MLS clubs have loaned several young players to USSF D2 teams this season, but in a reverse move, 21 year-old Brazilian forward Paulo Araujo Jr. is being loaned by Miami FC to MLS club Real Salt Lake for the remainder of the 2010 season. Miami FC are a prohibitive longhsot for making the USSF D2 playoffs with a record of 3-11-11 record and are last in the league with a total of 20 points. Real Salt Lake, 2009 MLS champions, are sitting in second place in the MLS Western Conference, one point behind the LA Galaxy. Only Eastern Conference leaders the Columbus Crew, tied with the Galaxy for the league lead in points, have racked up more points than RSL.
Jason Kreis’ RSL squad have seven remaining regular season games, including tonight’s tilt with the Seattle Sounders. They are also involved in the CONCACAF Champions League., with their next CCL game on September 15 against Toronto FC in Group A play. (Cruz Azul and Aribe Unido of Panama round out the Group A foursome). Araujo Jr. will bring offensive punch to the club. The diminuitive native of Teresina, Brazil has scored eight goals in USSF D2 this season, ranking fifth in the league in goals scored. Last year, Araujo Jr.’s first with Miami FC he scored eight goals and was third in USL-1 in total points.
“Miami FC and Traffic Sports are proud to have provided a developmental path for Paulo to grow as a player and to take his skills to the next level” Miami FC Director of Soccer Fernando Clavijo said. “He will be missed and we are thankful for the heart and effort he put into the organization during his time here.” It’s good to see Araujo Jr., Mr. Offense, get the chance to display his talents on a bigger stage. He didn’t play in Miami FC’s game against AC St. Louis last Sunday, and MLS Rumors had him going to the LA Galaxy.
Earlier this week in Vancouver, Whitecaps’ management had to make some roster adjustments. Because they were over their limit of foreign players after numerous recent signings in preparation for next year’s venture into MLS, the Whitecaps had to release three players from their 30-man roster that will take them through their remaining four regular season games and the playoffs. According to Marc Weber’s article Tuesday on “The Province” website, the Whitecaps released forwards Cornelius Stewart and Nizar Khalfan along with veteran midfielder Takashi Hirano, placing them at the USSF D2 limit of seven players. Most of those seven are very recent signings….Costa Rican forward Jonathan McDonald and Swiss forward Ridge Mobulu, midfielders Alex Morfaw (Cameroon), Gershon Koffie (Ghana) and David Chiumiento (Switzerland), along with Liberian defender Willis Forko. French defender Maloud Akloul, who was injured early in the season while scoring the ‘Caps winning goal at home against AC St. Louis, is the seventh foreign player. He has been practicing and may see game action soon.
Hirano, 36, probably did not fit into Vancouver’s plans for next season, however the loss of Stewart and Khalfan may hurt the club’s chances of a successful playoff run. According to Coach Teitur Thordarson, “they are both players I want to keep here,” Thordarson said. “They have only upsides.” The Whitecaps have assigned the two forwards and Hirano to their PDL team. Factoring into the decision to make Stewart and Khalfan expendable was the fact that both will likely be involved in international play soon. Stewart, 20, will play for St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean Cup group stages beginning October 6, while Khalfan is expected to be called up by Tanazania for its African Cup qualifier October 8 against Morocco.
Although neither Stewart or Khalfan, with one goal apiece, were prolific goal-scorers for the Whitecaps’ this season, they had been playing often and both have good speed. Khalfan, 22, has scored five goals for Tanzania in international competition. The question now is, will Vancouver have enough offense left to capture the NASL Conference title they currently hold with four points over the Carolina RailHawks, and will the loss of Stewart and Khalfan render the team that has been involved in seven scoreless ties even more impotent in their finishing? Obviously young players like Mobulu, Cody Arnoux, Gershon Koffie and Jonathan McDonald will have to grow up quickly for the Whitecaps to have a successful playoff run.
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