Friday, November 19, 2010

The RBNY & MLS Week In Review: There Can Be Only One

And We'll know who that One is going to be in just a couple of days. Good afternoon! As we await The Big Game, taking place @BMO Field this coming Sunday (8:30pm ET, ESPN2/Galavision), let's examine some of the news from this past week:

The big news this week is that MLS will end Homegrown Player restrictions. What this means is that MLS teams will not be limited to signing only four of their Academy players per year. This is actually a very big deal and one writer even deems this past Monday, November 15th (the day this news was announced) as "The Day Things Changed". As Jason Davis, of Match Fit USA, points out in this article:
Without a limit on the number of academy products they can sign, MLS have new incentive to invest seriously in player development. Home grown players don't count against the salary cap (at the moment), meaning that, in principle, a productive academy could increase a team's buying power dramatically...

...the death of the draft as the foremost talent source is on the horizon.
Wow! Might there come a day soon where an MLS team (or two) actually passes on the Superdraft? As you may (or may not) know, MLS teams selling players abroad stand to keep 3/4 of the transfer fee and can use up to $650,000 of that as Allocation money (to buy down the salaries of highly paid players). This will mean a monetary windfall for the league. More importantly, we'll be seeing American bred players of greater quality permeating the league within the next 5 to 10 years. Just think how good Tim Ream would be right now if he hadn't spent the last 4 years playing college soccer in St. Louis.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber gave his annual State of The League Address this past Tuesday (you can listen to the whole thing by clicking here). Several rumored changes were announced, including:
  • Roster spots will increase from the current 26, to 30 total.
  • Roster spots 25 to 30 will be for players under the age of 24 and those spots will not count towards the salary cap.
  • As mandated by the CBA, the salary cap will increase approximately 5% to 2.67mil.
  • The Reserve Division is back!
The return of the Reserve Division is the most exciting news to me as it will give fringe players, that don't regularly feature on the first team, a chance at regular, high level competition. Reserve teams will play a 10 game schedule, within their region, and can also schedule extra games, outside of their regular schedule, against other teams (such as clubs in the 2nd Division NASL or USL). With the relaxation of NCAA rules, young Academy players can participate in Reserve Divison play without losing their college elegibility. The first incarnation of the Reserve Division (2005-2008) greatly contributed to the development of several young players, lacking first team action, who are rising stars today.

Also in his Address, Mr. Garber stated, yet again, that the League most desperately wants a team within New York City limits. This will most surely happen by 2013 and RBNY is, apparently, all for it.

On the RBNY front:

MLS announced the graduates of the 2010 Generation Adidas programs and Tony Tchani's name was not among them. This is good news for RBNY, as Tchani keeping his GA status means he doesn't have to be on the protected list in the upcoming Expansion Draft (he's protected automatically) and his salary won't count against the salary cap next season.

Speaking of the upcoming Expansion Draft, here's a good RBNY mock Expansion Draft list, courtesy of You might, or might not, recall that the great Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam) gave us his own list a few weeks back, so check that one out, if you haven't done so already.

A report from a French website says that Thierry Henry will soon be training with his former North London club, Arsenal FC. TH14 was spotted this week in North London, taking delivery of a classic Ford Mustang. Shouldn't he be resting his bum knee and hitting the NYC clubs with his best friend, the newly single Tony Parker?

Is Red Bulls midfielder Luke Sassano retiring? Well, according a couple of wall posts on his facebook page, he's on his way out of RBNY:
Thank you NY for the last 3 years.. making moves

Yea man, it's been great, you guys have been great, thanks for the memories!
Certainly sounds like he's on his way out, either through retirement or some sort of trade. Good luck Luke.

On the incoming player front, this German report (translated in this article) has Colombian International goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon coming to RBNY. Please, the man is 39 years old. Then again, how old is Houston's Pat Onstad? I say pass.

One player that I wouldn't say pass on would be Guillermo Barros-Schelotto. Why do I bring him up? Well, he apparently won't be back in Columbus because the Crew are too cheap to pick up his $650k option. Even at 37, he would be a special player @RBNY and I, in my infinite futbol wisdom, advise Mr. Soler & Mr. Backe to do everything in their power so he plays here next season. How about Juan Pablo's rights for Guilles? Imagine the Argentine midfield wizard feeding Henry and Agudelo some through-balls. He'd even make Salou Ibrahim look World-Class. Let's get it done!

Getting back to some non-RBNY stuff: You might have already heard that the Kansas City Wizards organization has changed its name to Sporting Kansas City, a move that was greeted with mostly confusion by KC fans. This name/identity change has been dubbed as Impossibly Awful and one writer has even suggested that Kansas City has Jumped The Shark.This move also sparked an insteresting discussion on the internet, with the prevailing attitude being that the name was Euro-poserish (is that even a word?) and served to further make MLS look foolish.

That said, it did also spawn the #futureMLSfranchise hash tag on Twitter and gave us Twitter-holics hours of fun, this past Wednesday, coming up with Euro-poser names for future MLS Clubs. On of my suggestions, Moose Jawventus, even made the top 10, on a list compiled by The Unprofessional Foul blog. I thought my Partizan Bel Air suggestion was way better, but whatever.

That's all for now. For those of you going to Toronto, including the great Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam), I hope it's this packed and very warm (yeah, right). Viper Out!

And BTW: The above Image courtesy of Taxiarchos228 at the German language Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons
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