MLS Midweek: Mediators brought in, Gilberto loaned out, and more

Image, MLSSoccer.com

by RYAN BRISTER
Staff Writer

Roster moves are slowing down as we approach the start of the Major League soccer season. With squads coming together, it just remains to be seen how they’ll perform and whether they’ll be able to kick off on time in March. We’re still far from answers on both of those fronts, but perhaps we saw some hints over the past week.

  • – With just 16 days to go until the start of the season, there is reason to hope that it might start on time. The league and players union have brought in federal mediators to help with the CBA negotiations. Mediation was brought in at the same point in the 2010 negotiations, which eventually got a deal done just before the season began.
  • On the field, most MLS teams have begun playing preseason friendlies. In Austin, DC United won a tournament with victories over the Austin Aztex and FC Dallas. Columbus Crew SC finished third in the tournament, losing to Dallas before beating the hosts in a consolation game.
  • Elsewhere, the San Jose Earthquakes drew Portland 0-0 in Arizona, before notching a 2-0 win over Colorado in Las Vegas. The defending champion Galaxy have gone to Europe for their preseason, starting with a 2-1 loss to Swedish side Hammarby in Stockholm.  The Chicago fire had a successful trip to the UK, drawing Norwich City and beating Queens Park Rangers. Their opponents weren’t the regular starters, of course, but a mix of senior and youth players.
  • Toronto FC have finally loaned Gilberto to Brazilian side Vasco de Gama for a year. Vasco have the option to buy the striker at the end of the deal. TFC faced the prospect of having four designated players, which is one more than the current MLS limit. Gilberto started 2014 slowly, but ended with seven goals in 28 games for Toronto.
  • The Philadelphia Union are reportedly on the verge of a loan deal for Venezuelan striker Fernando Aristeguieta. Since joining Nantes in 2013, Aristeguieta has nine goals in 45 appearances in Ligue Un.
  • The oddsmakers in Las Vegas have released preseason odds for the MLS season, and the powers that be have made the LA Galaxy three-to-one favorites to win MLS Cup nine and a half months from now. Seattle, New England, DC and Real Salt Lake round out the top five. The Red Bulls and NYCFC are both given 15-to-one odds to win it all.  If you’re looking for a longshot, Colorado, Montreal, Philadelphia, and San Jose all have 50-to-one odds to lift MLS Cup at the end of the year.