First ever group of MLS free agents available to be signed from today

Major League Soccer will see free agents available to be signed for the first time ever from today.

A total of 26 players are part of the first MLS free agency group after seeing their contracts expire at the end of the 2015 season and will be able to negotiate with potential suitors from 1pm ET (6pm GMT) today.

Free agency has been introduced to the league as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was agreed back in March, before the start of the 2015 campaign, and it will now be seen in use for the first time in MLS history.

Out-of-contract players who are at least 28 years old and have a minimum of eight years of service in MLS are eligible for free agency, including the likes of Corey Ashe, Ned Grabavoy, Jeff Larentowicz, Mike Magee and Alan Gordon.

Full list of the 26 MLS players available for free agency from today:

GK Jon Busch (Chicago Fire)
GK Troy Perkins (Seattle Sounders)
GK Kyle Reynish (New York Red Bulls)
GK Andrew Weber (Portland Timbers)

DF Corey Ashe (Orlando City SC)
DF Bobby Burling (Colorado Rapids)
DF Ty Harden (Chicago Fire)
DF Michael Harrington (Colorado Rapids)
DF Stephen Keel (FC Dallas)
DF Drew Moor (Colorado Rapids)
DF James Riley (Colorado Rapids)

MF Eric Avila (Orlando City SC)
MF Brian Carroll (Philadelphia Union)
MF Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo)
MF Ned Grabavoy (New York City FC)
MF Nick LaBrocca (Colorado Rapids)
MF Jeff Larentowicz (Chicago Fire)
MF Justin Mapp (Montreal Impact)
MF Paulo Nagamura (Sporting Kansas City)
MF Nathan Sturgis (Houston Dynamo)

FW Chad Barrett (Seattle Sounders)
FW Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy)
FW Conor Casey (Philadelphia Union)
FW Kenny Cooper (Montreal Impact)
FW Alan Gordon (LA Galaxy)
FW Mike Magee (Chicago Fire)

Which of the free agents above do you think will be the most sought after in MLS?

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TRANSFER ROUNDUP: United star to Bayern, Arsenal’s Barca raid & Palacios to MLS

Daily transfer roundup (Friday, May 29)

MLS Rumours

Wilson Palacios has been released by Stoke City and his next move is yet to be confirmed. The 30 year old has been in the Premier League since 2007 but a move to MLS is a possibility. (REPORT)

Premier League Rumours

Manchester United flop, Angel Di Maria, could be moving on to Bayern Munich after just one season to. The German giants are expected to dip into the market for a winger with both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben heading into their last year of their contracts. (REPORT)

Arsenal are planning a raid for FC Barcelona duo Pedro Rodriguez and Martin Montoya. Both players are reportedly unhappy with a lack of playing time. (REPORT)

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Liverpool have reportedly made an offer for Inter Milan midfielder Mateo Kovacic as they look to fill the void left by Steven Gerrard’s departure to MLS. (REPORT)

Done Deals

Orlando City SC have announced goalkeeper Josh Ford will be joining Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, of NASL, on loan until June 18. (REPORT)

Chicago Fire have sent Mike Magee on a three-day loan to USL affiliate Saint Louis FC to get some playing time. (REPORT)

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Tottenham Hotspur have signed Austrian defender Kevin Wimmer from German side, Cologne, for an undisclosed fee on a 5-year deal. (REPORT)

Chicago Fire striker nearing return to action

Chicago Fire frontman Mike Magee has returned to full training and could make his return as early as next week when the Fire play Montreal Impact on May 30, as reported by Soccer By Ives.

The 2013 MLS MVP has been out since September last year and Chicago have struggled without him. The forward was a huge part of their 2013 campaign, in which he scored 15 goals in 21 appearances.

Frank Yallop has suggested that he will have his opportunity to regain his starting berth too, mentioning that Magee “looked good”.

“Obviously he’s still a little hindered by the moment,” Yallop said. “Mike’s a quality player, as we know. Once he gets healthy and fit, he’s very good.”

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When questioned on the current forward situation at the Fire, Yallop had this to say: “Not one of our forwards have scored yet – centre forwards, if you’d like – so its up to these guys. When they get a chance, stick it in the net.”

With the two-time MLS Cup winner returning to the side, the Fire will have a well established goalscorer that can provide them essential experience to push them towards a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

How much have the Chicago Fire missed Mike Magee and can they make the playoffs this season?

Takeaways from Seattle’s visit to Chicago

Seattle Sounders stretched their unbeaten streak to four on Saturday night with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Chicago Fire.

Chicago are now without a win in four and missed ‘Magic’ Mike Magee dearly.

There were a few things we learnt about the two sides and more specifically the individual players that made a difference. They are as follows:

1. Shipp strikes again.

Harrison Shipp is surely set to be rookie of the year as we are yet to see him have a bad game.

Both his goals on Saturday were top drawer and expect more from him this season, because at only 22 years old, he could take this league by storm.

3. Stefan Frei saves the day.

Barring two glorious efforts from Harry Shipp, Frei was in sensational form and effectively won the Sounders the game.

The Swiss-born ‘keeper managed to stop Quincy Amarikwa from just 6 yards out and the Sounders can thank Frei that they went on to win this game. He was Brilliant.

3. The good and the bad side of Obafemi Martins.

Martins only played 42 minutes but he managed to score two goals and get himself sent off.

It was a shame to see him go off, as he looked sharp as ever up until then, taking his first goal well and then converting a penalty with ease.

The probable suspension will leave Seattle in a spot of bother as Clint Dempsey is still away with the USMNT at the World Cup and the Sounders aren’t spoilt for suitable replacements, though they have a two-week break now to plan for their next game.

 

 

What did we learn as Columbus Crew finally taste victory in win against Chicago?

