Wednesday Kicker: Crew Sign Ekpo, Kluivert, Houston Stadium

Wednesday Kicker: Crew Sign Ekpo, Kluivert, Houston Stadium

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On April 16, 2008
  • 4 Comments

Good morning, I found a couple things worth throwing out this morning to you all. Most of this I found last night but felt sleep was more important than writing…okay I honestly fell asleep at the keyboard like a college student writing a term paper. Whatever.

Anyways, a few tid-bits to pass on to you all along with the other things I’ve posted already today.

I will start in Ohio, as the Columbus Crew have (FINALLY) signed Nigerian midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo.

He is expected to join the team in Columbus next week and could be available to play against Houston next Saturday.

I’ve reported on this signing a few times (you can do a search on his name and find the postings). The Crew and Ekpo have been trying to work out a deal and get visa issues taken care of since mid-February.

“We are thrilled to get this significant signing in within the transfer window,” said Crew Technical Director Brian Bliss in a statement. “Our group has put a lot of work into this process, from getting him into preseason training so we could evaluate him to getting all of the paperwork completed behind the scenes. We now look forward to getting him integrated back into the team so he can do what we all think he is capable of.”

Ekpo recently helped Nigeria qualify for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, as part of the side that defeated South Africa 3-0 on March 26. In addition to his U-23 experience, he has played with the full Super Eagles side in African Games qualifying.

He’s young, quick, and should add some quality depth to the midfield on the wings and in the attack. Both of which Columbus needs. Getting Ekpo signed on the transfer deadline yesterday was just what the club needed I think to help their offense. He trained with the Crew for a while so his adjustment to the club shouldn’t be an issue.

I talked a bit ago today about San Jose’s stadium situation, well, their former Quakes-now-Dynamo’s stadium situation is progressing down in Houston. According to this report in the Houston Business Journal, five finalists have been selected and interviewed in hope of winning the contract to design Houston’s $80 million dollar downtown soccer specific stadium.

The club is hoping to select a design in the coming months and hopefully have the stadium ready to go by the 2010 season.

Man just think by 2010, the league will have 16 clubs, and possibly 13 of those could be in a soccer-specific stadium by then?! Seattle, DC and New England are the only two that I know of that don’t have a stadium in line by then. Though Seattle and New England play in stadiums that are owned by their ownership so a SSS is kind of out of the question for now.

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Did you happen to notice that Chicago Fire defender Wilham Conde started this past Saturday in San Jose? Yeah I kind of looked over it too but apparently he has come out and said he was sorry to all for his recent actions.

Apparently he said his sorries to his teammates and coaches at the pre-game meal before the Fire beat the Quakes 1-0. Honestly, good for him to step up and be a man about it and realize that he wasn’t going to get his way in all of this.

And judging by the comments made by some of the players about this, they are moving on. So should the fans and really so should New York and their fans.

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It looks as though the San Jose Earthquakes were looking for a striker before yesterday’s transfer deadline. The Quakes are trying to land the services of Brondby forward and former Rapid and Red Bulls forward Jean Philippe Peguero.

According to Ives and a couple sources, talks were under way between San Jose and Peguero, but that no deal had been completed as of yesterday afternoon. It is still unclear if Brondby is prepared to release him from his current contract now that the transfer deadline has passed. If Peguero has already been released from his contract then San Jose can sign him even though the window has closed. Teams can sign players who are not under contract after a transfer window closes.

He’s missed some serious time over the last couple years since he left the MLS to play with Brondby. In fact its been almost two years since he played a competitive game. However, if my memory serves me well, when he is healthy he is very fast and very capable of winning games for a club.

Peguero’s two year totals with Colorado and New York saw him score 20 goals and add 13 assists in 58 games.

At 26, he’s still very young and capable of being a top offensive threat for any club in this league I think. San Jose will be smart if they can land his services. He has back to full speed now from his injuries and is already seeing time in the Brondby reserves.

I for one would love to see him back in the MLS. He’s a quility player that wouldn’t come in at a heavy price tag for the Quakes. Plus he would be their go-to target, which is something they really need at this point.

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One last note for now…for those who read the Footy Show blog, they posted a very interesting story on 31-year-old Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert and how he could be joining the Reds here soon.

Honestly, Kluivert is a name I was very suprised to see. I remember his days with Barcelona but kind of forgot about him after he left there. He does have history with manager John Carver from his days in Newcastle so this story/rumor may not be too far of a stretch.

I’ve said that I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Reds go after one more player from abroad and maybe this is the player. Obviously this will be something to watch out for in the coming months once the summer transfer window pops back open. This club has some wiggle room to make such a move so it wouldn’t be too much of a shocker. Its probably more of a gamble than anything else.

I don’t know if he’d get DP money here but knowing Mo Johnston he probably would. He’s a bit past his prime but so are a few others in this league. So why not? I still think Jeff Cunningham’s days in Toronto are numbered and this kind of addition would be just the reason why I think that.

  • Scott

    Wow… extreme irony. The best team in MLS history won't have a stadium, but the worst (Crew) got theirs first.

  • Scott

    Wow… extreme irony. The best team in MLS history won’t have a stadium, but the worst (Crew) got theirs first.

  • Still Kicking

    Should TFC add Kluivert ? Well, his talent in his prime was world class and even an echo of those glory days could be a worthwhile gamble…<br />
    So many question marks gathering onto one team makes you wonder….Guevara, Robert and now Kluivert….although most of us accept Reds as the unofficial nickname of the team, I think we could become the soap operas, the enigmas or the &quot;once upon a times&quot; if this recruiting practice continues. If Carver can make something of this motley crew… genius status awaits.

  • Should TFC add Kluivert ? Well, his talent in his prime was world class and even an echo of those glory days could be a worthwhile gamble…
    So many question marks gathering onto one team makes you wonder….Guevara, Robert and now Kluivert….although most of us accept Reds as the unofficial nickname of the team, I think we could become the soap operas, the enigmas or the “once upon a times” if this recruiting practice continues. If Carver can make something of this motley crew… genius status awaits.