Less than a month until the start of the 2014 Major League Soccer season, FC Dallas’s new head coach Oscar Pareja has been busy in the transfer market.
And now they have another new face at Toyota Stadium.
Colombian striker Andres Escobar has joined on loan from Ukrainian powerhouse Dynamo Kiev, as the 22-year-old attacker teams up with fellow Colombian Fabian Castillo. Escobar is Dallas’ second new signing this week, as Honduran midfielder Hendry Thomas signed on Wednesday from Colorado.
Escobar has played in Europe since the age of 20, as the pacey winger left Deportivo Cali for Kiev but then returned to Cali on loan in the 2013-13 season, before also spending a stint on loan at French Ligue 1 side Evian in 2013.
FC Dallas’ Technical Director Fernando Clavijo had nothing but good things to say about Escobar, and believes the young Colombian will go straight into Dallas’ starting lineup.
“Escobar is a great young player. He has played in Europe for the last few years and I expect him and Fabian Castillo to form one of the best flank combinations in the league. Both players are very similar in their speed and ability to beat players one-on-one. I expect Escobar will fill the void created by the loss of Jackson on the right flank.”
With Castillo on one wing and Escobar on the other, it looks as though Dallas will be an extremely attack-minded outfit this season, as Pareja plans to implement similar tactics which saw him get rave reviews on a tight budget last season in charge of the Colorado Rapids.
Pareja, a former Dallas player and assistant coach, is returning home to manage FCD and his squad is certainly starting to take shape with these welcome additions.
Sporting Kansas City could be adding some European flair to its midfield this offseason.
According to multiple reports, the MLS club is in negotiations to sign French midfielder Yohan Croizet, who currently plays for Belgian first division side KV Mechelen. Croizet, who reportedly cost Mechelen a transfer fee worth more than $1 million, has started all 15 games he’s played for his side this season but has been substituted off on seven occasions and Mechelen are currently struggling in the league, sitting in 13th place with 18 points from 18 games.
Croizet hasn’t played since November 17, and appears on his way out.
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Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes, a Hungarian-American, is no stranger to the European market and has brought over plenty of diamonds in the rough from Europe to star with Sporting KC. Some previous examples, though in different positions from Croizet, include current winger Gerso, Krisztián Németh, Uri Rosell, and Aurelien Collin.
It will be interesting to see where Croizet plays in the Sporting KC side should it sign him, and how he works with Benny Feilhaber, who is turning 33-years old in January.
Arsenal will face a team with an English connection in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32.
The Gunners were paired with Swedish side Ostersunds in the Europa League knockout stage draw Monday, with matches set to be played on February 15 and February 22. Ostersund are managed by Englishman Graham Potter, who played in the Championship and lower in England before starting his managerial career with Ostersunds in 2010 in the fourth tier of Swedish soccer.
[READ: UCL draw+analysis]
Ostersunds surprised many earlier this year winning the Swedish Cup to qualify for the Europa League, and then advanced out of a group that included Hertha Berlin and Athletic Bilbao.
It represents an interesting draw for Arsenal, which will have to balance the squad during a tough February. The weekend prior to the first-leg match is the second leg of the North London derby against Tottenham, and following the second match with Ostersunds is a showdown with Manchester City.
Here’s a look at how the rest of the draw shook out:
The Round of 16 draw for the UEFA Champions League did not disappoint.
[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]
We have some monster clashes with Chelsea facing Barcelona, once again, and the reigning champs Real Madrid paired with the favorites Paris Saint-Germain.
With five Premier League teams remaining, Tottenham have been handed a tough draw against Italian champions Juventus who were also runners up in the UCL last season, while Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool will all be rather happy with their draws.
United have been drawn against Spanish side Sevilla, Liverpool will face FC Porto and Man City clash with Basel.
Below is the draw in full, while UEFA has also released the schedule for the games with Man City, Spurs, Liverpool and Man United all playing their second legs at home.
The 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup saw a lot of young faces in competition, and one name that really seemed to stick came from Canada’s national team.
[ MORE: Five players LA FC should consider selecting in MLS Expansion Draft ]
Vancouver Whitecaps attacker Alphonso Davies has been doing it for both club and country since making his Major League Soccer debut in 2016, and now the young Canada international could be making a massive leap.
According to CTV Edmonton, the 17-year-old has been contacted by Premier League side Manchester United for a trial in January.
Davies would need clearance from the Whitecaps to join the Red Devils to train, however, with it being MLS’ offseason it’s hard to imagine the Cascadia club not allowing the former Edmonton Strikers player to seize the opportunity.
In 2017, Davies appeared in 26 matches for the Whitecaps and registered one assist for Carl Robinson’s side.
Davies has already become a regular with the Canada national team, after previously receiving call ups from the Under-15, U-18 and U-20 teams.