Insider Notes: Red Bulls close in on DP Verón; Wambach's future; Geiger
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The New York Red Bulls are on the verge of completing the Designated Player signing of Argentine Gonzalo Verón, a U.S.-based source with knowledge of the deal tells SI.com.
Verón, a 25-year-old winger for San Lorenzo, is an aggressive player with speed who should fit well into New York’s high-pressing style. The transfer fee is around $2 million with a five-year contract, three of those years guaranteed.
Verón could make his MLS debut as soon as the Red Bulls’ rivalry game against New York City FC on August 9. He'll become the Red Bulls' second Designated Player, joining Bradley Wright-Phillips. Wright-Phillips's brother, Shaun, signed with the team earlier this week.
Here are a couple of more insider items from around the soccer world:
Wambach's future not crystal clear
U.S. women's national team forward Abby Wambach said in a TV interview today that she was planning to play in the 2016 Olympics. But when I connected with her today, she pulled back a bit, saying she hasn’t decided yet but it would be hard to say no if she were asked to play. She added, though, that she has to make the team first and is taking nothing for granted.
Wambach is not playing in the NWSL right now, but her rights are owned by the Seattle Reign after a March trade that sent Sydney Leroux to the Western New York Flash.
PRO backs Geiger despite Gold Cup
Some soccer-watchers were surprised when it came out this week that embattled referee Mark Geiger, whose work in the Mexico-Panama Gold Cup semifinal was roundly criticized, has been assigned to work the Seattle-Vancouver rivalry game this Saturday. But the man who gave Geiger the assignment—Peter Walton, the general manager of the Professional Referee Organization—told me he will continue to back Geiger.
The assignment for Saturday was actually decided two weeks ago, before the Gold Cup. But Walton said he saw no reason to take Geiger off the game.
“In terms of the issues Mark had with the Mexico-Panama game, it was one of those nights where some things went right and some things didn’t go right,” Walton says. “I don’t think that should have any effect on future assignments that I make. Mark has proven himself on numerous occasions to be a very good referee.
“In terms of [Seattle-Vancouver], it was made and judged both on the teams, the competition, Mark Geiger’s ability and his form at the time. And he was the best fit. I see nothing in the game that’s just transpired to cause any issues with that assignment.”