Timbers muy cerca de cerrar la continuidad de su icónico capitán

Por: John Rojas – @jrojasa75

Crédito: Portland Timbers

El regalo de Navidad para los aficionados de Portland Timbers podría llegar con un par de semanas de anticipación. La estadía de Diego Valeri podría finalmente sellarse entre el pasar del Día de Acción de Gracias y la mitad de diciembre.

Fuentes cercanas a la situación se mostraron optimistas con los avances en las conversaciones para que el histórico capitán de Timbers se mantenga en el equipo. Llegando incluso a calificar con 7 de 10 las chances de que el acuerdo se firme prontamente.

“Pero no un 7 de uno a 10 cualquiera. Si hubiésemos hablado un par de semanas atrás perfectamente podría ser un 5 nada más. La tendencia es en ascenso exponencial”, soltó una de las fuentes consultadas al respecto.

Y aunque algunos reportes indicaron esta semana que la partida de Brian Fernández favoreció las negociaciones con Valeri por el tema de la distribución de recursos, los entendidos aseguraron rotundamente que no tuvo que ver una cosa con la otra.

Las fuentes consultadas indicaron independientemente que las conversaciones fueron generándose sus propios ritmos y espacios porque tanto el argentino quiere quedarse en Portland y el club pretende que su ídolo no se marche.

“Si hay algún nombre que habría que destacar en este tema es el de Gio”, fue el comentario apuntando a las influencias en el proceso y refiriéndose al técnico venezolano Giovanni Savarese.

Desde su época en New York Cosmos, Savarese ha sido conocido por su buen manejo de grupo y las cercanas relaciones con los futbolistas. Entre otras cosas porque en ese equipo (entonces participando en la desaparecida NASL) el venezolano era entrenador y director deportivo.

“Savarese es un técnico preocupado por el jugador como persona”, han descrito en diferentes momentos de su carrera personas allegadas, dirigidos y compañeros del hoy entrenador de Portland.

Quienes siguen de cerca el fútbol de MLS recordarán que Savarese fue ídolo de MetroStars y fue parte de New York Red Bulls una vez retirado de la competencia. Para muchos analistas, el trato recibido a su estatus de ícono en la organización de Nueva York no fue el adecuado, y habría reforzado su filosofía de proteger a la persona junto al futbolista.

Alguno de los consultados sobre el tema Valeri incluso estuvo de acuerdo en que Savarese hace todo lo posible para que el argentino no se vaya de Portland sintiéndose mal tratado, sino que consolide su leyenda. En pocas palabras, “No quiere que le pase lo que le pasó a él”.

Como todo en los negocios del fútbol, hasta no tener la documentación firmada no hay manera de certificar que un acuerdo es definitivo. Y los consultados se permiten esa ventana para la sorpresa.

Pero están todos de acuerdo: a estas alturas, sería una sorpresa si no se firma todo entre Acción de Gracias y las primeras semanas de diciembre.

Dato final: Hasta hace pocos días, Diego Valeri aún estaba en Portland y no había partido de vacaciones fuera de la que es de todos conocidos es ya, ¡su ciudad!

En medio de MLS 3.0, 2020 responderá a una cuestión: ¿maestros o no maestros?

 

 

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Por: John Rojas – @jrojasa75

La temporada ‘muerta’ de MLS entre el 2019 y 2020 será una de grandes decisiones en estilo, formas y protagonistas para casi diez de los 24 equipos que compitieron este año por terminar, y a los que se unirán Nashville e Inter Miami CF.

Los ‘dolores de cabeza’ serán para aquellos equipos que han mostrado durante algunas temporadas ya querer jugar con un ‘armador’, talentoso mediocampista que controle tempos y formas no solo en el ataque, sino en la defensa con la pelota. Esos que se inclinaron por contar en sus filas con un ‘maestro’.

Este es el estado actual de la mayoría de los clubes de MLS en ese departamento. La lista desciende de la situación más complicada a la ya resuelta.

