TORONTO (Tuesday, May 22, 2007) -- Toronto FC, which has been a revolving door for players in its brief Major League Soccer history, acquired forward Jeff Cunningham from Real Salt Lake, the league's fourth leading all-time regular-season goal-scorer today by sending striker Alecko Eskandarian and a 2008 first-round draft pick to Utah.
"I've been after him forever," Toronto coach Mo Johnston said. "He was our No. 1 target since before the season started. It's a pleasant surprise that it finally happened."
Cunningham, a 30-year-old playing in his 10th MLS season, joins his fourth MLS team and third in just more than two seasons. He has 93 goals in 246 regular-season matches, 162 of then starts, while also chipping in 57 assists. In 19 playoff outings, he has four goals and five assists.
"He's a guy who can score goals day in and day out," Johnston said. "He'll probably be the league's all-time top goal-scorer before he's done."
In 2006, his one full season in Salt Lake, Cunningham led MLS with 16 goals and 43 points, while he was in a four-way tie for second in assists with 11, one behind Colorado's Terry Cooke. He spent his first seven seasons with the Columbus Crew where his 62 regular-season goals are tied with Brian McBride for the career lead, and he then played for the Colorado Rapids in 2005.
Eskandarian, 24, in his fifth MLS season, was the "Most Valuable Player" on the 2004 MLS Cup final when he scored two goals for D.C. United in its 3-2 triumph over the Kansas City Wizards. He started six of Toronto's seven games and scored his first goal of the season Saturday to stake his club to a lead it couldn't hold in a 2-1 home setback to United.
Eskandarian, who led Toronto with nine shots on goal, told The Washington Post the trade was "a huge shock." In 87 regular-season games, 53 starts, Eskandarian had 21 goals and four assists, while his four playoff goals came in United's 2004 title run. He was limited to 12 matches in 2005 because of concussions, then played 22 times in 2006, finding net on seven occasions.
"They called me into the coaches' office this morning and told me," he continued. "I am definitely disappointed. I felt good here and was really settling in."
TFC still has two more first-round selections in the 2008 draft. "To get a guy like (Cunningham), you have to give up someone good," Johnston said. "I'm disappointed to lose Esky, but excited to get Cunningham."
Red Bulls' new home is delayed
HARRISON, N.J. -- The opening of the New York Red Bulls' $140-million stadium here will be delayed at least two months until September 2008. Any more delays and the Red Bulls will be forced to play the entire 2008 schedule in Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, where the club and its predecessor, the MetroStars, have called home since MLS began in 1996.
Old concrete structures were found at the construction site, as well as pools of oil. Peter Higgins, chairman of the Harrison Redevelopment Agency, said contamination from the oil caused little problem, but the subsurface structures were mostly responsible for the delay.
"It's building foundations, huge concrete slabs, concrete monoliths that probably supported cranes or heavy machinery of some type," Higgins told Associated press.
Higgins told AP some of the slabs are 16 inches in diameter and four feet thick and removing them would add undermined cost to the project which broke ground it September. He added that the team would be responsible for the additional price tag.
Red Bull Park, which will have 25,000 seats and is projected to cost $200 million, is planned to be the centerpiece of a $1-billion project that will include office space, retail outlets and housing across the Passaic River from Newark.
Anschutz Entertainment Group which, as owner of the MetroStars, began trying to build a stadium six years ago. It sold the team, half-interest in the stadium and the naming rights to the venue to Austrian energy drink maker Red Bull on March 9, 2006.
AEG, which also sold D.C. United in January, still is the owner-operator of the Chicago Fire, Houston Dynamo, and Los Angeles Galaxy, and built the $150-million Home Depot Center complex for the Galaxy in 2003.
D.C. United to play in Copa Nissan Sudamericana
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- D.C. United will face CD Guadalajara, popularly known as Chivas, in a two-match, Round-of-16 meeting of Copa Nissan Sudamericana in September, it was learned from today's tournament draw.
The winner of the aggregate-goals series will advance to face an opponent from Brazil or Argentina in the 34-club tournament.
United was invited to Copa Sudamericana because of its third-place finish in the CONCACAF Champions Cup. Chivas eliminated United from the Champions Cup semifinals with an aggregate of 3-2, tying 1-1 at home March 15, then winning the home leg 2-1 on April 3.
MLS's Houston Dyanmo also lost in the Champions Cup, but United earned third place because it had a better goal differential.
United will seek redemption when it hosts Chivas during the week of September 11 at RFK Stadium, then travel to prior to October 4.
"Playing Chivas again in a meaningful competition is an ideal scenario for us," United coach Tom Soehn said. "We played them very close over a similar two-game format during our preseason and we feel that we have unfinished business to tend to with them."
United was the first MLS team to play in this prestigious tournament in 2005. D.C. faced Universidad Catolica of Chile, drawing 1-1 at home and then wasting a 2-0 lead before falling 3-2, 4-3 on aggregate, in Santiago.
Copa Sudamericano is the club championship for CONMEBOL, the South American federation. It comes at a time when United hopes it is competing for an MLS playoff spot with its season ending October 20.
"We know that our calendar is very tight, but it's an international tournament that any player would like to compete in," United's Argentine playmaker Christian Gomez said,
After scoring the deciding penalty kick in United's 2-1 decision over Toronto FC Saturday, Moreno tied the recently retired Jason Kreis for the all-time MLS lead with 108 goals. Moreno will be absent next Saturday for a home game with Houston, the defending league champion, after being invited to play for Bolivia in its friendly against Ireland at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
United is mulling a roster move after losing reserve forward Jamil Walker for the season to a ruptured Achilles tendon.
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