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Football / Julius James joins Columbus Crew
« on: February 28, 2011, 07:16:17 PM »
Crew signs defender Julius James

The Columbus Crew announced today that it has signed defender Julius James. Per club and league policy no further terms of the deal were disclosed. To make room for James on the roster, the Crew simultaneously waived defender Kwaku Nyamekye.

“James is a very good defender one against one,” said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. “He’s very vocal and aggressive and puts everything he has into the game. He will be a good addition to the team.”

A strong center back from Trinidad & Tobago, James comes to the Crew after spending the last season and a half with D.C. United where he appeared in 31 matches and scored two goals. He spent the first part of 2009 with the Houston Dynamo, appearing in eight matches.

A product of the University of Connecticut, James was drafted in the first round of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft (No. 9 overall) by Toronto FC. He appeared in 13 matches for Toronto, scoring one goal. At the end of his first MLS season he was traded to the Houston Dynamo in exchange for midfielder Dwayne DeRosario.

“This is another great opportunity for me and a step in the right direction,” said Julius James. “I am very happy to be with a team that has been consistently successful throughout the years I have been with this league.”

Football / Veteran John could cure Goats' scoring woes
« on: February 26, 2011, 05:44:03 AM »
Veteran John could cure Goats' scoring woes
By Adam Serrano (MLSsoccer.com)

Chivas USA have impressed many in their preseason preparations, but they make have takent a step back in a scoreless draw against D.C. United on Friday at the Home Depot Center.

The team was able to dominate stretches of the game, but unable to find a scoring touch. Despite countless efforts forward from the likes of Alejandro Moreno, Alan Gordon and Tristan Bowen, the team did not have a legitimate chance till late in the match, when Jesus Padilla forced a save from Pat Onstad.

After the match, head coach Robin Fraser was visibly disappointed with how his team performed.

“Based on today, I’m not really happy at all, but I’ve been really pleased with our progress up until today," he said. "To be honest, I thought we weren’t as good as we needed to be in every aspect of the game. For them it’s as much of a disappointment as it is for me, it’s not where they want to be and it’s not where I’d like them to be right now.”

Scoring help may come from an unlikely source, however, in the face of an MLS legend and former opponent of Fraser. After the match and a short field intra-squad scrimmage, Fraser revealed that Stern John (above) was joining the Rojiblancos for training camp.

The Trinidadian forward is currently battling back from a knee injury that helped cut short his stint with English side Ipswich Town in 2010. During his career in MLS, John played for the Columbus Crew from 1998 to 1999 and was the Golden Boot winner in his first year with 26 goals while tying for the lead in goals scored with 18 in 1999.

John has also spent extensive time in England with a number of clubs including Nottingham Forrest, Coventry City and Sunderland. He also was instrumental in taking the Soca Warriors to the 2006 World Cup, where he appeared in all three group stage matches.

While training off to the side, John hammered home a number of impressive goals past Sergio Arias. For a team that had trouble scoring against United, the inclusion of the 34-year-old John is a welcome one for Fraser.

“He’s coming off an injury and he’s looking for an opportunity to get on with a club, but when a guy has scored goals like he has in the places he has, you take a look at him,” Fraser said. “He is one of [the best MLS goal-scorers] I know."

In addition to John, the Rojiblancos are also looking at Argentine winger Marcos Mondaini. The 26-year-old spent last year with Colombian side Atlético Nacional and developed in the youth system of storied Argentine club Boca Juniors.

Mondaini was active during the last 45 minutes of action for Chivas USA and sent in several attacking crosses while playing on the right side of midfield. Following the match, Fraser admitted that the club will likely have an answer shortly on another trialist Colombian defender Jimmy Asprilla, who has impressed during his time with the club. Fraser stated that it will likely come down to whether he warrants an international roster spot.

The Goats also saw the retun of goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who played much of the second half in his first action since picking up an injury in a match against Toronto FC last August. Kennedy should challenge Arias for the backup spot behind Zach Thornton once he has returned to full fitness.

"He’s been doing very well; he nursed some injuries and he’s been coming along,” Fraser said. “Over the last week to 10 days, we’ve seen more of him and he’s done well.”

While Kennedy has returned, Fraser was uncertain on when midfielder Blair Gavin will return to the club. He stated that Gavin is not facing a long-term injury and he's hopeful that Gavin will be able to return before the opening match against Sporting Kansas City on March 19.

Football / Sealy back in midfield
« on: November 02, 2010, 08:45:38 PM »
Sealy switches to MF, earns starts for San Jose
By Geoff Lepper (MLSsoccer.com)

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Seven years later, the legend of Jamil Walker still resounds for San Jose Earthquakes fans.

Walker was a rookie forward in 2003, watching and learning during the regular season while the Quakes piled up 45 goals and a Western Conference regular-season title behind a striker pairing of Landon Donovan and Dwayne De Rosario.

Walker had clocked 365 minutes, all as a substitute, when De Rosario went down with a strained hamstring in the first half of an away-and-home Western Conference semifinal series against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Quakes coach Frank Yallop tabbed Walker to start the home leg of that series, and he provided an assist and a goal as San Jose scored five times in 75 minutes to pull out a shock 5-4 aggregate victory. He went on to start the Quakes’ Western Conference final win against Kansas City and provided an assist in San Jose’s 4-2 MLS Cup victory against Chicago.

That said, Scott Sealy is no Jamil Walker.

As in 2003, Yallop has made a critical switch to his playoff roster, inserting Sealy – who recorded just five starts and 520 minutes during the regular season – at the playmaking point of his 4-4-2 diamond midfield in place of Khari Stephenson. Sealy started there in the first leg of San Jose's Eastern Conference semifinal series against New York on Saturday, which they lost, 1-0.

The difference? This move isn’t caused by injury, but simply because Sealy has forced his way into the lineup, in Yallop’s view.

“In the last little bit [of the regular season], he’s showed some good tenacity in the middle of the field,” Yallop said. “I think he’s very strong at holding the ball, doesn’t give it away. And he’s got an eye for the goal. I think that Khari has just dropped down a level, and I’m trying to go with players that are in form.”

Still, the move raised eyebrows because Sealy has been known primarily in the MLS as a forward. He played mostly in the midfield, though, while toiling in Israel last season.

“I think putting Scott Sealy into the starting unit for Saturday night was not a gamble, and it proved to not be a gamble because I thought he played well,” Yallop said. “Scott did a nice job in the middle of the park.”

For his part, Sealy feels that fans who remember him from his 2008 stint with the Quakes haven’t got a chance to see his true game this season, thanks to thigh and groin strains that slowed him for much of the year.

“I’m very happy [to be playing],” Sealy told MLSsoccer.com. “As we all know, my year has been very up and down, inconsistent because of the injuries, but I always felt when I was healthy and 100 percent fit, I could help this team. I think if it wasn’t for the injuries, I would have been in there more.”

Although Joel Lindpere and Mehdi Ballouchy caused problems to the Quakes’ defense, Sealy did a credible job of keeping Red Bulls star Rafa Márquez from orchestrating things in midfield as he ordinarily does.

“He wasn’t able to spray balls like he usually does and I think it’s because I didn’t give him time to do so,” Sealy said. “Any time he had the ball, I was up onto him. My main thing playing [in] midfield is to be good on both sides of the ball. Playing forward most of my career, being defensively 100 percent committed is what I’m personally concerned about.

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