DC UNITED – Se sabía desde casi terminar la temporada regular de 2019. El argentino Luciano Acosta no estará más con el equipo de la capital del país. Su imagen, su fútbol y su talento fue parte de la ‘filosofía’ de DCU hasta que la relación se rompió a mediados del año que termina.

COLUMBUS CREW – Si un ‘maestro’ fue cara, forma y fondo del fútbol en un equipo de MLS, ese fue Federico Higuaín y Crew SC. El argentino ya no es más parte del club y Caleb Porter tiene la tarea de llenar el espacio o decidir cambiar las formas.

MONTREAL IMPACT – La cara dentro y fuera del terreno de juego, ‘maestro’ del azul y negro canadiense. Su líder desde la llegada tras ser campeón de Copa Libertadores. Nacho Piatti dejará un hueco notorio en Impact Montreal si el club no consigue su renovación. Las negociaciones avanzan y ninguna decisión debería sorprender.

PORTLAND TIMBERS – El hecho de que el futuro de Diego Valeri con Timbers esté en el limbo, tiene un paliativo. Sebastián Blanco está firme con Portland. Pero el número ocho es la cara de caras, el ídolo, el ‘maestro’, el ‘timonel’ y quien debería para muchos (incluido quién escribe) retirarse vistiendo la camiseta de Portland Timbers y cementar su leyenda.

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CHICAGO FIRE – La llegada de Nico Gaitán en 2019 le dio otra dimensión a un equipo con muchos líos. Pero su contrato a una temporada, con opción del club para 2020 lo deja actualmente fuera del plantel y negociando la posibilidad o no de continuar. El Fire tiene muchos más asuntos por resolver por su puesto. Y en esa montaña, Gaitán es solo uno más.

EARTHQUAKES – Cristian Espinoza se quiere quedar, San Jose quiere retener al argentino. Es cuestión de dejar pasar el tiempo y ver cómo terminan las negociaciones con el Villareal español, dueño de su carta. 

ATLANTA UNITED  – La situación más volátil de todas quizás porque tanto Ezequiel Barco como Gonzalo ‘Pity’ Martínez tienen contrato y son jugadores de alto valor dentro y fuera del terreno para Atlanta United. Pero para nadie es secreto que ante una buena oferta, ambos jugadores y muy seguramente el club (especialmente el técnico) darían carta blanca a su salida.

RBNY – Lo primero que tiene que decidir el equipo ‘torero’ es si necesita o no un jugador de calidad, de pases filtrados y de manejo de tiempos. En ocasiones parece que contar en sus filas con Alejandro ‘Kaku’ Romero Gamarra fuera considerado un lujo, que se utiliza unas veces sí y otras no. El argentino tiene contrato, pero es de todos conocido que sin sentirse pieza fundamental del club y angular en el fútbol, las intensiones se inclinarían a buscar salida.

MNUFC – Si bien no es estrictamente un ‘armador’, el colombiano Carlos Darwin Quintero si fue el ‘Maestro’ para Minnesota. El club decidió prescindir de los servicios del ‘Científico’ y ahora deberá seguir su camino hacia fortalecer una identidad de fútbol que se aleja cada vez más del contar con un talentoso que lleve las ‘manijas’.

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CINCINNATI FC – Al parecer su aporte de USL a MLS no fue lo suficientemente contundente y por ello Emmanuel Ledesma no es trascendental en los planes del equipo para 2020. Se adelantan negociaciones pero es incierto si habrá o no renovación.

El resto de los planteles tienen el tema solucionado. Bien porque sus ‘maestros’ están comprometidos y asegurados con la causa, o simplemente porque no es de su estilo contar con un jugador de este tipo.

Los más resueltos: New England con Carles Gil; NYCFC con Maxi Moralez; Sounders FC con Nico Lodeiro y Toronto FC con Alejandro Pozuelo.

