The finality of the Union’s inaugural season is upon us.
Following the players’ exit interviews Wednesday with members of the training staff, the offseason for Major League Soccer’s expansion franchise had begun. The players will relocatee all over the globe until Jan. 20, when they will report back to the club (assuming their contracts are maintained, their loans are renewed or they are among those protected from selection within the expansion draft.)
As the Union filed from the Healthplex in Springfield, the opinions on their offseason plans were as varied as their looks. (For example, Roger Torres rocked an unpressed sport coat while Nick Zimmerman donned a pair of baggy sweats. And when did Toni Stahl grow a beard?)
A finalist for MLS Rookie of the Year, Danny Mwanga said he might go “three or four days without touching a soccer ball” before he feels the need to start up again. Danny Califf is a bit less relaxed.
“When you’re 30, you don’t stay fit as long as you used to,” said Califf, the team’s captain. “You get out of shape quicker than you used to. I’ll try and stay active doing things I never get a chance to do – ride a bike, boxing, stuff like that. You don’t have the luxury of staying on the couch.”
Considered widely a prime candidate for league MVP honors, Sebastien Le Toux said his offseason work won’t begin for a while. He has an invite to MLS Cup in Toronto, then he’ll spend time reconnecting with family overseas.
Like Califf, Michael Orozco Fiscal won’t take too much down time.
After starting 29 matches – “Should’ve been 30, if not for a stupid red card,” he said – Orozco Fiscal wasn’t exactly pleased with his first MLS season. Not enough organization and not enough shape for his backline, he cited, were reasons why Orozco Fiscal’s offseason down time is non-existent.
“In Mexico, you get two weeks between the winter and summer season,” he said. “I want to train. I want to get better. … Overall, it’s not how you start but how you end. I think I improved a lot. I was happy with the second half of the season. I want to come back next year – assuming I stay – and be better for this team, from Day 1 until the end.”
Orozco Fiscal’s fate – and the fates of the rest who inhabited the Union’s locker room – is up in the air. In the coming weeks, we’ll know more. Until then, it’s onto the offseason.
- Fred uses an image of an iconic cartoon character as the background on his iPhone. Who? None other than Bedrock’s own, Fred Flintstone. (Go figure.) In other Fred news, the gash to the midfielder’s head, suffered against Los Angeles, required only four stitches to close. “I told (Nowak) I wanted to go back in,” Fred said. “He said no, so I listened.”
- Amobi Okugo this week was named to the United States men’s national U-20 team for Torneo de las Americas, a tournament at Kennesaw State University from Nov. 21-29. Though the California native hasn’t seen his family since MLS took its World Cup break, Okugo is excited about the U-20 nod. “It’s an honor,” he said.
- Alejandro Moreno received a callup this week to join the Venezuelan national team. The forward is expected to make his third start with the team since October.
- Tom Veit was seen walking about the Healthplex while the Union underwent their exit interviews. He said he was in Tampa last week before returning to the region for personal business. At the Healthplex, he joked with Le Toux, who admitted he has a 2.7-percent body-fat index. “Yeah – I do, too,” Veit said, jokingly.
To contact Christopher A. Vito of the Delaware County Daily Times, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him at Twitter (@ChrisVito).