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Monday, April 23, 2007

Domenico Morfeo Would Be A Great Player For Major League Soccer: Commentary by Jim Riggio

Domenico Morfeo Would Be a Great Player for Major League Soccer

By Jim Riggio for World Football Commentaries.

If Major League Soccer wants to bring excitement to its league, and not spend a fortune, let me point your in the right direction.

There is a player named 31-year-old Italian player Domenico Morfeo, who for some bizarre reason does not have a single cap for his country. However, he plays like he has eyes in the back of his head.

Morfeo, who is slight at only 1.70 meters (about 5-7), currently plays as an attacking midfielder for Parma, the seventh Italian Serie A club he has played for in his career. While some have given up on Morfeo, thinking he was too small, he has never seemed to let it bother him.

With his team desperately needing points to save itself from relegation Sunday, Morfeo was sent onto the pitch nine minutes into the second half by Coach Claudio Ranieri against host Palermo in hopes of bringing the team a spark that the offense needed, even though it had already scored two goals. It was no doubt an interesting substitution, because Morfeo was coming on for Igor Budan, Parma’s leading scorer this season, and the player who had scored the team’s first goal.

After Parma had tied the game on a header by Fernando Couto just two minutes into the second half, Morfeo showed his brilliance once again in the crucial moments of the second half. In the 71st minute, he gave a no look pass to teammate Andrea Gasbarroni, who fired a shot from the edge of the box into the upper right corner, giving Palermo goalie Alberto Fontana no chance at a save. The goal gave Parma the lead, 3-2.

Morfeo wasn’t finished. Taking advantage of a breakaway, he fed yet another beautiful no-look pass. This time the recipient was Italian-American Giuseppe Rossi, who was able to get the ball past Fontana, who got a hand on the ball before it found its way into the net. It was Rossi’s seventh goal of the season.

While I have described a little bit about Morfeo’s play on the field, just consider what he could do in Major League Soccer. For one, he could give the league its best playmaker. For two, he could wow crowds with some of his spectacular passes. For three, he could sell tickets in some of the cities on the East Coast (namely New England, New York and Toronto) where there are large Italian populations. And since new Parma boss, Tomasso Ghiardi paid just 25 million euros for the squad (about 30-32 million based on the exchange rate), Morfeo’s value can’t be considered very high. Parma was purchased for basically the same range that an MLS franchise goes for these days.

Signing a player like Morfeo would be another statement that the league is committed to bringing in world class talent. At 31, Morfeo’s value in Italy isn’t going to get any higher and with Parma showing that it likes to rebuild from within its farm system, this is the perfect time for MLS to make a move for him.


Mr. Riggio has written about Italian and international soccer for ESPN/Soccernet, and was an interviewee for my column at AC Cugini Scuola Calcio. Last summer, he contributed an interview with Gianluca Zambrotta for my World Football site.

1 comment:

Siamak said...

I just found this post, some 3 years on. Still, it was a fantastic idea I think. Morfeo was one of my favorite players in the Serie A (and I'm a Laziale) and I thought it a shame he was never capped by Gli Azzurri. MLS could have done wonders by bringing in his under-appreciated genius.


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