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USMNT January camp roster: 19 MLS players called in to start

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For the U.S. men’s national team’s Europe-based contingent, preparations for the next set of World Cup qualifiers are still a couple of weeks away. But for others, that process begins Friday in Phoenix.

U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter has called on 19 MLS-based players to get camp started before three vital qualifiers that will go a long way toward determining whether the U.S. will have to sweat out the final steps on the road to Qatar or if its 2022 World Cup ticket will be all but in hand. Not all will proceed to the final stages of camp, when those whose clubs are based abroad will be released to join. But Berhalter has stressed the importance of keeping those whose MLS seasons finished as early as Nov. 7 in shape, and last month’s camp outside Los Angeles and this month’s head start before qualifying resumes are how he’s hoping to accomplish that. There won’t be any official matches during this two-week gathering, though U.S. Soccer says it will include “several closed-door scrimmages” against unspecified opponents.





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Heber brace leads NYCFC over Red Bulls in preseason opener

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Ryan, a 22-year-old New Jersey native, pulled one back for the Red Bulls in his first action since turning pro this week. Ryan played for RBNY’s academy from 2013-17, helping earn three straight Northeast Division championships from 2013-15 before heading to Pac-12 program Stanford.





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Union trade Kacper Przybylko to Chicago Fire – The Philly Soccer Page

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Photo: Howie Pollard

Philadelphia Union continued their offseason overhaul at striker on Saturday morning, trading stalwart striker Kacper Przybylko to Chicago Fire.

In exchange, the club received a massive haul of allocation money from Chicago: $1.15 million, split between $575,000 in 2022 GAM and $575,000 in 2023 GAM.

Przybylko, 28, led the club in scoring each of the past three seasons, with his 35 regular-season goals the third-most in club history (behind Sebastien Le Toux and C.J. Sapong).

“We want to thank Kacper for his efforts on and off the field with the Philadelphia Union,” Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a press release. “He has played a major role in some of the Union’s most memorable moments over the last few years and we wish him all the best as we continue to look to strengthen and add depth to our roster in the coming weeks.”

Przybylko was one of Tanner’s first signings, coming to the club as a trialist in 2018 after a series of foot injuries derailed his career in Europe. He entered the lineup in April 2019 and basically never left, starting 77 games and making six substitute appearances from 2019-21. Przybylko also finished as the highest scorer in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League.

(And, it should be noted, he earned the absurd nickname “Striker Muffin” from the writers of this website.)

But rumblings increased in recent weeks that Przybylko was on his way out in Philadelphia. From the player’s side, Przybylko wanted more stability than the Union were willing to give him. Rather than a long-term guaranteed contract, the Union held team options on him for both 2022 and 2023. Przybylko, who turns 29 in March, told a Polish outlet recently that he was looking for more guaranteed stability at this point in his career.

Meanwhile, the club is looking to remake the striking position, which might require a club-record outlay. Trading Przybylko adds to a war chest of allocation money already bulging after the sales of Mark McKenzie and Brenden Aaronson last offseason. In his press conference Thursday, Union manager Jim Curtin explained that “there are things that can happen which would benefit both sides” and that the club would remain active in the transfer market.

For now, though, the striker corps consists of Sergio Santos, Cory Burke, and offseason acquisition Julian Carranza, as preseason training shifts to Clearwater, Fla. next week.

With the start of the regular season five weeks away, Union fans will eagerly await news of Przybylko’s replacement.

Author: Peter Andrews
Peter Andrews is PSP’s managing editor. Since joining the site in 2014, he has reported on the Union and U.S. national teams from fifteen different venues in the U.S. and Canada. Follow him on Twitter @pfandrews.



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Toronto FC Signs CPL Defender Lukas MacNaughton

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Pacific FC original Lukas MacNaughton has made the move upwards to Toronto FC.

The 26-year-old centre-back arrives as the club’s third domestic signing in just as many days, with Bob Bradley also adding further Canadian talent in Deandre Kerr and Greg Ranjitsingh. While the move has yet to be confirmed by either club, we stated our belief that the deal was done last week and have since independently confirmed as such.

MacNaughton joins the reds after completing three seasons with Canadian Premier League side Pacific FC, where the stalwart defender clocked in 59 appearances across all completions, contributing five goals and one assist. The defender has already joined the club for preseason in California, having completed his medical over the weekend.

His transition upwards has been largely expected all month after an initial report by Transfermarkt. His transfer to Toronto FC is rumoured to have netted Pacific FC a return to the tune of $175,000 along with future incentives, with 21-year-old defender Luke Singh reportedly being sent to Pacific on a season-long loan as part of the deal.

Lukas MacNaughton (left) challenges Diyaeddine Abzi (right) for possession.

The six-foot-two centre-back has been rated as the most valuable defender in the Canadian Premier League, with former head coach Pa-Modou Kah having long championed him as an MLS level defender. Through his 59 appearances at the CPL level, Lukas established himself as sharp defender with an eye for a good tackle, plenty of physicality, and great situational awareness on the pitch.

For me when I look at him and having played in MLS myself, I see him as an MLS defender. I think the greatest reward for him as well as us as a club is for him to move to a higher level where he can test himself, because he truly deserves it and he is ready for that level.

Pa-Modou Kah

MacNaughton’s third season with Pacific FC saw him put in good individual showings against both Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps, with the defender featuring for every minute of the club’s semi-final reaching Canadian Championship campaign. He then helped Pacific FC win its first-ever championship, qualifying the west coast side for continental action in the upcoming season.

MacNaughton becomes just the second-ever CPL-to-MLS transfer, with former Cavalry FC defender Joel Waterman being picked up by CF Montreal after the league’s inaugural season. With Kwame Awuah trialing with the Vancouver Whitecaps, it’ll be interesting to see if the transfer movement upwards picks up further steam.

TFC boss Bob Bradley has wasted little time instilling a new era with Toronto FC, supplement marquee addition Lorenzo Insigne with a lot of faith in domestic talent – and that extends into his coaching staff with the addition of Paul Stalteri.

Toronto FC’s first preseason under Bradley has already witnessed a lot of restructuring at the back, with Omar Gonalez and Richie Laryea departing, and Kemar Lawrence expected to follow. Bradley has brought informer Seattle Sounders centre-back Shane O’Neill, with Mexican defender Carlos Salcedo rumoured to be en route, too.

While some had initially speculated that MacNaughton’s arrival was related to MLS Next Pro, we can confirm that this is a first team transfer.

It is expected that his signing will be formally announced as soon as tomorrow.





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