This week’s MLS Big 5 starts off with a four-parter that has played out over a one week period, so let’s get to…
The Kei Kamara Caper
The date was Saturday, May 7 the Columbus Crew were beating up on visiting Montreal, leading 3-1 and about to go even further ahead thanks to a penalty kick. Kamara already had two goals and wanted to take the pk for the hat trick.
All good, right? Wrong. Teammate and usual Crew peno man Federico Higuain wanted to take the shot, sparking a childish display by the two vets that was only solved when captain Michael Parkhurst said, enough, get on with it.
Higuain buried the chance giving the Crew a 4-1 lead but Columbus collapsed, and let Montreal come all the way back to claim a share of the spoils in a 4-4 tie.
Afterward, Kamara did not hold his tongue, and criticized Higuain quite bluntly, earning himself a one-way ticket to New England. Kamara landed with Revs in a May 12 trade that barely beat the trade deadline.
Just two days later Kamara went 90 minutes for the Revolution in a 2-0 win over Chicago. Kamara did not make the score sheet that day but he will, and it is easy to imagine that he could be just what the Revolution need.
The payoff for Columbus will be longer in coming unless the Crew view this as addition by subtraction, a possibility given some post-trade remarks by coach Gregg Berhalter and Anthony Precourt, the man who signs the checks in Columbus.
New England sent Columbus a package of TAM, GAM, draft picks, an international player slot and a slice any future profits should the Revs sell the 31-year-old Kamara. So, it may eventually work out for Berhalter and co., maybe as soon as the summer transfer window, but for now, Columbus has to find a way to make up for Kamara’s goals, 22 last season, and five so far in 2016.
The American soccer internet lost its collective mind recently when rumors that Ibrahimovich was thinking of making a move stateside now that he is done in Paris.
Not surprisingly, L.A. was the rumored landing spot for the Swedish legend; where did you think he was he going to play, in Philadelphia? Well, maybe. Apparently, the Union held Ibra’s Discovery Rights. No, that doesn’t mean Philadelphia “discovered” the superstar. It is just another of the league’s arcane rules designed to control who plays where and for how much.
It was later said that Philadelphia did not have a claim and in the absence of any concrete information, speculation reigned. So can we expect to see the imperious striker ruling the MLS roost anytime soon?
I doubt it, but would the league benefit from adding the man who said he would only consider staying on at PSG if the City of Paris replaced the Eiffel Tower with one of himself?
Damn right it would.
3) Jozy Altidore and the Case of the Haunted Hammy
Coming to theaters near you? Well no, but then the Toronto and U.S. MNT striker won’t be coming to a soccer field near you anytime soon either.
Once again the powerful forward has been betrayed by his hamstrings, meaning that he will almost certainly miss out on the upcoming Copa America Centenario in June. It was the same injury that struck Altidore down and ruled him out action just minutes into the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
It was hard luck for Altidore in Brazil and it is the same now, but sports can be cruel and Bobby Wood, Gyasi Zardes, and Jordan Morris are standing by ready to stake a claim to Altidore’s position, in June and beyond.
4) The Bronx is Up and Harrison(?) is Down
David Villa is scoring goals, with 8 he is tied for the league lead with Sebastian Giovinco and Fanendo Adi, NYCFC is winning games, 3 in a row now, and the second year club is tied for first place in the East.
And what of the Red Bulls? After a slow start to 2016 things were looking up for New York’s original MLS franchise when the Bulls, who had been struggling for goals, followed a 3-2 win over Orlando with a 4-0 victory over FC Dallas in late April.
A 1-1 draw with Orlando slowed the hype but there was reason for optimism as the 2015 Supporters Shield winners traveled to our nation’s capital to face old rivals DC United.
A 2-0 Red Bulls loss to United was bad enough, but the team played so poorly that captain Dax McCarty felt the need to apologize. Next up is the New York Derby this Saturday at Yankee Stadium with the eighth place Red Bulls chasing first place (level with Montreal) New York City FC.
5) Atomic Ant Overlooked
Italy coach Antonio Conte has named his provisional Euro roster and former Juventus teammates and current MLS stars Sebastian Giovinco and Andrea Pirlo have missed out.
Pirlo’s omission was not unexpected but Giovinco missing out is tough for MLS supporters not to take as a slap at MLS. Giovinco has been the best player in MLS this last one year plus, and it still wasn’t good enough for the Toronto attacker to claim a spot in Italy’s Euro squad.
The implications are plain. If Giovinco’s performance since joining MLS is not enough to play for Italy, players with national team ambitions could well conclude that MLS would be bad for their international prospects.