MLS Expansion Draft Results: New York City FC and Orlando City SC Picks

New York City FC and Orlando City went head-to-head in a fierce search for Major League Soccer talent to fill their squad’s ahead of their debut season in MLS in the 2014 Expansion Draft tonight.

Both clubs had to select ten players each from a list of 240 players who were left unprotected by the 18 other MLS teams.

The existing MLS teams could only lose a maximum of two players in the draft, and if a player was selected from their club, they had the chance to protect another player from the unprotected list.

Orlando City had the first pick and the pair then took it in turn until all 20 selections were made in total.

Here are the results of the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft:

Full results of the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft

Full results of the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft

Many were surprised by some of the selections but both clubs look to have acquired the players they think will help them finish their inaugural MLS campaigns as high as possible.

DC United striker Eddie Johnson was available but was overlooked. Other surprise omissions include LA Galaxy’s Dan Gargan, Houston Dynamo’s Corey Ashe and New York Red Bulls duo Tim Cahill and Peguy Luyindula.

What did you make of the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft results – who do you think made the better selections?

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MLS Expansion Draft – Unprotected XI

By Sam Lingwood

With the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft almost upon us, we have a look at a potential lineup made of some of the best possible players left unprotected by their clubs for the draft.

New York City FC and Orlando City SC will pick ten players each in Wednesday’s Expansion Draft and we’ve picked out 11 that could find themselves on the move.

In order for this squad to be put together, a 4-1-4-1 formation has been selected. They may have been left unprotected but these players could prove valuable at one of the expansion franchises in 2015 and beyond.

MLS Expansion Draft – Unprotected XI

MLS Expansion Draft – Unprotected XI

Goalkeeper: Donovan Ricketts – Portland Timbers

The 2013 Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year, you can’t look past Donovan Ricketts. He brings experience and a safe pair of hands you can rely on. Has been in MLS since 2009 and has one MLS Cup title to his name.

Right-back: Dan Gargan – LA Galaxy

Another lad who has bundles of experience at MLS level, Dan Gargan is an intriguing option. A consistently solid level of performances last term make him a standout choice if New York City or Orlando City are looking for a right-back.

Centre-backs: AJ Soares & Carlos Salcedo – New England Revolution & Real Salt Lake

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The centre-back pairing are formidable. AJ Soares had a high standard of performances last year, and is at a great age to put in even better displays at the back in the hope he can push on and win the MLS Cup in 2015 with whoever he ends up with, so long as he stays in MLS. Carlos Salcedo is a young talent who didn’t feature consistently last season. However, he’s a great prospect and with the right experience around him, he will thrive in the scenario presented.

Left-back: Heath Pearce – Montreal Impact

Heath Pearce is another experienced defender to shepherd either team through their inaugral season in Major League Soccer. He has a great CV to boast off, and at 30 he still has some good years left in the tank. A sound left-back who will get the job done if selected.

Defensive-midfield: Hendry Thomas – FC Dallas

Previous teams include Wigan Athletic when they were in the English Premier League. Hendry Thomas is a consistently high performer for his home nation Honduras and he represented them once again at the 2014 World Cup. Injury restricted him to just 10 appearances for FC Dallas in 2014 but he is worth the gamble.

Right-midfield: Diego Fagundez – New England Revolution

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Diego Fagundez is picked to play on the right wing for this lineup. The 19-year-old playmaker has plenty of pace, talent and technique. Will be around for years and could be terrorising defences with one of the expansion franchises next season.

Central-midfield: Ben Speas – Columbus Crew

Another young lad, Ben Speas put in some good performances when selected last term and the 23-year-old will be hoping for more game time next season as he looks to build and push on to greater things with whoever he plays for in 2015.

Central-midfield: Peguy Luyindula – New York Red Bulls

Peguy Luyindula may be 35-years-old but the French playmaker showed that he can still be a difference-maker during the MLS Playoffs this season. Five goals and one assist in 26 regular appearances in 2014 make Luyindula an interesting option. He then netted three goals in five playoff games for the Red Bulls before they were knocked out by New England.

Left-midfield: Bobby Convey – New York Red Bulls

Bobby Convey offers some more EPL experience after spending five years with Reading before returning to MLS in 2009. At 31, he still has some talent left in the tank to help see either New York City FC and Orlando City succeed in their debut season.

Forward: Patrick Mullins – New England Revolution

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Patrick Mullins put in a great performance off the bench in the MLS Cup Final on Sunday and the rookie was impressively consistent in his first season. Looking forward to bigger and better things from this lad next year.

