MLS News Atlanta United Frank de Boer Josef Martinez Joe Bendik Sigi Schmid

Welcome to the MLS Rundown. This is a twice-weekly column looking at the stories happening around Major League Soccer. We try to avoid reporting on the games themselves, especially because Daniel Garai does such a wonderful job of tactical analysis but if it’s rumours, transfers and disciplinaries you want, we’re the column for you.

IBRAHIMOVIC CRITICAL OF FIRST HALF DISPLAY

Even when he has a quiet game (Zlatan Ibrahimovic failed to register a shot on target or create a chance in LA Galaxy’s game against Atlanta United this weekend), the mercurial Swede still grabs the headlines. Harsh on Atlanta United’s defence particularly and their goalscorers but where Zlatan is concerned, there is always a narrative.

Following the loss to Gerardo Martino’s men, Zlatan was interviewed by Spectrum SportsNet sideline reporter Megan Reza after the match and he took aim at his teammates;

“No, no, no. We did too many simple mistakes. We watched the player instead of watch the ball. In the first half we were not organized. It was confusion in the game. [The] second [half] was much better but we chase, we chase and then we get one goal [scored] against us.”

MLSsoccer.com’s Charlie Davies has been quick to point the finger at the system, claiming that since both Ibrahimovic and Ola Kamara are used to playing as the focal point, they cannot co-exist in head coach Sigi Schmid’s 4-4-2 formation. He goes on to cite other top players who have struggled sharing forward space with Zlatan, including Edinson Cavani and his line about Lukaku drips with sensationalism;

“at Manchester United, just the mere presence of Zlatan was unsettling to Romelu Lukaku.”

Rundown would like to go back to what it said when the Swedish superman was signed by LA Galaxy, point and stand back in admiration for its foresight – Rundown can’t help but look a little further back into the past to see the model being Zlatan’s partnership with Edinson Cavani at PSG. Their efforts were based on Cavani starting out on the flank with instructions to cut inside when Zlatan picked up the ball in deep positions, then to remain central when Zlatan stayed deep.

There is an added note strapped to Rundown’s monitor about an appearance on something called ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ but as Rundown’s TV only features television adaptations of the work of Agatha Christie, you can look into that one yourself.

BRUCE ARENA HAS NO REGRETS

Seemingly doorstepped by TMZ, yes, really, former national team boss Bruce Arena commented on his failure to lead the United States to the 2018 World Cup.

“I don’t have any regrets. I’m disappointed, but I don’t have any regrets,”

Arena commented while being pursued by an irritation at a Los Angeles airport.

“I, my staff and the players gave everything we had and we fell short.”

Arena did add that he was positive about the national team’s future;

“I think we’re all disappointed we didn’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but I still believe there’s a good future for the sport in our country. There’s no reason to believe we won’t be playing in Qatar in 2022.”

While showing great restraint in the face of the annoying cameraman, he reserved a positive word for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic, referring to him as;

“a very good player with a great future.”

Rundown would like to make it clear that should it ever get stopped at an airport asking why it’s columns have fallen below expectations in recent times it will take itself similar levels of restraint not to shove the camera somewhere the sun doesn’t shine… even in LA.

DISCIPLINARY RUNDOWN

The MLS Disciplinary Committee is ordering some extra coffee after dishing out some fines and punishments over the past couple of weeks. As well they should after this little lot:

  • San Jose Earthquakes defender Harold Cummings has been suspended additional game (a total of two) and issued an undisclosed fine for violent conduct in injury time at the conclusion of San Jose’s fixture against Philadelphia Union on April 7th. He received a red card from the referee and missed subsequently missed both games against Houston Dynamo and Orlando City.
  • Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Felipe was found guilty of simulation/embellishment towards the end of Vancouver’s match against Los Angeles FC on April 13th. As a result, Felipe has been fined an undisclosed amount.
  • Similarly, the Disciplinary Committee found Houston Dynamo forward Alberth Elis guilty of simulation/embellishment in the 71st minute of Dynamo’s match against the San Jose Earthquakes on April 14th. Like Felipe, Elis has been issued an undisclosed fine.

Rundown is a fan of this system. It’s not so much the amount of fine which hurts, it’s the damage to the player’s reputation. If you are refereeing Elis’ next game and you know he’s prone to exaggeration, he might find it difficult to get sympathy. Just as an added note, check out Felipe’s clash with Carlos Vela on YouTube. The Mexican barely touches him and Felipe goes down like he’s been shot. It’s an art form but so spray painting tags and that’s not popular either.

COLYN SIGNS HOMEGROWN DEAL WITH ‘CAPS

Rundown loves to see a young lad signed a HomeGrown Player contract and the latest to do so with an MLS team is 16-year old attacking midfielder and Canadian youth international Simon Colyn as he pens a deal with Vancouver Whitecaps.

Colyn is a product of the club’s youth residency program and becomes the Whitecaps’ third Homegrown signing since the end of last season and 16th in their MLS history, following David Norman Jr. and Sean Melvin, Colyn has agreed to a multi-year contract with options through 2022. He’s the 15th-youngest player in league history to sign an MLS contract, and the sixth 2002-born prospect to do so.

“It’s great to have another local boy come through the system,”

said Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson in a club statement.

“Simon has done very well with the Residency program and showed no fear when he came into the first-team group in preseason. His work ethic and temperament are spot on and I see something in him that I don’t see in many young players. Simon has earned this opportunity, but this is the first step on the ladder. The hard work starts now.”

Young Colyn joined Whitecaps FC Residency programme in 2016 after appearing for Langley United YSA and Surrey United SC. From his position in midfield he scored 13 in 21 appearances for the WFC Residency U-17 and U-19 teams this year in US Soccer Development Academy competition and was invited to take part in preseason training with Vancouver’s first team in preparation for the 2018 MLS campaign.

“I want to thank all the Whitecaps staff, my coaches at Surrey United and Langley United, and of course my family for helping me get to this point,” A chuffed Colyn added. “This means a lot to me. I grew up watching the Whitecaps and now I’ve made my steps up the ladder with Residency. I know this is only the beginning and I’m very excited to get going and prove myself to the coaches.”

SWANSEA CITY TO TAKE OVER DC

Fair enough, that headline is misleading. Nobody is expecting Jordan Ayew, Sam Clucas or Kyle Naughton to rock up at DC United. Washington Post’s Steven Goff adds to reports that some of Jason Levien’s co-owners at Premier League club Swansea City could become part of a reformed D.C. United ownership group.

Back on April 12th, Rundown reported that Bloomberg had featured a story that had Patrick Soon-Shiong close to investing in D.C. United alongside Jason Levien as they sought to buy out the stake of primary shareholder Erick Thohir for $500 million.

The story further develops with Goff adding this week that Levien will be the publish face of the ownership group and Soon-Shiong’s involvement would dictate the number of partners. With Soon-Shiong, it’s two or three. Without, it’s three or four.

In a statement, a club spokesperson said:

“As we march towards the completion of Audi Field and providing what will be the most exciting experience in Major League Soccer, D.C. United have been evaluating different strategic opportunities to add to our ownership. As is our policy, we will not comment on any specific potential investment.”

Something Rundown has learned from this news item is that US Legend Landon Donovan is a member of Swansea City’s ownership consortium. What a strange world.

Thank you for reading the MLS Rundown, a twice-weekly column focused on news, rumours and transfers. If you would like to connect with the writer, please do so on twitter @CharlieTangoFM