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Luciano Emilio's future in MLS

Luciano Emilio is in limbo, his stint with Brazilian club Rio Branco over, his MLS rights held by D.C. United and the league's international window set to close in eight days. He returned to Washington last week to sort through personal matters -- he owns a home here -- and, while in town, requested tickets to United's match with New England at RFK Stadium.

As they weigh their trade options, United officials have declined to discuss Emilio's situation. Emilio, 31, does not want to talk publicly at this time.

Keep reading.....

However, it is clear that he wants to return to MLS after three years, 41 league goals and the 2007 MVP trophy while with United. After collecting a designated-player salary of $760,000 last season, his ceiling would probably be in the $150,000-to-$200,000 range. Though he lacks the technical skills to consistently create opportunities on his own and requires regular service, he is good for 10 to 12 goals under the right circumstances. (His production fell from 21 in 2007 to 11 and then 10.)

Who needs a frontline boost (other than, perhaps, scoreless DCU)? Philadelphia did show interest a few weeks ago and Dallas might be curious, though one source told me that Emilio would not play for FCD. It probably wouldn't make much sense for Los Angeles, Colorado, Chicago, Houston, Real Salt Lake, New York or Seattle. Kansas City just finished revamping its roster. New England and Columbus seem set in their ways.

Does Chivas USA (Justin Braun and Maykel Galindo) need help? Would San Jose (Cornell Glen and Ryan Johnson) step up? What about Toronto, which is lacking at the top of the attack? Who has the salary cap space and what is United requesting in a trade? (I'm guessing financial considerations and/or draft picks.)

We should have an answer to all these questions by next week.


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By Steve Goff  |  April 7, 2010; 12:52 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , MLS  | Tags: C.D. Chivas USA, DC United, Major League Soccer  
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Next: Matchday: Rooney starts for Manchester United

Comments

At this point DCU needs alot more than just an aging striker who can't really create anything on his own.

But hey, atleast DCU isn't owned by Peter Angelos.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | April 7, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I've written this before, but it astounds me that Luci can't play in MLS unless a team that wants him has to clear it with the team that has repudiated his services.

It shouldn't matter whether DCU merely declined to pick up an option for another year per the terms of a pre-existing cntract, or had not put him through the league's waiver process, or whether DCU offered him a contract for 2010 that the player rejected, or whether his contract expired outright.

For the union to have failed to bargain any provision to cover this scenario is unconscionable. There is an illegal agreement amount MLS teams and the league office to put into effect rules that are restricting this person's access to make a living. It's called restraint of trade and it is prohibited as under Title I of the Sherman Anti-trust Act. This is black-letter law.

If I were in his situation I would march right down to Constitution Ave. and into the U. S. District Courthouse and sue the pants off Garber, Chang, Payne, Foose, Durbin, and anyone else who got in my way.

Posted by: lgm6986 | April 7, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

We might have a stadium if we were owned by Angelos, though...but never a good team...

Posted by: ScottYoung3 | April 7, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey I put up with countless "bring Christian Gomez" back posts.
If Emilio will re sign at a discount, with perhaps a bonus per goal I'd be plenty happy to see him back in the Black and Red.

And, no I'm not kidding. The club hasn't scored a single goal in league play, he's got a house here... Shucks he may still be in shape from playing in Brazil? Competition at Striker could really help DCU...
just sayin'

Posted by: DadRyan | April 7, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I was the first that said emilio should go, but if we only paid him 150k should united consider taking him?

Posted by: Norteno4life | April 7, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Send Emilio and next years pick for Maykel Galindo. Roll the dice.

Posted by: ihillvt | April 7, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"Though he lacks the technical skills to consistently create opportunities on his own and requires regular service..."