Les sigue LAFC que muy seguramente regresará intacto en sus formas y fondos, aún si partieran hombres como Diego Rossi o Eduard Atuesta; y LA Galaxy que tendrá en 2020 a un Cristian Pavón ya adaptado y quizá mejor rodeado en términos de repartición de esfuerzos.

Para cerrar el listado hay que decir que Houston Dynamo se hizo a los servicios de Darwin Quintero; Vancouver mantiene al peruano Yordy Reyna; Sporting Kansas City muy seguramente pasará el estilo por Benny Feilhaber y Felipe Gutierrez; mientras que FC Dallas seguirá apostando por los jóvenes. 2020 deberá será año de solidificación para Paxton Pomykal y Jesús Ferreira.

Podcast: 2019 x 31 | Seattle Sounders vs Toronto FC Parte III

El trofeo de la MLS Cup contra el ‘skyline’ de Seattle. (Crédito: MLS / Seattle Sounders FC)

Llegó la hora de verdad con la revancha de revanchas entre Seattle y Toronto. Analizamos a los finalistas y lo que fue su temporada. Un poco de NWSL, USL y los traspasos en la liga.

El capítulo puede escucharse de manera íntegra aquí.   

Como siempre, el programa también está disponible en iTunesStitcherGoogle Play y Spotify.

Gone or not from NYCFC, Dome Torrent was clear and direct

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By: John Rojas – @jrojasa75

He hinted after the last game of the season, Dome Torren may not be NYCFC’s coach in 2020. Before that day, he drops here and there some frustrations with MLS schedule, trips, and some of his club situations.

But it was on October 16th when he decided to put together all his deep feelings during a long and complicated season. He did it speaking in Spanish with the podcast SE LLAMA SOCCER  ( @sellamasoccer ) in an interview conducted the day before a friendly game with Chicago Fire, in the middle of a recess and before the Conference Semifinal that NYCFC ended up loosing with Toronto FC.

Those words became again relevant when the rumor of his exit from New York City FC was again strong on the days before of the MLS Cup Final.

Here is a translation of that conversation (you can here the original chat in Spanish here: ( https://us.ivoox.com/es/1×39-se-vienen-playoffs-dome-torrent-audios-mp3_rf_43199894_1.html?autoplay=true ) in the same order of topics that the hosts conducted and divided by topics headlined by the initial question each time.

ON BREAK BETWEEN REGULAR SEASON AND CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS

“I’m trying to see how I can digest this because it is not easy. To stop when the team is playing in great form and have to wait 18 days to start the competition again.

You find here some things that are very different. The competition stops for 18 days, you can’t train with a full squad. I gave seven players out because of the International Break. But I’m trying to convince my players that there should be no excuses.

The other element is that most likely we won’t play on our Stadium. As you know, it’s a baseball stadium. We don’t have our own stadium, we share the baseball stadium with the Yankees and they are playing their Playoffs. It’s always an issue after another. But it is what it is. 

This is the way that we should compete this Playoffs and there should be no excuses. We are preparing to play out of our stadium, after 18 days of break and preparing with seven absent players. But we will see and try to see if we are able to win the first game. Because being a one-off game it’s even more complicated. Because, if someone makes a mistake or the referee makes a mistake, you are out of the competition”

A POSITIVE SIDE OF THE BREAK GETTING PLAYERS BACK FROM INJURY 

“The real advantage is that you don’t play the first game (of Playoffs), that is the positive side of this. The other one, as you mention, is that if you have injured players you have extra time to recover. But once again, we have seven players traveling or about to play one more game with their National Teams. Right now we are only 14. It’s complicated, some of them have 7 or 8 hours flights, they come with tire legs, Jet-lag.

So imagine if we didn’t finish first. We would have to play on the 19th (October), many of the absent players will get here the 17th or 18th, with a game on the 19th. These are things that I don’t understand. I really can’t understand it. Maybe I’m too conventional but I haven’t been able to understand it. 

If we would have to play on the 19th, seven important players wouldn’t be available or would have to play right after a 7 or 8-hour flight. But that is the way the MLS is, with its good things and the not so good things.

