MLS Weekly Update: CCL Heartbreak and Big Potential Moves
Throughout the MLS season, I'm going to be adding a new, league-wide update with a quick notebook of major stories from the past weekend and beyond. This is an Orlando City website, but every Wednesday*, we're widening our view to the whole of the league.
*waited an extra day this week to cover some more CCL results
CCL Disappoints, Again
I warned myself. I tried to expect disappointment. But even with that preparation, I still find myself defeated by the crushing inevitably of #freespace that comes with the Concacaf Champions League.
It started with CF Montreal, who nursed a 1-0 deficit heading to the second leg against Mexican giants Cruz Azul. It was a long shot for the Canadiens to turn the tie, and as we expected, La Maquina scored an away goal and held on the rest of the way. That one hurt, but was just a warmup for what was to come.
The New England Revolution took a 3-0 lead to Mexico City to face Pumas. The Revs have the reigning MVP, two more high-level DP forwards, the greatest American head coach of all time and set the MLS single-season points record last year. Surely they can get through, right? Of course they can't.
The Revs choked laughably hard, allowing three goals and failing to capitalize on several chances. The game went to a penalty shootout, and as Sebastian Lletget's penalty skied to the moon, the hopes and dreams of MLS fans everywhere went with it. It was an embarrassing moment for Arena and the Revolution and will forever be remembered as an all-time collapse in CCL history.
I hate this tournament.
Gyasi Zardes Available for Trade from Columbus Crew
USMNT striker and MLS veteran Gyasi Zardes is reportedly available after losing his starting spot with the Crew to Miguel Berry. Zardes has been playing some for the Crew this year, scoring a goal against San Jose, but the young Spanish striker is seemingly the top choice for Caleb Porter, making the former LA Galaxy homegrown available for trade.
The top potential landing spots for Zardes are Sporting Kansas City, the Colorado Rapids and Austin FC. He's an effective and experienced center forward, but his status as a Designated Player and potentially high asking price could limit the teams in play for Zardes.
St. Louis CITY SC sign Borussia Dortmund's Roman Bürki
St. Louis are slated to be MLS's 29th team when they debut next season, but the technical staff have wasted no time building a roster before the team sees the field. After already signing several players, including their first Designated Player in striker João Klauss, St. Louis made arguably its biggest splash by signing goalkeeper Roman Bürki from German giants Borussia Dortmund. Bürki is a former Swiss international with plenty of experience in the Swiss Super League and Bundesliga, and brings Champions League pedigree to the new club. Almost all of St. Louis's signings so far have come from Germany, and the staff has clearly identified the type of players and markets they're looking at.