Giovanni_savarese_-_cosmos Mike Lawrence/
Wednesday Kickoff

Bradley builds, Savarese returns to MLS, & Chandler shines

Bob Bradley took some important steps in building LAFC while Portland hired Giovanni Savarese as its new head coach. Meanwhile, Timothy Chandler had a stellar outing for Eintracht Frankfurt 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
December 13, 2017
3:30 AM
Bob Bradley’s LAFC team began to take shape on Tuesday with the expansion draft while the Portland Timbers made a bold coaching hire with one of the original legends of MLS. In news from abroad, Timothy Chandler made a nice return from surgery but most Americans continued to struggle.

Bradley and LAFC wheel and deal

Heading into the expansion draft, it was expected that Bob Bradley and general manager John Thorrington were going to take a different approach with the expansion draft. Instead of drafting to its needs, the LAFC team was going to take the most tradeable players and make moves for players it does want.

And so it did. LAFC selected Seattle goalkeeper Tyler Miller followed by young Sporting Kansas City attacker Latif Blessing. With the third pick, Bradley selected Marco Urena, the Costa Rica international forward who scored two goals when defeating the United States in a critical September qualifier.

The final two picks were Columbus fullback Jukka Raitala and Toronto defender Raheem Edwards who were subsequently traded to Montreal for Belgian international central defender Laurent Ciman.

With the previous trade for Walker Zimmerman, the Zimmerman-Ciman central defense pairing is going to be strong for an expansion team. Unlike Atlanta United which came into the league with a heavy emphasis on offensive talent, Bradley is building from the backline forward.

Savarese is the new Timbers coach

Later in the day, Taylor Twellman took to twitter to break the news that the Portland Timbers have hired New York Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese to replace Caleb Porter.

It is an exciting move as Savarese was one of the most popular players in the early days of Major League Soccer with the Metrostars and he used his success there to earn repeated call-ups with the Venezuelan national team.

Following his playing career he was the head of youth development for the Metrostars and then moved over the Cosmos Academy. In 2013, he became the first head coach of the New York Cosmos after its reboot into the NASL. During his time with the Cosmos he built it into one of the best teams in NASL.

While MLS helped launch his professional career, Savarese will return to a very different league than the one he played in over two decades ago. But everywhere his career has taken him, he’s been respected by his peers. He’s earned this opportunity.

Americans Abroad

There were a lot of Americans in action on Tuesday.

Omar Gonzalez and Pachuca were eliminated from the FIFA Club World Cup in the semifinals following a 1-0 loss to Gremio in extratime. Gonzalez went a full 120 minutes in the loss.

Danny Williams went a full 90 for Huddersfield in a 3-1 loss at home to Chelsea. Speaking of Williams, he has been getting a lot of press for an interview with NBC Sports where he blamed Bruce Arena trying to promote MLS players when selecting his national team rosters.

Geoff Cameron made his first start for Stoke City since October 21 due to a concussion but Stoke fell to Burnley 1-0.

John Brooks was on his game and played well going a full 90 for Wolfsburg in a 1-1 draw against RB Leipzig.

Christian Pulisic started for Borussia Dortmund in a 2-0 win over Mainz. It was the managerial debut for Peter Stoger at Dortmund and despite the win, Dortmund was sluggish at times. Pulisic went 70 minutes and aside from drawing a few key fouls, was off his game.

Caleb Stanko continues to get minutes for a suddenly surging Freiburg which upset Borussia Monchengladbach 1-0 and now has three wins and one draw in its last four. Stanko went the final 12 minutes and the Michigan midfielder/defender has now played in Freiburg’s last three wins.

Kenny Saief made his first start of the season for Gent in a Belgian Cup match against Kortrijk. After making his U.S. national team debut in July, Saief had to undergo a hernia surgery that was followed by complications. It has been a long road back but he was able to start on Tuesday. Unfortunately for Saief, Gent lost 4-1.

The American who that the most success on the day was Timothy Chandler who made his first appearance for Eintracht Frankfurt following surgery. On the road against Hamburg, Chandler assisted on both of Eintracht’s goals in a 2-1 win over Hamburg. Bobby Wood was unable to play for HSV due to continued lingering knee issues.

Here are Chandler’s highlights.

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