ON PLAYING AT CITI FIELD AND FIELD DIMENSIONS 

“No, no that it’s another baseball stadium. Sometimes it makes me laugh when I think about this, seriously. 

We can’t train in this stadium that we will play in. It’s another baseball stadium that I don’t even know how it is. We will see it the day before, I have been told that the measurements are very similar to the ones at Yankee Stadium. So we won’t miss that. 

But everything else is different. It is what it is because the team doesn’t have its own stadium. The stadium is a Yankees’ property and they have priority. Despite all this, we will try to compete and get to the final if it is possible. But everybody should be aware that everything right now issues”. 

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AFTER A COMMENT THAT ANDONI IRAOLA MADE ON YS DIAGONAL SETTING AND HAVING A HARD TIME ADJUSTING VISUALLY.

“It’s right, it’s right. I share that sentiment completely. Not only because of the dimensions of the field ( in Yankee Stadium ) but on top of that It is estranged because of the diagonal set up. Your eyes will get used to it little by little, but it is hard to understand all this. Even for the spectators ( chuckling ) is not easy because the filed is diagonal and very far from the stands.

We may have a little bit of advantage in that because playing here every other week or so, you may get used to it. But even with that is not easy. Visually it’s a different story. When you cross the ball is hard because you don’t even know where the lines are. Playing here as a home team gives us a bit of advantage because you may sense where the lines are. But I agree it is not easy”.

ON DAVID VILLA’S REPLACEMENT AND A FEW PLAYERS PICKING UP THE GOALS 

“To replace David is basically impossible. That is why I said during the preseason that replacing David would take an effort from the whole team. It’s very hard to sign a player like him who give you the performance that he gave to New York.

When you can’t – financially or for many other reasons – to sign a player to replace him, you have to look for four or five players that together can help with that amount of goals or a bit more.

I chose Taty because I knew that he would be able to have this leap. His leap has been incredible. And after watching a lot of tape and games, pointed at Mitrita and Heber.

We started the season without a proper number 9. You have to know that Heber was our 9th option. When I chose Heber he was the 9th option. This means that the club couldn’t sign the first option or the second, for many reasons, sometimes financial reasons, some times because said player in the last part of the process decided to stay where he was. 

But the fact here is that Heber was the 9th option and then when I said this is the player, we took 50 days to sign him, we took too long to do it. So we started without a proper number 9, the team played well but we lack power. We played better than the opposition, but at the end, we tie and tie.

The people have to know that from 24 teams we are in the middle of the table in terms of salary budget. New York City impacts because of the name of the city but looking at the league it is comparable to Espanyol Barcelona. 

Because of 20 teams in La Liga, Espanyol Barcelona is the 10th on players’ budget and in NYCFC we are the 12th between 24. This is something that many people don’t know and maybe because of this we couldn’t sign the exact player that would replace David Villa like for like because that wouldn’t fit in the budget”.

ON IF HAVING A DIFFERENT NUMBER 9 WOULD MAKE THE SEASON DIFFERENT FOR NYCFC 

“I have no doubt, I have no doubt. Again, the first six games we tied five and lost one. But for example, we played against LAFC, the team that won the Regular Season. And we played better even though we ended up tying the game. So I have no doubt that having from the beginning a player like Heber, we would be talking about the chance of winning the Supporters Shield. I’m convinced of that”. 

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ON KEATON PARKS GROW 

I agree with that. The thing that he changed the most is that at the beginning he would focus only when he had the ball. This is very American because American players go forward and forward without even thinking. 

After the first game he played 20 minutes, I showed him how I asked him to play as a second central midfielder and how he would end up every play in the box. I showed him how his work in that position was different. 

You could see that he was a kid ready to learn and ready to work on training, with qualities that he already had and I think we helped him to understand tactically the difference of playing with and without the ball. His leap has been something similar to the one Taty did”.