He won't get good service and, because he can't create on his own, there's no reason to sign him.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 7, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

lgm -

The Sherman Act only applies if there's collusion between multiple legal entities. MLS ain't that. The teams are merely divisions of the corporate entity that is Major League Soccer. No collusion means no antitrust violation. So your lawyers could have a lot of fun (and a lot of your money) if you wanted to sue the principals of MLS, and MLS' lawyers would have a lot of fun, but in the end, you'd be right back here without a team to play for. The league has legal precedent on its side, here; you're not winning that fight.

The reason United kepts Lucigol's rights is that they made him a "reasonable offer" for a new contract after declining to pick up their unilateral option on his previous contract. Under the old CBA, that's enough for the team to retain his MLS rights.

The players' union and the league *did* address this situation (in a less than elegant way, but still). That's the Re-Entry Draft, which unfortunately for Emilio, won't happen till the end of this season. It's an unfortunate situation, and one that won't exist after this season, but it's completely reasonable for United to want to get value under the last vestiges of the "old system."

Posted by: TheAMT | April 7, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

What's up with the Angelos bashing? Since he hired MacPhail he has been hands off. You can't ask anything more of an owner than to fund but don't interfere.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | April 7, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Freedom preview. Maybe one of our local teams will be good this year.

http://www.gazette.net/stories/04062010/aspespo85554_32550.php

Posted by: OWNTF | April 7, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

@TheAMT -- lgm understands that DCU keeps his rights because the made an offer which Emilio rejected. He's expressing his disgust with such a restriction on a person's right to contract. I share his disgust, but it is what it is.

As for what the Union bargained -- they did cover this type of situation, but only going forward. Essentially, the new CBA will give the player an alternative if his team lowballs him. Of course, the new team will have to pay him based on the wages of his prior deal. Not sure I like that system either, since aging players aren't going to be worth what they were in their prime years. At an rate, the limited player movement rights in the new CBA don't really take effect until after the season.

Posted by: fischy | April 7, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

TheAMT:

Thanks for cleaning up some misperceptions that I had about the law. However, I think a plaintiff could make a colorable argument that MLS is in fact composed of multiple legal entities; that the model that was validated in the players' lawsuit in 1997 is no longer the same; that there is enough unique identity among the components of MLS that it rises to the level of multiple legal entities at the very least for purposes of player services.

Don't forget that courts have a way of seeing through to the equitable remedies and the facts of Luci's situation could certainly strike a judge, especially one sitting on the bench of the liberal DC circuit, as appropriate for relief at equity.

I don't think the rentry draft goes far enough and as you point out it certainly is no relief for Luci.

If DCU wants to hold his rights, shouldn't they be required to pay him?

Posted by: lgm6986 | April 7, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

The Mighty Quinn in the hospital after having his leg pop during practice. I very much hope that Troy is healthy enough to play on Saturday.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | April 7, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Luci at 150-200 K is a good deal. We should bring him back.

Posted by: delantero | April 7, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Is he training anywhere? Anyone's men's team -- anyone? If not, he's probably up to about 210 lbs. by now.

Offer him $40k plus $10k per goal.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | April 7, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

TheAMT, thank you for the excellent post.

I would add in response to igm that Emilio is in no way being denied the ability to make a living. He can play anywhere else in the world he wants to. He just got done playing in Brazil. He could go back to brazil and sign with another club, or he could go to Europe, Mexico, anywhere.

Besides, DCU gave him free game tickets, didn't they? ;-)

Posted by: Ron16 | April 7, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

agreed that a

lgm6986 - did you not read/post on this blog at any point over the two months? everyone agrees that the situation Luci is in is insane, but it is what it is. the owners have made clear that single entity is what they want, and that they will protect that model until they see fit to change it.

Posted by: VTUnited | April 7, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

agreed that a

post got chopped

Posted by: VTUnited | April 7, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

If DCU wants to hold his rights, shouldn't they be required to pay him?

