Friday, February 29, 2008

Portuguese striker Joao Pinto wants to play in MLS

If Joao Pinto gets his way, he will be playing in MLS this season. After training with Toronto FC last week, he terminating his contract with his current club SC Braga and appears to be in continual negotiations with the league. His statement on a move:
“I went to the USA for three days and the subject is practically closed."

“Portuguese football is finished for me. It was a sensational time for me and I am happy with the work achieved at Boavista, Benfica, Sporting Lisbon and Braga.”
So could Pinto be joining 2002 World Cup teammate Abel Xavier in MLS? If so, do the refs have something to fear?

Pinto has had some good years and has been an important part of many teams (including the team that won the 1989 & 1991 U-20 World Cups), however he has had a rougher time of it of late.

At 36 (the Setanta story incorrect tags him as 39) age seems to be catching up with him. During this current season, he has only started 7 matches with 2 subs for his club and has but one goal to show for his work. Last season his stats we similar with 17 starts, 2 subs and 2 goals.

If he does come to the league, Toronto seems like his likely destination, but I wonder about a couple things. First, how will his often-injured body react to playing on turf. Second, does TFC plan on teaming him with Danny Dichio? Both players can be good in front of net, but neither really have the speed that will catch defensives off their mark. Then again, last year TFC didn't have a great problem with getting balls in the final third, they just had a problem finishing them, so maybe speed is not that important.

One last thing, if TFC goes this way, it will be interesting to compare the results of Pinto with new Houston signing 21 year old Franco Caraccio.

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