MLS Rookie Power Rankings: Weeks 2 and 3

MLS has made many gains in the past few seasons in terms of quality and ability to attract top names from around the soccer globe. One of the league’s most unsung improvements has been its ability to develop its youth into reliable starters and internationally sought-after talent. The 2016 season has already introduced us to a wide slate of rookies who will shape the league for years to come.

The following is a ranking of MLS’ rookie performers through week 3. Continue reading

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MLS Rookie Power Rankings: Week 1

It may seem as though acquiring players through the MLS SuperDraft is becoming a relic of the past given the league’s emphasis on bringing international talent in from the outside and developing homegrown talent from within. As MLS rosters get deeper year after year thanks to increases in allocation money, the need to select and nurture rookies who have not trained with a team’s youth academy at a young age appears to have shrunk. In addition, some of the U.S.’s most promising college players have avoided the draft to secure a contract in Europe or use a loophole that allows players to train with a club while in college to achieve Homegrown Player status (The Jordan Morris rule). Continue reading

Minnesota United Acquire Former Crew SC Midfielder Ben Speas

NASL’s Minnesota United FC announced the signing of former Columbus Crew SC homegrown player Ben Speas just weeks before the beginning of their 2016 season.

Speas, 25, brings MLS experience and an attacking mindset to the NASL side currently preparing to enter MLS in 2017. Speas spent four seasons with Crew SC, making 41 appearances and providing two goals and four assists for Columbus. In the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft, Speas was not initially among the 11 players protected by Columbus but was protected once Jario Arrieta was selected by Orlando City SC with the 11th pick. Speas made eight appearances with Crew SC in 2015, but his contract was not renewed at the end of the season.  Continue reading

Report: Minnesota United Set To Lose Brand

NASL club Minnesota United FC is set to join the MLS in 2017 alongside expansion franchise Atlanta United FC. Without even meeting on the pitch, it looks like Atlanta have drawn first blood. According to a report from Sports Illustrated‘s Brian Straus, MLS is not so united on the use of one of footballs most iconic monikers.

According to Straus, conversations are taking place within MLS regarding concerns about the league’s introduction of two Uniteds in the same season with the already well-established D.C. United. Though Minnesota has used the United label in competition since 2013, one year before the announcement of Atlanta’s brand, they will likely be compelled to drop United from their name when they begin play in 2017.  Continue reading

MLS Teams Return To Action For Preseason Tournaments

With just a little over two weeks before MLS begins its 21st regular season, teams are finalizing their rosters and getting a feel for who their main contributors will be for opening day and beyond. The preseason is well underway, but two major preseason tournaments kick off Feb. 17, giving some MLS teams their first action against other clubs in a competitive tournament format.

Three-fourths of MLS will be in action Wednesday, most competing in either FC Tucson’s Desert Diamond Cup or the Tampa Bay Rowdies Suncoast Invitational. Continue reading

A Look at Crew SC Going into 2016

After an MLS Cup loss that was as shocking as it was disappointing, Gregg Berhalter has wasted no time to making moves in preparation for Crew SC’s 2016 campaign. Fullback Chris Klute and striker Jack McInerney have already been traded to the cup-winning Portland Timbers for an undisclosed amount of general allocation money. Also leaving Columbus are goalkeeper Matt Lampson, midfielders Kristin Steindorsson, Kevan George, Ben Speas and forward Aaron Schoenfeld. In their place, Crew SC have added defenders Corey Ashe and Amro Tarek, Danish winger Emil Larsen, as well as forwards Conor Casey and Ola Kamara . The front office also signed 19th overall SuperDraft pick Rodrigo Saravia. Continue reading