Posted by: lgm6986 | April 7, 2010 1:35 PM

-------------------------------------------------------

That's the difference between holding his "real" rights and holding his MLS rights. Pay him what? There's no agreement between Emilio and DCU. So, what would the pay him to retain his rights? A percentage of his old deal. I guess that could work, but that's not in the deal now.

Posted by: fischy | April 7, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

agreed that a less than $200K Luci would be nice to have.

i suck at the internet.

Posted by: VTUnited | April 7, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

DCU doesn't hold Luci's rights. holding a player's rights, in FIFA terms, is very specific. DCU owns the right to sign him in MLS. in one league. I will now list the leagues that Luci can sign with, as a free transfer, no window applies, any team he wishes, that wishes to sign him:

wait, there are several hundred. I don't have time for that. Heck, there is another league in this country he can play for. Go play for Crystal Palace, you don't even need to sell your local house, if you're willing to drive. how many professional teams are there in Brazil? 50? 75? Mexico? El Salvador? Honduras? Panama? Colombia? Paraguay? Canada? Argentina? Ecuador?

See how that works? no one is restricting Emilio's right to contract. He can even sign a contract with MLS, assuming that he can find a team willing to pay what it takes to sign him. and part of that price is the option that DCU holds to sign him, that would have to be purchased. but that option only applies to MLS. not to any other of the 250 professional soccer leagues in the world.

DCU doesn't hold his rights, they hold a league-specific option. that's it.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | April 7, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Equitably and as a policy matter, I completely agree with the notion that if a team wants to pay Luci to play soccer, it should be able to do so. Legally, though, I don't think the a court will find that enough has changed since 97 to warrant overturning precedent and changing the classification of MLS as a single entity. Players still sign with the league, which tightly controls player allocation, etc.

It's the signing with the league part, along with the international nature of the football labor market, that makes it unfeasible for United to pay Emilio for retaining his rights. As an initial matter, it's still the league office that issues checks, not the team FO. Second, if the team made him an offer, which he rejected, and then he says he wants to play but can't land with another MLS team (for whatever reason, including compensating DC), he can go to Honduras, or El Salvador, or Brazil, or Australia, Japan, wherever. The fact that he doesn't do so doesn't mean he has a right to play in the US - there's no contract at the moment. MLS has allocated his in-league rights to DC, and so they can seek compensation for allowing those rights to transfer to another team.

It's too bad that this situation came up, but the re-entry draft - while far from perfect - is still a step in the right direction re: players' rights. I'm assuming (hoping) that if a player is not taken under his old wage in the re-entry draft that he effectively becomes a free agent (dirty words!), the equivalent of a new international signing with a green card.

Posted by: TheAMT | April 7, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

What's up with the Angelos bashing? Since he hired MacPhail he has been hands off. You can't ask anything more of an owner than to fund but don't interfere.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | April 7, 2010 1:25 PM
-------------

Don't want to turn this into a baseball/Angelos thread but, Gambrills, whatever happened to Angelos saying that with MASN the O's could have a payroll of $110+ mil? Right now their payroll is below the freaking Rays.

I'll take Will Chang and RFK over Angelos and OPACY (which Angelos doesn't own and had no hand in getting built) 10 times out of 10.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | April 7, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Rooney's playing?!?!

Man Utd: Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Fletcher, Carrick, Gibson, Valencia, Rooney, Nani.

Subs: Kuszczak, Berbatov, Giggs, Scholes, O'Shea, Jonathan Evans, Macheda.

Bayern Munich: Butt, Lahm, Van Buyten, Demichelis, Badstuber, Robben, Van Bommel, Schweinsteiger, Ribery, Olic, Muller.

