Major Link Soccer: Euro 'silly season' starts MLS rumor mill

Is Carlton Cole headed to MLS? One British media outlet says he is. - Scott Heavey

Plus Soumare traded, Rogers' rights being discussed, refs discuss Perez red card, Crew fans try to drum up support, and more.

In England they call the off-season the "silly season" because the rumors really start flying and it's sometimes hard to tell what is real and what is baseless speculation. It's only since David Beckham came that the MLS has become a regular part of the frivolity.

Today two players are apparently ready to move "stateside" after being let go by their teams and bidding farewell to fans on Twitter - defender Titus Bramble, and striker Carlton Cole.

Buried in this story about players being let go at Aston Villa is a comment that Simon Dawkins could head back to San Jose after his loan spell at Villa expired without any offer of something more.

Meanwhile, Vancouver striker Kenny Miller is denying reports he is heading back to Scotland.

There was one real transaction in MLS Thursday. The Chicago Fire acquired Bakary Soumare from Philly. Soumare used to be with the Fire, before a three-year effort in France. He was the MLS Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 and has a hefty salary to match. It's believed that Chicago is going to buy-out the contract of veteran German defender Arne Friedrich to make room, and that Philly is paying some of Soumare's salary.

Chicago is also supposedly hot in negotiations with Galaxy for Robbie Rogers' rights. Chicago holds those rights but Rogers has indicated he's rather stay "retired" than play in Chicago. Rumor has it that Chicago wants midfielder/forward Mike Magee, a Chicago native, in return - though that seems like an awful lot to give up.

It's the red card that would not die. First our friends over at BigDSoccer suggested Sounders fans influenced the decision to give Blas Perez a red for his blood-drawing elbow on Leo Gonzalez. Then FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman expressed his disapproval of the call. And now the Professional Referee Organization weighs in with their take - maybe not surprising that they support the call, which they say was made by the fourth official.

Up in Toronto, one blogger said the good times have officially ended. It's not just that the team has never performed, it's that the performances have sapped the once energetic crowd of their spirit, he says.

In Utah a lawsuit involving the leaders of shirt-sponsor Xango has fans wondering if it's the end of the multi-level marketing company's presence with the team.

In New England, fans are wondering who really is the team's first-choice striker.

And finally, today, Crew supporters in Ohio have decided to try and drum up support for the team, taking it to the streets and airwaves with a goal toward selling out the June 1 game.

- Scott Ayers

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