No doubt now that MLS Rookie of the Year award is headed to Colorado

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So much of the Rookie of the Year spotlight has shined in the direction of two Colorado Rapids men this year, forward Deshorn Brown and midfielder Dillon Powers. They have been foremost candidates since last spring.

Oh, some others have tried to elbow their way into the conversation, maybe a shout for Seattle’s DeAndre Yedlin here, or a little burst for New England’s Andrew Farrell there. But they have been mere little brushfires, while Brown and Powers have been the big fire sucking all the ROY oxygen from the room.

So let’s mark down Saturday, in a nationally televised match against the Supporters Shield frontrunners, as the night Brown and Powers officially and completely cut loose from the rest of the field.

Brown (pictured, on the left) hit two goals in the Rapids’ early destruction of Seattle, shocking in its lopsidedness over the first 45 minutes (a 4-0 Rapids margin). He has nine goals this year – just two off of Damani Ralph’s MLS rookie record of 11 goals for Chicago back in 2003.

Establishing a rookie record for goals (or even getting within, say, a goal of it) would almost certainly earn Brown the Rookie of the Year award. If it didn’t, it will be because it went to the Jamaican striker’s teammate, Powers.

Powers has five goals and five assists. While the stats are not as showy, consider that he isn’t just a midfielder, but spent much of the year as a defensively oriented, holding midfielder. And Powers is keeping a far more experienced, far higher salaried Martin Rivero out of the Rapids starting lineup.

Either way, Major League Soccer may as well save some postage and ship that thing off to Denver. (All MLS awards are announced during MLS Cup week, the first week in December.)

Report: USMNT’s Arriola drawing transfer interest abroad, in MLS

AP Photo/LM Otero
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Paul Arriola’s motor was constantly running as the United States men’s national team claimed its sixth Gold Cup title, and it could drive him all the way from Club Tijuana to Europe or a prime spot on an MLS roster.

There’s a snag, though.

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Arriola is reportedly wanted by Real Salt Lake and clubs in both the Netherlands and Portugal, but the LA Galaxy has what describes a “dubious homegrown player” claim on Arriola, who participated in a minimal of practices with the Galaxy when he was younger.

As you’ll see below, there isn’t much “homegrown” about it and, to its critics, it is peak MLS monopolized tomfoolery. Here’s how Goal describes it:

“He was already a U.S. youth national team player when he traveled the 120 miles from Chula Vista to take part in a handful of training sessions with the LA Galaxy academy and eventually the Galaxy first team.

“The Galaxy are believed to hold a homegrown player claim on Arriola, and would have the right of first refusal on making Arriola an offer if he comes to MLS. The Galaxy’s current salary-cap situation might not allow them to make a serious bid for Arriola.”

But… here’s how the Galaxy described his choosing to sign for TJ instead of a pro deal from LA in 2013:

“It’s a little disappointing,” Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski told by phone on Friday. “He went through our system, we offered him a contract and he decided to move on and go somewhere else. But that’s going to happen. It’s something that has happened before, and it’s something that will happen again.”

Arriola’s response in the same article? “I thank the Galaxy for giving me a wonderful opportunity to train with their first team and be a part of their first team which really taught me a lot.” That doesn’t read as much like he “went through their system.” He played in at least one U-18 game, debuting in October 2012, did more training with TJ in December 2012, and signed for the Mexican side in May 2013.

Should that qualify him as Homegrown?

Did Arriola spent significant time with LA, or is it possible the Galaxy might reap rewards from having an already established youth national teamer to practice when he was a kid? Whether you’re okay with that or not, consider that it encourages clubs to pilfer rights without actually registering or training the player.

Not to mention there is no guarantee that playing in the Netherlands or Portugal will be better for his development than MLS. Benfica or Ajax and potential action in European tournaments? Maybe. NAC Breda or Tondela? Maybe not.

Nevermind the quagmire that is American youth soccer clubs’ not earning money from transfer fees, the Arriola drama seems baseless. We don’t know the Galaxy will hold the player hostage, but they would actually be depriving MLS of a talent, as LA would theoretically get nothing should TJ sell him to a European club.

In any event, check out Arriola’s use chart from Tijuana and you’ll see why he’s valued by Bruce Arena as well as his suitors. He’s a Swiss Army Knife. Here’s hoping Tinseltown doesn’t stop him from a proper next step (assuming he’s ready to leave Liga MX).