By DAN KARELL
Brek Shea will be returning to Dallas, Texas this summer for the first time since his January move to England. Only this time, he’ll be in the opposition’s shirt.
Shea’s club Stoke City announced this week that they will have a ten-day pre-season tour in the U.S., including a match against FC Dallas. But the Major League Soccer club and the English Premier League club confirmed the friendly match on Thursday, giving Shea and fellow U.S. international’s Geoff Cameron and Maurice Edu an opportunity to play against familiar opposition.
“If there is one market right now where we can develop our own profile, then it has to be America due to the presence of three US internationals in our squad,” Stoke City chief executive Tony Scholes told the club’s website. “The transfer of Shea subsequently presented an opportunity for us to play a match against his former club which is where we will be heading as part of this tour.”
The English club will be arriving in the U.S. on July 22, with the match against FC Dallas to occur on July 27. Stoke also spent last season training in the U.S., playing matches against Sporting Kansas City, the Columbus Crew, and USL Pro side Orlando City.
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ARGENTINOS JUNIORS CONFIRM LABA DEPARTURE
Though the club have yet to officially confirm it, it looks more and more likely that Toronto FC have completed a big transfer of a former Argentina U-20 midfielder.
Argentine club Argentinos Juniors announced on their website on Wednesday night that they had agreed for the transfer of Matias Laba with TFC and that the 21-year-old would be on his way to Canada to complete his new contract with MLS.
“We are always looking to improve the squad and Laba is an incredible player,” Toronto manager Ryan Nelsen told MLSSoccer.com. “So if he joins the Toronto squad, I will be more than happy.”
Laba played for Juniors last Monday, getting sent off in the 45th minute of a 1-0 loss to Tigre. In the summer of 2011, the Villa Raffo native featured for the Argentine squad in five matches at the U-20 World Cup in Columbia, as well as playing with the Argentina U-22 squad at the Pan American Games in October of 2011.
FIRE DEFENDER THOMPSON FINED AND SUSPENDED
The MLS Disciplinary Committee announced on Thursday that Chicago Fire defender Wells Thompson has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended one match for a “reckless challenge that endangered the safety of his opponent.”
Thompson was given a yellow card in the 12th minute of last Saturday’s match against Columbus. The Wake Forest product was late in a challenge against Crew midfielder Agustin Viana, sending Viana off his feet with a slide tackle.
Thompson will serve the suspension this Sunday when the Fire visit the Montreal Impact.
SPORTING SELL OUT ALL SEASON TICKETS
In a remarkable achievement for the league and the club, Sporting Kansas City announced on Wednesday that they had sold the remaining season tickets for this year, filling up the allotment of 14,000 seats.
Considering that Sporting Park only holds 18,467 seats total, that means the club have managed to sell just under 76 percent of their seats to just season ticket holders. Coming into Saturday’s against Portland, Sporting have sold out their previous 19 games.
This summer, Sporting Park will host the 2013 MLS All Star Game, as well as a key World Cup qualifying match this fall against Jamaica.
What do you make of these reports? Excited to see Brek Shea play in Dallas? Do you believe Laba can be a difference maker for TFC? Do you agree with Thompson’s suspension?
Share your thoughts below.