The Rhinos have added two defenders and a forward just ahead of the USL 1st Division roster freeze date. Former Chivas defender Alfonso Loera and Kareem Smith a defender who played his college ball at the University of South Florida and former Wilmington Hammerheads forward Jamie Holmes have been brought in to reinforce the Rhinos lineup for the stretch run.
Loera (#23) and Smith (#31) were the two mystery players that were at Saturday's match versus Minnesota and took part in pre-game warm ups. The Rhinos were awaiting international clearance as Loera last played for Tabasco in Mexico and Smith signed with Faroe Islands side KÍ Klaksvík FC in March.
Loera last played in the US in 2005 with Chivas USA of MLS.
Smith was not only a standout at South Florida (he was a 2nd team All-Big East selection as a senior), but he was also named to the PDL's All-Eastern Conference Team in 2005 when he played for the Cape Cod Crusaders.
Holmes was tied for the Wilmington scoring lead with 9 points (3 goals and 3 assists). The Birmingham Southern grad was selected by the New England Revolution in the 2nd round of the 2005 Supplemental Draft. Holmes spent the 2005 season with New England before being released in November, 2005.
To make room for the three additions, the Rhinos released goalkeeper Hector Zapata and rookie midfielder Ryan Wileman. Zapata losing his roster spot was not surprising. However, losing Wileman was a bit shocking. With the Rhinos talking about wanting to build a team on young talent, it's surprising that the Rhinos would cut ties with Wileman less than one full season into his pro career. Given the chances that players like Josh Bolton and Danny Kramer have gotten over the past couple of seasons, I would have thought that Wileman would be a guy that the team would want to keep around for the future.
It will also be interesting to see what kind of trickle down effect this has on the Rhinos roster. Nate Craft was pointed to as a key cog of the defense at left back. But, with the Loera signing and the talk that he will play next to Kenney Bertz when he returns from his wrist surgery, it would appear that the plan is to have Scott Palguta play at left back down the stretch.
And where does that leave guys like T-Bone Bonseu and Jason Perry?
Will Chad Severs, who's developed some nice chemistry lately up top with Hamed Diallo, get bounced for Holmes?
It's going to be very interesting to see how Coach Calloway uses his new players down the stretch and the affect that bringing guys in this late will have on the psyche of the team.
Other moves around the league ahead of the roster freeze
- Charleston has signed T&T forward Andre Touissant
- Montreal has added forward Roberto Brown, defender Luis Aguilar and goalkeeper Jon Paul Piques and called up defender Alex Surprenant from the Trois-Rivières Attak and released Argentinean midfielder Martin Fabro.
W-League All-League team announced
It's interesting that only two of the eleven players on the All-League team have advanced to this weekend's W-League Final Four at PAETEC Park.
Atlanta goalkeeper and W-League goalkeeper of the year Melanie Wilson and Washington Freedom midfielder Lori Lindsay are the two members of the All-League team that will be traveling to Rochester this weekend.
Up top, it would appear that limited appearances by Washington's Christie Welsh (20 points in 8 games) and Rochester's Gretchen Miller (21 points in 9 games) hurt their chances for being named to the All-League team. But, if you go on a points per game basis, Cleveland's Danesha Adams (24 points in only 5 games) should be the W-League MVP.
Adu to Benfica getting closer
Freddy Adu arrived in Portugal yesterday to finalize his transfer from Real Salt Lake of MLS to Benfica.
With Adu being able to avoid joining a European club midseason, like Clint Dempsey did with Fulham earlier in the year, this should ease the transition a bit as he will be able to jump right into Benfica's pre-season training and get on the same page as his teammates while they are still in the process of doing the same thing.
And while there is still a lot of hype around Adu, he did just turn 18 years old and will be playing against grown men. Here's hoping that Adu's move to Benfica is Freddy biting off just enough that he can chew.
News & Notes:
- The KC Star has an article up about a developer's plan for a project that will include a new stadium for the Wizards. Any Rhino fans with MLS dreams that have yet to be dashed, should watch this story closely.
- In one of the most interesting (or stupid) ideas I've come across, the owners of the Milwaukee Mile Speedway are looking at having a moving soccer pitch to potentially host MLS games at the race track. NASCAR meets MLS. Add that to the list of things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
- Big Apple Soccer.com has a lot more on the potential Tony Meola to the NJ Ironmen story. Apparently Tony is working with AEG on a deal that would have him working for AEG either for the Devils or their new stadium that is opening up soon and then moonlighting as a goalkeeper for the Ironmen. This news makes this story a lot more likely to happen than at first blush.
- With Beckham not making the trip to Pizza Hut Park for tonight's Superliga tilt between the LA Galaxy and FC Dallas, that means that Becks will not play in Dallas in 2007. Imagine that, a team that AEG doesn't own will miss out on Beckham. Somehow I bet that if they were slated to play Houston, that Beckham would at least sit on the bench.
- The KC Star also had a cool article on Eddie Johnson over the weekend. I just wonder how long he'll be in MLS with the way things have gone as of late.
- It looks like Daddy Yankee will be making an appearance at the August 17th game when Miami FC travels to take on the Puerto Rico Islanders.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of the Rochester Rhinos or SoccerSam.com. Feel free to send any comments or complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. James promises to read (but not to respond) to all of them.