Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
The final six weeks of the season could represent the last stretch run of Marco Di Vaio’s career.
The 37-year-old All-Star for the Montreal Impact is reportedly considering retirement following the conclusion of the 2013 Major League Soccer season, due to family concerns. Di Vaio admitted on Wednesday that his wife and children have moved back to Italy, which is impacting his future at the club. Italian media are also claiming that he could take a job as an executive at former club Bologna for next season.
“Maybe [I’ll retire], because it hasn’t been easy for me,” Di Vaio told MLSSoccer.com. “I decided to come here with my family, and my family’s not in Montreal anymore. It changes things a lot. Of course, if my family were here with me right now, I’d keep going one more year. But now, it’s a family situation. I have two little children, and they need their dad.”
Earlier this season, Di Vaio missed the Impact’s match against FC Dallas due to a family issue, returning to Italy for a short period in July.
Despite his age, Di Vaio has had a renaissance this season, leading all of MLS with 17 goals scored in 25 games. Last season, the Italian striker could only score five goals in 17 games played after joining the league in July.
Here are some more stories to catch up on around the league:
The Fire on Wednesday missed an opportunity to put themselves into playoff contention, drawing with Toronto FC, 1-1.
Fire head coach Frank Klopas has criticized his side’s inability to score a second goal and put teams away, as it seems that Mike Magee is the only consistant goal scorer on the roster, and other teams gameplan for him, limiting his space.
“You got to get the second goal in this league – it’s crucial,” Klopas said to the Chicago Fire. “That is what we talk about all the time. I think in Seattle we didn’t have very many chances in the second half. I think tonight we had a couple we just got to find a way to get that second goal because then you can put teams away. I think we do create chances but we got to find a way to get that second goal and just limit our mistakes late.”
After serving his two-match red card suspension, the Crew were expecting designated player Federico Higuain to return to their lineup last Saturday. Unfortunately for the Argentine, he suffered an adductor injury during practice late in the week, and had to miss the match.
This week he’s still working his way back, and according to the Columbus Dispatch, was seen doing sprints and running laps at the Crew’s practice facility in Obetz, Ohio. The Crew visit the Montreal Impact on Saturday for their next match.
“It’s still going to be day-to-day, but it was good to see him moving rather than just being on the (training) table,” Crew head coach Brian Bliss told the Dispatch. “I’ll take that as a positive, but we also don’t want to feel we’ve got to rush him out on the field and set him back three weeks.”
On Thursday, D.C. United announced that they’ll be working with the District of Columbia to help promote a new insurance exchange, part of the Affordable Care Act that goes into effect on January 1.
The D.C. insurance exchange will sponsor D.C. United matches this fall, starting with one on October 4 against the Chicago Fire. The promotions will include inside and outside of the stadium messages, and will encourage many of the young adult fans to participate and sign up for health insurance.
One of the major factors in the Dynamo’s winless streak has been the lack of scoring from forward Will Bruin.
Bruin has failed to finish a number of chances in the side’s past four games, both at home and away, as they most recently slumped to a 4-1 defeat at BBVA Compass Stadium. Despite the defeats and struggles in front of goal, both the team and Bruin himself have confidence he’ll pull himself out of the scoring funk.
“Sometimes you’re not going to score and you have to be able to take the brunt of it,” Bruin told MLSSoccer.com. “That’s something that I’ve got to be mentally stronger. Since I’ve been here, [goals] have come in bundles and they don’t come in bundles. That’s the life of a forward.
“I want to be the guy that gets the goal at the end of the game. It’s part of the job and is what it is. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
Juan Agudelo has been one of the most dynamic players in MLS this season, but he’s been plagued all year by recurring injuries.
Early in the season with Chivas USA, Agudelo helped the club to first place before going down with the first of many hamstring and other leg ailments, watching as the club fell down the table before being traded to the Revolution. Since joining the Revs, the team has looked much better in attack and scored more goals, but only when he’s on the field.
According to head coach Jay Heaps, Agudelo’s latest injury worry is nearly gone, as Heaps had Agudelo in full training on Thursday and said he’s nearly ready to play on Saturday against the Chicago Fire.
NEW YORK RED BULLS
Heading into the final six weeks of the season, the Red Bulls are still battling through some key injuries, especially ones to Tim Cahill and Roy Miller.
Both Cahill and Miller have been ruled out for the Red Bulls match on Saturday against Toronto FC at Red Bull Arena, which might be the best opponent to give some of the reserve players and other budding stars some more game time. Ibrahim Sekagya is eligible for selection, while Brandon Barklage is day to day with his gluteus muscle injury.
Still in playoff contention, the Union this weekend face a direct rival to their fourth-place position in the Eastern Conference standings: The Houston Dynamo.
In his weekly press conference, Union head coach John Hackworth stated that there’s likely to be a number of changes up top and in midfield as Hackworth looks for a player or two to step up and earn a crucial victory.
“I think the pressure is now on, I would call it our front five — our two strikers and then our three, much more attacking-minded and positionally midfielders,” Hackworth said via the Delaware County Daily Times. “And Keon is one of those guys. Whether it’s Keon Daniel, whether it’s Conor Casey or McInerney or Sebastien (Le Toux) or (Danny) Cruz or Michael Farfan or whoever we put in there, somebody on our team has got to start making those big plays that all teams need. That didn’t happen for us.”
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting KC has a late-season bye week this weekend, but the club did get a boost this week in terms of numbers in training.
Dom Dwyer, Christian Duke, and Jon Kempin all returned to the Sporting KC after winning the USL Pro title last Saturday, 7-4, with Dwyer scoring four goals in the rout.
In a season of lows, Toronto FC did have one, shall we say, bright spot, in Wednesday evening’s 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire.
Newly acquired forward Bright Dike made his season and TFC debut after tearing his ACL in preseason training with the Portland Timbers, coming on in the 75th minute and according to reports from the match, he looked good in his limited time on the field.
It was Dike’s first competitive action since starting and playing 80 minutes in the Timbers 1-1 draw in their season finale in 2012.
What do you think of these notes? Do you see Di Vaio retiring at the end of the season? Do you believe the Union should make changes in their lineup? Do you see Agudelo playing on Saturday?
Share your thoughts below.