Questions: Castillo Keeping Busy in 2013

By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Jan 1, 2013) US Soccer Players -- On the first day of 2013, Tony looks at a very busy 2013 for one US National Team defender, a former MLS player's retirement, and the goalkeeper conundrum in Major League Soccer.

Which US National Team player might have the busiest schedule of any player in 2013?

How about Club Tijuana defender Edgar Castillo. Besides possible call-ups for World Cup qualifiers and the Gold Cup, Tijuana defends its title in the upcoming Liga MX Clausura, plus participation in the Copa Libertadores and the CONCACAF Champions League.

Which former MLS defender, who won multiple MLS Cups, announced his retirement last week?

Ryan Cochrane announced on his Twitter feed that “another career opportunity” had come up and he was retiring from playing. Cochrane had just re-signed with the NASL San Antonio Scorpions for 2013, following a 2012 season where the Scorpions had the NASL’s best regular season record with Cochrane named to the NASL Best XI. Cochrane played for San Jose, Houston, and New England in MLS, won two MLS Cups, played for the United States U-20 team, and was a Hermann Trophy semifinalist at Santa Clara.

Has US National Team defender Steve Cherundolo’s Hannover 96 side peaked in Germany?

Three weeks into the season, Hannover were 3rd in the Bundesliga. By the winter break, they’d dropped to 11th, taking only six points in their last six games.

Now, that’s a little misleading, because the team is only 3 points out of fifth place and their goal difference is better than the three teams immediately above them, even with a recent 5-0 loss to Bayern Munich. Hannover qualified for the knockout rounds of the Europa League, and face Samuel Eto’o’s Anzhi Makhackala in the Round of 32. This is a good club with the kind of results that suggest more than the middle of the table.

Is the Galaxy’s signing of Carlo Cudicini a continuation of the trend that experience is worth paying for in goal?

After years of MLS teams not being willing to use salary cap room for a goalkeeper, there is a trend towards some of the better teams paying for an experienced goalkeeper (Kansas City, Seattle, Salt Lake, San Jose, and now Los Angeles).

Some of it has to do with the inherent parity of any salary cap league. Some of it is the idea that a good keeper can cover up for deficiencies elsewhere and maybe take a few points in games the team doesn’t play well. Some of it is a lack of patience with good, young, mostly American goalkeepers who might go elsewhere as soon as they reach an elite level. In that sense, DC and Chicago deserve credit for sticking with Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid.

What should the Red Bulls be looking for, after they hire a head coach?

As ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle notes, perhaps a third lung for Dax McCarty, after the signing of 37-year-old Brazilian midfielder Juninho. The Red Bulls have upgraded their defense and attack this offseason, but at the start of the new year, management is asking a lot from the seven midfielders on their roster. As a side note, on their roster page, behind each player is the tagline, ‘New York is my Home.’ Marketing that the League welcomes, I’m certain.

Tony Edwards is a soccer writer from the Bay Area.

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