Fans rally for Gatt, Davies retires, Amon injured, MLS previews & more
March 01, 2018
The MLS Season opens up this weekend and ASN has huge previews for both the Eastern and Western Conferences. ASN also breaks down the latest from the women’s national team as it opened the SheBelieves Cup with a win over Germany.
But beyond that there is so much more to cover. So let’s get into it.
SOCCER FANS RALLY FOR GATT
The past year has been brutal for American Soccer fans. Following the men’s national team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup, there was a bitter presidential election, the Jonathan Gonzalez defection, and the team moving forward without a coach. All that has stirred up a lot of infighting.
But on Thursday night, former U.S. national team winger Josh Gatt made an emotional plea for financial help to support his wife, Melissa Gatt, who was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Gatt has struggled mightily with injuries in his career and now finds himself unemployed after being waived by the Colorado Rapids following last season.
In need of help, the American soccer community has stepped up with both players (past and present) opening their wallets. Aron Johannsson, Christian Pulisic, Herculez Gomez, Dax McCarty, Shkelzen Gashi, Veljko Paunovic, Lynden Gooch, Brad Evans, Bobby Burling, Sean Davis, Thomas Rongen, Arturo Alvarez, Victor Ulloa, Zac MacMath and Fatai Alashe all standing out as among the most recognizable individuals who have donated. There are many others as well.
Despite all the bad news, the American soccer community showed its best side.
Gatt has well exceeded his goal of $20,000 but donations are still needed. If you can, here is a link where you can do so.
Seattle & Red Bulls advance, Dallas falls
The Round of 16 is now complete and three teams from MLS advanced into the quarter finals. Toronto won on Tuesday night against Colorado. Then on Wednesday, FC Dallas was upset by FC Tauro to build off its disappointing 2017 season. Last night, the Red Bulls and Seattle posted convincing victories to advance.
The Red Bulls and Olimpia played to a 1-1 draw last week away in Honduras. But last night at Red Bull Arena, the Red Bulls coasted to a 2-0 victory. The Red Bulls were the better team but Olimpia had a few very close calls.
There were three big takeaways from that game. The first is that Bradley Wright-Phillips looks ready to carry this team again. After an amazing cross to set up the away goal, he scored a ridiculous goal to open the win on Thursday. The second takeaway is that Kaku Gamarra finally made his debut as a second half substitute and looked promising.
The final takeaway is that it looks like Felipe is on his way out of New York and all signs point to Vancouver’s central defender Tim Parker coming in. Parker is one of the best American defenders in the league and is a Long Island native. His presence would bolster the Red Bulls back line and open the door for Tyler Adams and Sean Davies to run the Red Bulls midfield. Now the Red Bulls will face Club Tijuana.
Over in Seattle, the Sounders were behind Santa Tecla FC 2-1 after the first leg but dominated the return leg on Thursday with a 4-0 rout. Will Bruin, Nicolas Lodeiro, and Clint Dempsey all looked particularly promising. Next up is Chivas de Guadalajara.
Finally, FC Dallas was the major disappointment for MLS after a loss to Tauro in Panama. While tempting, it is tough to read a lot into it. Dallas was terrible in 2017 and it underperformed. Now with several additions, it is continuing to underperform, even with the loss of Kellyn Acosta to injury.
Rocco Commisso blames and sues
On Thursday, NASL commissioner Rocco Commisso gave an anger and at times unhinged conference call that could have come from any of the number of extreme voices on twitter. With the NASL cancelling its 2018 season, Commisso vowed to carry on his campaign with lawsuits handled by an army of very expensive lawyers.
In his conference call, he called out everyone. Carlos Cordeiro, who just took over the job as U.S. Soccer president, MLS, US Soccer, USL.
The problem, of course, is that the NASL really had no plan and, over the years, owners of its teams have bolted. It’s became a tough product to watch and, even worse, one that fewer and fewer people wanted to be associated with. Meanwhile the USL continues to function well.
As for Commisso, I guess it is easier to blame others than to blame oneself.
Amon injury update
South Carolina native and FC Nordsjaelland winger Jonathan Amon, 18, broke out in Denmark with a string of eye-opening performances and then earned a U.S. U-20 call-up in January. He made a sub appearance in his first game after the winter break but has not been seen since in any matchday roster.
ASN has learned that Amon is sidelined with tibia bone stress and team doctors do not have a specific timetable for his return – although the team is hopeful he can return sometime in the spring. The injury has been bothering Amon since December and he tried to play through it.
This injury will keep him out of action for Nordsjaelland for a few more weeks, at least, and he will also likely miss the next U-20 camp in Barcelona.
Weah to make PSG debut?
When young players are trying to breakthrough at their clubs, sometimes rare circumstances provide the needed opportunity.
New York native Tim Weah might just be given his opportunity on Saturday for Paris St. Germain when the French leaders visit Troyes. PSG is currently in a situation where the club is dealing with injuries as well as prioritizing its upcoming Champions League games against Real Madrid.
Numerous injuries at PSG have opened up the door for U.S. U-20 forward Tim Weah who is in the first team squad this weekend https://t.co/3loJOHhQDA— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) March 2, 2018
The result is that Weah will be on the roster for the Ligue 1 game on Saturday. A veteran of the 2017 U-17 World Cup, Weah could make his professional debut. It is obviously a very limited window as the team's top players will eventually return, but these are the types of opportunities which young players must seize. If Weah gets on the field, he must do everything he can to stand out.
Charlie Davies retires
On Friday morning, former United States international Charlie Davies recently announced his retirement from professional soccer after recently completing last season with the Philadelphia Union where he struggled for minutes.
Davies, 31, will always be one of the great “what-ifs” of American soccer. In 2009 he was soaring with the national team and at the club level. Following an impressive showing at the 2009 Confederations Cup, he secured a move to Ligue 1 Sochaux. But shortly after helping the U.S. team to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, he was involved in a horrific car crash that claimed the life of another passenger. He stayed out after the team curfew and would never play for the national team again.
Thank you! pic.twitter.com/NVX9egaOvF— Charlie Davies (@CharlieDavies9) March 2, 2018
Davies, however, would fight hard to resume a professional career. After a brief stint in Denmark, he signed with New England before joining Philadelphia in 2016. The last two years he would score just one goal in MLS.
It was certainly commendable with how hard Davies fought to come back. But American fans will always want to know what he could have been?
McKennie nearing return
On Saturday in the Bundesliga, third place Schalke hosts Hertha Berlin and it could be the return of Weston McKennie. The U.S. international and Dallas native has not played since suffering an injury on January 21.
On Friday, Schalke boss Domenico Tedesco said that Mckennie has only partially returned to training but is doing well and could be an option against Hertha.
???? #Tedesco: "@WMckennie is back in team training. He has only been participating in parts of training but he's feeling good. He's an option for us at the weekend." #S04BSC #s04 pic.twitter.com/1JRvDPZCkL— FC Schalke 04 (@s04_en) March 2, 2018