Friday, August 12, 2011
CHIVAS USA: Goats' 'no' sends Adu to Philly
By Scott French
CARSON -- Chivas USA had another chance to improve its attack through Major League Soccer's allocation process, and it again declined.
This time it was midfielder Freddy Adu, returning to Major League Soccer older (at 22), wiser and with four not particularly satisfying years in Europe on his résumé, and Philadelphia nabbed him as soon as the Goats turned him down.
“There was some interest, but we were unable to work out the circumstances to make it happen,” Chivas head coach Robin Fraser said Friday. “It is what it is and we move on.”
Adu arrives on a free transfer from Portuguese powerhouse Benfica, and he will not count this season as a Designated Player. The Goats, sitting atop MLS's allocation table, had right of first refusal, and financial aspects of the deal apparently led them to decline.
Reports had co-owner Jorge Vergara, who is based in Guadalajara, making the decision, but Fraser said he didn't know the circumstances and general manager Jose Domene declined to comment through a club spokesman.
“Every single player has different circumstances surrounding either how that player come in or how he impacts a team or how he impacts the salary cap ...,” Fraser said. “I don't know exactly how it all went down, but in the end we just weren't able to do it.”
Chivas also turned down attacking midfielder Benny Feilhaber, who signed in April with New England after the Goats and Philadelphia passed on his services. Chivas cited an inability to make the deal work financially.
The Goats have just brought in two players, French midfielder Laurent Courtois and Brazilian defender David Junior Lopes, and are pursuing an attacking player before MLS's summer transfer window closes Sunday.
The league has told teams to submit paperwork by the close of business Friday to ensure approval is made before the deadline. Fraser said “there's a possibility of getting something done” and that his understanding is that “this weekend is do or die.” The club could continue to bring in players who are out of contract.
Adu signed at 14 with D.C. United, spent a season with Real Salt Lake and has been with Portuguese power Benfica since 2007 -- spending almost all of his time there on loan, to France's AS Monaco, Portugal's Belenenses, Greece's Aris and Turkish second-division side Caykur Rizespor.
He made a triumphant return to the U.S. national team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup and was part of Jurgen Klinsmann's roster for the U.S.-Mexico game Wednesday night. He'll reunite with Philadelphia coach Peter Nowak, who was his coach at D.C.
LOPES READY TO GO: Lopes' International Transfer Certificate came in Friday, and he will be eligible to play in Chivas' game Saturday at Seattle.
Lopes, a center back, signed a week ago with the Goats and made his debut in a reserve friendly Tuesday at Home Depot Center, scoring a goal in a 3-2 victory over Thousand Oaks' FC Hasental.
Chivas has been prevented from officially announcing Lopes' acquisition until the paperwork was finalized and the ITC was in hand.
IN THE COSMOS: Fraser is reuniting, sort of, with his backline partner from MLS's early days.
Former Galaxy captain Dan Calichman is under the Chivas umbrella after the club's development academy this week absorbed Cosmos Academy West, a U.S. Soccer Development Academy-affiliated program that had been connected to the New York Cosmos.
Calichman was the USSDA's U-17/18 Western Conference Coach of the Year with Cosmos Academy West. He's also the men's soccer head coach at NCAA Division III Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Fraser, Calichman and Chivas assistant coach Greg Vanney were backline stars for the Galaxy in 1996-98.
“I talk to Dan all the time ...,” Fraser said. “We've played together, known him for a long time. He's done extremely well as a coach, certainly with Cosmos. The thing about Dan that is great is he's one of these people who lives and breathes the game, has accomplished a lot at a very high level, is very professional, and he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt what we want for our 18s so that they're prepared to step into the first team.”
The Cosmos dropped their West Coast academy to qualify under MLS regulations on development; clubs may operate academies within their regions. The club, which has Cobi Jones as associate director of soccer, is looking to become the league's 2oth team.