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Blue Notes: USMNT in Copa America?, Salloi: “I’d rather play in MLS”

Plus, SKC II dip into the transfer market, trades and rejected transfers around MLS and the She Believes Cup returns.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Sporting Kansas City Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Another day, another edition of Blue Notes!

Rumor: The USMNT in Copa America

Max Bretos is reporting that the United States Men’s National Team will play in the 2024 Copa America along with the CONMBOL teams. He says it’s a “done deal.”

If this turns out to be true, and I’ve heard rumblings in other places as well, then it feels like a win for the US. Since they don’t have to qualify for the 2026 World Cup as one of the host nations (along with Mexico and Canada), they need to find a way to play meaningful games against tougher opposition. Everyone else in CONCACAF (Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica) were bounced in the group state in Qatar.

This would seemingly allow the team to get quality games against top notch opposition as a buildup to 2026.

Daniel Salloi does a Sit-Down Interview

A few weeks ago (sorry, missed it initially) Daniel Salloi did an interview with KevinChoTV, who has previously guested on the Shades of Blue Soccer Show. He talked about a range of topics, including the decision to spurn Europe and stay with Sporting Kansas City.

“It was a very tough decision,” began Salloi. “Not at the end when things got cleared out a little bit. Then it got easy. Heading into the season having options from lots of teams in the league and lots of teams in Europe, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was confused because I love playing America, I love MLS and I love Sporting Kansas City. But I was thinking about maybe a new challenge, maybe go here or there. Nothing was strong enough for me to actually leave this place. I feel like I have a special connection with Sporting Kansas City, and I have more to do in this place.”

“This club has it in its DNA to win trophies and I want to be part of it,” continued Salloi. “The opportunities that I got made me think, especially from Europe, does it really make a step forward? I know the soccer stereotype you have to say America is bad and Europe is amazing it will never change. People do not want to accept MLS as it is. I think it’s gotten to a point when a player like me, who has an option to go to Europe and play in the top five leagues, not in the Championship teams but in a mid-table team, I’d rather choose to play in MLS.”

Salloi hit a lot of other topics, including:

  • His history and how he got into soccer (and almost quit at a young age)
  • The lack of progress from MLS referees
  • Having more red cards than Johnny Russell in his career
  • On rooting for the USMNT in the World Cup
  • and gaming with his teammates

I have to admit, I haven’t watched any of Kevin’s stuff before. I’m going to chalk it up to being old and just not understanding watching someone else watch a game. It reminds me of my 10-year-old watching YouTube videos of people playing games (that she owns!) instead of just playing the game herself. It’s probably a me thing.

Here is a recent highlight from the Argentina-Netherlands game.

SKC II Make a Transfer — Ethan Bryant

In a somewhat rare move in American soccer, a transfer fee was paid between clubs (instead of funny money like GAM, TAM and whatnot). Sporting KC II acquired Ethan Bryant from the Richmond Kickers of USL League One. The fee is undisclosed, and The Blue Testament was able to confirm this isn’t the first time SKC II have paid a fee for a player, which may be news to some.

Bryant is a 21-year-old who started his professional career at just 16 with San Antonio FC in the USL Championship. He spent time on loan and in Belgium before settling in with the Kickers where he was the league’s Young Player of the Year in 2022. Over the year he was a consistent starter and netted three goals and added five assists in league play. His goals seem opportunistic, but according to the press release, he created a ton of chances for his teammates as well.

His now former coach, Darren Sawatzky, spoke highly of him.

“Ethan is a very talented young player with some very good experience both domestically and abroad,” Kickers’ Chief Sporting Officer and Head Coach, Darren Sawatzky said. “Our job was to reignite the fuse that burns in him, and he decided to explode here in Richmond. We are excited for him to chase the highest level of football here in the United States, and we are grateful to Sporting KC for reaching out and giving him this chance with the transfer.”

She Believes Cup Announced

The 2023 SheBelieves Cup will be a good tune up opportunity ahead of the 2023 Women’s World Cup for US Soccer. The USWNT will host Brazil, Canada and Japan in three different US cities. The full schedule is below.

  • Feb. 16 - Japan vs. Brazil - Exploria Stadium (Orlando, FL) - 3 p.m. ET
  • Feb. 16 - USA vs. Canada - Exploria Stadium (Orlando, FL) - 6 p.m. ET
  • Feb. 19 - USA vs. Japan - GEODIS Park (Nashville, TN) - 2:30 p.m. CT
  • Feb. 19 - Brazil vs. Canada - GEODIS Park (Nashville, TN) - 5:30 p.m. CT
  • Feb. 22 - Canada vs. Japan - Toyota Stadium (Frisco, TX) - 3 p.m. CT
  • Feb. 22 - USA vs. Brazil - Toyota Stadium (Frisco, TX) - 6 p.m. CT

This is just another leg in tuning up for the World Cup after having two friendlies against New Zealand, the World Cup host nation, in January.

“The first five games of the 2023 schedule will all be against teams playing in the World Cup and we expect to confirm a few more matches against top opponents before we go to New Zealand during the summer,” said USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski.

“We love the SheBelieves Cup for the world class competition it brings, the format that helps replicate group play at a World Cup and the overall meaning that it has for our team and women’s sports. Obviously, you get more rest days in a World Cup, but managing a roster with three games over seven days against teams with three very different styles of play is really good preparation for us as we continue to grow as a team towards next summer.”

Quick Notes

  • The Seattle Sounders are coming out with a “digital membership” that gives benefits for subscribing to MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. It’ll be intriguing to see if other teams follow suit.