Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is reportedly closer to joining the L.A. Galaxy.
The Western Conference club are continuing their push to acquire the Mexican veteran forward prior to the start of preseason camp. Hernandez, currently under contract with La Liga side Sevilla, has been linked with the Galaxy for most of the new year.
The 31-year-old has only scored one goal in nine appearances for Sevilla this season. He’s has failed to play more than 20 games since the 2016-17 campaign for Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic now gone from the Galaxy, Guillermo Barros Schelotto is seeking a top forward to replace the Swede. Hernandez has totaled 156 professional goals between stints at Manchester United, Guadalajara, Real Madrid, West Ham United, Bayer Leverkusen, and Sevilla.
He’s also scored 52 goals in 109 appearances for El Tri, but only two goals in 2019. A move to the Galaxy, would see Chicharito as the latest European veteran to make the move to MLS.
The Galaxy returned to the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2019, before being eliminated by rivals LAFC in the Western Conference Semifinals. Their 2020 MLS schedule gets underway on Feb. 29th at the Houston Dynamo.
The Colorado Rapids continued a busy offseason on Wednesday with the acquisition of a new No. 10
The club signed attacking midfielder Younes Namli on a two-year loan, joining as a Designated Player. Namli will also occupy an international roster and comes with an option to buy following the end of his loan.
Namli arrives in MLS after spending the bulk of his professional career in the Dutch Eredivisie, first with Heerenveen and then with PEC Zwolle. The 25-year-old recorded 13 goals and 17 assists across all competitions during his 108 appearances between the two sides.
“Younes is a talented and technically gifted playmaker that we’ve had our sights on for the past two years,” Colorado Rapids Executive Vice President and General Manager Padraig Smith said. “He’s been a consistently strong performer in the Eredivisie, a league we believe translates well to MLS, and has shown a great ability on the ball and in creating clear scoring opportunities for his teammates as well as getting on the scoresheet himself. We’re excited to finally have him join the club and expect him to be a difference maker for us.”
Most recently, the left-footed attacking midfielder spent time with FC Krasnodar in the Russian Premier League, featuring in UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League matches.
Namli will now look to help the Rapids to a successful season in 2020.
Impact acquire Ballou Tabla on permanent deal
Ballou Tabla is returning to the Montreal Impact on a permanent deal.
The club acquired the former Homegrown midfielder from La Liga and European giant FC Barcelona. Tabla signed a two-year contract with the Impact, which also includes an additional two option years.
“We are happy to have Ballou back with us following this transfer,” Impact sporting director Olivier Renard said. “The talent of this young Quebecer was never put into question. Now it’s up to him to do everything and bounce back.”
Tabla has made a combined 25 appearances for the Impact in two stints with the club. He’s scored two goals in MLS play for the Eastern Conference side.
The 20-year-old will aim for more playing time under first-year head coach Thierry Henry.
Real Salt Lake signs Milan Iloski to Homegrown Contract
Milan Iloski has signed a Homegrown Contract to remain with Real Salt Lake.
The club announced the signing on Thursday, keeping the former RSL Academy product. Iloski, a forward, has spent the last three seasons playing for UCLA.
“Milan was one of the top goal-scorers in the country last year at UCLA and proved that he’s ready to make the jump to the professional level,” RSL General Manager Elliot Fall said. “He is another great example of our emphasis on developing young players through our Academy system and we are excited to add him to the mix and see his continued development.”
Iloski, 20, led the Pac-12 and finished this past season ranked fourth in the country in scoring with 17 goals in 16 appearances. His breakout season included matches that saw him score five goals in a 5-2 win over San Diego State in Oct. 2019 and three goals in a 3-2 win over Maryland in Sept. A native of California, Iloski finished his three-year college career with 23 goals and six assists in 46 appearances.
Iloski becomes the ninth product of the RSL Academy on the team’s current 2020 roster, joining the likes of goalkeeper David Ochoa; defenders Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera and Erik Holt; and forward Corey Baird.
Nashville signs Cameroonian midfielder Anunga
2020 MLS expansion side Nashville SC continued padding its roster for the upcoming regular season.
The club signed Cameroonian midfielder Tah Brian Anunga to an MLS contract on Thursday from USL Championship side, Charleston Battery. Anunga will now join up with the first team ahead of the start of preseason on Jan. 18th.
“Brian has demonstrated his ability to impact games at the USL level, and at a relatively young age,” Nashville SC GM Mike Jacobs said. “His tenacity and versatility on both sides of the ball fits our profile of what we look for in deep-lying central midfielders.”
The 23-year-old Anunga was a staple of the Battery’s midfield since joining on Mar. 16, 2017. Anunga made 87 appearances for the club in three seasons, while also earning the club’s Most Valuable Player award in 2018.
He’s also spent time with the Wilmington Hammerheads and Carolina Dynamo during his career. This marks his first involvement in MLS.
LA Galaxy sign goalkeeper Lopez to Homegrown Deal
The L.A. Galaxy made a Homegrown signing from its USL affiliate, LA Galaxy II on Thursday.
Goalkeeper Eric Lopez signed a Homegrown Player contract with the first team, joining after five seasons with Los Dos. He previously was the youngest player to sign a contract in the USL Championship.
“Eric has continued to progress as a person and a player during his time in our development system,” LA Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese said. “His success is a leading example of our youth structure providing a pathway to join the first team. After growing as a member of our Academy and LA Galaxy II, we are excited for Eric to represent our senior team and look forward to his contributions.”
Lopez made 35 appearances for Los Dos over five seasons, and was named LA Galaxy II Defender of the Year in 2017. The 2019 season saw Lopez start 14 games while recording 41 saves, including two penalty kicks.
The L.A. Galaxy currently have David Bingham and Justin Vom Steeg on their first-team roster. Lopez will battle with Vom Steeg for the back-up spot in Gullermo Barros Schelotto’s squad.
Wicky adds pair of coaches to Fire’s staff
The Chicago Fire added a pair of coaches to Raphael Wicky’s staff, continuing a change of direction heading into the 2020 MLS season.
Wicky hired Adin Brown as a goalkeeper coach and John Grace as a performance coach on Thursday. Brown joins from the Portland Timbers in the same position, while Grace comes from Orlando City.
Brown, 41, joins after spending the past five years as a goalkeeper coach in Portland. He helped the Cascadia side win its first-ever MLS Cup trophy in 2015, his first season with the club. He served as the Timbers goalkeeper coach for three years (2015-17), before becoming the lead goalkeeper coach for Portland Timbers 2 from 2018-19.
As a player, Brown enjoyed a 12-year career in the United States and Norway, making 154 professional appearances from 2000-2011. He featured for four MLS teams during his career, including the Colorado Rapids, Tampa Bay Mutiny, New England Revolution and the Timbers.
Grace comes from the Lions, where he worked as the club’s performance coach and head of sport science. Joining Orlando in 2017, he spent time working with the MLS side and its NWSL team, Orlando Pride, during the last three seasons. He also earned a master’s degree in sport science and coaching from Ohio University.
In addition to hiring Brown and Grace, the Fire also announced the return of the following technical staff members: Head Athletic Trainer Reade Whitney, Assistant Athletic Trainer Hillary Bell, Massage Therapist Steven Burrows, Equipment Manager Brian Sauer and Assistant Equipment Manager Juan Arreola. In addition, Tyler Golden will join the first team as an assistant athletic trainer. Golden previously served as the athletic trainer for the Club’s Academy teams from 2018-19.
The Fire open the 2020 season on March 1st at the Seattle Sounders.