Lots of news to keep up with on this busy first week of the Major League Soccer season. Let’s get right to the Blue Links.
Details on Winston Reid’s Loan
When the loan of West Ham United star Winston Reid to Sporting Kansas City was announced, no details were disclosed. Per the team, West Ham had asked for it to be that way. But according to Sam Stejskal of The Athletic’s sources, the loan is for the length of the 2020 season with the option to buy. Also, Reid asked for a loan out, it wasn’t at the team’s request. These loan terms personally make this a much stronger move than it originally appeared when many assumed (myself included) he could be gone mid-year.
The deal to Kansas City, as always, was helped by a conversation with Peter Vermes. Additionally, “former D.C. United, Blackburn and Queens Park Rangers center back Ryan Nelsen, who helped facilitate the deal, convinced him that Kansas City was the right option.”
The full story is behind the paywall, but as always, soccer journalism should be supported (subscribe to The Athletic).
Vermes Takes and Gives Some Fault for 2019
In a separate, but equally interesting story for The Athletic by Sam Stejskal, Peter Vermes does some accounting for 2019. Particularly around the build up to CCL play:
“I think I was really demanding early on, and then I kept trying to push it on the guys, and I think it had a toll on them physically and psychologically,” said Vermes.
But, in typical Vermes fashion, he is holding his players accountable too. In particular the “core four” that Stejskal refers to who signed new deals in the middle of the fantastic 2018 season. Those four are Matt Besler (also interviewed in the story), Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi and Ilie Sanchez.
“We re-signed a lot of guys that have been really good for us, and I don’t necessarily think that all of those guys — and I told them this — lived up to that,” started Vermes. “I think they signed their contracts, and, at least a little bit, maybe they let their foot off the gas. We almost were in MLS Cup, we made it to the semifinals of Champions League, but what happens is, when you get a little bit older, and I don’t think we have old guys, I just think we have aging guys, you have to work that much harder. And I think they didn’t realize that.”
The full story is behind the paywall, but not to sound like a broken record, but soccer journalism should be supported (subscribe to The Athletic).
Alan Pulido’s Journey to MLS
ESPN’s Mexico Correspondent Tom Marshall does a nice in depth interview with Alan Pulido at the tail end of Sporting KC’s preseason run. It’s definitely worth a full read. What stood out to me is how traumatized Pulido is from his kidnapping in his hometown of Ciudad Victoria. And understandably so. He hasn’t been back in the four years since it happened and it was a huge impact on his decision to come to Kansas City for added stability. Also, it sounds like he’s planning on starting a family.
Olympics Could be Cancelled Due to Coronavirus
According to the Associated Press out of Tokyo, “a senior member of the International Olympic Committee said Tuesday that if it proves too dangerous to hold the Olympics in Tokyo this summer because of the coronavirus outbreak, organizers are more likely to cancel it altogether than to postpone or move it.”
Dick Pound — possibly the worlds greatest name and former Olympian — is a member of the IOC since 1978 and said this decision could be pushed until late May. Over 11,000 athletes are expected to compete. A cancellation will be heart breaking. All prior cancellations of the modern games have only happened due to war.
Peter Vermes on Social Media?
Don’t get carried away but his daughter apparently really wants to run social media for him. He talks about this, and other good discussions on one of his longer check-ins with 810 WHB. PV is always a good listen, especially in a longer-form interview.
Promotion and Relegation Likely Suspended in Mexico
Reports out of Mexico have Liga MX suspending promotion and relegation with their second division (Ascencio MX) for five years. “The plan is designed in part to enable second-tier clubs to restructure their finances to enable them to compete in the top flight both on and off the field.” Even though pro/rel exists in Mexico, teams often do not qualify financially and therefore aren’t even eligible for promotion. Currently only one team moves up and one team moves down per season. Ascencio MX are also in discussions to go from 12 to 20 teams.
- SBI Soccer with their Sporting KC Season Preview
- Sister site The Burgundy Wave (Colorado Rapids) do a SKC Season Preview — to steal TBT’s own Mike Kuhn’s joke, they list Yohan Croizet as a key subtraction, so take it all with a grain of salt.