NASL Notes: Fort Lauderdale Grows Ranks Ahead of Schalke Friendly, more

IMAGE, INDYSTAR.COM

by JAKE NUTTING

With a high-profile exhibition against FC Schalke 04 less than a week away, Fort Lauderdale is taking the fast and furious approach in building their new roster. After announcing the addition of nine players last week, the club continued on with five more this week.

The Strikers started the busy week with the addition of a trio of keepers. Bruno Cardoso obviously drew the most attention as an 18-year veteran of Palmeiras in the top division of Brazil, where he also participated in the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana. Additional signing Diego Restrepo is no slouch, though, having valuable experience in the NASL with Tampa Bay Rowdies during the 2013 season. Restrepo led the league in saves by a massive margin that year. Rounding out the list of keepers is 17-year-old rookie and South Florida native Matias Reynares.

The Strikers, once again, looked to experienced Brazilians with the signing of midfielders Kleberson and Adrianinho. Kleberson did spend the past two seasons with Indy Eleven in the NASL, though the midfielder found great success in a lengthy career in Brazil and was a member of Brazil’s team that captured the 2002 World Cup. His 2015 season was marred by serious injuries that sidelined for most of the year.

Adrianinho is a creative midfielder that has primarily played in Brazil at Ponte Preta. With over 250 appearances for the club, the 35-year-old will be bringing a bevy of attacking experience to Fort Lauderdale’s midfield.

Supporters will have the chance to see what Adrianinho has left in the tank when the Strikers take on Schalke on Sunday in Orlando.

Tampa Bay Rowdies

The Tampa Bay Rowdies announced this week that they have agreed to a new, restructured contract with Juan Guerra, one of the few stalwarts in the midfield for the club during the back half of last year. Guerra began the year on the bench, but he quickly became a mainstay while replacing the often-injured Marcelo Saragosa. The Venezuelan native was a strong locker room presence for the Rowdies, rallying the squad to stay together after the surprising firing of Thomas Rongen in the fall. Guerra finished his debut season with the Rowdies with 23 appearance and two goals in his defensive midfield role.

The Rowdies also revealed they have exercised the options on three of last year’s rookies — midfielders Jeff Michaud and Verneri Välimaa, as well as keeper Chris Glodack. Michaud and Välimaa saw an increase in their minimal playing time in the final month of the season as head coach Stuart Campbell searched for any remedy to the club’s woes, but Glodack never made the field while backing up Matt Pickens.

Carolina RailHawks

After securing a reunion with his former midfielder James Marcelin through trade last week, RailHawks Head Coach Colin Clarke turned to another familiar face with the signing of forward Brian Shriver. Shriver was touted as the first major signing of then-new Tampa Bay Rowdies owner Bill Edwards ahead of the 2014 season after a productive year in Carolina, in which he netted 15 goals and took the NASL Golden Boot. The past two seasons, though, have been anything but productive for the Rowdies or Shriver. A slow start due to injuries in his first year, constant shifting between positions as well as a loss in confidence all contributed to Shriver only tallying five goals in his two seasons in Tampa Bay. Clarke undoubtedly has hopes he can get the best out of Shriver, just as he did in 2013.

Miami FC

Miami FC added its second keeper in as many weeks with the signing of 31-year-old Mario Daniel Vega. The netminder was most recently with Anorthosis Famagusta in Cyprus, but he unquestionably made his biggest mark as a player while with Argentine powerhouse River Plate. Vega made 76 appearances for River Plate from 2007-2013 and was on hand for two title wins. The South American veteran joins veteran Spanish keeper David Sierra on Miami’s inaugural roster.

  • Alexlgago

    Its official with all of these Brazilian 35 and above year old player signings the NASL has become the has been retirement league over MLS and really theses guys were good 15 years ago now there has been.Who wants to go see has been old used up soccer players, soccer is about your and speed without those two ingredients your destin to fail.

    • Anonymous

      Like Pirlo?

      • Dr. FREUD

        Or Lampard?

  • ted dev

    hey, I’m no fan of the old guys in MLS either, but you can’t really compare them since Pirlo was playing in the Champion League final a month before he came to the league (and on FIFA’s best 11 nominees) and even fat frank was a key player and scored key goals for top EPL team Man City months before, that’s why they wanted to keep him longer, perhaps MLS level is getting better…