By IVES GALARCEP
If Jose Villarreal is going to impress the folks at Cruz Azul enough to secure a permanent transfer, he will have to do so playing in the Mexican second division.
Villarreal and former San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Rafael Baca have been loaned out to Cruz Azul Hidalgo of the Liga de Ascensc for the rest of the Clausura season.
Neither Villarreal or Baca has made an appearance with Cruz Azul’s first team, though Baca did dress for some matches for the current Liga MX leaders.
Former Philadelpha Union midfielder Michael Farfan has stayed with the Cruz Azul first team, though he too has yet to make an appearance for the club.
Baca and Farfan joined Cruz Azul via transfer, with Villarreal joining on a one-year loan with what sources tell MLS is a $1 million purchase option.
Villarreal’s loan to Cruz Azul turned some heads because of Villarreal’s status as one of the more highly-regarded youth prospects in MLS, but with Bruce Arena not seeing Villarreal as a major contributor in 2014, he sent the former U.S. Under-20 standout to Mexico instead.