MLS Midweek: Giovinco comes early, rumblings in Miami, new offside interpretation, more


In an offseason where so much news was made by a signing’s late arrival, one star will cross the Atlantic earlier than expected. There is actual news coming from Miami, albeit not from David Beckham. And the Crew cleared a complication in the Caribbean. All that and more from the week when Major League Soccer kicked off its preseason friendlies.

– Sebastian Giovinco will start the season with Toronto FC, rather than waiting until July. Giovinco was not seeing much playing time with Juventus, and has negotiated to terminate his contract so that he can join the Reds for their training camp and the start of the MLS season.

– In Miami, the county commission voted yesterday to support using Florida International University’s football stadium as a temporary home for an MLS team until they can get a stadium of their own. The stadium holds 23,500, making it a suitable size for soccer, but the field is turf and used for football in the fall.

This move, however, comes solely from the county. Beckham’s ownership did not push for this, and it’s doubtful that Don Garber would approve of a Miami team until a permanent stadium deal was complete. It’s been almost a year since Beckham announced his Miami team, but there’s still a long way to go before it takes the field.

– Staying in Florida, Orlando City picked up Eric Avila, who spent last season playing for Chivas USA. Avila, a 27-year-old midfielder, has eight goals in 153 career appearances in MLS, for Chivas, Dallas, and Toronto. Avila was sold to Santos Laguna last fall and comes to Orlando on loan. Orlando acquired him via the allocation order, and given their low standing, the majority of the league passed over Avila.

– The Lions also picked up a bunch of new season ticket holders. A week after announcing that baseball legend Ken Griffey Jr. was their 10,000th season ticket holder, OCSC reached 11,000 season tickets sold for their inaugural season in MLS.

At last official count, Orlando’s expansion counterparts NYCFC had sold around 12,000 season tickets. That was in early December, and the count has certainly increased since then.

– In news that Red Bulls fans will appreciate, MLS’s referees are changing their interpretation of the offside law in 2015. Last year, goals were allowed even as offside players made distracting efforts for the ball, as the Red Bulls learned the hard way against Chicago:

Next year, such a goal would be ruled offside, due to Mike Magee’s run for the ball forcing Luis Robles to hesitate.

– The Colorado Rapids have reportedly signed the second designated player in their history. 21-year-old Argentinian Juan Edgardo Ramirez has joined the Rapids for a fee of $2 million from Argentinos Juniors. Ramirez has three goals and one assist in 52 appearances.

To clear an international spot for Ramirez, the Rapids released English defender Zat Knight. Knight made just four appearances for Colorado since joining last summer.

– It took a while, but the Columbus Crew have finally been able to sign their first round SuperDraft pick Sergio Campbell. The Jamaican defender’s youth side, Portmore United, wanted the league to pay $7,500 in compensation for his development before allowing him to be signed. Campbell, now 23, played for Portmore until he was 19, before going to college at UConn.

FIFA rules require these “solidarity payments,” but the USSF and MLS have generally ignored this fact, citing U.S. laws regarding child labor. After a standoff between MLS and Portmore, the two sides came to an undisclosed agreement on Tuesday.

– The Seattle Sounders will increase their standard capacity at CenturyLink Field for 2015. In past seasons, the Sounders have only opened up the 38,500 lower deck seats for most games, which sell out at that capacity. In 2015, they’ll sell some upper deck tickets as well, bringing the capacity to about 40,000.Because they open up the entire upper deck for certain games, the Sounders have averaged more than 43,000 fans per game in each of the last two seasons.


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