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Official: Fanendo Adi, Fatai Alashe joins FC Cincinnati via trades


FC Cincinnati’s first MLS splashes are now official.

Following reports of a deal from over the weekend, FC Cincinnati has acquired Fanendo Adi from the Portland Timbers as the club’s first signing and Designated Player. The club also added midfielder Fatai Alashe from teh San Jose Earthquakes via a second deal.

In exchange for Adi, the Timbers received $450,000 in General Allocation Money and $400,000 in MLS Targeted Allocation Money as well as up to $100,000 in future TAM based on Adi’s performance with FC Cincinnati in 2019 to go with a portion of any international transfer before 2020. The move for Alashe saw FC Cincy send $135,000 of Allocation Money with $60,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and $75,000 in General Allocation Money as well as potential future performance-based considerations.

Adi and Alashe will now join an FC Cincinnati that sits in first place in the USL with 44 points through 21 matches.

Adi joined the Timbers in 2014 and scored 54 goals and 14 assists in 126 regular-season appearances for the club, trailing only Diego Valeri on the franchise’s goalscoring charts. The forward was a key cog in the team’s run to the 2015 MLS Cup, scoring twice during the Timbers’ postseason push.

“We are incredibly excited to bring in a proven MLS goal-scorer to our club,” Head Coach Alan Koch said. “The fact that Fanendo has committed to join us now, in this mid-season transfer window, shows how he believes in our team project and where our club is going. We’re excited to get him involved in the squad immediately and embrace him in the culture of our club. We anticipate that he will have a major impact on the pitch for us for the next several years.”

“We’re pleased to add Fanendo as our first MLS Designated Player,” President and General Manager Jeff Berding said. “He’s a tremendously talented player who is also a standout citizen in the community. The fact that he has agreed to join us is a clear demonstration of his passion for leadership and winning. He will immediately begin to create his new legacy with another very special fan base. We can’t wait to see him out on the field at Nippert Stadium.”

Alashe, meanwhile, has made 85 appearances and tallied five goals and three assists since being drafted in 2015.

“Fatai is a player who brings a wealth of MLS experience at a young age,” Alan Koch said. “He’s shown his quality over the last few seasons in MLS and we envision him contributing to our team both short and long term. His character and persona will be a valuable addition to our locker room. As soon as he is back to match fitness we will integrate him in to the squad.”

FC Cincinnati returns to action on Saturday against Nashville SC.


  1. Good pick up. I don’t know salary, but I doubt it is too much. Adi is only 27.

    You know he can score if he has teammates.

  2. let me understand this…FC Cinn is spending MLS money on MLS players to play in the USL. How is that fair to the other teams in the USL in terms of competitive balance ?!?

    • Really turns the Colorado Rapids strategy on its head (i.e. spending USL-level money on USL-level players to come play in MLS)
      Seriously though, this is exactly what USL signed up for when they decided be minor league baseball. Not a terrible strategy given the landscape…. but competitive fairness will always be a secondary (at best) goal.

    • I believe teams jumping to MLS are allowed an extra budget for starting to accumulate talent for their current roster and the following years roster.

      • Actually it was my understanding that there is no salary cap (or even a CBA/union) in USL. Only an understanding amongst MLS-affiliated teams not to use the USL side to hide salaries that should be attributed toward the MLS franchise.
        Obviously, I can sympathize with fans of USL sides with no MLS parent — situations like this do tilt the board unfairly. But it’s an exceptional circumstance. Hard to think of a value-enhancing solution.

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