In the midst of a confidence-crushing losing streak, the Seattle Sounders have made a major move to bolster the club’s front line.
The Sounders announced Friday that they have signed Paraguayan international Nelson Valdez from Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt. Valdez joins the roster as a result of the newly-introduced Targeted Allocation Money system, which was used to buy down the Designated Played salary of Osvaldo Alonso.
Valdez has spent 15 seasons playing throughout Europe while also appearing 68 times for Paraguay, who he has scored 12 times for. Most recently, Valdez featured for Paraguay at the 2015 Copa America, but he’s also represent his country at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
“It’s exciting to add a player of Nelson’s pedigree,” said Sounders FC general manager & president of soccer Garth Lagerwey. “His addition allows us to vary our attack and makes us even more potent upfront. It can’t be overstated how important a player with this type of experience can be for our team.
“Nelson has played in some of the world’s top competitions, including two FIFA World Cups and two Copa America tournaments, and he’s a welcome addition to our roster.”
The move reunites Valdez with fellow forward Obafemi Martins, as the duo previously featured together at Rubin Kazan. It also gives the Sounders another chief scoring threat to go along with Martins and Clint Dempsey.
Here are some more of Friday’s MLS news and notes:
WHITECAPS ADD COSTA RICAN DEFENDER SMITH, LOAN OUT HURTADO
The Vancouver Whitecaps have added a defender while giving up one of the team’s attacking options.
The Whitecaps announced Friday that they have added Costa Rican defender Jordan Smith on loan from Deportivo Saprissa with an option to buy. In addition, the club has loaned out striker Erik Hurtado to Norwegian side Mjøndalen IF through the end of 2015.
In Smith, the Whitecaps get a defender that has earned one cap with the Costa Rican national team while scoring nine goals in 105 appearances in the Costa Rican top flight. The 23-year-old fullback has also represented Costa Rica on the youth level, making appearances at both an Under-17 and Under-20 World Cup.
“We are excited to welcome Jordan to our club ahead of what is going to be a very busy stretch,” said Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson. “He is a modern attacking fullback with good pace and strong athletic ability.”
Hurtado, meanwhile, joins Mjøndalen IF after making just one start in nine appearances for the Whitecaps this season.
“This is a great opportunity for Erik to play games, which is important for any young player,” Robinson said. “Erik is and will continue to be an important member of our club and we’re looking forward to following his progress while on loan in Norway.”
UNION ACQUIRE CREAVALLE FROM TFC FOR SECOND ROUND PICK
The Philadelphia Union have bolstered the club’s defensive depth with the addition of a four-year MLS veteran.
In exchange for a second round pick, the Union have acquired defender Warren Creavalle from Toronto FC. The 24-year-old Creavalle has five goals in 78 career appearances while featuring for both the Houston Dynamo and TFC.
“Warren’s versatility will be a great addition to our group,” said Union technical director Chris Albright. “He’s a young player who has played a lot of games in our league and we look forward to him contributing immediately.”
“This transaction allows us some flexibility both in terms of our roster and on the cap,” added TFC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “I’d like to thank Warren for his contributions to Toronto FC and wish him all the best.”
RAPIDS SIGN ST LEDGER, FIGUEROA WHILE TRANSFERING O’NEILL
The Colorado Rapids made sure to join in on the MLS Transfer Deadline Day fun, bringing in a pair of veterans while selling off one of its younger defenders.
The Rapids announced on Friday a trio of moves, including transferring U.S. youth national team centerback Shane O’Neill to Cyprus club Apollon Limassol. O’Neill, 21, leaves the club after appearing in 52 games for the Rapids since sign with them as a Homegrown Player in June 2012.
“This is a bittersweet announcement for us,” said Rapids vice president of soccer operations and technical director Paul Bravo. “We are very proud of Shane’s accomplishments which began in our Academy before extending to national teams and the Rapids first-team.”
Perhaps not coincidently, the Rapids signed Irish defender Sean St. Ledger. The 30-year-old St Ledger was released by Orlando City recently due to “a serious breach of club policy”, but Colorado scooped him up in an attempt to further bolster its back line.
“Sean is an important addition to our roster,” said Bravo. “He has leadership skills and experience having played at a very high standard in English football, in addition to a long career with the Irish national team. Also, he has had half-a-season in MLS so he will complement our existing squad. We are sure he’ll make a valuable contribution at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.”
The other player the Rapids brought in was Honduran international Maynor Figueroa. Using Target Allocation Money, the 32-year-old defender was brought over after having last played for Hull City. Colorado was able to land Figueroa, who spent the last eight years in the English Premier League, after sending allocation money to Sporting Kansas City in exchange for an international roster slot.
“We have been tracking Maynor for some time so we are delighted to have finally secured his services,” said Bravo of the veteran with 113 caps and four goals for Honduras. “He has vast experience in one of the best leagues in the world and his versatility will be an asset to us during the second half of the season. We look forward to welcoming him to our club.”
Additionally, the Rapids loaned Dominique Badji to the Charlotte Independence for the remainder of the year while also waiving Ben Newman.
What do you think of the Valdez signing? How will Smith fit in with the Whitecaps? What do you expect from Creavalle with the Union? Like the Rapids’ flurry of moves?
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