By MIKE GRAMAJO
SANFORD — Orlando City’s star player Kaka picked up a calf injury earlier this week at practice, but he’s not being ruled out for Friday’s home against DC United according to Heath.
“He’s going to be okay,” said Heath. “He’s just got a little slight niggle on his calf, we just don’t want to aggravate it, and he’s doing some work in the gym.”
The Brazilian ace scored the game-tying goal for the Lions last Saturday at Montreal after assisting Pedro Ribeiro moments later. Heath also shot down suggestions about letting Brek Shea, who scored a laser free kick for the U.S. Men’s National Team on Tuesday, shoot free kicks for the club pinpointing back to Kaka being the man for that job.
“[Kaka] got a bit of stick yesterday for Brek’s goal,” said Heath. “As we’re having lunch, Ricky was in there, and he got a little bit of stick from one of the guys about who’s taking the free kicks come Friday.”
Here are some more Orlando City notes:
photo by Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports
The Montreal Impact are in need of bolstering their options at forward after losing rookie Cameron Porter to season-ending injury, and they may have found their man in Kenny Cooper.
According to a report from CanadianSoccerNews.com, the Impact have agreed to a trade that would see them acquire Cooper from the Seattle Sounders. It is believed that Montreal would give up allocation money or a draft pick in return, but the deal will not be made official until Cooper decides whether to approve the move.
Cooper, 30, does not appear to be part of Seattle’s plans for the season. He has yet to make a game-day roster for the Sounders this year, and has been absent from some recent training sessions.
That the Impact are in the market for another forward is due to the loss of Porter, who will be out for the remainder of the season after tearing his left ACL in Week 3’s scoreless draw with the New England Revolution.
Here are more notes from around MLS:
Photo by Martin Hansson/San Antonio Scorpions
By ADAM TROXTELL
Alen Marcina’s first full season in charge of the San Antonio Scorpions was about as perfect as possible.
In their third season of NASL play, the Scorpions capped their best year so far with a Fall Season title and victory in the Soccer Bowl. All of it was achieved in front of a boisterous crowd at Toyota Field.
A stingy defensive effort consisting of Greg Janicki, Julius James and Jonathan Borrajo allowed just 24 goals against overall, an NASL record. In the Scorpions’ successful fall campaign, only four goals were scored against the club inside their home stadium.
With confidence in the back line, Walter Restrepo was able to move further forward in midfield, supporting an attack led by the experienced striker Eric Hassli. It was Restrepo that scored the all important extra time goal against the New York Cosmos to take San Antonio into its first ever Soccer Bowl.
A 2-1 win against Fort Lauderdale Strikers cemented the club’s place in history. Now comes the task of building on that fairytale season, minus some of the defensive leaders that provided the backbone of this team.
Here is a closer look at the 2015 San Antonio Scorpions.
By IVES GALARCEP
The month of March was supposed to be a real turning point in the process to identify which players Jurgen Klinsmann would be taking to the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The tournament is still four months away, but with two friendlies in Europe, March was supposed to help Klinsmann thin out the herd, and potentially find some new options.
A loss and a tie later, the list of players who really pushed themselves into the Gold Cup conversation isn’t a long one. Michael Orozco helped his cause, as did Danny Williams.
Klinsmann also introduced some new faces in Ventura Alvarado and William Yarbrough, who could both definitely push themselves into the Gold Cup conversation after publicly declaring their loyalty to the United States.
As we draw closer to the Gold Cup, it is becoming more and more clear that there are going to be several players left out who may come as a surprise, or may have come as a surprise a year ago.
With that in mind, here is the March edition of the USMNT Gold Cup roster:
By RYAN TOLMICH
While MLS beckons in either 2017 or 2018, 2015 is all about one thing for Minnesota United: establishing the club as a dominant force in the NASL.
Minnesota United enters 2015 having run rampant through the 2014 regular season, claiming the top spot in last year’s Spring season while finishing as runners-up in the Fall to claim the Woosnam Cup, awarded to the regular season champions. However, that regular season success proved to be all for naught, as the team fell to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the playoff semi-finals by way of penalty kicks
On the backs of young superstars Miguel Ibarra and Christian Ramirez, Minnesota United is once again set to contend with a team that, on paper, appears to have even more talent than last season’s edition.
With MLS veterans Johnny Steele and Kalif Alhassan, as well as international additions Ibson and Sammy N’Djock, head coach Manny Lagos now wields a lineup as strong as any in the league, one that has ambitions of the club’s second championship.
Here’s a closer look at the 2015 Minnesota United. Continue reading
Photo by Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports
By RYAN TOLMICH
Part of Jurgen Klinsmann wonders what might have been, but the U.S. Men’s National Team head coach is far from disappointed with the results of his team’s efforts in Wednesday’s friendly with Switzerland.
The USMNT was forced to settle for a 1-1 draw with Switzerland in Zurich as the U.S. conceded an 80th minute equalizer following the second half dismissal of Jozy Altidore.
For some, conceding yet another late equalizer would prove to be worrying, but the USMNT head coach says that Wednesday’s result boils down to a mistake, rather than an overarching issue with the team and its players.
“It might be a theme, but it’s not a problem because we know the reasons why some things happen,” Klinsmann said. “We know maybe why, in some games, we kind of ran out of gas earlier and then made individual mistake and then purely now it was maybe an individual mistake and had nothing to do with the physical condition, which is good. We’re making progress.
“We’re closer to the 90 minutes like we were when we were playing in the World Cup, so this is good to see. The players too, they have the willingness to take the game to the opponents and to go all the way to the end. Even if it happened in the 80th minute today, we’re through with that. We picked up a rhythm now, everybody’s on board.” Continue reading
By FRANCO PANIZO
U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos got a look at some new players this month, but how many of them could sneak onto the squad ahead of the World Cup is a lingering question.
The U.S. wrapped up its March camp in England over the weekend with a pair of losses, but the games provided Ramos a chance to see how both old and new players are doing in the run-up to this summer’s World Cup in New Zealand. Some regulars – like Romain Gall and Matt Miazga – were missing from this camp, and their absences opened the door for newcomers like Dutch-American defender Desevio Payne and forward Maki Tall.
The two European-based youngsters both earned starts in the U.S.’s most recent friendly against England’s U-20s, but whether they showed enough to raise their stocks and firmly place themselves in the U.S. picture is unknown. Even as hard as it might be to assess which players have really helped their cause because of their overall lack of playing time at the club level, the recent call-ups do provide a glimpse of where some of them and others on the fringes stand.
So who might reach New Zealand in two months’ time? Here is SBI’s latest projection of the 21 players that could make it to the World Cup. and there are indeed some changes from February’s projected squad: