MLS- San Jose Earthquakes

Union, Earthquakes, Galaxy confirm transfers of Farfan, Baca, Villarreal to Cruz Azul

JoseVillarrealRafaelBacaMichaelFarfantoCruzAzul1 (MexSport)


Even though Michael Farfan, Rafael Baca, and Jose Villarreal had been presented as a new signings with Cruz Azul on Sunday, there was strangely still no word from any of the Major League Soccer clubs until mid-day Monday.

The Philadelphia Union became the first club to confirm the deal with the San Jose Earthquakes following close behind, stating that Farfan and Baca have made permanent transfers to Cruz Azul. According to the Union’s and Earthquakes’ press release, the transfer is still subject to the “finalization of agreement” with Cruz Azul. Citing league and team policies, terms of the deal were not disclosed. (UPDATE 1:30pm: The LA Galaxy have confirmed that Villarreal is joining Cruz Azul on a 12-month loan with an option to buy)

“Michael has been an important member for our club both on and off the field over the past three years,” Union manager John Hackworth said in a statement. “We thank him for his contributions to the Union and wish him the best of luck as he continues his career in Mexico.”

Originally selected by the Union as the 23rd overall selection in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Farfan scored four goals and added nine assists in 82 league matches, including 66 starts. Though 25-year-old midfielder is a former member of the U.S. Under-17 and Under-20 sides, he has Mexican citizenship through his parents and won’t count as a foreigner on Cruz Azul’s roster.

Baca, a Mexican national who has lived in the United States since his adolescent years, also joined MLS in 2011 after a four-year career with Loyola Marymount University. In his time with the Earthquakes, Baca played 81 times in the regular season and playoffs combined, scoring two goals and adding nine assists.

Villarreal, a homegrown signing who has starred for the U.S. U-17s and U-20s as recently as this past summer at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, played in just a season and a half with the Galaxy first team. The 20-year-old forward appeared in 34 games with the Galaxy in MLS play, scoring three goals and adding two assists, though he started only three times in the final three months of the 2013 season. Villarreal was a key member of the Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League campaign in the last two seasons though, featuring ten times (with eight starts) and scoring two goals.

“Sending Jose Villarreal to Cruz Azul provides one of our Homegrown players an opportunity to gain additional experience,” LA Galaxy general manager and head coach Bruce Arena said in a statement on the club’s website. “We’ll monitor Jose’s play with Cruz Azul and wish him well while in Mexico.”


What do you think of this news? Surprised that the Union would sell Farfan? Do you see Farfan, Baca, and Villarreal receiving regular playing time with Cruz Azul? Which MLS club loses out the most from this deal?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Ian

    Still no word from LA? Apparently the Galaxy media peeps get the most vacation time of any MLS team.


    • SilverRey

      Farfan had surprisingly little playing time towards the end of the season. I think Hackworth may have been shopping him around.


      • TomG

        Always liked Marfan’s skills. He should fit in well in Liga MX. Is Cruz Azul trying to build a Xolos style Mex-American contingent?


  • ex_sweeper

    This next season for the Quakes looks to be even more unsettled than last year, with two defensive starters and a former defensive starter out the door (Baca, Beitashour and Morrow), possibly a fourth if the front office can’t sign Bernardez to a new contract. Baca had poor attacking skills, but played the holding midfield role well with Cronin. Sure hope they make good use of all that allocation money…. Otherwise, we’re in for an entire season of Shea Salinas and Cordell Cato speeding up the wings and losing the ball in the corners.


  • Nick in LA

    This is only a good thing for LA and Jack McBean. Villareal needs a place where it’s not as physical and McBean is the perfect backup striker for us and is poised for a ton more playing time.


    • AlexH

      I wish there were some details on this. I hope that LA got some cash or other consideration for giving up Villareal’s services for 12 months. He actually did contribute to the club so just having somebody pick up his pay check is not enough.


    • beachbum

      agree that Villareal needs a place not as physical. I think he’ll do very well if he can break into some minutes


    • Gary Page

      I just don’t understand why the term of the loan is 12 months, especially if there is an option to buy. The Galaxy have been making a number of questionable moves of late, it seems to me. Magee for Rogers is more and more looking like one of the worst trades ever. Giving up Arriola, another mistake. Letting Sean Franklin go also seems strange. You wonder why they could not have traded him instead and gotten something in return. Now giving up one of the most promising young forward in MLS for a year with an option to buy. What is going on? Robbie Keane and even Donovan are getting near the end of their careers. Is the Galaxy just going to rely on DP’s or are they going to utilize their youth system?


    • bryan

      because him fighting for a place at Cruz Azul is better for his development than USL Pro. not to mention, it’s his favorite club and only a loan at this point. don’t get me wrong, as a DC fan first, but an LA fan second, im bummed because i was looking forward to watching him play with LA.


  • BFT

    Obviously there is still time to make moves, but so far the Union’s offseason gets an “F” for me. The team has not addressed any of its needs (central attacking midfielder, left back, centerback depth), and is frankly now worse with the departure of Farfan (and arguably Kleberson and Roger Torres, though the latter didn’t play much this year). I don’t see anything resembling a plan from management, and this looks like another cashing-in the assets move from this penny-pinching ownership group. Very worried about this team going forward.

    Also, total PR fiasco with MLS posting a story on its own website about these players being introduced, with pictures no less! and the Union tweeting a weak “no comment” until finally confirming what we already knew 2 days later. What a joke.


    • Allen

      I remember when the off season before the Union started and a lot of fans saying how they were going to be better than the Red Bulls, how they had as many trophies and how they had a better organization…

      The despair from the fans now taste so sweet! This organizations wishes it could be like NYRB lol


  • Matt

    This will be a great experience for these young players. It’s essentially a promotion. Mexico provides much more for young players than the MLS does with their reserve league or loans to USL. Whether it’s minutes with the first team, youth division, or liga de ascenso these players will get a better experience. And best of all they are under former Olympic coach Luis Fernando Tena. Good luck to them.


  • dude

    Crap move if villareal gets playing time

    itll be another Paul arriola situation that leaves you scratching your head about the priorities of some coaches in this league.


  • choto

    Not sure how much playing time (1st team that is!) these players will see. Playing time in the reserves? maybe the better question…. is their playing style suited for the Mexican leagues? could be.

    Good move by MLS to loan/sell players…. this can only help the MLS “brand” (able to produce quality players).

    These player could potentially blossom there and, hopefully, the teams that developed these players can recoup all of their financial investment in development. Would be great for the MLS to make some $$ from the Mexican leagues!


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