Good morning everyone. This week has been filled with reports from around the web on preseason training with the occasional trade or loan rumor. The young guys are fighting for a spot on the team while the veterans are fighting against the MLS salary cap. The transfer window closed across much of Europe this week so the rumors will probably die down. However, as we see with the potential loan of Charlie Davies to DC United clubs in Europe can still send players abroad for loans or transfers if the receiving league's window is still open.
Ben Olsen Making Moves: Ben Olsen is putting his stamp on DC United and creating a team for the future. The biggest news is a potential loan of Charlie Davies from French club Sochaux. Financial details have already been arranged and now Charlie Davies goes to Florida for a week long evaluation so the DCU staff can gauge his form after recovering from a fatal car accident. Davies is excited to return stateside and get his career back on track. If Davies is at even 80% of his form before the accident he could be the final piece of the puzzle for Olsen. Olsen has already put together a midfield that has the potential to be one of the better in the league and he's also gone a long ways toward rebuilding the league's worst defense.
More links after the jump:
Ranking the Off-Season So Far: Drew Epperley has taken a look at the off-season in MLS and gives some rankings. Topping his list are the NY Red Bulls (A), DC United (A-) and our own Seattle Sounders (A-). Epperley gives the Sounders good marks for acquiring O'Brian White and adding quality depth across the board.
Whitecaps Dig Deep for Strikers: One team that didn't score high marks on Epperley's ratings is the new Vancouver Whitecaps (C-). The defense, led by Joe Cannon and Jay DeMerit is starting to take shape, but the offense remains a giant question mark. 86 Forever goes down the striker list and the list is wanting. When your best and close to only option is moving Atiba Harris from the wings over to a target striker...you know you have problems.
Timbers Look to Add Yet Another Striker: While the Whitecaps continue to ignore their lack of offense the Timbers are doing the reverse by focusing yet again on strikers. Colombian Jorge Perlaza is joining the Timbers in training and could add yet another option to a offensive that is looking pretty good. If you took the Whitecaps defense and the Timbers offense you would have a pretty good team.
Americans Across the Globe Start Afresh: Charlie Davies move is just one among many loan moves and transfers for American internationals. Some of the biggest are Michael Bradley's loan to Premiership side Aston Villa and Jozy Altidore's loan to defending Turkish champion Bursaspor. The success of both moves hinge on their ability to earn playing time at their new clubs.
No Nike Swoosh in MLS: Adidas has been a vital part of building MLS and vigorously guards their investment in the league. Reports indicate the extension they signed last summer to be the official athletic sponsor of MLS extends to 2018 and is worth $200 million. They're involvement could provide a major stumbling block to ownership groups aligned with other jersey sponsors such as the NY Cosmos group (Umbro), Barcelona (Nike) and Boca Juniors (Nike).
Player News From Around the League: The Whitecaps continue to ignore their striker problem and bring in 19-year old German defensive midfielder Lennart Hartmann while home grown defensive midfielder Ethan Gage signs with Reading FC. Colorado does a whole lot of nothing since trading for Sanna Nyassi and drafting RB project Eddie Ababio. RSL does even less in the off-season with the biggest news this week being Nick Rimando coming back to RSL for at least another year. Not that they need to make changes...they're focusing on the CCL quarterfinals (and rightly so IMHO). The NY Red Bulls look to add depth by adding Norwegian midfielder Jan Gunnar Solli, signing homegrown midfielder Matt Kassel and English striker Luke Rodgers.