D.C. United v Vancouver Whitecaps

Wednesday’s Stage 2 MLS re-entry draft could throw up some surprises

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One of the quirky things we love about Major League Soccer is the often complex and incredibly unique player movement process which takes place every offseason.

This year is no different.

After Stage 1 of the re-entry process ended last week, five players were taken on their current contracts.This week sees 48 more MLSers put up for auction, if you will, and able to negotiate new contracts for 2014 and beyond with any potential new teams.

And this year there’s some big names up for grabs but more than likely the phone conference which decides which club takes who will consist of a lot of MLS staffs and GMs getting very accustomed to mumbling the word “pass” as the picks go by.

Three former MLS MVPs can be picked up in Wednesday’s draft with Dwayne De Rosario, David Ferreira and Carlos Ruiz up for grabs, whilst several other gems are littered amongst the field of players who didn’t have their options taken by their current MLS side.

But just to clear up exactly how this works, the re-entry order of picks is right here. Plus here are the requirements each players has to meet in order to be eligible to participate in the re-entry process:

  • Players who are at least 23 years old and have a minimum of three years experience in MLS whose options were not exercised by their clubs (available at option salary for 2014)
  • Players who are at least 25 years old with a minimum of four years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not wish to re-sign them at their previous salary (available for at least their 2013 salary)
  • Players who are at least 30 years old with a minimum of eight years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not wish to re-sign them (available for at least 105% of their 2013 salary)

Now that’s been cleared up… here’s the list of 48 players available, including three players who have retired but are still in the process because they may wake up one morning, and change their mind. Pablo Mastroeni, Kevin Hartman and Chris Albright, it’s not too late fellas!

So, here’s 48 guys who could get picked up today. Who would you like to see at your club?

Players available for Stage 2 of re-entry draft

Chicago Fire (5): D Shaun Francis, M Joel Lindpere, F Maicon Santos, M Wells Thompson*, M Michael Videira

Chivas USA (3): D Ante Jazic*, D Steve Purdy, M Josue Soto

Columbus Crew (2): M Danny O’Rourke, M Konrad Warzycha

Colorado Rapids (3): GK Steward Ceus, D Brian Mullan, M Jamie Smith

D.C. United (5): M Dwayne De Rosario, D James Riley, F Carlos Ruiz, M Marcelo Saragosa, D Daniel Woolard

FC Dallas (2): M David Ferreira, D Ugo Ihemelu

Houston Dynamo (3): F Calen Carr*, M Alex Dixon, F Cam Weaver

LA Galaxy (3): M Colin Clark, M Laurent Courtois,  M Pablo Mastroeni* (retired)

Montreal Impact (1): M Sinisa Ubiparipovic

New England Revolution (4): F Chad Barrett, F Ryan Guy, M Clyde Simms, M Juan Toja

New York Red Bulls (4): D Brandon Barklage, F Fabian Espindola, GK Kevin Hartman (retired), D Heath Pearce*

Philadelphia Union (1): D Chris Albright* (retired)

Portland Timbers (2): D Ryan Miller

Real Salt Lake (3): D Brandon McDonald, GK Josh Saunders, M Khari Stephenson

Seattle Sounders (1): M Blair Gavin,

San Jose Earthquakes (4): D Nana Attakora, M Mehdi Ballouchy*, D Dan Gargan, GK Evan Newton

Toronto FC (1): F Justin Braun*

Vancouver Whitecaps (2): GK Joe Cannon, F Corey Hertzog

* denotes players who are out of contract, other players had options declined.

Pep Guardiola: “Maybe I’m not good enough”

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Pep Guardiola has admitted he “may not be good enough” for his players at Manchester City.

Ahead of City’s clash against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) Guardiola has been defended his squad after severe criticism from the media.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

City were hammered 4-0 at Everton last weekend, their worst league defeat since 2008 and Guardiola’s worst-ever league defeat as a manager.

With plenty pointing the finger of blame at goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and City’s defense, their manager put himself in the firing line.

“They are good players. I have respect for the guys, so why would I say the guys are not good? So I don’t understand the lack of respect for the professionals when they have been amazing players, and [people saying] they are not good enough for me. Maybe I am not good enough for them,” Guardiola said. “They are Manchester City players, top players. They have a lot of quality. They have shown that many times in the past and this season.”

Mind games.

Guardiola, 46, is no doubt facing the biggest challenge of his season as City look to at least seal a top four spot in this his debut season in England. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has already “said goodbye to the title” and if they lose against red-hot Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium then more questions will be asked of his tactics and if they can work in the Premier League.

So far the possession-based slow build up style has been hot and cold for City, with plenty of counter-attacking teams in the PL (Chelsea, Spurs, Everton, Leicester etc.) having a field day against a shaky defense.

Despite being 10 points off the pace, Guardiola is sticking by his philosophy. One thing really sticks out to me from his first few press conferences in England: “We will see if my style of play can work in the Premier League.”

So far, it’s not.

Watch Live: Liverpool vs. Swansea City (Lineups, Stream)

SWANSEA, WALES - MARCH 16:  Kyle Naughton of Swansea City is closed down by Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Liverpool at Liberty Stadium on March 16, 2015 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
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Liverpool host Swansea City to Anfield on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with the Reds aiming to stretch their unbeaten run at home in the Premier League to 18 games.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

Jurgen Klopp is a little concerned with the number of games his team have had to play over the past few weeks, but a victory against the struggling Swans would momentarily move his side just four points behind leaders Chelsea who play on Sunday.

As for Swansea, new manager Paul Clement knows a win would take his team out of the relegation zone and with new signings arriving that would be a massive boost. It would also be a massive ask for the Welsh side to get anything at Anfield but this may be a good time to play Liveprool after their midweek trip to Plymouth in the FA Cup and the EFL Cup semifinal second leg against Southampton coming up on Wednesday.

In team news Liverpool start with Philippe Coutinho once again, while Joel Matip is on the bench after the Reds finally settled the dispute with Cameroon. Swansea hand debuts to new signings Martin Olsson and Tom Carroll.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Klavan, Milner; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino. Subs: Karius, Sturridge, Moreno, Lucas, Origi, Matip, Woodburn

Swansea City: Fabianski; Olsson, Mawson, Fernandez, Naughton; Cork, Carroll, Fer; Sigurdsson, Llorente, Routledge. Subs: Nordfeldt, Rangel, Amat, Fulton, Dyer, Borja, McBurnie

Viktoria Plzen set to sign midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz

Obafemi Martins, Oniel Fisher, Andreas Ivanschitz
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
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PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.

Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.

Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.

[ NEW HOMES: Fonte | Berahino ]

No financial details were given.

The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.

Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.

FIFA allows Matip to represent Liverpool during AFCON

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Joel Matip of Liverpool heads to score his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on October 29, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images
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Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.

The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.

[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]

Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.

He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.