Untwisting an odd one: Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew swap frowning faces

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There’s a high “dark cloud” factor covering the multi-layered swap between Chicago and Columbus.

One party was unhappy in Columbus, all hacked off about things in Ohio and thus presumably thrilled to be in Chicago.

One guy sounds none too happy to see that his rights were traded to Chicago. So he’s all hacked off, and it sounds like he has no plans of going to Chicago – never mind that he’s out of contract with nowhere to play at the moment.

Oh, then there Dominic Oduro. He’s happy! Or seems to be if you watch his smiley Tweets.

Yes, this one will take a while to properly dissect.

  • The long and short is that Chicago gets midfielder Dilly Duka and the MLS rights of first Robbie Rogers from Columbus, in exchange for striker Oduro.
  • Duka, a talented U.S. under-23, is headed to Chicago. He seemed to be moving up the ranks at steady pace around Crew Stadium; Duka got 14 league starts and six appearances off the bench in 2012, not awful for a third-year man at age 23. But he got sideways with management and never seemed to be in Robert Warzycha’s plans for 2013.
  • Rogers failed to catch on at Leeds, and that was after hitting a plateau in Columbus previously. So he’s out there, waiting to be signed. That cranked up the speculation wheel, fueling talk that the speedy left winger was en route back to MLS, where Columbus still had his rights. Now, his rights belong to Chicago … but that appears unlikely to happen based on Rogers’ toxic Tweet.
  • That’s not a total black eye on the Fire. Not yet, anyway. If Chicago can turn Rogers’ rights into something (a draft pick, a smidgeon of allocation money, perhaps) then they come out looking good here. Either way, Duka for Oduro isn’t a bad deal.
  • Oduro is something of a one-trick pony, all speed but precious little imagination. He has averaged a shade under five goals in seven MLS seasons, now on his fifth MLS stop. He’s a good second-half pace-changer, but probably not much more. But, hey … at least he’s happy!

MLS SuperDraft 2018 Live Tracker

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For a few dozen players, hearing their name called up to the big stage will validate all the hard work and sacrifices they’ve made since they were children.

Starting at 11:00 a.m. when Los Angeles FC is on the clock at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the 2018 MLS SuperDraft will be underway. Many of the top college prospects will soon find out whether they’ll be headed to the Pacific Northwest, New England, the Southeast, Southern California or anywhere in between.

[MORE: 2018 MLS Mock Draft]

This year’s draft class is loaded with attacking talent, from Generation Adidas trio Ema Twumasi (Wake Forest), Mason Toye (Indiana) and Francis Atuahene (Michigan) to Twumasi’s college teammate Jon Bakero.

But potential No. 1 overall pick is a three-time national champion, Thomas Hilliard-Arce, who could become the anchor of a backline for a decade.

Follow along below as we update the picks live as we hear them:

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Bayern signs Germany midfielder Goretzka from rival Schalke

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich signed Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka on Friday on a free transfer from Bundesliga rival Schalke effective from next season.

Bayern said the 22-year-old Goretzka signed a four-year deal from July 1 through June 2022.

Schalke, which Goretzka joined in 2013 from hometown club Bochum, said the player informed the club this week of his wish to join Bayern when his contract expired.

[ MORE: Bundesliga scores ]

“We think we did everything in the last months to convince Leon to stay with us,” Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel said. “In the end, it wasn’t enough.”

Schalke had long been engaged in trying to get Goretzka to extend his contract, but was aware of reported interest from Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.

“We’re very happy that Leon Goretzka, a German international with big potential, has decided in favor of Bayern despite big-name international competitors. This way it’s ensured that Leon Goretzka remains in the Bundesliga,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

Goretzka scored 19 goals and set up 13 more in 130 appearances for Schalke.

The club had previously expressed its displeasure with Bayern making public statements about its player after Goretzka was praised by sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and coach Jupp Heynckes.

Heidel said “we don’t need to hear every day from the Munich people how good our player is.”

Goretzka has six goals in 12 games for Germany.

Pele hospitalized overnight in Brazil

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The most famous soccer player in the world had a scare last night as he was hospitalized in Brazil for “severe exhaustion.”

Pele, 77, was set to travel to London this weekend to be honored by the Football Writers Association, though it looks like that trip has now been postponed.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Pele collapsed and was taken to a hospital in Brazil where he has undergone a series of tests which appear to point to severe exhaustion,” a FWA statement said. “He remains on fluids while doctors monitor his recovery.

“Thankfully, there is no suggestion of anything more serious than exhaustion.”

Here’s to hoping Pele makes a full recovery.

[MORE: USMNT centerback heads to Championship club]

USMNT centerback Carter-Vickers heads to Ipswich Town on loan

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Cameron Carter-Vickers has a new club to call home for the next five months or so after a rough first half of the season.

Tottenham announced Friday morning that it had loaned the U.S. Men’s National Team centerback to Championship club Ipswich Town for the rest of the season. Carter-Vickers spent the first five months of the season at fellow Championship side Sheffield United, starting 17 times though he struggled recently as Sheffield won just one game he played in during the month of December, losing three and drawing one.

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Carter-Vickers was then recalled earlier this week and now has a new home with a mid-table Championship club, with a new chance to impress. Hopefully Carter-Vickers can recover his form and continue to grow, potentially latching on to another Premier League side next year or breaking into the Tottenham first team.

There’s another interesting American tie-in to this. Carter-Vickers appears to be a short-term replacement for Ipswich Town’s Tommy Smith, who the club states is headed to join the Colorado Rapids ahead of the 2018 MLS season.