Transfer Roundup: MLS sides adding World Cup talent

Image, ColumbusCrewSC.com

by RYAN BRISTER
MLS Writer

The biggest news of the week in Major League Soccer was Montreal’s signing Didier Drogba, but other teams have been active in signing players significantly younger than the Chelsea legend. Most notably, the Philadelphia Union signed Swiss international Tranquillo Barnetta, and Columbus Crew SC added Ghanaian right back Harrison Afful.

Barnetta is a quick, creative midfielder who most recently played for Schalke in Germany. The 30-year old made 22 appearances in the Bundesliga last season, scoring three goals, and played in four Champions League matches as well. Barnetta was on the Swiss World Cup squad last summer, but he did not see playing time.

With Afful, the Crew filled a position of need. Right back has been a vulnerable spot in their shaky defense since the departure of Hernan Grana in the spring. Afful, 29, made two appearances for Ghana in Brazil, and had an assist in their draw against Germany. He’s spent the last seven seasons playing his club soccer in Tunisia.

The New York Red Bulls haven’t spent as much money as their fans may have wanted, but they have added significant attacking talent. Shaun Wright-Phillips, the better-known brother of Bradley has joined the club after a lengthy career in England. Most recently, SWP was struggling to get playing time for relegated Queens Park Rangers. Reportedly, New York has also signed 25-year-old Argentine winger Gonzalo Veron as a designated player.

Orlando City has also been active in the transfer window. The Lions signed defender David Matteos and midfielder Adrian Winter. Matteos developed in the Real Madrid academy, but never saw the field for the senior team and most recently has been playing in Hungary. Winter comes to Orlando from Luzern in the Swiss Super League, where he scored 15 goals in 130 appearances.

Orlando is in the news as well for a reported departure. Donovan Ricketts might be on his way back to LA after Panamanian goalkeeper Jaime Penedo left the Galaxy. Both goalkeepers have won an MLS Cup for the Galaxy, but Ricketts had been displaced by Tally Hall in Orlando. Penedo was upset about his contract with the Galaxy.