The Columbus Crew ended an eight-game winless streak in MLS with their first victory since March as they beat Chicago Fire 2-0 on Saturday night. Here are our key takeaways:

1. Ethan Finlay is quick, and dangerous…and quick.

The 23-year-old made his first appearance of the season, starting on the right-wing in place of Dominic Oduro and made an instant impact on the game. He opened the scoring for the Crew after he flew past Chicago defender Greg Cochrane to latch on to a fantastic pass by Federico Higuain, and slotted in from a tight angle after rounding goalkeeper Sean Johnson. It was his second of the season after he scored in last week’s 3-3 draw with Portland. His incredible pace was a threat all night and he is certainly dangerous.

2. Federico Higuain is playing excellent football.

The Argentine added to his wonderful performance last week by grabbing two assists against the Fire to ensure his team would finally win a game. His first past to Finlay was weighted perfectly, as was his pass with the outside of the boot to Jairo Arrieta, who coolly slotted through the legs of Johnson to make it 2-0 early on. Higuain is making everything tick for the Crew and they will pick up more and more wins if he continues in the form he is showing.

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(Photo: Higuain is putting in some inspired performances for the Crew)

3. A depleted Chicago really missed Mike Magee.

Magee missed the game with a late calf injury, and Chicago were not the attacking threat they have been without him. Quincy Amarikwa was partnered by Juan Luis Anangono up front, but the two couldn’t click as Magee and Amarikwa have been. Anangono had a glancing header come off the post in what was the Fire’s best chance of the game, but they were flat and below par all night. They will hope Magee returns in time for their game against LA Galaxy next week.

 

Columbus will want to add to their overdue win when they travel to Toronto next weekend. The Crew now sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference on 16 points, four higher than the Fire who fall to eighth.

Highlights via MLS on YouTube:

What did we learn in Sporting Kansas City’s loss to Chicago Fire?

Sporting Kansas City lost 2-1 for the second time in less than a week as Chicago Fire picked up their second win of the season, building on last week’s 5-4 win at the New York Red Bulls. Kansas City played with ten-men for most of the second-half and couldn’t recover from an early two-goal setback at Toyota Park on Sunday. Here is what we learnt:

 

1. Mike Magee likes penalties.

The Chicago striker scored two early penalties, slotting the ball into the bottom-left corner both times with relative ease. Magee’s two goals from the spot ultimately earned the Fire all three points and they look in good shape all of a sudden. Magee and Quincy Amarikwa have formed a good partnership and it was Amrikwa who earned the first penalty, after it appeared Sporting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg brought him down.

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2. Erik Palmer-Brown had an abysmal debut.

Well, the positives to take from Palmer-Brown’s debut are that it is unlikely he’ll ever have a worse game in his MLS career. The 17-year-old defender started in the heart of a five-man Kansas City’s defence and struggled to keep up with the game throughout. He gave the second penalty away after he inexplicably shoved Benji Joya to the ground inside the box, and was sent off later in the game, following two yellow cards for two very poorly timed tackles. A day to forget for the young American defender.

 

3. Dom Dwyer can’t stop scoring.

Although Kansas City slumped to their fourth defeat of the season, and second in a matter of days, Dwyer has showed no sign of slowing up. The English striker is looking dangerous every time Sporting attack, and grabbed his eighth goal of the season with his second-half header yesterday. He was unlucky not to have scored earlier in the game, as his shot beat Sean Johnson, but not the post. He now has four in his last three and is one goal off the leading goalscorer spot.

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4. The referee liked his whistle.

Referee Jose Carlos Rivero was showing off how good his lung capacity is, as he blew the whistle time and time again in Sunday’s match. There were a staggering 48 fouls in the game, with five yellow cards and one red issued. It was a physical encounter but the game struggled to flow as a result of the whistle being blown so often.

 

5. Chicago are in business.

It took the Fire nine weeks to win their first game, but they followed up last weekend’s victory with another against the current champions. They have only lost twice this season, but the six consecutive draws were not doing their playoff hopes any good. They have picked up and look well organised now, and should continue to pick up points as they travel to the Columbus Crew on Saturday night.

 

Sporting host Toronto FC on Friday night as they look to avoid losing three straight-games, and will aim to return to the top of the Eastern Conference with a win. Chicago now sit in sixth-place but have only played ten games and can move into a playoff spot of results go their way this weekend.

Highlights via MLS’ YouTube channel:

Quincy Amarikwa and Benny Feilhaber battle it out for best MLS Internet show

Major League Soccer just got even more entertaining, with the latest Internet shows, as Chicago Fire’s Quincy Amarikwa and Sporting Kansas City’s Benny Feilhaber both present their own shows on YouTube now, with both shows providing laughs throughout.

Chicago’s leading goalscorer, Amarikwa hosts his show called “Quincy Time”, in which he has to complete a challenge allocated to him by fans on Twitter, and this week “Quincysaurus” sat down to talk with teammate Mike Magee.

The show is worth a watch, and is highly entertaining, in the latest edition, Quincy had to nutmeg five teammates before training began, and then spoke to Magee about topics such as urban dance, and Magee’s striking resemblance to Bradley Cooper.

This week’s episode is below courtesy of Chicago Fire’s YouTube channel:

Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber also hosts a show, aptly named “The Benny Feilhaber Show” in which Feilhaber sings along with his talented musician teammate, Sal Zizzo, before interviewing USMNT call-ups Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.

The show is thoroughly entertaining, and gives players the chance to enjoy themselves in front of the camera’s for a change, and this can only be good for Major League Soccer’s growing reputation.

The latest show can be seen here via Sporting Kansas City’s YouTube channel:

Both shows have four episodes now, as they are becoming increasingly popular, and it will be interesting to see if anymore MLS clubs join this growing trend.