Category Archives: Analysis

Guest Post: @blogdeMLS Profiles Cristian Maidana

A huge thank you to Brown Lugo (@Philly_brown10), who translated Facundo Trotta’s (@blogdeMLS) writing. Plus a major thank you to Trotta, who wrote this guest post:

Cristian “Chaco” Maidana is an Argentinean midfielder who is 26 years old. We will look over his career and explore his strengths and weaknesses as a player:

Brought up in the lower teams of Banfield , he had his debut in the Primera of the Apertura tournament of 2006. He quickly gained recognition for his technique and his aggressive play. As happens with a lot of young Argentines after a good showing, he got the attention of various European clubs.

Spartak Moscow would sign him in 2008.

His stop in the Russian league was largely affected by adaptation problems, and as a result, the team sent him on loans twice. He first went on loan with Recreavitio de Huelva, of Spain, in 2009, where he played very little and ended up losing his strength. Maidana returned to Moscow and ended up series of injuries which didn’t help him, leading to him being sent on loan again in 2011.

With Huracán, in Argentina, he again showed poorly and had discipline problems, which made the coach separate him from the team. The season ended in the worst way, with the team descending to Nacional B.

Maidana was freed from his contract in Russia, and in 2011 he signed for Rangers de Talca, in the second division of Chile. He went back to his level of play from his earlier years and helped his team go up to the Primera . His level of play was so high that Atlante, from Mexico, decided to buy his rights.

In Mexico, he played for a weak Atlante that had to fight to stay in the top league. Maidana’s playing time was irregular and he participated in two tournaments and had only three goals in 2013, leading to him looking for a new club.

That club was Argentinos Juniors, which had a coach who preferred strong players or technically gifted ones. However, he was in the similar position as in Mexico, with just five games played, pushing him to once again seek a new team.

He can play like an offensive midfielder, is a good passer and has great individual style. If he can adapt to the language and the North American lifestyle (which the writer says he debuts) and without the worries of going into a lower division, then maybe he can play better than he has in the past couple of years.

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Carlos Valdes Countdown: New Year Passes Without New News*

*Read on for an explanation of why that’s not technically true.

The New Year came and went without any development in the Carlos Valdes transfer saga. The lack of movement on a loan or permanent transfer out of MLS means that the former Philadelphia Union captain has officially returned to the club’s roster.

Hold onto those happy thoughts, Union fans.

Valdes’ time with the Union most likely ended upon his initial loan to Santa Fe, despite that temporary transfer’s completion when the clock struck midnight on 2013.

Head coach John Hackworth has even publicly admitted that the Union won’t ever see Valdes play again for the team, leaving little to read between the lines on the matter in November:

“The reality is this is a good situation for Carlos right now,” Hackworth told MLSsoccer.com. “He needs to continue to be in that situation going into the World Cup because we’re in a good marketplace for him right now. I would think at some point he’s either going to get bought or we’re going to extend that loan through the World Cup.”

Valdes’ agent confirmed as much in a recent interview that clearly showed off the players’ wishes for 2014:

“If you ask me, ‘Is the player going to play in MLS?’ I can tell you with 101 percent certainty that in the first half of 2014, Valdes will not play in MLS,” Valdes’ agent, Ricardo Pachón, told FutbolMLS.com.

The center back’s push to be a part of Colombia’s World Cup squad in Brazil has led him to follow Jose Pekerman’s, the manager of the country’s international team, directive to seek playing time back home.

The best case scenario for both sides is a six month loan with an option to buy for a team, unless the Union want to bank on Valdes not only successfully making the 23-man roster, but also impressing in Brazil.

Philadelphia holds the second and sixth picks overall in the first round of this year’s MLS SuperDraft, which is laden with center back talent.

Carlos Valdes Countdown: Seven Days ‘Till Loan’s End

Here’s the latest update: nothing. There has been no new news on the Carlos Valdes front in the past couple of days.

The center back is still due to end his loan with Santa Fe on December 31, which would mean that he’d return to the Philadelphia Union prior to the 2014 preseason. The likelihood of Valdes actually playing for the Union at all in 2014, or beyond this upcoming year, remains low.

Valdes originally pushed for the move to Santa Fe in order to play in games leading up to Colombia’s World Cup Qualifiers in March, but now his spot on the country’s 23-man roster for Brazil this summer is in question.

To remain in contention for a role with Jose Pekerman’s team, Valdes has himself in a predicament: stay with a team that can’t afford him without paying in increments, which lessens the chance that the Union sell him to Santa Fe, or return to the Union, who won’t play again until March, only three months before the World Cup itself.

Expect Valdes’ time with the Union to have ended with the close of the 2012 regular season. Santa Fe and Valdes’ agent have claimed that the team will be where Valdes will play for at least the first half of 2014, which is where the player apparently wants to continue his career, unless a move materializes to Europe.

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Vartughian Cites New Team As Hope For Bone, But Is That Enough?

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Photo by Noah Salzman

Corben Bone’s Major League Soccer career has never progressed as smoothly as Rob Vartughian and others had predicted it would end up.

The former American youth international has struggled to find paying time in MLS, despite being drafted by the Chicago Fire in the first round of the same 2010 SuperDraft that netted the Philadelphia Union Jack McInerney and Amobi Okugo.

Since then, however, Bone’s career has sputtered as he played just 18 total games in four years in Chicago, with zero goals to show for it.

Bone’s collegiate career was bright enough that MLS signed him to a Generation Adidas contract, but the midfielder failed to catch on with the Fire. There was a brief stint in the lineup during the 2011 season, but the team’s decision to hire Frank Klopas relegated Bone back to the bench.

When the Fire drafted the Texican Xavi in 2010, he was expected to challenge for a starting role as an attacking midfielder – and at the midpoint of 2011, he seemed to be on track, starting seven times before June. Once Frank Klopas took over as manager, though, his playing time became asymptotic to zero – in the last two seasons, he’s made a grand total of three sub appearances for a total playing time of 29 minutes.

The Union see that same potential in Bone. Vartughian, the club’s Technical Director, and head coach John Hackworth have tracked him until now because of their feelings about his talent.

“We’ve known Corben for a long time,” Union technical director Rob Vartughian told MLSSoccer.com. “Corben is a very explosive, creative attacking player. And if you followed his career before he went to Chicago, he showed some of those qualities both on the international level as well as with his college team.”

The question in concern to Bone is not whether or not he has talent, as his nickname with the Fire suggested. It comes down to the same problems faced by Freddy Adu when the Union acquired him: will a club change be the cure all?

Youth plays a rather large factor in these circumstances, but Bone isn’t the youngster that Vartughian makes him out to be in the MLSsoccer.com article, authored by Dave Zeitlin. Four years in MLS makes him a veteran on the Union, a team with a squad young enough to consider players like McInerney, Okugo and Sheanon Williams as old heads.

Bone is already 25-years-old, which would tip him as nearly fully developed as a player throughout the world. The possibility of unlocking what was once considered true attacking potential out of the midfield has wilted away into the enigma of either a talent lost or one ready to be unlocked.

The problem for Bone lies in the Union’s inability to produce any quality in the midfield.

The departure of Michael Farfan came after his own development faltered and the same can be said of Roger Torres, who is also slated to leave Philadelphia before the new year. Realistically, the only midfielder the Union can point to as a team developed or ‘rebuilt’ player is Danny Cruz, who was a victim of happenstance with DC United after a solid beginning to his career with the Houston Dynamo.

When it comes down to it, the Union don’t have the history or credibility to right off determine that the acquisition of Bone merits an pat on the back for the front office.

It will be another wait and see in a long line of decisions made over the course of four plus years.

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