Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
The Chivas USA makeover continues.
A day after trading for midfielder Mauro Rosales, Chivas USA sent Jorge Villafana and the No. 2 overall pick in Stage 1 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft to the Portland Timbers in exchange for centerback Andrew Jean-Baptiste and the No. 17 pick on Thursday.
The move reunites Villafana with Timbers head coach Caleb Porter, who included the versatile youngster on the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team that failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. It also gives Chivas USA another potential candidate to start in central defense alongside veteran Carlos Bocanegra.
Jean-Baptiste started 22 of the 26 games he played this past season under Porter and added one goal and one assist. Villafana started 15 and played in 20 for the lackluster Goats, scoring one goal and notching four assists.
The Timbers used the No. 2 pick they received on Thursday to acquire Steve Zakuani in the Re-Entry Draft.
Here are more notes from an extremely busy day around the league:
RED BULLS RE-SIGN AKPAN
The New York Red Bulls bolstered their front line on Thursday by re-signing one of their own. Andre Akpan, a forward who was set to enter the Re-Entry Draft, was signed to a new deal by the Red Bulls. Akpan notched two assists in seven regular season appearances for New York in 2013.
“We are pleased to come to an agreement with Andre,” said Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh in a statement. “Andre exhibited this year that he can provide us with a solid goal-scoring option. He is a very good professional and we look forward to him developing as a striker in 2014.”
WALLACE UNDERGOES SURGERY
If you were wondering why the Timbers took a chance on Zakuani, one of the reasons was because Rodney Wallace is set to miss a substantial amount of the 2014 season.
The Timbers announced Thursday that Wallace underwent successful surgery to repair a torn right anterior cruciate ligament and a non-displaced right tibial plateau fracture as well as a meniscectomy in his right knee. Wallace sustained the injuries in the second leg of the Western Conference finals against Real Salt Lake on Nov. 24 and is expected to be out five to seven months.
The timeframe for recovery likely takes Wallace out of contention for Costa Rica’s World Cup squad next summer.
CREW RECEIVE RIGHTS FOR PALADINI FROM FIRE
The Columbus Crew continued to wheel and deal on Thursday, as they received the rights to midfielder Daniel Paladini from the Chicago Fire. In return, Chicago got Columbus’ fourth round pick (61st overall) in the upcoming MLS SuperDraft.
Paladini has spent the last three seasons with the Fire. He played in 20 matches in 2013, scoring two goals and delivering three assists for a Chicago team that just missed the playoffs.
Earlier in the day, Columbus sent Chad Marshall to the Seattle Sounders in a trade that saw them receive allocation money and a third round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.
SOUNDERS RE-SIGN FORD
Josh Ford has spent each of the first three years of his career with the Seattle Sounders, and it looks like that streak will continue in 2014. The 26-year-old Ford signed a new deal with the Sounders on Thursday that should keep him at the club that drafted him in the 2011 MLS Supplemental Draft.
“We are very happy to bring Josh back in 2014,” said Sounders sporting director Chris Henderson in a released statement. “The work that he has done with goalkeeper coach Tom Dutra has helped him to be in a position to compete in goal. Josh is an up-and-coming goalkeeper with very good quality and has proven to be a great teammate in the clubhouse.”
What do you think of the Chivas USA-Timbers trade? Happy to see the Red Bulls bring back Akpan? How big of a blow is Wallace’s injury to Portland?
Share your thoughts below.