SWAP-MEET: Angel, Schelotto, even Bryan Byrne

With the international window now closed, it could be this will constitute the final big wrap on trades for the 2007 season - unless, that is, Mo Johnston pulls off a swap or two to bolster a Toronto FC defense that's proved porous as tripe.

Dichio to TFC
While we're on the subject, it looks like Johnston did manage at least one more acquisition, when he picked up Daniel Dichio from the lower reaches of English club soccer (and, for some reason, I first read of this in the Boston Globe). Thanks to his connection to a Yank through marriage, Dichio will count as neither a designated player (crap, I hope not) or a Senior International.

Red Bull's Angel
But the biggest news of the day surrounds the signing of Colombian forward Juan Pablo Angel by Red Bull New York - if you read MLS Underground, you'll get the impression this was a HUGE signing, at least from the Red Bull point of view. For reasons I can neither explain nor justify, I'm constitutionally unable to dub Angel the missing puzzle piece that will make Red Bull bonafide contenders. But, for all that, he's closer to how I'd like to see the league use the designated-player rule in the A. B. era (that's "After Beckham"): find a need on the roster and fill it with the best player you can afford/bargain for. On that level, I like this signing - a lot even - and hope it pans out.

At any rate, there's more about Angel in the Blogo-verse than you can shake a stick at, so here are some favories: USSoccerplayers.com pulled together some nice details about pay and such, while Ives Galarcep offered perspective on the signing closer to my comfort zone (no disrespect to the Underground, which truly is a bang-up site):

"All of a sudden the Red Bulls go from being painfully thin at forward to having three very solid options after Clint Mathis served notice on Sunday that he was back and ready to be his old goal-scoring self."

So he's jumping a bit on the Mathis bandwagon (I called shotgun on that ride, but I'll make room).

Columbus: Snag or a Fish
Yeah, I should post this on The Offside, but I've got other plans for that space.

Sports Illustrated has got off the fence and declared Guillermo Barros Schelotto Columbus-bound, so why's the Crew front office still holding off? Can't say for sure, but it may be they just want to cut the ribbon when the time comes. What I can say for sure is that the locals (see bottom; OK, I've done it too) are already busy figuring where and how to play their new toy.

Odds, Ends, Rumors
- No disrespect intended to Bryan Byrne, who signed with the New England Revolution late last week (maybe...by which I mean he signed, but I can't recall when I saw the story), but he's coming up as kind of an after-thought with all these other trade shenanigans going on. Hope he does well for the team I still call my own.

- The Zinedine Zidane rumors will not die - they only seem to get stronger, in fact. If the talk about him joining Beckham at the Galaxy hold true, it will make official what has heretofore only been an impression: the Galaxy is actively trying to revive the NASL model.

- Finally, Greg Lalas pulled all the designated-player odds-and-ends into a nice big bow (SMMMOOOCHHH!)

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