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MLS Round-Up: USA Dispatches Of Iceland, Marcelo Sarvas To D.C., Colorado Sign DP

Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and Adreas Herzog of the United States looks on during the International Soccer Friendly match between the United States and Iceland at the StubHub Center on January 31, 2016 in Carson, California. The United States won the match 3-2. January 31, 2016| Credit: Shaun Clark

In today’s MLS Round-Up, Jurgen Klinsmann’s USA Men’s National Team defeated Iceland, 3-2, at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. on Sunday. Jozy Altidore (20′), Michael Orozco (59′) and Steve Birnbaum (90′) scored for the USA, while Kristin Steindorsson (13′) and Aron Sigurdarson (48′) scored for Iceland. Kellyn Acosta, Tony Tchani, Ethan Finlay and Jerome Kiesewetter earned their first caps for the Nats.

“Just happy that I was able to contribute on the attacking side,” Birnbaum said of his performance. “Just happy we won the game, and then it’s great also that I had a bunch of family here and friends. It was cool to do that in front of my hometown, basically.

“Getting called into the first camp [last year] and getting my first cap was great,” Birnbaum said. “And then I got injured, and it was downhill, and didn’t really hear back from them. It was an up-and-down season at D.C.”

“You don’t just belong because you show well in one game,” said Finlay. “What I’ve tried to do over the last three weeks of training [at the national team’s annual ‘January’ camp] – and I hope that’s the reason I was able to get the start was I laid a good foundation that the coaching staff liked, and I’ll continue to do that. I don’t think you want to hang your head on one game, whether it be good or bad, and I’m not going to do that.”

“We have some issues as an outside-back position, on the international level,” Klinsmann said. “We know Kellyn can play left or right, but also as a 6. He impressed in training, he was very calm, and was very mature for his age. And that was his opportunity then, [and] he was rewarded for these three weeks of really good work.

“With Tony, you have a player that played tremendous last season for Columbus and has a presence, is strong in the air, is physically strong, so he has his own way of playing it. But you see Jermaine and Michael [Bradley] kind of locked in in center midfield. It’s very difficult for Tony to make a case and to get him also the minutes on the field.

“Jerome can play up front or can play wide. I think playing wide, he’s very talented, because he has terrific speed. A bit like DeAndre Yedlin, his weapon is speed, and then going at people and not being scared about anything. And within five minutes on the field, I think he had three crosses already, and two of them almost led to goals. That’s a good statement for a young player like him.”

In a big move for Marcelo Sarvas’ career, the former Alajualense and LA Galaxy playmaker has been acquired by Ben Olsen’s D.C. United in exchange for targeted allocation money and a 2018 conditional MLS SuperDraft pick.

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“Marcelo brings MLS experience and a veteran presence to our group,” Dave Kasper, United general manager and vice president of soccer operations, said in a team statement. “He is a tenacious player who has been among the top central midfielders in the league in recent years, and we welcome him to our family.”

The Brazilian began his career in his native country before playing professionally in Sweden, Poland and Costa Rica, featuring for LDA Alajuelense in CONCACAF Champions League play before making the move to the Galaxy.

That targeted allocation money was used to acquire Shkëlzen Gashi, an Albanian internation from FC Basel of the Swiss Super League. By the way, his first name is pronounced “skelzen.”

“Shkëlzen was our top attacking target this offseason,” Rapids technical director and VP of soccer operations Paul Bravo said. “He has proven to be a prolific goalscorer in his club’s domestic and European success. In addition he has been instrumental in his national team’s qualification for Euro 2016. We are delighted to sign him on a permanent transfer and look forward to seeing him in burgundy.”

Finally, your MLS Preseason scores…and a few “upsets” on the side.

Jan. 31

Sunday

  • Red Bulls 5, Jacksonville Armada FC 2
  • Red Bulls 0, Montverde Academy 1
  • Portland 0, FC Tucson 1
  • NYCFC 1, Florida Gulf Coast 0
Feb. 1

Monday

  • Toronto 4, Cal State Fullerton 0

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