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Full-on rebuild at Toronto FC? Bob Bradley doesn’t need to “trash everything”

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Bradley will have serious influence over TFC’s future, holding a dual-role much like the one Bruce Arena has with the New England Revolution and Peter Vermes has with Sporting Kansas City. They’re among the most successful teams from the 2021 MLS campaign, and Bradley will surely move the puzzle pieces around this offseason to narrow the gap.

One clear challenge, an albatross of sorts, is Jozy Altidore reportedly exiting after a year riddled with friction and injury. One of TFC’s three Designated Player spots would open if Altidore departs, though staying put means Bradley is charged with getting more out of his former US men’s national team attacking ace.

As for the other DPs, winger Yeferson Soteldo and midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo, Gass feels plenty is in place to help resurrect Toronto after their second-from-bottom Eastern Conference finish in 2021.

“The one thing I go back to is I think Bob Bradley is, in the purest form, the best American soccer coach of all time,” Gass said. “The way his teams play, the way he sees the game, his ability to affect his players, is the best we’ve ever had.

“So there’s a ton of issues at Toronto, but there’s last year’s MVP [Pozuelo] and potentially there’s Soteldo, who while it was a tough year, is a guy who scored goals in Copa Libertadores and is entering his prime and does it for Venezuela at Copa America and has elite ability. You’ve got Jonathan Osorio, you’ve got Marky Delgado. There are pieces there.”





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2021 Player Profiles: Zac MacMath

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Our 2021 Jordan Guernsey Humanitarian player of the year, Zac MacMath, played an interesting role with the 2021 Real Salt Lake squad.

Off the field, he continued to make a difference in the community, and on the pitch he supported the team when David Ochoa was not able to play.

Starting seven matches, MacMath had a 70 percent save rate, with two clean sheets over the seven starts. Between the posts, he had a 1-4-2 record. While this might not have been the most outstanding season on the field, his role was important to the team as the backup to David Ochoa.

It is also nice to have him on the roster, as he does have more experience than Andrew Putna and David Ochoa, and also after some of the comments and the subsequent investigation wih Andrew Putna, having him was quite useful.

As of now, it appears that Real Salt Lake has its preferred started in David Ochoa, however, I for one am glad to have the type of character and representative of the team in Zac MacMath, and hope that he continues to be a part of the team.



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Atlanta United academy continues to develop

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“And a lot of these kids, one, some don’t have an interest in going to college. Some also have the trajectory where they’re able to be here a lot more when they’re in a professional environment. Get more touches on the ball, in the gym, the nutrition, all that other stuff and hopefully develop at a more rapid pace.”

Bocanegra said some of the academy players and Homegrowns will get chances to train with the first team during the preseason, which is a common tactic used by the team during weeks when there are no games.

The first team currently includes seven Homegrown signings: Bello, Campbell, Machop Chol, Jackson Conway, Efrain Morales, Bryce Washington and Tyler Wolff. Past signings who are no longer with the club are Andrew Carleton, Chris Goslin, Lagos Kunga and Patrick Okonkwo.

That only Bello and Campbell contributed played at least 500 minutes last season should be seen as a positive and not as a criticism of the quality of players being developed, according to Bocanegra.

“It’s having the balance of pushing Academy players through and giving these opportunities as well as trying to win the championship,” Bocanegra said. “So we don’t want to go only youth or only non-homegrown. It’s trying to have the right mix and right balance for the club. Overall, we’re really pleased with that. And it’s something that we put a lot of time and energy into that whole pathway, the academy, second team and like I said Gonzalo is on board with that, which is great. So these guys get a get opportunities not only training but with the second team.”

