Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
D.C. United’s offseason overhaul continued on Friday with the departure of a long-tenured starting defender.
Following a season where he started 17 of 18 matches for the league’s worst franchise, Dave Kaspar and D.C. United have reportedly agreed to sell Dejan Jakovic to Japanese club Shimizu S-Pulse. According to a report, D.C. United would receive a transfer fee in the low six figures.
While D.C. United will have to replace another starter in their lineup, the transfer gives the team some much needed salary cap relief. During the 2013 season, Jakovic earned more than $300,000 in guaranteed compensation. Jakovic’s future was certainly in the air after D.C. United acquired center backs Bobby Boswell and Nana Attakora through the MLS Re-Entry Draft this month.
It’s not the first time that Major League Soccer has been linked with Shimizu S-Pulse. Former Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Daigo Kobayashi formerly played with Shimizu before going on trial and eventually signing with the Whitecaps. Shimizu finished the 2013 J-League season as a midtable team in ninth-place out of 18 top-flight clubs.
Here are some more stories from around MLS:
KNONBERG RE-SIGNS WITH SPORTING KC, LOOKS TO BE NO. 1 GOALKEEPER
After eight seasons waiting patiently at Sporting Kansas City, Eric Kronberg is hoping that the 2014 MLS season is one where he can become the team’s starting goalkeeper.
Sporting KC announced today that Kronberg had signed a new contract with the club, and it looks as though the 30-year-old will have the chance to battle newcomer Andy Gruenebaum for the starting position this spring.
“I’m really happy to be back with Sporting KC,” Kronberg said. “Kansas City has become my home over the past eight years and I’m very much looking forward to the future and stepping into a starting role with this club.”
Kronberg hasn’t appeared in an MLS match in the past two years, though this past year he appeared twice in the U.S. Open Cup and all four times in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Sporting KC has a goalkeeper opening after Jimmy Nielsen announced his retirement just one day after leading the club to an MLS Cup title.
CREW INK DEAL WITH PALADINI
The Columbus Crew were in search of a solid midfielder to add depth to the squad and they found one in a trade with the Chicago Fire.
After acquiring midfielder Daniel Paladini on Dec. 12 in exchange for a fourth-round draft selection in the upcoming MLS SuperDraft, the Crew came to terms with the 29-year-old veteran Friday. Paladini originally had an option declined by the Fire but opted-out of the MLS Re-Entry Draft to execute the trade to Columbus.
“Daniel is a very technical player who has good vision and passes the ball well. He’s also good at quickly turning with the ball and these qualities will help complement our attack,” Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said in a statement. “He’s a strong two-way midfielder in our league and we look forward to working with him soon.”
Paladini played a big role off the bench for the Fire last season, playing in 20 matches and scoring two goals as well as adding three assists.
FC DALLAS PLANS PRESEASON TRIP TO UAE
When making their preseason plans, most Major League Soccer clubs choose to travel to either Arizona, Florida, or South Carolina. This preseason, FC Dallas is taking the road less traveled.
FC Dallas will become the first MLS club to take their preseason training to the United Arab Emirates when they visit Abu Dhabi from Jan. 30 to Feb. 12. FC Dallas will spend time at the Al Jazira Sports and Culture Club and are in the process of scheduling three friendly matches during that period.
“We are honored to be the first MLS team to spend our preseason in the UAE and believe this will be the beginning of a long-term relationship with the wonderful people of Abu Dhabi,” Dan Hunt, vice president of Hunt Sports Group said in a statement.
While it’s the first time that a team will visit the UAE for preseason, plenty of sides have used Mexico as a base for training in the past.
What do you think of these reports? Did you expect Jakovic to leave this offseason? Do you think Kronberg can win the starting spot with Sporting KC? How do you see Paladini fitting in Berhalter’s system?
Share your thoughts below.