MLS STARS GET CALL UP FOR RUSSIA

With preliminary World Cup squads being announced by the day, here are a list of MLS players in with a chance of representing their respective nations in Russia from preliminary squads so far named:

Houston Dynamo: Adolfo Machado – Panama
Los Angeles FC: Steven Beitashour – Iran, Omar Gaber – Egypt, Carlos Vela – Mexico
LA Galaxy: Giovani & Jonathan dos Santos – Mexico
New York Red Bulls: Fidel Escobar & Michael Murillo – Panama
Orlando City: Amro Tarek – Egypt
San Jose Earthquakes: Harold Cummings & Anibal Godoy – Panama
Seattle Sounders: Roman Torres – Panama

If you’re in the USA, FOX Sports (38 games) and FS1 (26) have you covered in English-language, Telemundo (56 games) and NBC Universo (8) will carry Spanish-language coverage.

In Canada, head to Bell Media’s TSN and CTV networks for English-language coverage.

Here in the UK, BBC and ITV will feature all the games on terrestrial television.

ZARDES WILL WIN THE GOLDEN BOOT

Rundown is making the proclamation right now, Gyasi Zardes will win the MLS Golden Boot. Even Rundown was sceptical despite support from Danny Lewis (@DannyLewis_95 on twitter) at the start of the season but after watching Columbus Crew play this season, Rundown has hopped on board.

After the Crew’s 3 – 0 win over Chicago Fire, Zardes now has eight in just 12 games, passing the likes of Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron and Bradley Wright-Phillips to become the leader of the Golden Boot race. Zardes’ success comes as no surprise to his teammates. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen spoke to the media and declared that the striker’s shots in training are “impossible to save,” and praised Zardes’ work rate.

“He has a killer finish, and he’s a hard worker,” Steffen said. “He never wants to stop, and he’s always down to do extra shooting or extra crossing. He always wants to get better.”

Gyasi Zardes is the cock of the walk, the big man on campus. He’s Columbus Crew’s most high-profile player by far and he hasn’t shirked the expectation, in fact, he has embraced the responsibility and put in performances worthy of being a marquee name.

One thing to add, Columbus Crew have now recorded three clean sheets in a row. Very impressive from Gregg Berhalter’s side.

GARDE POURS SCORN ON TORRES RUMOURS

You may think that Fernando Torres to Montreal Impact made a degree of sense but now so, according to Remi Garde. The Frenchman is a very measured and calm individual, you often feel that he’s thought about his answers for a long while before making a response on record.

The Montreal Impact head coach has been asked several times about the veteran Atletico Madrid striker, who was linked with both Impact and Chicago Fire in April. ESPN now has added Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City to that list.

“Fernando Torres is a very good player, but he isn’t in the Impact’s objectives,” said Garde last month on record. “He isn’t a part of our current plans.”

When asked again this week, Garde told journalists to dismiss the notion.

“You really need to forget about him, sincerely,” added Garde.

JON BUSCH TO RETIRE

The veteran MLS goalkeeper, who started his MLS career in 2002, will sign a one-day contract to officially retire as a member of the Columbus Crew. The team recognised Jon Busch at half time of Crew’s game against Chicago Fire.

Busch first played for Columbus from 2002-06, winning the 2002 U.S. Open Cup and the 2004 Supporters’ Shield, and making 84 MLS regular season appearances and seven MLS Cup Playoffs appearances for the side. Following his stint in Columbus, Busch played for Chicago Fire (2007-09, 2015) and the San Jose Earthquakes (2010-14). In 2008, he was named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, and was named to the MLS Best XI that season. In 2012, he won a second Supporters’ Shield with the Earthquakes. In total, Busch made 309 MLS regular season appearances in his career, in addition to 18 MLS Cup Playoffs appearances in his career. In addition, he earned one cap with the US national team, in 2005.

After leaving Chicago Fire following the 2015 season, Busch played two seasons for Indy Eleven, then in NASL, and went to the title game with that same side in 2016.

“I am deeply honoured to have this opportunity to retire as a Crew SC player,” said Jon Busch in a club statement. “I have played for three fantastic clubs, but Columbus has always been our home. So, it is only fitting that my career ends where it began.”

DISCIPLINARY FINES LAFC STRIKER

Diego Rossi is the latest player to receive a fine from the MLS Disciplinary Committee after they found him guilty of simulation/embellishment. The incident took place during LAFC’s game against Minnesota United on May 9th.

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