The Total MLS Mailbag - Academies, CCL, Rumors, Mix, and More

Happy Friday everybody! I hope that you all enjoyed last night's All Star festivities! If not, don't worry! This was an "All Star Break" in name only. Teams are getting right back into action tomorrow and Sunday. We got a lot of good questions this week, and as always, thanks for taking the time to write. Today we're going to be discussing CCL chances, Mix Diskerud, transfers, academies, and more! Let's get started!

In short, no.

Nothing floating around at the moment suggests that the Revs have any “irons in the fire” at the moment, especially during this window. New England’s signing prowess for the season peaked with the addition of Xavier Kouassi followed by the Kei Kamara trade.

One interesting tidbit seems to be that Palermo of Italy’s Serie A seem to be taking notice of one Diego Fagundez . However, the Revs are asking for quite a bit in return from any potential suitors for the young hometown player.

Besides that, it appears that Summer 2016 will be a quiet one for the Revs as they look to stay above the red line in the East.     

-Rob Ditta

Wow, Jacob what a superbly bizarre question. Before we get into my fantasies, I guess that it’s worth pointing out that there is a real love and mutual respect between professional soccer players and NBA stars. Perhaps it’s all the running they do. Anyhow, it’s not unusual to see NBA stars talking soccer, and vice versa - and that’s just great.

As far as a soccer fantasy crossover? I’m not sure how to answer that. I’d like to see Carli Lloyd play in an MLS match. I’d like to see Andy Rose in an episode of Game of Thrones. It would be neat to see Brian Rowe stuffing penalty kicks from all of the people on Twitter who say he’s a terrible goalkeeper. I’d like Rebecca Lowe to call an MLS match. I’d enjoy seeing Eric Wynalda and Kasey Keller doing the world’s most condescending buddy cop movie. I’d never stop watching the Bachelor if it starred CJ Sapong. I know if you could pick from anyone in Major League Soccer there’s probably a semi-decent Indie Folk band to be made. Is this what you meant? I hope so.

-Ian L.

Could he “potentially” go back to the Serie A? Sure, crazier things have happened in soccer but I would bet that the likelihood of that happening is minimal. First, I have no reason to believe that TFC is any hurry to deal him. Second, Bradley has moved around quite a bit in his career so at this point some sort of stability has to be appealing. Financially, I doubt he would receive much of a bump in pay from what he makes with TFC? Lastly, on paper TFC is built to win, and win now! With Seba, Jozy, Irwin, Moor, and the wheeling and dealing front office, there are few other spots from a competitive standpoint that would top his current situation. Look, the Summer Transfer Window is the epitome of silly season so take anything you read with a grain of salt.

Final verdict: Less than 10% chance MB heads back to Italy.  

-Mike Crosky

FC Dallas and the Red Bulls have the best shot at progressing this time around. Vancouver and Sporting KC have the pleasure of beating each other up in the group stages. None of the other MLS sides will have to face each other or Liga MX competition at least until the knockout stages.

Only one team advances per group, making eight teams overall. The result of this usually falls along the lines of a few MLS versus Liga MX match ups, but there have been surprises. Portland has a less than clear path ahead as they’ve for one not exactly lit up the league as they did in the playoffs of 2015. Secondly, they’ve got the formidable Saprissa, Costa Rican champions, who are a constant fixture in the CCL. Could the Timbers bow out in the first round of the competition? Likely not. But they easily face the stiffest competition in the CCL group stage.

But Dallas and RBNY face easier roads and both have been in better league form as the competition slowly approaches. Does one have a bumpier path than the other? Dallas might also face a difficult group stage considering their lack of depth on the flanks after the sale of Fabian Castillo this past week. However, the knockout stage should be a fan, team, and league expectation given the recent successes of MLS sides in the competition, and the overarching ambition to actually see a non-Mexican team win the competition.

-Cory Jensen

There are a few factors that are in play that makes the FC Dallas system work.

  1. Location. Dallas if fortunate enough to be located close to Mexico, which harbors North America’s most fervent supporters of the sport. That kind of passion doesn’t simply stop at the border.

  2. Pareja has faith in the system, and offers youth players the chance to shine. The academy is only as good as the willingness to use it. Oscar has bought in, and is using it effectively.

  3. Cohesiveness. Keeping the club under one umbrella and one philosophy will guarantee a smooth transition through the ranks up into the senior team. Germany as a whole uses a similar method, which is why the national team is in the midst of a new renaissance.

  4. And finally, while not exactly a benefit, the team is under the pressure of not having the kinds of funds a New York or LA team would have, forcing their hands in finding new, creative ways to harvest talent.

-Steven Clark

Pretty soon. As you mentioned Atlanta United is starting up soon. I know Florida doesn’t count as “the South” culturally, but geographically they’ve got Orlando already and Miami on the way. California is packed because that’s historically where a lot of interest in soccer has been. The South is really showing some genuine interest with great attendance in the lower divisions of US Soccer now, but 10 years ago nobody was sitting around having even a hypothetical conversation about whether or not a top level soccer team could succeed in Nashville or North Carolina. Atlanta is going to be a really good barometer for the region. That’s exciting, because I believe it’s going to be a runaway success. I wouldn’t hold my breath for a Tennessee or Carolina team in this next wave of expansion, but the one after that might be a good opportunity to push.

-Ian L.

As far as impactful midseason signings, not very many teams have made flashy moves. Only 1 DP has been signed this summer, and that’s Nico Lodeiro in Seattle. He’ll be very good in this league, but I’m not sure he’ll turn around the Sounders seasons. Quietly, I think that what Portland has done to address their backline is impressive. They went out and signed a starting caliber leftback, and are rumored to bringing in Steven Taylor, who is a center back from England. These aren’t the type of flashy signings that will move attendance numbers, but I think that it puts Portland in a good spot going forward.  

-Mark Kastner

To be frank: I don’t think Viera will feel bothered to play Mix. He could easily make a sub bench appearance. But with Iraola deputized at holding mid (a position Mix can’t play effectively), Lampard on a tear, and Lopez able to fill in as the other center mid, the concept of Mix appearing seems less likely. Pirlo was subbed off early in the All Star Game and flew back to New York last night. So, it seems unlikely at best that Mix will return to the pitch. Viera seems to be less than inspired by Mix’s performances and he’d be right at this point: Mix was similarly uninspiring even under Kreis. That hasn’t changed much since the change in regime at NYCFC.

Mix can be free again once he can find a team that will take his higher-than-usual wages, or negotiate something cheaper. Columbus and Seattle are two sides that could easily use Mix, but given his form that’s even a stretch.  But it seems that his future isn’t in New York whatsoever, even this weekend.

-Cory Jensen