Subs: Rensing, Altintop, Klose, Pranjic, Contento, Gomez, Tymoschuk.
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)

Posted by: Kev29 | April 7, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

...I think a plaintiff could make a colorable argument that MLS is in fact composed of multiple legal entities; that the model that was validated in the players' lawsuit in 1997 is no longer the same; that there is enough unique identity among the components of MLS that it rises to the level of multiple legal entities at the very least for purposes of player services...
Posted by: lgm6986 | April 7, 2010 1:35 PM
_________________________________________
A plaintiff (actually, a number of plaintiffs) did make this argument, and lost. See: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=1st&navby=docket&no=011296

Posted by: schmuckatelli | April 7, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering. What would MLS do if Emilio signed a 2 year contract with Portland or Vancouver now?

Posted by: csd1 | April 7, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

lgm6986, If you really believe that there is no way that Emilio would lose a case and through his ignorance is clearly losing millions in a law suit that he does not know he should file. I would recommend you stop wasting your time telling us about it and go drive Emilio to Constitution Ave after having him sign a contract stating he will split the proceeds with you.

Posted by: csd1 | April 7, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering. What would MLS do if Emilio signed a 2 year contract with Portland or Vancouver now?

Posted by: csd1
-------------------------------------------csd1, that is an absolutely sick question.
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. That just might bethe guy's loophole.

He would have to be willing to play this year for a max of probably $4k a month on a 7 month contract. He would also have to eat his pride and play in the US second division and deal with no frills, connector flight, layover travel.

But it is a brilliant idea. I know one guy who changed second division clubs, just to sign with vancouver so he could have a foot in the door when they move up. he was a proven second division player who was happy with his previous club but when the MLS deals didn't pan out the way he had hoped, he hitched his wagon to Vancouver.

If your loophole works then you make a better agent than some of the licensed ones that are currently working in this country.

You might be a genius.

Posted by: yankiboy | April 7, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering. What would MLS do if Emilio signed a 2 year contract with Portland or Vancouver now?

Posted by: csd1 | April 7, 2010 2:33 PM

nothing?

those teams dont get to bring their squads up to MLS next year, though I beleive Seattle had some sort of special exemption for signing a few of their "own" players (Letoux?) before the expansion draft.

Posted by: VTUnited | April 7, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

What's up with the Angelos bashing? Since he hired MacPhail he has been hands off. You can't ask anything more of an owner than to fund but don't interfere.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | April 7, 2010 1:25 PM
------------------------------------------

Angelos messed up the ball club but now he just strokes checks, gets updates and let's the baseball people do their thing.

I realize that it is apples and oranges but I'll take Andy Mcphail over Kevin Payne, any day of the week.

He seems to know what he is doing. With KP, sometimes I just have to scratch my head and roll my eyes...

Posted by: yankiboy | April 7, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

those teams dont get to bring their squads up to MLS next year, though I beleive Seattle had some sort of special exemption for signing a few of their "own" players (Letoux?) before the expansion draft.

Posted by: VTUnited | April 7, 2010 3:02 PM
-----------------------------------------

I was under the impression (and sois the guy who signed with Vancouver, so he had better be right) that both clubs were getting the same sort of deal. They can bring a few guys that they pick along for the ride (a la Seattle: Letoux, Levesque, Eyelander).

That is a huge part of what Saputo wants to do in Montreal. Word is that he He wants to bring a least six 6 guys along for the MLS ride.

Martin Nash and probably 3 or 4 other, current Vancouver guys are a dead-to-rites lock to be on MLS' Vancouver side.

Posted by: yankiboy | April 7, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Screw the yellow pages! If I ever need a lawyer, I'm posting a request right here. Although I'm not sure if I should hire one who spends so much time on soccer websites.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 7, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

If Emilio rejected a reasonable offer from DCU, his problems go way beyond league rules. At this point, is any team going to give up a senior international slot, a six-figure salary, AND send either cash, draft picks, or other senior roster players to DCU, to get Emilio?

He didn't exactly put the fear into any opposing defenses last year, and he scored once in 11 games in Brazil. So, don't count on it.

