The not-so-silly season
Soccer fans no matter where they are from know this time of year as the silly season due to some of the quite outrageous transfer rumors which seem to run overly rampant the closer the transfer season draws near. This transfer season immediately following the very high scoring and quite fun World Cup 2014 in Brazil has been extraordinarily silly, but also surprisingly accurate.
Take for instance the Houston Dynamo and the last week of rumors. The week began with rumblings of a possible US Men's National Team player looking to move back to Major League Soccer, shifted to naming the player, into the necessary steps rumored necessary to acquire said player, and eventually moved into the holy hell this is really happening. That was all before the end of the day Thursday, a day which also saw the team land Luis Garrido on loan from Olimpia.
It really was the quite the week, and lest we all thought the week was over Friday saw the emergence of a Carlo Costly contract offer rumor which as of yet has not been confirmed.
It wasn't just Houston Dynamo rumors as NYCFC got in on the act by signing and announcing Frank Lampard as their second major signing ahead of their inaugural 2015 Major League Soccer season. You can keep up with all of the Major League Soccer rumors through the SBNation MLS Transfer Rumors hub, which is constantly updated with news and reports on rumors throughout MLS.
Earlier in the week, Sporting Kansas City also got in on the act by doing the opposite of everyone else and inking two of their biggest current USMNT "stars" to long-term Designated Player contracts. Rumors had circulated Matt Besler had offers from abroad for substantial money, but elected to stay with SKC. Is this a sign of MLS clubs making a concerted effort to sign their biggest home-built stars instead of transferring them abroad?
Sweet, sweet memories
This week also saw fans bid adieu to a US Men's National Team defender who announced his retirement from soccer. Jay Demerit did so in the classiest way possible, and it should come as no surprise considering he was always considered one of the classiest players on and off the pitch. It is sad to see such a fan favorite retire due to injury, but sometimes age and injury take their toll.
Orlando City SC will join Major League Soccer alongside New York City FC next season as the next two expansion teams into the league. A few fans of the club will not have the privilege to experience any of the inaugural season's home matches due to incidents during a friendly with cross-state "rivals" Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Taking matters into their own hands instead of necessitating further action by Major League Soccer or USL-Pro, Orlando City SC also followed in the footsteps of our hometown team by issuing a Fan Code of Conduct, and a Fan Advisory Council.
What I find probably most intriguing about this is like Houston Dynamo, Orlando City have two distinct supporters' groups. The Ruckus, an officially recognized SG, and the Iron Lion Firm, not officially recognized SG, are reminiscent of our own Texian Army and El Battalion. It will be interesting to see what transpires long-term as OCSC joins MLS this season, and how the two SGs handle the inaugural season and the eyes of an entire league upon them.
Hat Trick from the penalty spot
A quick note and shout-out to our affiliate up in Pittsburgh for their 5-2 victory over the Real Salt Lake U-23 team. The referee had a huge influence on the match, awarding three penalty kicks in the first half to Pittsburgh Riverhounds, of which all three were converted by Jose Angulo for one of the very rare penalty kick first half hat tricks. I'm not even sure how many there have been over an entire game, but to achieve such a feat in a single half is pretty big. Kudos to the Hounds on a solid victory.