2010 MLS Preview: Movers and Shakers

2010 MLS Preview: Movers and Shakers

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 19, 2010
  • Alvaro Saborio, Birahim Diop, Collins John, Danny Califf, Francisco Navas Cobo, Hans Backe, Jeff Larentowicz, Jimmy Neilsen, Joel Lindpere, Juan Agudelo, Julio Martinez, Krzysztof Król, Michael Orozco, Pablo Escobar, Ryan Smith, Stéphane Auvray, Teal Bunbury, Wells Thompson

Birahim Diop is one of the many new players for Kansas City this year. (Getty Images)

Even with all the strike talks for Monday (or Tuesday…or whenever) I’m still going on with some 2010 season previews for Major League Soccer. Today I wanted to center my focus around the moves in and out that hav been made with the league this year.

As some of you know I’ve been doing my best to keep track of these moves with my offseason player movement page listed above. Each club has made some moves this winter, some definitely more than others. Now the question comes into mind of which moves were good, bad and which will pay off in the new season.

The United Nations comes to Kansas City

Looking at what the Wizards have done this winter makes some folks giggle. Of the newcomers eight of them are from out of the country. You have three Englishmen (Ryan Smith and Craig Rocastle, Korede Aiyegbusi), a Canadian (Teal Bunbury), a Frenchman (Stephane Auvray), a Scandinavian (Jimmy Neilsen),  a Colombian (Pablo Escobar), a Moldavian (Igor Kostrov), and a big guy from Senegal (Birahim Diop).

I guess those guys really like BBQ or something. Amazing that KC was able to get that many international players to come there. Now comes the question of whether all this change really will pay off. Last few clubs that did a massive influx of foreign talent (though Bunbury and Aiyegbusi were drafted so I kinda won’t count them in this here) didn’t fare too well from what I recall. Maybe KC is the team that bucks that trend in 2010.

Big Rebuild In the Windy City

Another eastern club that did a lot this winter was Chicago. Not only did they get a new coach in Carlos de los Cobos but they also had to fill plenty of holes with the losses of Blanco and Chris Rolfe. Adding Julio Martinez and Krzysztof Krol should be two moves that help their defense and midfield out in a big way. The bigger move may be up top with the signing of Collins John. By already having Brian McBride and Patrick Nyarko in camp, the addition of John may help keep this club near the top of the pecking order in the east this season.

Trades Shake Up Rapids

It seems as though Colorado was apart of a few trades this winter. The biggest trade could very well help them get into position for a playoff run in 2010. Adding Jeff Larentowicz and Wells Thompson from New England was a bold move but one that I see really working in their favor this season. The Rapids have lacked consistency over the years in the midfield and defensive midfield area, adding Larentowicz should free up more space for others in the attack to do what they do best. With Wells it should add the much needed depth to the wings because as we saw when they were healthy this club was very dangerous because of their wing play.

New Era In D.C.?

We know that Curt Onalfo will bring a different style of play to this club. No longer it seems they are going for a big-named South American to carry their offense. Christian Gomez is gone, and so is Luciano Emilio. Who does D.C. turn to in 2010 to generate offense? Players they already had in Chris Ponitus, Jamie Moreno and Santino Quaranta. Sure they’ve added Cristian Castillo and Danny Allsopp but the bulk of weight will be put on those returning players. Biggest thing to see is the fact that Onalfo doesn’t have a true No. 10 in the midfield any more. Then again with the way he sets his lineup he may not need one.

The Backe/Soler Time In New York

We know about Red Bull Arena and what it will do for this club but the real story has to be the new management in Eric Soler and new manager Hans Backe. Not only did the club take the SuperDraft pretty serious in January but they’ve added parts that should work in Backe’s system unlike in previous years where the management would sign anything South American on it. Joel Lindpere may be one of the best additions this winter. I’m also interested to see how some former Toronto players do in with this club as Carl Robinson and Greg Sutton are now Red Bulls.

Brazilian Flare in LA

Bruce Arena did two things well this winter, he had a better than average SuperDraft in getting Michael Stephens (along with trading for Clint Mathis) and he signed some young depth from Brazil. We don’t know how well these three Brazilians can play but based on some quotes I heard from Landon Donovan when he first saw them they sound pretty good. If anything they fill some depth issues that bothered the Galaxy in 2009.

Moves To Repeat In Salt Lake

I liked the draft by Real Salt Lake in January but the best move I saw them make this winter had to be the signing of striker Alvaro Saborio. No doubt in my mind that once he and Robbie Findley get comfortable with one another they could form one of the best duos in the league. Oh and that trade with Kansas City for Luis Gil was pretty good too. I see that paying off in the long run as well.

Union Forming In Philadelphia

Its always fun to watch an expansion team go from nothing to a near full roster in a matter of a couple months. Peter Nowak had to do just that but you could tell he spent a good amount of time in getting the players he wanted for this club. The expansion draft was good, the SuperDraft was great but the other moves around that have been spectacular. I love the trade for Fred at the SuperDraft, as I think he is a perfect player for Nowak’s system. But then getting Danny Califf and Michael Orozco to round out a defense that was already decent looking really has me liking this club.

Academy Player Movement

This is a movement we’ll start to see plenty more of in the coming years. But this winter we saw the signing of a couple more quality young players out of various MLS academies. Francisco Navas Cobo in Houston may see the field this year, as could Bryan Levya in Dallas. One more product could be signed in New York if the league would pull the trigger on the Juan Agudelo deal. Agudelo may be one of the best homegrown talents the league has ever produced too!

  • dksmc

    The fact that TFC is not included on your list makes perfect sense, because they havent done ANYTHING except get rid of players. As a season ticket holder, this is ridiculously frustrating.

  • KC fan

    Dude, what do you have against KC? You ever been there? Much more to offer than just good BBQ…..great ownership and coaching staff, new stadium being built, great people to name a few. KC is going to make some major waves this season.

  • KC fan

    Dude, what do you have against KC? You ever been there? Much more to offer than just good BBQ…..great ownership and coaching staff, new stadium being built, great people to name a few. KC is going to make some major waves this season.