ON MEDINA’S SEASON

“It’s complicated because now we have a lot of competition. Sometimes we played even with five attacking players. The thing is that players like Keaton and Taty didn’t give up a second in training, they reveal against the situation that put them behind. I always told them that they should never give up and that they should show in every training that they are ready. Medina started the first seven games and it was a coincidence that Heber came, we started to win games and Jesus couldn’t make the 11 when we won. When those kinds of things happens you could reveal or fall a bit and that is the big difference between Keaton, Taty, and Jesus”

ON SANDS 

“We had him last year training and I saw a lot of qualities on him, (he is) very bright, who understand very quick the tactical instructions of his position and who can play either in front of the defense or as a center back in a line of three with a really good first pass. 

But his ability to understand different systems and read the game makes him ready to play even in Europe. I have no doubt. It’s a shame that he broke his arm and when he came back he broke his collar bone. 

For me he is one of the big promises of football in the United States, I have no doubt. He is ready to play in Europe, maybe not in one of the top but in any other team in Europe”.

ON MATIAS ALMEYDA STAYING WITH SJ

“It’s great news for the League because he is a great coach. The only thing that the press talked about was the marking man to man, but no one talked about the other great things they did. I think that in the last part of the season they were hit with some wrong calls. Mistakes from the referee that can happen, but impacted their results lately. If they had had some luck with that I have no doubt that they will be laying the Playoffs. 

I believe that the best team playing against us in our stadium was San Jose”

ON WHAT MLS NEEDS TO BE BETTER 

“Nobody can ignore that MLS is growing a lot and it is a fact. But there are three things that can make it better. 

One is the schedule, we played this year three games in seven days four times. It’s impossible to play at a high level like that. 

The other is the long trips. In NBA when you fly to the other Coast you play three or four games there. But here (MLS) you travel for so long to play one game, come back and flight again. 

And the other thing would be to respect the International Breaks. If they respect that, as the rest of the world does, they use more charters and with more normal scheduling, I think the league would be a lot better”. 

ON CONCAHAMPIONS IN 202 AND MAYBE AN NYCFC’S APPROACH PLAYING WITH MORE YOUNGSTERS IN MLS 

“It all depends. If I’m here or not. If I’m here I will try to give more time to academy players. I have to go to Manchester as any other year. Depending on who is in charge, the approach will change. I trust in the quality of the youngsters and I don’t focus on age. If I’m here, we will try to develop more players”.

ON STAYING IN 2020 

“I understand that if the team doesn’t win that game against DCUnited in the middle of the season, I wouldn’t be here. It happens to any coach in any team. 

You have contracts, but if the club doesn’t like you or you don’t like things, the perceptions of both sides are important to take a decision. 

For me is the same to have a contract for five years. At the end of the year we will sit down and if they offer me to stay I will have to see. And if they don’t like what we are doing, they could just tell me and take decisions even with the contract in place”.

ON VAN BRONCKHORTS RUMORS 

“I thought that he would come in April when things weren’t good here. It is a possibility, he is a coach with credentials. It is normal. I don’t know why that is coming up now when we are playing Playoffs, but it’s normal. Even though the rumor came out of Manchester. He is and would be a good option for the club”.

Podcast: 2019 x 30 | Un asunto de gigantes

LAFC, Seattle Sounders, Atlanta United y Toronto FC, finalistas de conferencia en MLS. (Crédito: Major League Soccer)

Analizamos lo ocurrido en las semifinales de Conferencia en un podcast extendido. Tres recientes campeones y el ganador del Supporters’ Shield definirán lo que será la MLS Cup. También hablamos de noticias recientes en la liga, los playoffs de USL, la final de la NWSL.

El capítulo puede escucharse de manera íntegra aquí.  

Como siempre, el programa también está disponible en iTunesStitcherGoogle Play y Spotify.

Capítulos previos:

#28: “Las llaves de playoffs y las despedidas de los eliminados”.

#29: “Playoffs explosivos (primera ronda)”.