Nashville SC Acquires Jhonder Cadiz on Loan from Portugal’s Benfica

Jhonder Cadiz is ready to kick things up in Major League Soccer

MLS expansion side Nashville SC has a new Designated Player, with the club announcing they acquired the 25-year-old soccer player and striker on loan from Portuguese giants Benfica.

Jhonder Cadiz

Cadiz spent last season on loan in France with Dijon and becomes Nashville’s third DP signing, with the MLS club having an option to buy.

“Jhonder has been an outstanding striker at the highest of levels in both European and South American competitions, and we think his game is tailor-made for Major League Soccer,” said Nashville SC General Manager Mike Jacobs. “The combination of his athleticism and clinical ability around the box made him heavily sought after. We feel fortunate to be able to add him to our club.”

Cadiz, who scored two goals in 15 appearances with Dijon last season in Ligue 1, racked up 10 the previous season for Portugal’s Vitoria Setubal, leading him to sign a five-year contract with Benfica in June 2019.

“I’m very excited to join Nashville SC and to be a part of this inaugural year for the club,” Cadiz said in a statement. “I’m incredibly motivated to showcase my game in Nashville and Major League Soccer and to help the club reach every goal in 2020 and beyond.”

Nashville returns to action Saturday against Atlanta United.

Erick Torres Signs with Atlanta United

Erick Cubo Torres is headed to The Big Peach

The 27-year-old Mexican professional footballer has signed with Atlanta United after placing Josef Martinez on the season-ending injury list.

Erick "Cubo" Torres

Martinez, the 2018 Major League Soccer MVP, tore the ACL in his right knee in Atlanta’s season-opening 2-1 win over Nashville SC on February 29. He underwent surgery on March 18.

By being placed on the season-ending injury list, Martinez won’t be able to play in any MLS competitions for the remainder of the 2020 season. Per MLS roster rules, the Martinez move allowed Atlanta to obtain roster relief in the form of an open roster spot, as well as salary budget relief up to $250,000 to sign a replacement.

Atlanta has struggled in Martinez’s absence, failing to score a single goal while losing all three games at the MLS is Back tournament. That run of results led to the team parting ways with manager Frank de Boer on July 24.

“Josef’s rehab is progressing well and is going to plan; however, it was important for us to make this move as it gives us roster relief and flexibility for the rest of the 2020 season,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “We will miss his ability and leadership on the field this season, but we look forward to having him back at the start of preseason next year.”

In Martinez’s place, the Five Stripes acquired Torres, who was out of contract after spending the last two years with Liga MX side CD Tijuana. Having played previously with two other MLS teams — the now-defunct Chivas USA and the Houston Dynamo — Torres is familiar with the league, and has the added benefit of holding a green card, meaning he will count as a domestic player.

“‘Cubo’ is a natural goal-scoring forward who will bolster our frontline and we’re pleased to add a player of his quality to the team,” Bocanegra said. “He has consistently shown his finishing abilities in MLS, Liga MX and on the international stage, and we expect him to immediately contribute to the second half of our season.”

Torres was at one point considered an up-and-coming star in Mexico, breaking in with Guadalajara as a 17-year-old in 2010. He was loaned to Chivas USA in 2013, scoring 23 goals in 51 league and cup appearances over the next two seasons.

Following Chivas USA’s folding after the 2014 season, MLS purchased Torres’ contract, making him a Designated Player. He eventually landed in Houston, though his form was uneven during his tenure there. He went 23 league and cup appearances without scoring and was twice loaned to Guadalajara and Cruz Azul during that time.

Torres bounced back in 2017, scoring 14 goals in 31 league and playoff appearances, five of which came from the penalty spot. Torres returned to Mexico in 2018 with Pumas and later Tijuana, but has struggled to find success since. Over the last two years, he has scored nine goals in 45 league and cup appearances. At the international level, Torres scored one goal in seven appearances for Mexico.

LAFC’s Diego Rossi Scores Two Goals Against Seattle Sounders to Extend Goal Lead in ‘MLS is Back Tournament’

Diego Rossi has extended his lead…

The 22-year-old Uruguayan professional footballer scored his competition-leading sixth and seventh goals of the MLS is Back Tournament, as he led his Los Angeles FC team to a 4-1 win overthe Seattle Sounders on Monday night in the round of 16 near Orlando.

Diego Rossi

Latif Blessing added a goal before halftime for LAFC, which avenged a 3-1 loss to Seattle in last year’s Western Conference final. 

Los Angeles’ Brian Rodriguez added his second goal of the tournament to seal the team’s meeting with Orlando City in a quarterfinal on Friday. 

Forward Bradley Wright-Phillips left the game at halftime for Los Angeles due to an apparent injury.

Will Bruin scored his first goal in more than 15 months for the Sounders, who were perhaps fortunate not to lose by more on a night they were outshot 25-11 overall and 8-4 in efforts on target.

