Frank Dell’Apa | Soccer notebook

The Revolution gambled in the MLS expansion draft, but it paid off

Vancouver Whitecaps' Hwang In-Beom, center left, and New England Revolution's Juan Agudelo, right, vie for control of the ball during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Wednesday, July 17, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
file/steven senne
The salary of Juan Agudelo (right) was deemed too much for the teams in the expansion draft.

The Revolution’s gamble in leaving forward Juan Agudelo off the protected player list for the MLS Expansion Draft paid off Tuesday. Agudelo, 26, might have been a prime choice for Inter Miami or Nashville, which will join MLS next season, except for his salary, listed at $604,000, according to the MLS Players Association.

Most of the 10 players chosen in the draft are receiving salaries well below the league average ($350,000). Only former Revolution star Lee Nguyen ($530,000), left unprotected by Los Angeles FC and taken by Miami, is being paid more than the league average.

Defender Jalil Anibaba, who started 48 games for the Revolution the last two seasons, was selected by Nashville. Anibaba, who will be playing for his sixth team since joining MLS in 2011, proved to be among the Revolution’s most dependable and versatile performers.


The Revolution also regained the rights to English defender Michael Mancienne ($995,000) and Colombian forward Juan Fernando Caicedo ($500,000), who were not included on the protected list.

Missed opportunity

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Bruce Arena worked quickly in securing Robbie Keane for the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2011, a move that helped them win three MLS Cup titles in four years. The deal to bring Keane to MLS from Tottenham Hotspur was sealed in less than 24 hours, Arena recalled recently.

Arena, now the Revolution’s sporting director/head coach, said Keane “wasn’t playing for Spurs,” so he went to Galaxy president TimLeiweke, who had worked with Anschutz Entertainment Group along with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy. Leiweke believed Levy would respond, despite the early morning hour of the call, and he was right. The next call was placed to Keane’s agent, Struan Marshall, and a contract was signed the following day, Arena said.

On Aug. 15, 2011, the Galaxy announced the acquisition of Keane on a $3.75 million euro transfer. At the time, the Galaxy had a 13-3-9 record, best in MLS. Keane joined David Beckham and Landon Donovan as the team’s Designated Players, and the Galaxy went on to finish 19-5-10, then swept four games in the playoffs. The Galaxy also won the 2013 MLS Cup and defeated the Revolution in the 2014 final.

Things might have been different had the Revolution acted with alacrity when they were offered Keane. The Revolution’s insistence on a multi-year contract held up the deal, according to a source involved with the negotiation.


Keane seemed a natural for the Boston area. Keane is Ireland’s all-time leading scorer, totaling 68 goals for the national team, breaking the record set by Frank Stapleton, the Revolution’s first coach. Stapleton had snapped the Ireland mark set by Noel Cantwell, who guided the New England Tea Men from 1978-80.

Chelsea in market?

Chelsea FC could return to the transfer market in January if an appeal to the Court for the Arbitration of Sport is successful Wednesday. The Blues have been banned from signing players for a year because of irregularities involving acquiring youth players from outside Britain.

The Blues violated 150 rules involving 70 players, according to FIFA’s disciplinary and appeal committees, and also have been fined $608,000 for allowing “third-party” dealings with players.

Chelsea, which has sent dozens of players on loan throughout Europe, has been forced to try young performers from its academy, and the results have been positive.

Tammy Abraham is the team’s leading scorer, 19-year-old Reece James recently became the youngest Chelsea player to score in the Champions League, and Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori have been in the starting lineup. US midfielder Christian Pulisic, 21, acquired from Borussia Dortmund last year, has totaled five goals in 14 games.


Chelsea (8-2-2, 26 points), tied with Leicester City for second place, visits fourth-place Manchester City (8-3-1, 25 points) Saturday.

Rematch possible

Liverpool FC and CR Flamengo have met only once, in the 1981 Intercontinental Cup. Flamengo took a 3-0 victory over the Reds in the final in Tokyo, the Rubro-Negras believing their spontaneous style key in stymieing LFC’s predictability.

The clubs could meet again in the FIFA Club World Cup, successor to the Intercontinental event, in Qatar next month, should Flamengo win the Copa Libertadores.

Flamengo, considered Brazil’s most popular club, will be seeking its first Copa Libertadores title since ’81 when it faces River Plate in Lima, Peru, Saturday. Flamengo has been revived under former Benfica coach Jorge Jesus, and is one victory away from winning the Brazilian championship with four matches remaining in the regular season.

Gabriel “Gabigol” Barbosa broke the Flamengo scoring record with 22 goals, one better than Zico’s total in 1981, and also leads the Libertadores with seven goals in 11 games. Barbosa led the Brasileiro league with 18 goals with Santos last year and could become the third player to win the scoring title in successive seasons, following Atletico Mineiro’s Dada Maravilha (1971-72) and Botafogo’s Tulio (1994-95).

Liverpool and the Libertadores champion qualify for the semifinals of the World Club Cup, scheduled Dec. 17 and 18. The final will be played in Doha Dec. 21.

Liverpool, which visits Crystal Palace on Saturday, has nine matches scheduled in four competitions (Premier League, Champions League, League Cup, Club World Cup) next month.