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Major League Soccer


November 13, 2016
Don't blame Trump for THIS anti-Americanism

By Brian Trusdell
Soccer News Net Writer

The anti-Americanism in soccer is rarely uttered in public. The difficulty of U.S. players and coaches getting any respect – just because they're American – is palpable if not quotable.

In the past two weeks, it's become far more glaring.

First there was former Welsh international turned broadcaster Danny Gabbidon, who said on radio after a recent Swansea game that he “could not take (Bob Bradley) seriously” because of his New Jersey accent.

Then, this week, Italy manager Giampiero Ventura explained that he didn't consider 2015 MLS MVP and Toronto forward Sebastian Giovinco for inclusion in the Azzurri roster because "he plays in a league that doesn't count for much."

"And the number of goals he scores is less important because with the quality he has got, he is bound to make a difference in that league.”

Ventura obviously has neglected to note the plethora/multitude/legions of European stars who came to MLS and failed miserably – including a few that are here now.

Of course it doesn't help to argue for Bradley or Giovinco when U.S. national team coach Juergen Klinsmann picks players who play club ball in Norway or Switzerland – or are on rosters in England or Germany and don't play at all – over MLS types.

Gang of gone guys grows

The list of older, familiar names that have retired, quit or been cut added another to its ranks this week in Alvaro Saborio, who the Washington Post reported this week “parted ways” with their $535,00 per year, 34-year-old Costa Rican striker.

Saborio, who played for 5½ seasons for Salt Lake before making the cross-continental trip to Washington, scored 73 goals in 158 MLS games, but played only 94 minutes the last half of the season (with two goals) after the arrival of 24-year-old Patrick Mullins from NYC in midseason.

The Post didn't speculate what might happen to Saborio, whether another club would bring him in, but it's probably safe to say if they do it won't be at half a million dollars a season.

Saborio has been a fixture in MLS since 2010, and if he's seen his last game he'll join the likes of Brad Davis, Jack Jewsbury, Javier Morales and, even Tally Hall, who've said adios to the league.

Morales, who last week this column noted had tweeted his departure from Salt Lake but without saying where he was going, has said since that he doesn't want to retire and will consider his native Argentina, Mexico or another MLS club.

Lost faces, changing places?

And with the inevitable season-ending retirements come the inevitable season-ending trades and player movement. Multiple reports this week had coach Jeff Cassar staying in his job at Salt Lake for another year – supposedly, but with that came remarks that general manager Craig Waibel wants a younger RSL.

That sparked further rumors, speculation and reports that 37-year-old goalkeeper Nick Rimando may be on the move, including one that expansion side Atlanta was interested.

Also thrown into the “too old to stay” conversation was 34-year-old Kyle Beckerman, who's been in MLS since starting his career with the now-defunct Miami Fusion back in 2000.

Another DP bust? Add it to the list

The original idea behind the “designated player” was to supplement rosters with not only good players that could enhance a team's play but that had name recognition to boost the league's/team's profile to enhance revenue. It was dubbed the “Beckham Rule” because it was meant to give clubs the ability to attract the likes of, well, David Beckham.

Not all DPs – amazingly enough – have had the caliber of David Beckham, on either the playing or the recognition side. And while the effort to reward stalwart team regulars or returning U.S. national team players with the honor, some other choices are head scratching, to say the least.

Hamidi Salihi? Frank Rost? Kris Boyd? Mustapha Jarju?

And now comes word that the Red Bulls have seen the error of their ways with Omer Damari, who showed up in August on loan from sister club Red Bull Leipzig, played four games in the regular season, then promptly got himself thrown out of the first leg of the playoff series against Montreal.

Maybe he can replace Rafael Marquez as – at least according one website – the club's worst DP signing in history.

The Red Bulls, however, are keeping one of their other rather underwhelming DPs – Gonzalo Veron.

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