal though. Most likely just allocation and draft picks are all I am hearing right now but we should know more soon.

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Most of you saw that DC draftee Andrew Jacobson has left United for French club Lorient. Ouch. DC should have had a good long-term project in Jacobson, one that was considered as one of the best midfielders in the draft. Now DC is left shaking their heads.

“It’s disappointing, but there is always a risk of drafting a player who is unsigned by the league,” DC GM Dave Kasper said. “He told me [last week] that he had this French trial set up for some time and he wanted to see it out, but that he planned to play in MLS. He sounded excited about coming here.”

Again this comes to show that the draft process is getting old. The MLS is offering some of these kids next to nothing and they are doing what they can to support themselves by going overseas. I have no fault in Jacobson for doing this, he saw an chance and he is taking it. Now he wouldn’t be in DC’s plan for this season and he probably won’t play much for Lorient, but you have to think that DC will be missing out on a long-term deal with this kid.

Too many times in recent years have players entered the draft, been picked and then bolted town for a club in Europe. All is mostly do to the amount of money that the MLS offers these kids. Honestly you can’t blame them and until a true youth-system gets fully in place for the MLS, this college draft will be like this.

It is a sad reality but that is just how the MLS is these days. Honestly though, I still believe they could do better than offering a kid $17,000 a year or even $30,000 a year for that matter. If they want to be the home-grown talent machine that they think they are then they need to up the price for these kids and actually sign them to a competitive deal to what is being offered overseas.

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It looks as though Matt Pickens will be back in a Chicago uniform after all this season. Pickens had turned down an offer with the Fire but after two trials in England, the keeper hasn’t gotten an offer from either club to come and play over there. Mainly due to work permits and such. Pickens will have a terrible time trying to obtain one so it is probably hurting his chances more than anything else.

Also, yesterday the Fire upped their offer for him. I think the Fire realized how thin they were in the back and losing Pickens may hurt their shot at reaching a MLS Cup this season.

We should know sometime this week on Pickens’ decision.

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Now on the crazy Latin rumor front. Reports out there say that former Argentine internationals Martin Palermo, Ariel Ortega(right) and Claudio López are on the verge of joining the MLS.

Lopez has been linked to a number of MLS clubs, most notably with DC but after seeing all the players that United has signed don’t look for him to go there. I honestly think Dallas is still in the running for Lopez, as they need a scoring mate for Kenny Cooper. Lopez would fill that void easily.

As for Ortega and Palermo. Your guess may be as good as mine.

Palermo is a 34-year-old striker at Boca Juniors right now. He has a big history of injuries and quite frankly I don’t see any club going for him in the league at this point. Maybe only a club like Columbus who needs depth at striker, and who also have a former Boca star in Schelotto would be the proper fit for him.

Ortega is up there in age at 33-years-old and is another striker/midfielder, this time coming from River Plate. This cat has been around the block a couple of times, but damn he does know how to score. I think most clubs would give up some extra cash for his services if he truly is coming to the MLS. I think if Houston could get some extra cash they would throw it at him due to their desperate need of scoring this coming season after their recent loses.

I really don’t know and I kind of doubt that any of these three will actually come to the MLS but you just never know. All I do know is that you can’t count on this all to be true until you see these guys in a MLS city, signing a contract, and being presented to the media with a jersey.

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