Preseason camps are opening up across the country for Major League Soccer teams. Many have taken to warm climates with new faces during a ten day primer leading to preseason matches. They also have tomorrow’s supplemental draft to negotiate. Here is a look around the league as the teams look to complete their lineups and make any last moves leading up to the opening kick.
Ave Marie, Florida is the location for the Chicago training. They will train there until the 30th with scrimmage matches against Florida Gulf Goast University and the Columbus Crew. They will move to Ventura, CA in the beginning of February and take on the San Jose Earthquakes. Finally they will move to Charleston, SC as part of the 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup with the Houston Dynamo, Charleston Battery, and Vancouver Whitecaps.
On the day camp opened for the Fire, the team resigned Corben Bone and picked up the option on Alex and Michael Videira. The three midfielders rejoin the team along with new acquisitions Joel Lindpere and Jeff Larentowicz.
New head coach Jose Luis ‘El Chelis’ Sanchez Solá opened camp on Saturday along with draftee Carlos Alvarez although his team began training at the Home Depot Center the day before. Chivas is a mystery and have not made many announcements on player movement. They were said to have 23 players in camp over the weekend including Dan Kennedy. For a player run down check out The Goat Parade.
A former Chivas player, Cesar Romero, showed up to Rapids camp on trial along with Carlos Diaz. Fitness tests began on Friday for the Rapids but newly drafted Deshorn Brown, Dillon Powers, and Kory Kindle arrived today. The Rapids will travel to Tuscon at the end of the week to gear up for the Desert Friendlies. They are without Edson Buddle since he is with the National Team.
As the Crew begin training they are still working on many roster moves including a trade of Dilly Duka. President Mark McCullers said they have a lot of moves being worked on and even said that the team will make the playoffs if they can pull them all off. They are currently training indoors before flying to Bradenton, FL and the IMG Academy. Eddie Gaven did report but is awaiting the birth of his second child.
United are still working on filling their roster as well and have seven trialists with the squad as camp opens. The biggest name is keeper Diego Restrepo who has seen time as a U.S. youth international. They are also in Bradenton and will be there for the next 13 days. Young designated player has joined the squad, but they are without Dwayne De Rosario as he preps for the friendly against the United States.
Players reported for physicals yesterday in Dallas and will train twice each day until flying to Cancun on February 5th. They will play three primer matches there before heading to Portland for the Timbers preseason tournament also featuring AIK and the San Jose Earthquakes. The roster is shifting a bit as it looks like Brek Shea is out and they grabbed a great value with Walker Zimmerman in the SuperDraft. Still there is a lot of uncertainty around this squad.
The two-time MLS runner up opened their camp today in Houston. Brad Davis, Will Bruin, and Tally Hall are with the USMNT. Boniek Garcia is with Honduras and Calen Carr is still rehabbing his knee injury. Eric Brunner and Omar Cummings are the new faces with MLS experience.
The Galaxy are without David Beckham and Landon Donovan. Coach Bruce Arena told the media today that Donovan is “definitely” going to play this year, but they have to iron out a time frame. That sounds like he will not be there when the season opens in March. The Galaxy had 16 players on the pitch as they began their workouts today at the Home Depot Center. They opted not to participate in any preseason tournament this year. LA does have a match scheduled against the U.S. under-17 team for February 1.
The Impact elected to train in Montreal for two weeks before heading to Orlando from February 7th to 24th. They will take part in the Disney Pro Classic Tournament with Sporting Kansas City, D.C. United and the Tampa Bay Rowdies. They also have a preseason match in Jacksonville with the Philadelphia Union scheduled for February 15th. Their three SuperDraft picks, including Blake Smith, have reported to camp.
New England Revolution
The Revolution grabbed the number one pick last week from Toronto and selected Andrew Farrell to stabilize the back line. Now the club wants consistency. The team had less roster turnover this year and head coach Jay Heaps returns. They have reported to Foxborough before departing for Casa Grande, AZ where they will face Sporting KC and Vancouver. They currently have four selections in tomorrow’s supplemental draft.
New York Red Bulls
Most players reported to camp today and will depart for Bradenton tomorrow. They will take on the Crew in Florida with other matches expected to be added before flying to Tuscon around Valentine’s Day. Their competition in Arizona will be fellow MLS sides Seattle, Salt Lake, and New England. Mike Petke is still labeled as the interim head coach on their official website.
We learned today that Freddy Adu is not in the future plans for Philadelphia as camp begins. At least 200 people watched the first public training session today as Sebastien Le Toux, Conor Casey and Jack McInerny were constant talking points. They will train at indoor facilities near Philadelphia before heading to Orlando on February 8th.
Caleb Porter finally got to meet the team and vice versa. He has helped to shape a slightly new roster and now will get to try to teach his philosophy after five months of waiting. Jose Valenica and Ryan Miller were signed today to give more depth to the roster. They are training in Portland as they await their own tournament.
Salt Lake arrived in Casa Grande for the start of camp today with high hopes. They will have ten training sessions over the next six days before taking on Denmark’s under-20 squad. Five players that figure to have a big impact with the team were absent Monday due to injury or national team duty. Rookies John Stertzer and Devon Sandova are present and took part in their first practice this afternoon.
San Jose Earthquakes
The Earthquakes are looking to get over the hump in 2013 and returned to practice with some key members missing. Five players are training with their respective national teams. Steve Lenhart and Alan Gordon are still rehabbing injuries. Unsigned midfielder Khari Stephenson and Quakes veteran defender Ramiro Corrales were at training. The Quakes will be traveling three times to Tuscon, Oxnard, and Portland to face fellow MLS teams and Swedish side AIK.
The Sounders fell short in a lot of aspects in the 2012 season despite a very successful year. They will train at their home facility and the Seahawks’ facility before departing to Arizona. The Sounders will make a return trip to Seattle before returning to Tuscon for the Desert Diamond Cup. Fredy Montero and Jeff Parke are gone, but they were able to snag the versatile Eriq Zavaleta in the draft last week.
Sporting Kansas City
KC is another team without some players that are with their national squad as training began. They arrived in Arizona yesterday after a series of fitness testing over the weekend in Kansas City. They have lost the sponsorship on the stadium, added a new sponsor to the jersey, signed Benny Feilhaber, and drafted Mikey Lopez. They have high expectations in Kansas City. Wonder if they know anything about West Ham’s interest in Graham Zusi?
Somewhere Kevin Payne is still smiling about what he was able to pull off around the draft last week. Perhaps he is rolling in all the allocation money that went to Toronto. Testing began on Saturday in Toronto where they will train for the rest of the month. Torsten Frings arrived early but the team is missing five players currently with the Canadian national team. They will take part in the Disney Classic next month.
The cold and fog of Burnaby, British Columbia is the site for Whitecaps’ training. SuperDraft picks Kekuta Manneh and Erik Hurtado were on hand. The team currently has eight trialists with the squad. Jay DeMerit was there today and gave his fashion opinion as well.