It appears that MLS is at it again. They are changing the rules as they go because they can or at least think they can. In all honesty, if MLS wants to be taken seriously, they need to make it so everybody involved understands their rules. Do you have any idea what I am talking about? If not, let me fill you in.
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As reported by Jeff Carlisle of espnfc.com, it appears that MLS will be using allocation rankings in order to determine where United States Men‘s National Team player Jozy Altidore will end up playing, if in fact he does come back to MLS. Last week, Taylor Twellman tweeted that there were three probable landing spots for Altidore–New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC and Portland Timbers.
As a refresher, here is the tweet from Twellman:
"Multiple sources tell me Jozy Altidore and @MLS are in discussions about his return this winter with 3 teams applying. #TFC#RBNY#POR— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) January 7, 2015"
So it appeared that Merritt Paulson and the Timbers would finally get a USMNT player in 2015 like Paulson wanted. To take one of my favorite quotes from Lee Corso, not so fast my friend.
We all know that Don Garber likes to put “high-profile Designated Players” wherever he likes. A prime example is when Clint Dempsey wanted to return to MLS. The Timbers were first in the allocation rankings and Seattle second. Somehow, the process was aborted and Dempsey was awarded to the Sounders.
The league at the time decided that players of a certain salary threshold were not subject to the allocation order. Which meant a desire to pay the player’s salary and acquisition costs was the deciding factor.
Dec 7, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New England Revolution midfielder Jermaine Jones (13) controls the soccer ball in overtime during the 2014 MLS Cup final against the Los Angeles Galaxy at Stubhub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
This past summer when Jermaine Jones wanted to come back, the league went an entirely different route. Two clubs, New England Revolution and the Chicago Fire, were both willing to meet Jones’ salary demands. That’s when the league decided to use a “blind draw” to determine when he would play.
If the league does go by the allocation rankings and the only three teams interested are the one listed by Twellman, then Toronto has the inside track. They currently have the seventh pick while Portland has the ninth. Realistically if Portland wanted him bad enough, they could make a trade with the teams in front of them. The Red Bulls reportedly are not interested in Altidore due to his salary demands.
As much as it pains me to say this, Paulson and the Timbers are getting screwed. Yes, I am a Sounders fan through and through. I normally bask in the downfall of the Timbers whether it is a bad season, bad game, not getting a player they wanted or had every right to get. I am glad the Sounders got the services of Dempsey. I would absolutely hate it if he had ended up in Portland, but as a fan of the sport, it’s just not right.
If MLS wants to be taken more seriously, they need to make their rules more clear or transparent if you will. It is almost like they all sit in a room and decide where they want to put certain players. Also, who gives MLS the right to determine what threshold each player is at? It’s almost like they are making things up as they go.
What do you think? Where should Altidore end up? How should it be determined where these players end up? Let us know in the comments.
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