Welcome to a new, regularly-scheduled feature we’ll be rolling out for the remainder of the preseason. This wrap-up is intended to help you stay up-to-date with the major happenings across the league so you’re fully informed and ready when March 3 rolls around.
Game Results and Details
Colorado Rapids 6 – 1 Ventura County Fusion
The Rapids rolled PDL side Ventura County behind two goals and an assist from 20-year-old forward Caleb Calvert, a former Chivas USA homegrown signing. Designated Player Kevin Doyle and 2016 breakout star Marlon Hairston also found the back of the net. Notable absences included key defender Axel Sjoberg and DP goalkeeper Tim Howard, the latter is still recovering last year’s season-ending injury. Colorado used two different trialists in goal in the second half as the team continues to look for a third keeper in Howard’s absence. Full match details from Burgundy Wave.
D.C. United 3 – 2 Jonkopings Sodra IF
DC’s first team put in a great 45 minutes against the Swedish side. Key offseason additions Marcelo Sarvas and Luciano Acosta both scored great goals to put United up 2-0 at the break. Sebastien Le Toux put DC up 3-0 after 60 minutes, but an entirely new XI in the second half let the Swedes back into the game late. Homegrown signing Ian Harkes made a strong case for a starting spot, partnering well with Sarvas in the first half. Full match recap from Black and Red United.
New York City FC 2 – 2 CS Emelec
Emelec is one of the best clubs in the Ecuadorian Serie A and already two games into its domestic season. That showed when both team’s starting XIs were on the field. Andrea Pirlo and David Villa both went 58 minutes along with a mostly first-choice XI. The defense, which was City’s Achilles Heel last year, didn’t show any improvement which is a concern. However NYCFC stole a draw, capping off a second half rally with a John Stertzer goal at the death. 2016 USL MVP Sean Okoli announced his return to MLS with a beautiful goal from distance for NYCFC’s first tally of the evening. Other positives included teenager James Sands showing well with the first team and new goalkeeper Sean Johnson. Both looked solid and Johnson in particular looked comfortable playing out of the back the way Patrick Vieira demands.
Notable Player Movement
Minnesota United FC Signs Danish Winger Bashkim Kadrii on Loan
Kadrii profiles on the wing, but can also slot in as a lead forward or No. 10 according to FifyFiveOne’s Jeff Rueter. The Algerian-born Dane netted three times in 27 appearances for his former club FC Copenhagen. Kadrii’s also earned one cap for Denmark. Although it was not confirmed in MUFC’s press release, players loaned to MLS usually come with a purchase option.
Philadelphia Union Trades a Second-Round Pick to New York Red Bulls for Adam Najem’s Rights
This is a bit of a strange one. Najem is a RBNY Academy product who starred at Akron. Will Parchman called him “college soccer’s best player” back in August. But Najem and the Red Bulls apparently couldn’t agree on salary so New York opted to get something for his rights. Still, getting only a second-round pick for such a highly-touted homegrown is a head-scratcher for RBNY. Najem has a ton of promise as an attacking midfielder, but will battle the likes of Roland Alberg and Ilsinho for playing time with Philly.
League News and Notes
The LA Galaxy dropped its new kit Wednesday. You can check it out, along with all of the kits that have been released so far here.
Via Jonathan Tannenwald, teams can have 31 players on the payroll this year (up from 28 in 2016) thanks to new slots for homegrown players.
This Flowchart from Sports Illustrated shows just how ridiculous the process of signing players in MLS is.
Kristian Dyer is reporting the Timbers are shopping forward Jack McInerney.
There are three preseason games Thursday:
Chicago Fire – Philadelphia Union (1 p.m. ET)
Minnesota United FC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8 p.m. ET)
Portland Timbers – Real Salt Lake (10:30 p.m. ET)
FC Dallas also continues its eight-day, Argentinian marathon with a game against River Plate