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Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule

Feb. 27 vs. Sporting KC, 3 p.m., FS1

March 5 at Colorado, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

March 13 vs. Charlotte, 4:30 p.m., FS1

March 19 vs. Montreal, 4 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

April 2 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

April 9 at Charlotte, 3 p.m., ESPN

April 16 vs. Cincinnati, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

April 24 at Miami, 1 p.m., ESPN

April 30 at Montreal, 4 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

May 7 vs. Chicago, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

May 15 vs. New England, 2 p.m., ESPN

May 21 at Nashville, 7:30 p.m. FOX

May 28 vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 19 vs Miami, 4 p.m., ESPN2

June 25 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 30 at New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 3 at NYCFC, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 9 vs. Austin, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 13 vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 17 vs. Orlando, 3 p.m., ABC

July 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 9:30 p.m., FS1

July 30 at Chicago, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

August 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC

August 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

August 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

August 21 at Columbus, 6 p.m., FS1

August 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV

August 31 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 4 at Portland, 5:30 p.m., FOX

Sept. 10 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 14 at Orlando, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept 17 vs. Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 1 at New England, 1 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 9 vs. NYCFC, TBD, BSSO/BSSE





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Vancouver Whitecaps transfer Janio Bikel to Vicenza – Loan-to-buy deal almost agreed

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Headed to Serie B 

Janio Bikel is headed to Serie B club Vicenza Transfermarkt has learned. The Vancouver Whitecaps are in the final stages of negotiations about a loan-to-buy deal with the Italian club. Vicenza are currently fighting relegation and have collected just seven points from 17 games this season and are nine points behind Cosenza, who occupy the final relegation playoff spot. The Whitecaps hope to recover most of their initial deal should Vicenza, who are owned by Italian billionaire Renzo Rosso make the deal permanent. 

Bikel, in the meantime, has been looking for a fresh start. Signed in February 2020 from CSKA Sofia in a deal worth $2.2 million, the 26-year-old midfielder was initially an important player under former head coach Marc Dos Santos. But after new head coach Vanni Sartini took over, Bikel’s playing time diminished. With that in mind, the Whitecaps were open to finding a new home for the midfielder, especially as Pedro Vite and Caio Alexandre, who returns from an injury will be expected to fill that role in midfield. 

The Whitecaps acknowledged on Monday that a deal was close without, however, giving specifics about his exact destination. “We are very closed to getting it inked for that reason we allowed him to stay in Europe to finalize his side of the deal; the medical and all that sort of stuff,” Whitecaps sporting director Axel Schuster said as part of the media available on Monday morning. “We expect to get it done within the next 24 to 48 hours.” 

Cavallini, Caio Alexandre, Caicedo & Co.: Vancouver Whitecaps record arrivals

Jon Erice | Signed from Albacete in 2019 | Fee: $440,000

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Lucas Venuto | Signed from Austria Vienna in 2019 | Fee: $440,000

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Jasser Khmiri | Signed from Stade Tunisien in 2019 | Fee: $440,000

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Tristan Blackmon | Traded from Charlotte FC in 2021 | Fee: $475,000

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Ranko Veselinović | Signed from Vojvodina in 2020 | Fee: $649,000

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Kenny Miller | Signed from Cardiff in 2012 | Fee: $700,000

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Leonard Owusu | Signed from FC Ashdod in 2020 | Fee: $1.1m

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Anthony Blondell | Signed from Monagas SC in 2018 | Fee: $1.2m

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Érik Godoy | Signed from CA Colón in 2020 | Fee: $1.5m

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Previously on loan at the Whitecaps

In-beom Hwang | Signed from Daejeon Citizens in 2019 | Fee: $1.72m

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Ali Adnan | Signed from Udinese in 2019 | Fee: $2m

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Janio Bikel | Signed from CSKA Sofia in 2020 | Fee: $2.2m

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Déiber Caicedo | Signed from Deportivo Cali in 2021 | Fee: $2.5m

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Pedro Vite | Signed from Independiente del Valle in 2021 | Fee: $2.5m

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Octavio Rivero | Signed from O’Higgins in 2015 | Fee: $3.3m

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Caio Alexandre | Signed from Botafogo in 2021 | Fee: $4m

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Lucas Cavallini | Signed from Puebla in 2020 | Fee: $5m

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