By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Dec 18, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Tuesday’s column, Tony looks at the offseason developments of the four teams that will be appearing in the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions League and asks what Montreal really wants in a coach.
Did Bruce Arena out-think himself last Friday or did he again outthink the rest of the League?
Arena signed Will Hesmer in the Re-Entry Draft because Josh Saunders, the winning goalkeeper in the last two MLS Cups, is out of contract. Before selecting Hesmer, the Galaxy traded a 2013 international roster spot and their first-round supplemental draft choice to Chivas USA so they could pick midfielder Colin Clark from Houston in the Re-Entry Draft. Then Arena, citing salary cap concerns, traded US National Team player Edson Buddle to Colorado.
While it's a fool's game to bet against Arena, the Galaxy aren't as good as they were at the end of the season. However, between now and the start of the season it’s likely the Galaxy will again be favorites.
How is the offseason going for the other three MLS teams who will be in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League?
As you’d expect from a Frank Yallop team (he preaches continuity and consistency), the Earthquakes have made some small additions (three choices in the Re-Entry Draft) and some larger subtractions (Ike Opara) that they blamed on the salary cap. That the US U-23 defender was rarely healthy and didn’t develop in San Jose could be looked at a number of ways.
Houston lost Colin Clark in the Re-Entry Draft and resigned Brad Davis, Adam Moffat, Talley Hall, and Tyler Deric. In other words, pretty much what you’d expect from a Dominic Kinnear team.
In Kansas City, Peter Vermes and staff are ambitiously moving forward, acquiring Opara, US National Team player Benny Feilhaber; signing a new designated player; and re-signing Defender of the Year Matt Besler. For all the talk about how few goals Kansas City gave up last season, they only scored more than two goals three times last season. Kansas City realizes that when a team doesn’t score, it’s not just the forwards. They also realize that standing still means falling behind in this League.
As of December 17 (one more month before the college draft), do we know who is going to be coaching in Montreal and New Jersey next season?
Red Bulls rumors are prevalent, but the situation in Montreal seems less clear. This report from Canada suggests the Impact are looking for a coach with “European experience.” What the Impact are really looking for is a coach who will do just that, coach. Montreal already has a ‘Director of Soccer Operations’ (Matt Jordan), a ‘Sporting Director’ (Nick De Santis), and an ‘Academy Director’ (Philippe Eullafroy).
Montreal seems to take the corporate idea of building in redundancy seriously. De Santis supervises the First Team and also “oversees” all of the technical aspects of their Academy teams (U21, U18, and U16). Jordan “oversees the day-to-day operations of the first team,” along with “managing the salary cap budget.”
So any coach that comes into Montreal apparently has to accept a structure where he’s one voice and probably not the last vote. Add into a roster filled with experienced players and perhaps a lack of familiarity with the League (albeit with an experienced coaching staff), and the Impact might not be setting their new coach up for success.
Which players have scored the most goals in one game for the US National Team?
It’s a feat accomplished by four players, scoring four times in one game. With the announcement of a January 29th friendly against Canada in Houston, we can revisit Archie Stark’s four-goal performance against Canada in 1925. Aldo Donelli (1934 versus Mexico), Joe-Max Moore (1993 versus El Salvador), and Landon Donovan (2003 versus Cuba), join Stark on the four-goal list.
How long has Danny O’Rourke been in MLS?
Since the 2005 season, drafted by San Jose in the first round. O’Rourke came out of Indiana as the Hermann Trophy winner, carving out a solid career for himself using his versatility and his positional sense. He recently re-signed by the Crew to come back for his eighth year in Columbus. O’Rourke is the kind of player who puts in his time and makes teams better. Any MLS club would be lucky to have him.
Tony Edwards is a soccer writer from the Bay Area.