Quiet Stage 1 sees one player selected in Re-Entry Draft

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Though one is the lowest number of players ever taken in stage one of an MLS Re-Entry Draft, it wasn’t surprising that only Maicon Santos was selected on Friday, the Chicago Fire picking up the now former D.C. United forward. In the two previous iterations of the draft, only five players had been selected, and with teams having another crack at the players next Friday (stage two), there wasn’t much urgency to make a selection which would spring a contract option (or mandate an offer, in the case of out of contract players).

We spent a lot of time this morning talking about rules, players of intrigue, and a minor conspiracy, but it all ended up being so much talk for so little action. After the results were announced, the bottom line rang through. Except Santos, there was nobody in this draft so compelling that teams wanted to pass on a chance to get them cheaper next week. Between the lack of quality, teams lacking flexibility under the cap, and next week’s stage two, there just wasn’t enough demand to generate picks.

Santos is set for his fifth team in as many seasons. Chivas USA, Toronto FC, FC Dallas and DC United have all seen and let go of the Brazilian. Last season at RFK, Santos had seven goals in 26 games but only saw playoff time when Ben Olsen’s squad started being hit by injuries. Well travelled at 28, Santos is neither unknown nor likely to improve.

It’s a curious pick, particularly for stage one. Given the number of teams that passed on him today (10) and in the past, Chicago could have taken the chance Santos would survive the draft’s last eight picks and be available next week. Obviously, the Fire saw that as a worthless gamble and took the striker, adding him to a team that already counts Sherjill MacDonald, Dominic Oduro, Chris Rolfe, Alvaro Fernandez and Patrick Nyarko among is attacking options.

Ultimately, Chicago saw something the other 18 teams did not: A player they liked. Where players like Ike Opara couldn’t get a look, Maicon Santos did.

Expect more action next week.

U.S. Open Cup roundup: Poku lifts Miami; Red Bulls, Cincy win on PKs

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While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.

[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]

Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.

Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.

Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 2-0 Sacramento Republic

Report: City Football Group set to expand outreach with Girona deal

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City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.

[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]

The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.

CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.

Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.

MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.

New York Red Bulls ink goalkeeper Luis Robles to new deal

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The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]

Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.

Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.

Report: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson

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Minnesota United has had its shares of ups and down in its debut MLS season, but the Loons are on the verge making an exciting young signing.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder closing in on Los Angeles FC move ]

ESPN FC is reporting that Minnesota will sign Hearts winger Sam Nicholson from the Scottish Premier League on a deal that makes him a Loon until 2019.

The young attacker is expected to join the MLS side when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

Nicholson, 22, has played with the Edinburgh side since his youth days, and made his senior debut with the club in 2013. During his time at Hearts, Nicholson scored 16 goals in all competitions for the team.

Last season, Nicholson missed 16 matches due to a significant knee injury.

According to the report, Scottish sides Rangers and Aberdeen were also among those interested in acquiring Nicholson, while English Championship clubs Bristol City and Barnsley also reached out about the attacker.