Insider Notes: USA to tune up for Copa America vs. Ecuador, Bolivia
The U.S. opens the Copa América Centenario on June 3 against Colombia, and the likely U.S. opponents for the two friendlies right before the tournament are a pair of South American foes also preparing for the special-edition competition.
The U.S. is poised to meet Ecuador on May 25 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, and then Bolivia on May 28 at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The contracts for those games are not 100% done yet, but they’re expected to be officially confirmed soon.
Ecuador, which is 4-0-0 in 2018 CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying, was drawn into Group B along with Brazil, Haiti and Peru. Bolivia, meanwhile, is in Group D along with Argentina, Chile and Panama.
Here are a couple of more items from around the soccer world:
Sounders eyeing DP attacking midfielder
The Seattle Sounders have an open Designated Player slot with the departure of Obafemi Martins, and I’m told they’re looking to sign a DP midfielder, perhaps even during the current transfer window that ends in early May. The midfielder will be a “chance creator,” who can both score goals and increase Seattle’s expected goals metric.
The Sounders are aiming to sign a second non-DP as well. The feeling inside the club is that it’s set up well at the forward position, but it needs more coming out of the midfield.
What's next for Totti?
Roma's 39-year-old legend Francesco Totti hasn’t started a game since September 20 and was locked in a public battle with the recently re-hired manager Luciano Spalletti. Roma owner Jim Pallotta met with Totti last week, and word emerged that the club would likely grant Totti’s wishes and extend his contract one more year. But it’s a tough situation. The club realizes how popular Totti is with the fans and wants to be on good terms with him.
I’m told that Pallotta would have preferred that Totti retire and take an ambassador position like the one Javier Zanetti has with Inter Milan. Totti still thinks he can play at the highest level, but behind closed doors the club wouldn’t mind if he drew interest from China or MLS.