This looks like a good team, playing a solid formation and they would probably do well as a squad in MLS. It will be great to see who is chosen in Wednesday’s draft and how they all get on next year.

How well would the Unprotected XI do if they were an MLS side – how many of them will be selected on Wednesday?

Trade crazy! All the MLS trades from a busy window on Monday

Major League Soccer clubs across the country have been busy acquiring players today. The half-day trade window gave MLS teams four hours to trade players for the first time this offseason. Clubs could also re-sign their own players.

11 players were on the move on Monday as 10 different clubs were involved with some form of trade in the final opportunity to reshuffle squad’s before Wednesday’s MLS Expansion Draft.

The Expansion Draft gets underway at 19:00 (UK time) on Wednesday and the offseason trade window will reopen after the draft ends.

Here are all today’s trades in what has been a busy day:

Michael Harrington: Portland Timbers – Colorado Rapids

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The Colorado Rapids acquired defender Michael Harrington from the Portland Timbers in exchange for allocation money. The 28-year-old made 25 appearances for the Timbers last season and should shore up a leaky Colorado defence that conceded more goals than anyone else in 2014.

Nat Borchers: Real Salt Lake – Portland Timbers

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The Timbers quickly replaced Harrington by bringing in Nat Borchers from Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake for allocation money. The 33-year-old centre-back was with RSL since 2008 and started 32 games last season. Borchers was one of five players the Timbers signed on Monday.

Josh Williams: Columbus Crew – New York City FC

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New York City have bulked up their defence with the addition of Josh Williams from Columbus Crew in exchange for allocations funds. Williams, 26, made 14 appearances for the Crew this season.

Andrew Driver – Joe Willis/Samuel Inkoom: Houston Dynamo – DC United

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English winger Andrew Driver joined Eastern Conference winners DC United from Houston Dynamo in exchange for Joe Willis and Samuel Inkoom. The Dynamo have bolstered their defence by bringing in goalkeeper Willis and right-back Inkoom while DC have added another attacking option in Driver.

Amobi Okugo:  Philadelphia Union – Orlando City SC

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Orlando City brought in three players on Monday. Amobi Okugo was the first as the 23-year-old holding midfielder joined from Philadelphia Union in exchange for allocation money and a 2016 2nd Round SuperDraft pick. Okugo made 32 appearances for the Union in 2014, scoring and assisting two goals.

Aurelien Collin: Sporting Kansas City – Orlando City SC

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Orlando’s second pick-up was Aurelien Collin. The dominant centre-back will undoubtedly give the Lions a solid defensive leader. He joins Orlando in exchange for allocation money and future considerations. Collin, MLS Cup MVP from 2013, made 26 appearances for Sporting Kansas City in 2014, scoring twice.

Tally Hall: Houston Dynamo – Orlando City SC

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The third acquisition Orlando made was goalkeeper Tally Hall who joins from Houston in exchange for allocation money and an international roster spot. Hall and Collin will need to keep the Lions defence solid in their inaugural season in MLS next season.

C.J. Sapong: Sporting Kansas City – Philadelphia Union

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Philadelphia bolstered their attack with the addition of C.J. Sapong from Sporting Kansas City in exchange for the Union’s highest first-round pick in the upcoming SuperDraft. Sapong scored twice in 20 appearances for SKC in 2014.

Bernardo Anor: Columbus Crew – Sporting Kansas City

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After seeing Collin and Sapong leave, Sporting Kansas City brought in someone in the form of midfielder Bernardo Anor from Columbus Crew. Anor joined SKC in exchange for allocation money after scoring six goals with one assist in 27 games this year.

Omar Salgado: Vancouver Whitecaps – New York City FC

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New York City also made a move to improve their attacking options ahead of their debut season by bringing in Omar Salgado from the Vancouver Whitecaps in a swap for Future Considerations. The 21-year-old only played eight times for the Whitecaps in 2014.

Joe Nasco – Dimitry Imbongo/Geoffrey Castillion: Colorado Rapids – New England Revolution

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MLS Cup Final losers New England Revolution also made a move in the short trade window by bringing in Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Joe Nasco and a third round pick in the upcoming SuperDraft. In exchange the Revs sent forwards Dimitry Imbongo and Geoffrey Castillion as well as a second round SuperDraft pick.

Expansion franchises New York City and Orlando City also picked up international roster slots for the 2015 and 2016 seasons from DC United. Both clubs will now be looking ahead to Wednesday’s highly-anticipated Expansion Draft.

What did you make of Monday’s busy day of trading in MLS?

Frank Lampard expected back at New York City for preseason

New York City FC are expecting star midfielder Frank Lampard to return to the Big Apple in time for preseason training ahead of their debut MLS campaign.

