NASL Roster Moves in January: Final Week

12952807_10154241226901091_582560509_oThe final week of January continued to see teams work on their rosters. Not too many additions this week across the league, except for Rayo OKC, who continued to make some of the more interesting signings of the week. But, more importantly for Cosmos Country, we FINALLY saw some more new faces join the club.

New_York_Cosmos_2010.svg Oh my gaaaaww, we got some solid signings this week.

Click here to read about the Juan Arango signing.

Click here to read about the Yohandry Orozco signing.

Click here for instructions on how to stay alive until the club’s next signing.

 

Edmonton_FC_2010.svgThe Eddies made one signing, bringing aboard 30-year-old left back Adam Eckersley. Eckersely brings experience from the Danish and Scottish Premierships and the English Championship. He most recently joins after a four-month stint at Hibernian in the Scottish Championship where he did not play. He did make 24 appearances the season before for Hearts of Midlothian, helping them get promoted to the Scottish Premiership after winning the Championship title.

 

527px-Fort_Lauderdale_Strikers_logo.svgThe Strikers made a pair of international signings.

First up was 19-year-old Luis Felipe Fernandes. The Mineola native joins from Cruzeiro in Brazil where he’d been with their academy since 2008 and helped them several international titles. Fernandes is a holding midfielder who currently plays on the US U-20 national team.

Next was 31-year-old center back Julius James. The Trinidad and Tobago national team defender recently trialed with the Strikers during the Florida Cup and the pair of friendlies that followed. He holds a green card and will not affect their international player spots. He had only 10 appearances with the Scorpions before being sidelined for the rest of the season by a horrendous injury, but was a major part of the 2014 NASL title run. He’ll be reunited with former Scorpions teammate Nana Attakora.

 

Indy_Eleven_Logo.svgOnly one signing this week from the Indy Eleven, but they once again dipped into the 2015 Ottawa Fury ranks.

After poaching Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Colin Falvey from the Fury, Indy announced the signing of Nicki Paterson, a 31-year-old midfielder. The Scottish player was with the Fury the last two seasons, making 26 appearances in two injury-affected seasons, including seven starts in nine matches last spring before an ACL injury knocked him our for the fall.

 

Miami_FCMiami FC stayed active, making a handful of signings.

First came Jorge Luis Corrales. The 24-year-old Cuban defender spent most of his career in the Cuban leagues claiming the team MVP award for Pinar del Rio FC from 2012-2014. He spent 2015 on loan with Sancti Spiritus FC and has represented the Cuban national team at multiple levels, making appearances in last year’s Gold Cup, World Cup qualifiers, and their friendly against the Cosmos.

Next, came a pair of twins. While the bulk of their experience comes from college, Calvin and Conner Rezende have spent time with Cadiz FC and Crotone FC in Spain and Italy, respectively, for training. The twins also spent some time with the Michigan Bucks (PDL), where Calvin led the team in assists and earned a nomination for the PDL MVP.

 

1362504534_aUnited did not announce any new faces, but worked on securing more pieces from their 2015 line-up for the upcoming season.

Fullbacks Justin Davis and Kevin Venegas were signed to long-term contracts by the club. Davis, a 27-year-old right back, played 30 games last season and led defenders on the club with five goals. His six NASL Team of the Week appearances contributed to his appearance on the NASL Best XI. Venegas, a 26-year-old left back, played 29 games last season and his five Team of the Week appearances also led to a league Best XI spot. Both players are not only important defensively, but have been crucial to the Minnesota attack.

Another NASL Best XI member also returned in Ibson. The 32-year-old Brazilian midfielder made 26 appearances last season while scoring six goals and making four assists. Prior to joining the Loons last season, his resume included FC Porto, Spartak Moscow, and Brazilian clubs like Santos, Flamengo, and Corinthians.

Finally, a pair of brothers went their separate ways. Brent Kallman, a 25-year-old center back, signed a new deal. With the club since 2013, his contributions to the Loons have slowly increased with a start his first season, three in 2014, and eight starts with a goal last season. His brother Brian, a 31-year-old right back, decided to call it a career. A staple in Minnesota soccer since 2006, his pro career began with the Minnesota Thunder of the USL First Division before joining the NSC Minnesota North Stars in 2010 where he stayed through a Soccer Bowl title and a club re-brand, making 80 appearances during his time with them. He departs to coach youth soccer.

 

Rayo_OKCRayo OKC continued to be one of the more interesting follows to watch for new players. A few decent pick-ups and a few familiar faces to head coach Alen Marcina were among the pick-ups.

The arrival of Derek Boateng captured the interest of many across the league. The 32-year-old midfielder made appearances for Ghana’s national team in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. His club history is similarly impressive with stops in the English Premier League (Fulham), La Liga (Eibar and Getafe), and Bundesliga (FC Koln) among others and has appeared in the Europa and Champions Leagues.

Rayo also signed Australian keeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell. The 28-year-old played in the NASL previously, splitting time between the Railhawks and Strikers from 2009-2011. Since then, he’s spent time in Portugal, with first-division clubs across the last three season but made only one appearance for 10 minutes with Gil Vicente over the last two seasons.

Rayo OKC also began to draw in former Scorpions with the signing of Tyler Gibson. The 25-year-old midfielder began his pro career with the Scorpions, starting 22 matches for Alen Marcina. Gibson, utilized mostly as a center or holding mid, can also drop into a right back role as he did a handful of times earlier in the season.

Another returning Scorpion also got a lot of attention as the club announced the signing of Billy Forbes. The 25-year-old attacking mid spent the last two seasons under Marcina with the Scorpions. The Turks & Caicos international made 50 league appearances and scored 10 goals across those seasons and made two appearances for his national team.

 

I’m very excited that the Cosmos made two signings that seem to be of decent quality. While Juan Arango’s quality is undeniable, it remains to be seen if Orozco will be as consistent. At the moment, he appears to be a decent replacement with similar abilities to Walter Restrepo. Arango appears set to take on a CAM role (that’s not definite) and could contribute immensely between that and his specialty: dead balls.

But this week, I’m split between Minnesota and Rayo as far as making the better signings for the week. With Minnesota securing three NASL Best XI and Rayo OKC bringing up a World Cup veteran with a wealth of overseas experience and a proven player in Billy Forbes, it’s not an easy choice.

 

Nicks Thoughts

The Cosmos might be the winners of this week’s transfer moves bringing in two very credible players to the midfield. While we just dont know how they will lineup, Arango and Orozsco bring with them experience and skill. Do they replace Raul and Senna? Well, not so much in stature. But, on the field, they might actually bring a dynamic that will be different, but could match the departing Spanish stars.

OKC wins the ‘Wow Move of the Week’. As mentioned, Boateng was a very shrewd move that should help grab people’s attention in the local market. As the Cosmos know, when you are playing for the attention of your community with other clubs (or club in this case) you need to have something that makes people want to come watch your team. Boateng isn’t a world class name but it is a name with recognized around the world.

Not to mention OKC is really doing things surprisingly well on the field and might actually be a tough team to play. Interested to see their preseason kick off.

Minnesota last year had the best full backs in the league in Davis and Venegas. Minnesota will again have the best full backs in the league this year in Davis and Venegas. These guys are great defenders and offer much to what is going to be a very potent attack.

We move on to February! Just 2 months away from first kick.

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