As we approach the halfway mark of Major League Soccer, most teams are what they are.
Teams that failed to get the personnel mix right in the first place, if efforts to arrange effective leadership and team chemistry became big, swinging misses – well, it’s simply too late now for a do-over.
But … is absolutely is not too late to tweak and bolster. It’s not too late to make changes that upgrade a poor team into an average one that’s on the rise. And it’s not too late to turn a good-not-great club into one we all look at and say, “Man, this bunch has a real chance to go get it all!”
Is that what Vancouver has done with Barry Robson, the 33-year-old Scottish midfielder?
We all knew Robson was on the way; the veteran midfielder signed in the winter but wanted to finish out his term at Middlesbrough, and then join MLS in-progress, during the summer transfer window.
Monday, the club’s first Designated Player was officially introduced to local media.
I had a few options. Middlesbrough offered me another contract as well, and if I waited it out until the summer, I might have had a few more. I don’t know. I spoke in great depth to [head coach Martin Rennie and to assistant Paul Ritchie] and my wife and we sat and had a lot of long discussions.
“To be fair, I’m saying long discussions – it wasn’t even that long. My wife’s eyes lit up as soon as she knew, and my eyes did, too, and I just thought, ‘Yeah, this is it. This feels right. This is what we’re going to do,’ and we managed to push it through.”
Rennie’s club is third in the West, well-positioned to make the playoffs in its second MLS season.
Robson can begin training but is ineligible to play until the transfer window officially opens on June 27. The first game for which he will be eligible is July 4 at Colorado.