With reigning MLS MVP Carlos Vela opting out of the tournament for LAFC, Rossi has picked up the slack to move two goals in front of Toronto FC‘s Ayo Akinola in the tournament Golden Boot race, with TFC already eliminated.

Rossi put LAFC in front from the penalty spot in the 14th minute. Rossi won the opportunity by inducing Xavier Arreaga into a clumsy challenge, and he finished past Stefan Frei‘s dive with a shot inside the right post.

In the 82nd minute, Rossi capitalized on another error from Arreaga error to score a second goal before Rodriguez added his insurance tally in the 89th minute.

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Frankie Amaya Scores First Career Goal in FC Cincinnati Win Over Atlanta United

It’s a Major League Soccer first for Frankie Amaya

The 19-year-old Mexican American soccer player scored his first career goal in the 76th minute, and FC Cincinnati took advantage of nine-man Atlanta United team to pull off a stunning 1-0 victory Thursday in the MLS is Back Tournament near Orlando.

Frankie Amaya

The win was the first of the season for Cincinnati (1-0-3, 3 points), and an even bigger upset within Group E at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Cincinnati lost its opener 4-0 to rival Columbus, but prevailed thanks to an undisciplined Atlanta side that finished the match with nine men.

Amaya showed his strength and accuracy with a bending strike from just outside the center of the box, beating an outstretched Brad Guzan into the far-left corner for the game’s lone goal.

For Atlanta (2-0-2, four points), the loss could be a crushing blow to its hopes of reaching the knockout round. Playing without injured star Josef Martinez (torn ACL), Atlanta opened the tournament with a 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls.

This marked the first time in club history that Atlanta has failed to score in back-to-back regular-season MLS contests. It obviously did not help that they played most of the match a man down.

Atlanta went down to 10 men when midfielder Jake Mulraney was sent off in the 26th minute for a pressing foul that also happened to be his second yellow card of the match. However, Atlanta’s Pity Martinez had a point-blank chance late in the first half, but Cincinnati keeper Przemyslaw Tyton was up to the task.

It appeared Martinez was set for a penalty shot in the final seconds of the first half after being fouled deep in the box. However, a VAR check ruled he was offside before the infraction.

Cincinnati eventually stepped up the pressure. When Adrien Regattin found Amaya amid some traffic, the talented youngster drilled his left-footed attempt into the goal, and enough for FCC to record its first league victory since Sept. 14.

Atlanta dropped to nine men when JJ Williams was slapped with a red card late in stoppage time.

Amaya was the first overall draft pick of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, and the first first-overall pick to be born in the 2000s. Amaya played one year of college soccer for UCLA and prior to UCLA, played club soccer with Pateadores SC, a premier youth club in Southern California.

Austin FC Signs Rodney Redes as the MLS Expansion Side’s First Player

Rodney Redes is heading to the Lone Star State…

MLS expansion side Austin FC has signed the 20-year-old Paraguayan forward as its first player, for a transfer fee that sources tell ESPN is $2.75 million.

Rodney Redes

Redes is on the books of Paraguayan side Guarani, and will remain with them before joining up with Austin ahead of its debut season in 2021.

“It is an honor to join Austin FC as the first player signing in club history, and I am excited for the opportunity to advance my career in Major League Soccer,” said Redes. “I look forward to representing Austin in competition and in the community. I’ve been watching Major League Soccer closely, and I am very excited to begin working with coach [Josh] Wolff to further develop my skills in a global league that has helped other Paraguayan players reach new heights.”

Born in La Colmena, Paraguay, Redes has scored 12 goals in 82 league and cup appearances since making his professional debut with Guarani back in 2018.

Redes has spent time as a forward as well as a wide attacking player, and was off to an auspicious start in 2020, scoring three goals during the qualifying rounds of the 2020 Copa Libertadores to help Guarani reach the group stage of the tournament.

He had also scored twice in six league appearances before the sport in South America was shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The words I use to best describe Rodney are versatility and impactfulness,” Austin FC Head coach Josh Wolff said. “Rodney is a young player with qualities that can strongly influence any match as a result of his positional flexibility, eye for goal, and clear finishing quality.

“I am very pleased that we have secured a rising talent who demonstrates goal scoring ability in both the Copa Libertadores as well as his domestic league, and I believe that our supporters will appreciate his hunger and willingness to make Austin FC successful.”

Redes is the first player to be signed by Austin sporting director Claudio Reyna, and he’ll likely be signed to a young Designated Player contract.

Given that Redes will be 21 by the time he suits up for Austin, his hit to the salary budget will be $200,000 based on this year’s MLS roster rules.

“Rodney is a dynamic, attacking player, and we are proud to welcome him as the first signing in the history of Austin FC,” Reyna said.

