The East is stacked this year. There are plenty of reasons to believe D.C. United will go a step further in 2013, having come so close to arrival into the MLS Cup final last fall.
New York has talent across the field and a coach that the Red Bulls are now connecting with in Mike Petke.
Houston, the two-time MLS Cup runner-up, has fortified its roster. Sporting Kansas City, Chicago and Columbus have reasons to like their outlooks in 2013.
But is there one team we aren’t talking enough about?
No, we shouldn’t read too much into the Montreal Impact’s title in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic tournament. It’s just a preseason tournament, after all. Justin Mapp had the game-winner in the Impact’s 1-0 win Saturday in the tournament final at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.
But perhaps the confidence being shown by first-year coach Marco Schällibaum and some of his veteran players does tell us something. The manager seemed especially pleased with the back line of Jeb Brovsky, Matteo Ferrari, Alessandro Nesta and Hassoun Camara.
We are very satisfied with the tournament. We finished this game very professionally and we were almost perfect defensively. We came away with the trophy and are heading back on a high note.”
Keeping Nesta healthy and strategically rested should be a high priority for Schällibaum as he figures out MLS. One thing he’ll have to understand quickly is the heavy toll that travel takes over such a big country (while soon playing games in some fairly oppressive conditions). It’s one of the elements most likely to catch foreign managers unawares as they navigate MLS the first time around.
(MORE: ProSoccerTalk’s team preview on the Impact)
Middlesbrough has impressed at times during its return to the Premier League this season, and now the club looks to bolster its backline as the transfer window closes.
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The club announced the loan signing of Arsenal defender Calum Chambers on Tuesday, providing the Boro with a promising young player to contribute in the back.
Chambers, 21, has made 58 appearances in the PL with both the Gunners and Southampton, while also earning three caps for England.
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka revaled his excitement over the signing, while also stating that the player addresses a big need on the backline.
“I’m really pleased,” said Karanka. “It’s a position where we’ve been working towards bringing the right player in. We haven’t been in a hurry because Calum was the player we were waiting for, and he’s going to help us a lot.”
The Gunners have been heavily criticized for not spending enough during the transfer season, however, Arsene Wenger has gotten the man he wanted to help out defensively.
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Arsenal announced the signing of Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi on Tuesday, after the German centerback had been previously been linked to the club for some time as their top transfer target.
Mustafi will likely figure immediately into the Arsenal defense, which has also added Rob Holding this summer. The 24-year-old made over 64 appearances for Valencia while in La Liga after beginning his academy career in England with Everton.
Hope Solo hasn’t had the best couple of weeks since the U.S. Women’s National Team bailed out of the 2016 Olympics.
On Tuesday, the U.S. keeper announced her decision to take a step back from her club team as well after receiving a six-month ban from U.S. Soccer.
The veteran American shot stopper took to Twitter to make her decision known, leaving her status unknown with the Seattle Reign in the future. Solo remains under contract until the end of the current campaign, however, it is not known as to how her decision to sit out will affect her financially.
Solo wil be eligible to return to the USWNT in February, but it will be up to head coach Jill Ellis to reintroduce the 35-year-old into the fold.
U.S. Men’s National Team and LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes will miss the rest of the MLS regular season with a broken bone in his right foot.
It was initially believed on Monday that the U.S. attacker could be out until the end of 2016 after suffering the injury in Saturday’s 0-0 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Zardes was taken down by Whitecaps defender Kendall Waston during the latter stages of the match, with the Costa Rican apparently catching the inside of the 24-year-old’s foot, ultimately causing the injury.
Because of his extended absence, Zardes was ruled out of consideration for the USMNT squad ahead of their upcoming CONCACAF World Cup qualifying matches vs. St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.