And I’m back! Hopefully you all missed me so much while I took my time across the pond to refresh and watch some Europa league. But if you didn't even notice, that’s OK too, it happens. I’ll forgive you.
In the meantime, today we’ve got some serious heat from all directions being thrown at the U.S. Soccer Federation and the MLS off-season is hitting full steam, so here we go.
LAFC Selects Five in MLS Expansion Draft; Trades for Laurent Ciman
Yesterday marked the MLS Expansion Draft, which saw LAFC continue to build its new roster with five selections from an unprotected pool of MLS players. Luckily for Orlando City, Pierre Da Silva was not one of those players taken and LAFC went without drafting a Lion.
Jukka Raitala and Raheem Edwards weren’t SoCal residents for very long, as they were shipped out to the Montreal Impact for center back Laurent Ciman.
Overall, this would be a very good start to an expansion back line along with the earlier trade for FC Dallas’ Walker Zimmerman. Knowing Carlos Vela is already there has LAFC management looking shrewd in its first collection of moves. Add in this rumor involving Sacha Kljestan, and things could get real interesting in a wide open Western Conference.
MLS Waiver Draft Set for Today
In the next phase of the off-season, today features the MLS Waiver Draft at 3:30 p.m. ET. You’ll find three Orlando City players eligible: Hadji Barry, Devron Garcia, and Antonio Nocerino.
As an FYI — the Waiver Draft consists of players who are not eligible for Re-Entry or Free Agency, and either A) are out of contract and have not been issued a genuine offer or B) have not had their 2018 options exercised.
While there’s typically not a ton of action during the MLS Waiver Draft, you never know what can happen. Check back to The Mane Land’s Twitter for updates throughout the day.
USSF Presidential Nominee Begins Official Assault on Election Process
It hasn't been a secret from many of the candidates that the U.S. Soccer presidential election process has been mired with changes and a lack of transparency. It was a question in the GotSoccer Candidate Forum, and it reared its ugly head again as nominee Steve Gans wrote an official letter to U.S. Soccer calling out a number of complaints and how USSF should hire an independent firm to finish the process.
SI: US Soccer presidential candidate Steve Gans says US Soccer “is not conducting its presidential election process in a fair, open manner,” calls on federation to bring in independent management to oversee final two months of process https://t.co/xy4O77E6uB— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) December 12, 2017
While we cant be 100% sure on what is going on — shocking from the USSF, I know — when many of the candidates have complained about the process, there has to be some truth to the allegations set forth. At this point, all we can hope for is one of the new outsider candidates to reform this process if elected.
Ant Continues to Pull from OCB
Anthony Pulis again has searched out an OCB player to add to his new team, Saint Louis FC. This time it’s midfielder Austin Martz who will join Ant. Martz joined the USL Lions in 2017 and played 30 matches, earning two goals over the season.
Ant’s thoughts on Martz:
“Austin is someone I know very well from my time at Orlando City B, He is extremely explosive and a quick threat on offense that should trouble defenders. He is also a great guy with a working attitude that should fit in nicely with the squad we are building.”
With the uncertainty of OCB, combined with the aptitude of Pulis, I can’t help but think this is a loss should the USL side return.
Is There a Solution for U.S. Soccer?
SB Nation’s Kevin McCauley surmises that the U.S. Soccer Federation doesn't have an answer for what ails them. While many candidates have some idea that there is no “right” answer, and we all may be screwed if it wasn’t for players like Rose Lavelle and Weston McKennie.
While I can’t disagree more, this article does bring to light the current landscape, its issues, and what is a very convoluted system of reforms that are needed.
- Huddersfield United’s Danny Williams shot out at Bruce Arena and MLS for the recent selections into the USMNT. Arena responded. I couldn't be more on Williams’ side here.
- A U.S. Men’s National Team member sits at No. 100 of FourFourTwo’s top 2017 Men’s Players.
- ICYMI, The 93rd Minute broke down all the USMNT’s competitive results since 1990.
And I’ll leave you with Orlando City taking on Cirque du Soleil in an effort to distract us all from the 2017 season.