“Rodney is precisely the sort of player we intend to attract to Austin FC. At a very young age, he has already registered strong performances and collected valuable big-game experience in major competitions. I am pleased that we capitalized on this brief July transfer window to sign Rodney, and our staff looks forward to working closely with him.”

Wolff added: “[Redes is] a player that I think fits really well with what Claudio and I envisage this team being about. For him to be our first signing is a good indication of what we want to be on the field and off the field. He’s a young, hungry, dynamic player and I think the more I watched him and the more I’ve interacted with him the more you realize he’s a very focused young man.

“When he plays, he plays with real commitment, real passion and his Technical qualities are very clear. He’s got very powerful running, he’s a low profile guy, good change of speed with and without the ball and most importantly he’s very goal-orientated.”

Matias Almeyda To Continue as the San Jose Earthquakes’ Manager

Matias Almeyda isn’t going anywhere…

The 45-year-old Argentine former-footballer-turned-manager has confirmed that he’ll  remain manager of the San Jose Earthquakes and won’t be leaving to take up the reins at Liga MX side C.F. Monterrey.

Matias Almeyda

Since Almeyda was named the Quakes manager last year, there have been speculation that Almeyda would depart. Various reports last week had Almeyda exiting the Quakes to join up with LosRayados, who subsequently hired Antonio Mohamed.

Speaking at his season-ending press conference, Almeyda confirmed that he’s had several offers from different clubs over the course of the year, as well as one national team from South America. He added that his agent, Lalo Hernandez, had met with Monterrey officials.

“I thanked them that they thought about me,” said Almeyda about Monterrey with the help of a translator. “And keeping in mind the contract that I had here, I told them that I cannot keep going with these talks because my mind is here in San Jose and my players. And with the directors, we’ve talked about having project and moving up the hierarchy in this club and which I believe in, and which I’ve projected my life here now.”

Almeyda admitted that the Monterrey job was attractive, but that he sees his future in San Jose.

“A club like Monterrey is tempting to any coach, because they have a very rich squad, a marvelous club, and it’s a club in which any coach would dive in head first,” he said. “If I was in Monterrey and the same thing would have happened, I would have stayed in Monterrey because I keep my word. Many Mexican journalists have called me, throughout these days, which we spoke about. I publicly apologize because I never responded to their calls. So everything that was spoken was their own imagination and lies. That’s why I want to be honest with myself. I’ve been honest with people in San Jose, and I’ve been honest with the approach that Lalo Hernandez had there. I have nothing left to say but thank you to those people.”

Almeyda has previously managed River Plateand Banfield in his native Argentina, as well as Liga MX side Chivas. He said that in his previous stints, he had always left by mutual agreement, and not because he simply wanted to leave for a better job. Almeyda admitted that of the offers he received after his tenure with Chivas ended in 2018, San Jose’s offer was the lowest one economically.

“Coaches always get mad when we get fired,” he said. “We have to be coherent and keep going when we have a contract, although the tempting offers are 10 times larger than where you at.”

He added, “I have a group of players for which I’m grateful for what they put in. There’s staff, directors and owners who have given me all that they can. I’m only left to say that I’m grateful being in this place. I’m hopeful that this place will keep growing, that we can grow in terms of hierarchy every day. That’s why changing clubs doesn’t even cross my mind.”

In terms of next season, Almeyda said he didn’t expect there to be many changes to the Quakes’ roster and that the team would be selective in terms of its reinforcements. This despite the fact that while San Jose recorded a 23 point improvement this season, it failed to reach the MLS Cupplayoffs, losing nine of its last 11 games.

Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez Scores for Record-Setting 11th Straight Match

Josef Martinez has kicked his way into the MLSrecord books…

The 26-year-old Venezuelan professional footballer, a striker for Atlanta United FC, scored for the 11th straight match, a Major League Soccer record, and his team cruised to a 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers on Sunday night at Portland’s Providence Park.

Josef Martinez

The win was Atlanta’s seventh in the past eight games across all competitions, and it vaulted them into first place in the MLS Eastern Conference. With goal differential as the tiebreaker, Atlanta United (14-9-3) took over first place from the Philadelphia Union, though both teams are on 45 points.

The Timbers (11-10-4) missed a chance to move up to fourth place in the Western Conference. The loss kept them in seventh place with the third tiebreaker advantage over FC Dallas, which is total goals scored.

Portland lost for just the second time in 10 league matches in a rematch of the two teams that played for the MLS Cuplast December, won by Atlanta. The Timbers have played three games of a 10-game homestead.

Leandro Gonzalez Pirez scored off a rebound of a blocked shot from Martinez in the 14th minute, and Atlanta took a 1-0 lead into halftime despite numerous chances for the Timbers.