The 36-year-old is currently on loan with Premier League champions and New York City partners Manchester City but that spell should end sooner rather than later.

There were reports suggesting that the Citizens were set to keep Lampard until the end of the Premier League season, meaning he wouldn’t have joined up with NYCFC until around May.

But Claudio Reyna, former City midfielder and New York City director of football, expects Lampard to return for preseason training in the US.

“Do we have a drop-dead date? No, we don’t, but the plan is Frank will be in preseason with New York City FC,” Reyna said, speaking at NYCFC’s kit launch.

“He’s continuing right now – as we always talked about playing – for Manchester City, which is fantastic for him. He’s doing great, the level he’s playing at, he’s just back fully fit.

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“The situation couldn’t have worked out better. Frank has somewhere to play and [we’re] really just excited to have him and he’s really excited to be here for NYCFC.”

Lampard has proved that he’s far from past his best as he earned Manchester City’s Player of the Month award in September after scoring four goals in three games.

The former Chelsea man will look to take Major League Soccer by storm in his, and New York City’s first season in the league, and we should see him return to the US before too long.

How important will Frank Lampard be for New York City FC?

 

New York City FC reveal 2015 MLS kit

Major League Soccer expansion side New York City FC today revealed their inaugural kit for the 2015 MLS season.

The club are expected to be successful in their debut campaign having already signed David Villa and Frank Lampard.

And they now have a kit to play in as NYCFC revealed their home shirt for next season. It’s unsurprisingly sky blue given the club’s link to Premier League side Manchester City FC and the New York Yankees.

The shirt is sponsored by Etihad Airways – the same shirt sponsor as the Premier League champions in what is a similar kit in every aspect.

The Adidas kit will see a blue shirt worn with white shorts and white socks and NYCFC will hope for similar success to that of Manchester City when they take to the field for their first season in Major League Soccer.

NYCFC Kit details

The new MLS logo is on the sleeves of the shirt which also features three trademark Adidas stripes down the arms.

You can preorder the 2015 New York City FC shirt on the club’s official website.

What do you make of the NYCFC kit?

MLS to adopt new setup for 2015 season

Major League Soccer will look a little bit different for the start of the 2015 season, after the league announced some key changes today.

Chivas USA will cease operations with immediate effect, and a new Los Angeles-based side will be announced on Thursday, to begin playing in 2017.

The decision to remove Chivas from MLS was made by the MLS Board of Governors, and MLS Commissioner Don Garber revealed the reason behind the key decision.

“As part of our new strategy for Southern California – a major hotbed of soccer participation and fan support, we believe that engaging with a new ownership group which has the resources and local community ties, and a plan for a dedicated soccer-specific stadium, provides us with the best chance for success,” he said.

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With Orlando City SC and New York City FC set to enter the league next season, MLS has had to shake up the conference alignment.

As a result, the two new franchises will enter the Eastern Conference, while Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo will have to face new rivals in the Western Conference.

This means that Major League soccer will have two 10-team conferences for the first time.

MLS Season 2015 Setup

The 20 sides will play 34 regular season matches once again, and clubs will play teams in the opposing conferences once for five home and five away matches.

That will cover 10 games, and the remaining 24 fixtures will be played against sides from within the same conference.

Teams will play their nine conference rivals at least twice (one home and one away game), plus six additional games against teams from the same conference – three home, three away.

What do you make of the latest changes to the MLS setup?

Italian star to be New York City FC’s third major signing?

Fiorentina and Italy international Alberto Aquilani has been the latest player linked with a switch to MLS, with New York City FC reportedly an option.

According to Sportmediaset, Aquilani’s contract negotiations are proving unsuccessful. With his contract expiring in 2015, reports suggest Fiorentina want to reduce his current wages of €1.8 million to €1.5 million.  Seemingly unhappy with the contract offer Aquilani is considering his future and one club interested is new franchise New York City.

Bankrolled by the same owners as Premier League champions Manchester City, the club are willing to sign some of the best talent in football to expand the club globally once it enters Major League Soccer for its debut campaign.

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This won’t be until the new MLS season begins in March 2015, and as a result a loan move has been mooted for the Viola number 10. Aquilani would be the third major signing for New York City FC if he signed after Spaniard David Villa and Englishman Frank Lampard have both been confirmed as new arrivals.

Despite a disappointing spell at Liverpool, he is regarded as a fantastic deep lying playmaker. He has played for some of Serie A’s best clubs such as AC Milan, Juventus and Roma, winning three honours with the latter.

The Italian is also attracting interest from AC Milan and Atletico Madrid, and was called up the Italian squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Will Aquilani make the move to MLS?

