It’s MLS Cup week in Major League Soccer, but there is still plenty going on outside Kansas City. So let’s take a look at this week’s MLS Big – 5.
1) Porter is Coach of the Year – Alston Wins for Comeback
Caleb Porter was recognized for his superb work in turning the Timbers around in 2013. Fellow rookie coach New York’s Mike Petke and Real Salt Lake’s Jason Kreis were worthy candidates, but Porter won out for leading Portland from near the bottom of the league to the highest point total in the West, and a place in the Western conference final. The Timbers came up short to Kreis’ RSL in the the Conference Finals, but Porter still earned a five year contract extension from Timbers management for leading the Timbers turnaround.
And congratulations are also due to the New England Revolution’s Kevin Alston. Alston was diagnosed with a form of leukemia after feeling ill in March. The 25 year defender was back with the Revs by July 27th and finished the season on an up, playing in the last three games of the season. Remarkable.
2) What About Bob?
Although they ultimately failed to reach the World Cup, former U.S. MNT coach Bob Bradley won wide acclaim for the dignified way in which he led the Egyptian national team through trying times. But when Ghana ultimately proved too good for the Egypt, the American Pharaoh was let go.
Vancouver have their sights on Bradley, but word is that Bradley may be aiming for a European job. The view from this side of the ocean is that Bradley just might be the man to make the jump. Gregg Berhalter recently returned from a sojourn coaching in the Swedish 2nd Division, Bradley is surely aiming higher.
A decent team in the English Championship, say Wigan, might be a good fit. Owen Coyle has just been shown the door at the DW Stadium, would Chairman Dave Whelan be willing to consider Bradley? Again, from this side of the Atlantic, the feeling is that Bradley is ready.
3) DC and Inter Owner Thohir Announces Agreement
In July 2012 Indonesian media big Erik Thohir took control of DC United, last month Thohir became the principal owner at Inter Milan. Now, Thohir has announced a strategic partnership between the two.
United are not the first MLS club to link up with a foreign club in this manner. The Colorado Rapids are owned by Stan Kroenke, Arsenal’s majority owner and the two teams made a big deal out of linking up a few years ago. Several other teams have made similar arrangements over the years. Nothing much ever seems to come of it.
The San Jose Earthquakes loan use of Simon Dawkins from Tottenham was perhaps the most tangible result. Dawkins played well at San Jose, before the 26 year old was returned to Spurs. Tottenham have loaned Dawkins to Derby, where the winger has impressed his manager Steve McClaren.
4) Clock is Ticking on Beckham to Miami
David Beckham wants MLS, MLS wants David Beckham, and they both want Miami. But time is a factor. Speaking of his option to buy into MLS Becks recently told Sky Sports in the UK that, “hopefully there will be an announcement before the new year.”
That jibes with reports that Beckham is facing a December 31 deadline to get his project off the ground. Although Beckham did not quite admit to Sky that Miami is the planned location of his potential club, he did concede that he had been seen often in Miami.
Of course, where Beckham goes news follows, and recent reports have Beckham and his group considering the Port of Miami as a possible stadium location. Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure is said to bring the big money to Team Beckham, and Miami’s favorite son LeBron James has expressed interest in partnering Beckham in bringing an MLS franchise to Miami.
5) Donovan and the Perennial Loan Saga
Every year as Thanksgiving gives way to Black Friday and the holiday season, the Landon Donovan loan rumors begin to pick up steam. Beckham’s former teammate and sometime sparring partner has enjoyed a couple of successful loan spells with Everton, and Jurgen Klinsmann is on record saying that with the World Cup approaching, he would like to see Donovan sharpen his skills with another European stint.
Donovan’s club coach Bruce Arena recently went on record with the opposite view, and with Donovan nursing an ankle injury it could get a bit dicey.