The Timbers couldn’t convert an on-target header from Jeremy Ebobisse, saved by Brad Guzan in the 42nd minute, and had an apparent goal nullified by an offside call.

Atlanta United was close to a 2-0 lead in extra time of the first half, but Steve Clark stopped Ezequiel Barco‘s breakaway shot. They took the 2-0 lead 45 seconds into the second half when Martinez chipped an open shot past Clark after a pinpoint assist from Julian Gressel.

Martinez raised his season goal total to 21.

Portland defenderJulio Cascante had a header miraculously saved by Guzan, who had five saves, in the 64th minute.

Cristian Pavón to Play for the MLS’ LA Galaxy

Cristian Pavón is headed to a galaxy far, far away…

The LA Galaxy have completed the loan signing of the 23-year-old Argentine professional footballerfrom Argentina’s Boca Juniors, the club has revealed.

Cristian Pavón

Pavon becomes the first signing for the Major League Soccerside in this transfer window.

“Cristian is a young and dynamic attacking addition who has the talent to be one of the most effective offensive players in Major League Soccer,” LA Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese said in a statement.

“He is a high-caliber player who will be a valuable piece to our roster moving forward. By providing him with a stable environment and a coach he knows well, we are confident that he can continue to grow and improve as a player within our club. We are extremely excited to add him to our squad and look forward to his contributions with the LA Galaxy.”

Sources told ESPN FC that the Galaxy attempted to sign the forward on a permanent deal but were unable to agree on a fee.

Both clubs have now negotiated an agreement, which will see the Argentina international join on loan for the remainder of the campaign.

Pavon played every match for Argentina in the 2018 World Cupin Russia and scored four goals in 19 appearances for Boca last season.

Portland Timbers Finalize Transfer of Brian Fernandez from Necaxa

Brian Fernandezwill be playing Major League Soccer soon…

The Portland Timbers have completed the transfer of the 24-year-old Argentine footballer from Necaxa, according to ESPN FC.

Brian Fernandez

While multiple outlets reported in recent weeks have reported that the terms of the deal had been finalized, the Athletic was first to report that the transfer is complete, with Fernandez securing his work visa in the last few days.

No word on the precise fee, but it reportedly dwarfs the previous club record of close to $5 million the Timbers paid for Lucas Melano back in 2017, though it’s not as high as the $12 million previously reported.

Fernandez can play either as a central striker or on the wing, and is expected to arrive in Portland as early as Monday. The signing also concludes the Timbers’ lengthy and at times public search for a new attacking piece, which saw them linked with the likes of the Tigresduo of Julian Quinones and Eduardo Vargas, as well as AEK Athens‘ on-loan attacker Ezequiel Ponce.

It is also believed that Fernandez won’t have to serve out the remaining two games of a three-game suspension he recently was handed following a red card and then a subsequent altercation with a fan as he left the field, though MLS will ultimately have the final say.

While it was an ignominious end to his Necaxa career, Fernandez’s stint with Los Rayos resurrected his career. While on the books of Racing Club, Fernandez was suspended for a year by CONMEBOLfollowing a failed drug test in which he tested positive for cocaine.

A series of loan stints followed with the likes of Sarmiento, Metz and Union La Calera, but his time with Necaxa proved highly productive, with the Argentine scoring 12 goals in 15 games during the current Clausura. Overall, Fernandez scored 18 goals in 32 league and cup appearances.

Fernandez joins the Timbers with three games remaining in Portland’s season opening 12-game road swing due to renovations at its home venue, Providence Park. The Timbers have so far gone 3-5-1 and sit in ninth place in the 12-team Western Conference.

Prince Royce Appears in Major League Soccer’s New “Our Soccer” Campaign

Prince Royce is ready for some futbol…

Major League Soccer has revealed its newest campaign titled Our Soccer, featuring the 29-year-old Dominican American bachat asinger.

Prince Royce MLS Campaign

The campaign — produced by The FADER and Cornerstone, MLS’ creative agency of record, and directed by Clayton Vomero— expresses the unique experience of being an MLS fan and the growth of the soccer movement in North America.

“The ‘Our Soccer’ campaign captures the unique spirit, confident attitude and diverse environment that embodies MLS,” said David Bruce, MLS vp/brand and integrated marketing in a statement.

The spot, voiced by Prince Royce in Spanish and English, features him wearing Inter Miami CF gear, the MLS expansion club co-owned by cultural icon David Beckham, while at a party watching a soccer game alongside producer and DJ TOKiMONSTA, who wears a Los Angeles Football Clubjersey.

Prince Royce said, “I think it’s one of the sports that has the most passion. You see so many cultures, languages — that’s the great thing about music and the great thing about soccer.”

“MLS truly marries culture and sport and unites players and people from diverse backgrounds like no other sport in North America,” added Jon Cohen, co-ceo of Cornerstone and co-founder and co-ceo of The FADER.