Could a second World Cup winning star join New York City FC?

After signing David Villa from Spanish club Atletico Madrid, it would seem New York City FC would like him to be joined by another former World Cup winning striker in Alberto Gilardino.

The Italian won the World Cup in 2006 and has been linked with a move away from Serie A club Genoa. Although he still has two years left on his current contract which he signed in January 2012 in a move from rivals Fiorentina, and he could command a fee of £3 million to join the New York based side.

Gilardino was also part of the AC Milan team that won the Champions League in 2006-2007, in which he scored a memorable goal against Manchester United to send the Rossoneri to the final.

He was first linked with MLS in late 2013 with Toronto FC and his agent confirmed there were talks before the Canadian club opted for Jermaine Defoe from Tottenham Hotspur.

With fifty-seven caps for his country and nineteen goals scored, he was bitterly disappointed to miss out on the final 23-man squad for the World Cup in Brazil, and the omission has left him pondering his future.

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Gilardino has also been linked with a move to China with Guangzhou Evergrande where friend Alessandro Diamanti plays after he joined in February this year and their coach is World Cup winning manager Marcello Lippi.

If Gilardino were to move to MLS he would be the first Italian to join New York City FC, but the seventh Italian to make the move across the pond. Notable players include Alessandro Nesta and Marco Di Vaio, both who played for Montreal Impact, with the later still on the books at the Impact.

Could Gilardino join David Villa by making the move to New York City and add to an already deadly looking strike force?

Lampard set for New York City

New York City FC looks to be the destination for the Premier League legend, Frank Lampard, after it has been reported that he has agreed terms with the new franchise.

With Lampard on the official list of players released by Chelsea, including the likes of Ashley Cole and Samuel Eto’o, it seems very possible that Lampard will be ending his 13-year stay at the club.

The 35-year-old has been linked with a move to the ‘Big Apple’ since January this year, and it now appears that he will indeed make the switch across the Atlantic.

Lampard will feel he has a lot to offer the game still, as he remains Chelsea’s all time leading scorer with 211 goals and he is the top-scoring midfielder that the Premier League has ever seen.

His awareness will play a huge part in a successful MLS career and his trademark finishing in and around the box make him an ideal acquisition for most teams.

Lampard and Atletico Madrid’s David Villa have both been linked to New York City, so the future is looking very exciting for Major League Soccer and the new club.

There are reasons to note why this might be a good time for ‘Lamps’ to knock his love affair with Chelsea on the head.

If he doesn’t have a successful World Cup campaign people will undoubtedly question whether or not he still has the ability to perform at the highest level.

The profile of Lampard and the huge worldwide following he has will bring forward another increase into the ever growingly popular MLS.

Off the back of the previous season with Chelsea, Lampard featured in almost 50 games, but his goal output was his lowest since joining the club, with a mere 6 goals, compared to the previous season’s total of 17.

It’s the right time to move on and the experience Lampard could bring to New York City is unprecedented, a calm head, not only on the field but in the dressing room as well, and training will bring forward a wealth of resources to upcoming players and the coaching staff.

The pressures Lampard would face by moving to another top-flight English club would also be significantly less if he were to join New York City, and could be an easier move for him compared to the links he has had with Uncle Harry Redknapp at Premier League bound QPR.

The deal is yet to be officially announced but it seems to be nearing completion after both Lampard and Villa met with New York City manager Jason Kreis, at Manchester City’s Carrington training ground, who has been in charge at the Manchester City owned franchise since January.

The England veteran will turn 36 during the World Cup but by no means is under any pressure to finish his career as Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs proved, playing on until age 40.

What will Lampard’s move mean for Major League Soccer?

Could David Villa be on his way to New York?

David Villa has emerged as a shock transfer target for the new MLS franchise New York City FC and the Spaniard could be set to leave Atletico Madrid this summer.

Reports in Spain suggest he is close to agreeing a three-year contract with the New York City side who share the same owners as English Premier League club Manchester City.

Former director of Barcelona, Txiki Begiristain now of Manchester City, persuaded David Villa to leave Valencia and join the Catalan giants in 2010, and will be a huge influence on him joining the New York club.

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Having won Liga BBVA again with current club Atletico Madrid, he could be set for a fresh challenge and a move to America could be just that.

Villa would surely be a designated player as New York City FC look to take the MLS by storm in their debut season next year.

The 32-year-old, who has 224 La Liga goals to his name, would be a huge coup for New York City and MLS.

The new franchise have also been linked with Villa’s Spanish compatriot Xavi, with New York City prepared to offer him a lucrative three-year contract as well.

Will David Villa make the move to MLS?