By JUSTIN FERGUSON
With the international transfer window for MLS clubs now officially open, the Colorado Rapids are eyeing a move that would bring a young American forward back to the States for the rest of the 2013 season.
Rapids technical director Paul Bravo confirmed that MLS and Championship side Derby County were in negotiations over a loan deal for Conor Doyle, who has been training in Colorado during his offseason break.
Last week, Derby County manager Nigel Clough told reporters in England that the club was interested in a short-term loan to MLS for Doyle, but there were some obstacles to overcome before he could join the Rapids.
If Doyle is made available through the Weighted Lottery process, the Rapids would most likely be unable to participate after winning a similar lottery for Charles Eloundou in March. But if every other team declines to participate in a lottery for Doyle or if he is made available through a Waiver Draft, the Rapids would have a chance to secure the loan.
The 21-year-old California native signed with Derby County in 2010 but has been unable to break through into the first team, making only two appearances last season. Doyle signed a contract extension with the Rams last month and started training with Colorado in June.
Here are some more stories from around the league:
ALONSO SET TO RETURN FOR SOUNDERS
After learning that midfielder Andy Rose and backup goalkeeper Marcus Hahneman picked up injuries over the weekend, the Seattle Sounders got some good news in the injury department to kick off the week.
Osvaldo Alonso is expected to be back in full training for the Sounders on Tuesday and available for Saturday’s match against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Since Alonso went down with a quad strain last month, the Seattle Sounders have allowed multiple goals in three of their four matches without the Cuban central midfielder. Alonso started and went the distances in five straight wins for Seattle during May and early June.
In other injury news from Seattle, midfielder Alex Caskey will most likely need minor surgery on a troublesome ankle. Head coach Sigi Schmid expects the surgery to keep Caskey out for only a couple of weeks.
EARTHQUAKES SIGN ENGLISH VETERAN STEWART
In addition to Colorado, another Western Conference club is looking to improve early in this international transfer window.
On Tuesday, the Earthquakes announced the signing of Jordan Stewart, a 31-year-old English player that can play in defense or midfield.
“We’re very excited to add Jordan to our squad,” Earthquakes interim head coach Mark Watson told the team website. “He came and trained with us last year and did very well. He brings a lot of experience at the highest level of soccer and he will be an excellent addition the club.”
Stewart, a left-sided player, has experience with several clubs in the English Premier League. After starting his career at Leicester City, Stewart was a regular first-team player in Watford’s 2005-06 promotion campaign and later stint in the EPL. After leaving Watford in 2008, Stewart has been a journeyman in England’s lower divisions, with the exception of a short stint in Greece.
FORMER CREW DEFENDER FRANCIS TO JOIN THE FIRE
After a short stint with the Charlotte Eagles of USL Pro, Jamaican fullback Shaun Francis appears to be on his way back to MLS.
On Monday, Chicago midfielder congratulated his former Columbus Crew teammate on Twitter on becoming a member of the Fire.
— Dilly Duka (@D_Duka_8) July 8, 2013
Francis thanked Duka and later tweeted this message out to his followers:
Thanks for the support and excited to be apart of this great club @ChicagoFire . Looking forward to every moment!
— Shaun Francis (@rivi29) July 8, 2013
The Fire have not officially confirmed a move for Francis as of Tuesday afternoon. Francis was a fourth round 2010 SuperDraft pick for Columbus, and he spent two-and-a-half seasons with the club. After being waived in June 2012, Francis trialed with Philadelphia before signing with Charlotte in March.
What do you think of these developments? Excited to see a young American player like Doyle potentially returning to the States for a loan spell? What kind of effect do you think Alonso’s return will have on the Sounders?
Share your thoughts below.