If he's set on playing in MLS, DCU could loan him out to train with other clubs; that way, they get a look at him between now and the summer window and can make an informed decision. Short of that, I think he's screwed.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | April 7, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

yankiboy - if you are right about the squad deal, then that would appear to be a loophole. however, vancouver and portland arent going to pay him nearly what any MLS side would pay - which is the main issue for him apparently, otherwise he would take DCU's reduced offer - so it doesnt really appear to solve his problem.

Posted by: VTUnited | April 7, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I've written this before, but it astounds me that Luci can't play in MLS unless a team that wants him has to clear it with the team that has repudiated his services.

It shouldn't matter whether DCU merely declined to pick up an option for another year per the terms of a pre-existing cntract, or had not put him through the league's waiver process, or whether DCU offered him a contract for 2010 that the player rejected, or whether his contract expired outright.

For the union to have failed to bargain any provision to cover this scenario is unconscionable. There is an illegal agreement amount MLS teams and the league office to put into effect rules that are restricting this person's access to make a living. It's called restraint of trade and it is prohibited as under Title I of the Sherman Anti-trust Act. This is black-letter law.

If I were in his situation I would march right down to Constitution Ave. and into the U. S. District Courthouse and sue the pants off Garber, Chang, Payne, Foose, Durbin, and anyone else who got in my way.

You are forgetting one thing with your ranting... MLS is single entity...meaning it is a single organization. No different than if McDonalds fired you from one store and would not hire you at another.

Posted by: jmmills20 | April 7, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

That is a huge part of what Saputo wants to do in Montreal. Word is that he He wants to bring a least six 6 guys along for the MLS ride.

Martin Nash and probably 3 or 4 other, current Vancouver guys are a dead-to-rites lock to be on MLS' Vancouver side.

Posted by: yankiboy | April 7, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse


Yes but I'm pretty sure technically they still have to be resigned by the team (as in signed by MLS), even if it is just a formality. So I doubt its some genious loophole.

And after all the CBA garbage are we really still debating this topic...

As for compensation- if the Union want him demand their 2011 first rounder. They held us hostage- do it right back (not to mention it would be a high pick).

Posted by: laur84 | April 7, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, on the topic of where Luciano should play: I can't understand why Toronto is not all-in at this point.

That would allow them to put DeRo back in the midfield where he belongs.

Any TFC fans read this blog and have a thought?

Posted by: scott47a | April 7, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Emilio has gone to Seattle.

Posted by: I-495 | April 7, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"Yes but I'm pretty sure technically they still have to be resigned by the team (as in signed by MLS), even if it is just a formality. So I doubt its some genious loophole."

I wasn't going for a Cesar Chavez moment or anything. I just thought it would bring up an interesting situation. If he had to sign a new contract would Vancouver have to trade DC United to get his rights back for his rights after he had played for them for a year? It might not be a legal loop hole but I would consider it a further distortion of labor logic.

Posted by: csd1 | April 7, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

495 - source?

Posted by: TheAMT | April 7, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

BRING EMILIO BACK. HE IS BETTER THAN ANY STRIKER ON OUR ROSTER. AND IF WE HAD A CENTER MID BEHIND HIM WE MIGHT SCORE A FEW GOALS.

Posted by: lemovs1 | April 7, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Nacho Novo is available. He'll be out of contract at the end of the season.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | April 7, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

POSTING IN ALL CAPS BOLSTERS YOUR POINT, AS DO EXCLAMATIONS MARKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyone that wants Emilio to return obviously did not watch us play in 2009. Against the Revs last week, we created chances when we played quickly, but wasted them because we can't finish. If we bring Emilio back, we can't play quickly, which means no chances at all.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 7, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

chest your exactly right..People think our problem is in the central mid.. They created more then enough chances to win.. Look at our 2 guys in the middle compared to the revs..

Posted by: dcman3 | April 7, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

I say bring back Lucigoal! We desperately need someone with a nose for the goal...

Posted by: alan19 | April 7, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

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