MLS Daily: Bastian Schweinsteiger’s move to Chicago Fire is a scalp not just for the club, but also the league.

The former Germany captain has won the World Cup, the UEFA Champions League, multiple Bundesliga titles and the FA Cup during what has been a hugely successful career.

Chicago Fire have today announced that they are signing Bastian Schweinsteiger from Manchester United.

The 32-year old midfielder will complete his move to the United States after he’s obtained a VISA and passed a medical.

After a torrid two seasons at Old Trafford, the former German international will be hoping to reignite his career over in the MLS; a league that will only benefit from his imminent arrival.

Unlike big names from the past like Steven Gerrard and Didier Drogba, Schweinsteiger is still at an age where he could play for another five seasons if he wanted too, should he stay fit.

This makes him perhaps the biggest marquee signing from Europe for some time. The former Bayern Munich man could easily become the new face of MLS, should he rediscover the form that made him one of the best holding midfielders on the planet.

He will also boost the interest in the league both in the United States and in Germany. Fans will flock into stadiums to see him play. German networks will want to show live matches and provide additional coverage to a larger worldwide audience. His face on the advertising boards will only be a huge plus for the MLS marketing team, as it continues to compete with the Chinese Super League.

Moving to Chicago of all teams will give Schweinsteiger the chance to really showcase his talent for the whole world to see. Where he was fifth or even sixth choice at Manchester United, he is going to be number one on Veljko Paunović’s team sheet.

The Chicago Head Coach has spoken to the media about Fire’s new signing, and claims he cannot wait to start working with him.

“His immense expereince at the highest levels of this sport will be a great benefit to this squad of players,” Paunović said.

“Bastian will help with our team’s organisation and have an impact on our build up play towards the final third thanks to his vision, creativity and ability to score goals.”

Chicago Fire’s General Manager Nelson Rodríguez added: “This is a very big day for our club and I believe for the MLS after acquiring one of our sports great champions.

“Bastian isn’t just here because of his pedigree, but also because we believe he represents our club’s values.”

The signing of Schweinsteiger further showcases just how far the MLS has come in recent years. It finally looks like players aren’t moving across to America for a final ‘pay-day’. They actually believe the MLS is becoming a competitive league that wets their appetite.

Manchester United fans weren’t been too pleased with the treatment the German received at the Premier League club, especially under Jose Mourinho. He failed to make a single appearance in the league this season, meaning he leaves after playing just 18 times in a Red Devils shirt since his arrival back in July 2015.

Germany Head Coach Joachim Löw said in his press conference today that the midfielder was not given a chance to show his full potential at United, and that is was a shame he couldn’t light up the Premier League just like he had the Bundesliga

Across the pond however, fans are beginning to feel rather excited about their new man. Jerseys with the German’s name on the back are already selling, and people are calling it the ‘greatest signing in Chicago Fire’s history.’

Schweinsteiger could make his debut at Toyota Park on Saturday 1st April, where Chicago Fire host Montreal Impact.

 

 

MLS Daily: Defeat for defending champions Seattle Sounders in Houston.

First-half goals from Erik Torres and Romell Quioto give the Dynamo all three points on opening weekend. 

2016 was a season to forget for the Houston Dynamo, and one to remember for the Seattle Sounders.

Whilst Houston finished bottom of the Western Conference, Sounders went on to win the MLS Cup for the first time in their history.

The off-season has seen a lot of change- especially in the Dynamo camp. Wilmer Cabrera has taken over as Head Coach following Wade Barrett’s brief stint towards the second half of last year, as well as over a dozen new players.

Five of those, including goalscorer Quioto, made their debuts for the home side last night, and the team looked fresh and up for the task ahead. There was an energy around the Compass Arena that had been missing for some time.

Right from the first minute, Dynamo were on the front foot, with Sounders keeper Stefan Frei keeping the scoreline goalless with two good saves early on.

But Torres’ free-kick and Quioto’s superb curling effort from 20 yards gave the hosts a deserved 2-0 lead at half time.

The defending champions on the other hand just weren’t at the races during the opening half. Although on a positive note, it was good to see Clint Dempsey make his first competitive start since August, after he suffered a heart related issue last summer.

The former Fulham and Tottenham midfielder scored Seattle’s goal, in what was a much better second half performance, with a composed finish at the back post.

Head Coach Brian Schmetzer told Sounders after the game: “It was a good goal from Clint. I probably ran him out longer than I wanted too but we had discussed it and he felt ok to play.

“I told the players to be more patient with possession in the second half. We tried to play killer passes too quickly in the opening 45. When we got more patient we looked more of a threat.

“This was a good learning tool for us. The lesson here is that we cannot afford to let teams press us. We have a target on our backs.”

This was a cagey opening performance from the champions ahead of what will be one of the closest MLS seasons in history, and Sounders forward Jordan Morris said: “We are the champs. Teams are going to come at us and away from home they were going to be fired up.

“We need to learn from our mistakes ahead of next week. We’re all frustrated. We are better then that but hopefully we can turn it around next weekend.”

Elsewhere, FC Dallas won at LA Galaxy for the first time since 2009 as goals from Maximiliano Urruti and Kellyn Acosta helped the visitors to a 2-1 victory.

Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire drew 1-1 at the MAPFRE Stadium, DC United and Sporting Kansas City ended goalless and a Dominique Badji header saw off New England Revolution as Colorado Rapids made it a winning start to 2017.

Sebastian Giovinco missed a penalty as Toronto played out a 0-0 draw at Real Salt Lake and San Jose Earthquakes beat 10-man Montreal Impact thanks to an Anibal Godoy goal.