Mariner might be headed to the Fire
More wheeling and dealing in L.A.
The Galaxy continue to make moves to jump-start their season ahead of David Beckham's arrival. The two-time MLS Cup champions traded for Chris Klein of Real Salt Lake and are also set to trade underachieving Santino Quaranta to Kansas City for draft picks. With the release of defender Ian Russell, the trade of Ty Marshall to Toronto FC and the additions of Abel Xavier, Carlos Pavon and of course Beckham clear, its the Galaxy are trying to create much needed salary-cap room.
The Fire's courtship of former Chilean international and Lazio forward Marcelo Salas appears to have ended after a promising beginning. Salas has had an offer on the table from the Fire for more than a week but hasn't responded to the deal or even made a counter offer. Salas trained with the Fire earlier this month and both parties sent strong signals that a deal could be imminent. However, the delay in contact between the Fire and Salas has the team feeling less than optimistic they will be able to add a second designated player in time to join Mexican international Cuauhtemoc Blano. Speaking of Blanco, the Fire's first designated player may now be called back by the Mexican national team for the upcoming Copa America, thus pushing back the beginning of his Fire career, which is set to officially begin July 1.
Claude Makele to stay, for now
Chelsea and French midfielder Claude Makele has decided to play out the final season of his contract with the English Premier League club rather than join MLS at this time. Both New York and FC Dallas contacted the 34 year-old Makele about a possible transfer but nothing materialized. Makele, still a likely key component for France's Euro 2008 bid, tested the waters to look for a new club as he faces less playing time in the crowded Chelsea midfield thanks to the play of Lassana Diarra and John Obi Mikel.
Mariner to the Fire?
New England Revolution assistant coach Paul Mariner, long considered the top assistant in MLS, may be looking to slide one seat over to become the head coach of the Chicago Fire. Mariner's name has emerged atop the short list of candidates to take over for Dave Sarachan, who was dismissed this past week. The Fire, who are looking for just their third head coach in franchise history, are said to be leaning toward Mariner, who has been Steve Nicol's assistant for the past four seasons. Mariner played in the 1982 World Cup, earning 35 caps for England. The former Ipswich Town and Arsenal striker could link up with another Englishman in Chicago, Fire President/CEO John Guppy. In the meantime, Dennis Hamlet will be the interim coach, becoming the first-ever black coach in MLS history.
Tony Sanneh, an integral part of the 2002 U.S. World Cup team that reached the quarterfinals, is attempting to comeback from a string of injuries and may return with Red Bull New York. Sanneh, 36, who last played in MLS with the Chicago Fire, played in a reserve game this week for the Red Bulls. He came away feeling positive about his chances of returning to fitness and reuniting with Bruce Arena. Sanneh played a variety of positions for United under Arena, mostly in midfield, scoring goals in the first two MLS Cups and leading D.C. to consecutive titles. Sanneh then went to the German Bundesliga and played six injury-filled seasons in the Bundesliga for Hertha Berlin and FC Nuremberg. In 2004, he came back to MLS, signing with the Columbus Crew but was traded to the Chicago Fire at the end of that season, in exchange for Ante Razov and part of an allocation. Sanneh has recorded 16 goals and 27 assists in 108 MLS matches.
Allen Hopkins covers Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer for ESPN and ESPN.com. Look for Allen patrolling the sidelines during Major League Soccer Thursday Primetime. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.