While the Cosmos put on a decent performance in their preseason match against LIU, I did find it interesting that they were the only club this spring that did not add any new pieces this week. Wondering when we’ll see added depth to the squad.
Carolina signed 26-year-old NASL veteran Aly Alberto Hassan. Hassan broke into the league, joining the Strikers in 2012 and making 21 appearances. After a loan to Aurora in Bolivia, he rejoined the Strikers from 2013-2015, making 29 appearances. Hassan was then transferred to the Ottawa Fury during the season split where he made an 12 appearances and scored three goals.
Senegalese defender Papé Diakité was signed by the Eddies. The 23-year-old center back joins from Antwerp of the Belgian second division where he made 25 appearances with the club. Prior to that he spent time with Oosterwijk and Antwerp again and started his career in 2011 with AS Trenčín of the Slovakian Super Liga.
Their next signing was midfielder Shamit Shome. The 18-year-old Canadian youth international is a graduate of the FC Edmonton academy. He spent last season with the University of Alberta Golden Bears where he won the Canada West Universities Athletic Association 2015 men’s Rookie of the Year award and finished eighth in goals in the Canada West regular season with six.
Forward Matheus Carvalho joins the Ft. Lauderdale side. The 23-year-old forward spent most of his career in the top divisions of Brazil and was a youth international for Brazil. Most recently, he played eight matches for AS Monaco FC of Ligue 1 and also collected a few minutes across two games in last year’s Champions League.
Indy added two new players to the roster. First up was 31-year-old Spanish midfielder Gorka Larrea who spent most of his career in La Liga with Real Sociedad and Levante and also spent time in the Spanish second division. Most recently, the defensive midfielder was with the Montreal Impact organization in 2014, making nine league appearances for the MLS side with an additional two for their USL affiliate. He also played a full CONCACAF Champions League match for them.
Next, was Jamaican left back Stephen Deroux. The 32-year-old joins from the San Antonio Scorpions where he spent the last three seasons and made 74 appearances, 28 of them last season. Holding a green card, he will not occupy an international spot. He’s reunited with head coach Tim Hankinson, who he played for with the Scorpions in 2013.
Sean Lewis, a 23-year-old goalkeeper, joins from the Olympia FC Warriors where he helped lead them to a league title last year. He spent the year before that with the USL PDL Panama City Pirates.
Miami FC made one signing, an experienced one. Adaílton Jose dos Santos Filho, a Brazilian center back, has a history that ranges from Brazil to France to Switzerland to China to the US. The club’s he’s played for include Rennes in Ligue 1, Santos and Bahia in Brazil’s Serie A, Sion in the Swiss Super League, and Henan Jianye in the Chinese Super League. Most recently, the 32-year-old joins from Chicago Fire where he made 17 appearances and scored a goal.
Winger Danny Cruz joins after spending last season on loan with FK Bodø/Glimt, making 15 appearances and scoring twice. Prior to that, he spent three seasons with the Philadelphia Union and the four seasons before that with DC United and the Houston Dynamo.
The other signing was Ben Speas, a forward with Columbus Crew for the last four seasons. The 25-year-old made 42 appearances for the Crew across those four seasons, but only made eight in 2015.
Ottawa Fury signed defender Kyle Venter, whose versatility allows him to play multiple positions along the back line. The 24-year-old played nine games for LA Galaxy II (USL), but his appearances increased last year when he made 24 for the Tulsa Roughnecks, scoring three goals.
Rayo OKC picked up some solid NASL experience in the form of Erick Norales. The Honduran defender spent the last two seasons playing for the Indy Eleven, making 46 appearances and scoring five goals. Prior to that, the 31-year-old defender spent six seasons in the Honduran league, playing five of them for Marathón.
They also picked up Jarad van Schaik, a 27-year-old midfielder. He joins from the Charleston Battery, where he spent three of the last four seasons, made 82 appearances, and was a captain. This is his second time in the NASL, having played for the Puerto Rico Islanders in 2011 and 2012.
Only one signing for the Rowdies during this stretch. Defender Jeremy Hall, a 27-year-old, signed a one-year deal with a club option for 2017. Hall has traveled around MLS with stops at New York Red Bulls, Portland Timbers, FC Dallas, and Toronto FC. Most recently, he played for the New England Revolution and made 12 appearances last season.
At this point, I find Miami FC’s signing to be the most intriguing of the week and look forward to what he brings. That’s a lot of experience for a 32-year-old center back in the NASL.
But, I look more forward to the Cosmos finalizing their own roster. Maybe we see Niko Kranjčar join up? He looked good at the friendly on Friday. There were a few other unidentified players at the match. Looks like the Cosmos may have something coming down the pipe soon.
Carolina was in need of a striker, but not sure Hassan is the answer. When Hassan was transferred to Ottawa after the Spring Season in 2015, it was believed he was going to be the answer to the scoring problems. He was, but not in the way you would think. It seems his presence put Tom Heinemann into action. It will be interesting to see if Hassan becomes the true goal scorer he is expected to be.
I was critical of FC Edmonton on our show as I did not feel their off season was that strong, however, looking at the roster now, I am starting to think I was wrong (it happens often!).They have some quality all over the park, but they needed to solidify the back line, which gave up a lot of goals last year. This could be the move needed to put them into a good position going into their UK adventure which will see them play some solid sides, including Partick Thistle FC.
As Luis mentioned, Miami had another good signing and I am really looking forward to seeing this team in action.
Ottawa picks up versatility, Rayo picks up experience, and we still have six more weeks before the season starts.