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MLS Ticker: Orlando City fires Budalic, Sinovic signs new deal, and more


Orlando City’s 2018 MLS campaign was nothing to smile about. Ultimately a change needed to be done in order to build for the future.

The Lions fired general manager Niki Budalic on Monday, after serving the last two seasons. Orlando City totaled just 28 points this season, the lowest in club history and the second lowest in 2018 ahead of only San Jose.

The Lions season was an even bigger disappointment as Budalic brought in big names like Sacha Kljestan and Justin Meram to help push the team towards the postseason.

Budalic joined Orlando City as the assistant general manager in January 2016 and was promoted to the general manager of soccer operations for both Orlando City SC and the Orlando Pride of the NWSL in December 2016.

Orlando City has yet to make the playoffs since joining MLS in 2015.

L.A. Galaxy exercise contracts of four players

The L.A. Galaxy exercised the contract options of four players on Monday, giving them a total of 19 players for the upcoming 2019 MLS season.

Midfielders Sebastian Lleget and Bradford Jamieson IV, defender Daniel Steres and goalkeeper Justin Vom Steeg all had their contracts exercised.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy also declined the options on eight other players including defender Ashley Cole, midfielder Baggio Hudisic and goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre.

Vancouver Whitecaps make end-of-season roster moves

With a new head coach in Marc Dos Santos and a star in Alfonso Davies now off to Germany, the Vancouver Whitecaps are building towards the 2019 MLS season.

They made several roster moves on Monday as they extended the contracts of Doneil Henry, Nicolas Mezquida and Yordy Reyna.

On the other side, Brek Shea and Aly Ghazal’s options were declined while both of the clubs top-scorers Kei Kamara and Cristian Techera are out of contracts.

Kamara, Techera, Shea and Davies were four of the club’stop five goal-scorers from last season, scoring 33 of the Whitecaps’ 54 goals. Reyna is the lone top-five goalscorer of the group returning. He scored six goals for Vancouver in 2018.

Peruvian Kevin Quevedo could find his way to NYCFC

New York City FC could get another Peruvian to play alongside Alexander Callens in 2019.

Reports from Spain’s Diaro AS and the Peruvian outlet La Republica say that Alianza Lima have offered 21-year-old attacker Kevin Quevedo to NYCFC.

Quevedo scored four goals in 30 appearances for Alianza, but has also clashed with his manager, Pablo Bengoechea, at times having him omitted from the lineup due to his behavior.

Quevedo was linked to NYCFC earlier this fall by reports from another Peruvian outlet, Libero.

Sporting KC’s Sinovic signs new deal ahead of 2019 season

Since joining his hometown team Sporting KC, veteran leftback Seth Sinovic has made a huge impact with the club. Monday saw the team lock up Sinovic for the 2019 season, as the 31-year-old signed a new deal.

Sinovic has helped SKC to three U.S. Open Cup titles and one MLS Cup since joining the team in 2011. He currently ranks 10th in club history with 228 appearances in all competitions.

He began his career with the New England Revolution in 2010 and has rebounded back from a pair of difficult seasons in 2015-16. Sinovic has made 21 starts in 2018 and will look to help SKC to a spot in the MLS Cup as they host the Portland Timbers in a second leg semifinal on Thursday.

Crew exercises options on eight players, signs Abubakar to new deal

The Columbus Crew have resigned an important piece to their defensive backline, reaching a new contract with centerback Lalas Abubakar on Monday.

Abubakar will return for his third season with the club, since joining in 2010 from the Michigan Bucks of USL League Two.

The Crew also exercised the options of eight players for 2019. Goalkeepers Jon Kempin and Ben Lundgaard, defenders Alex Crognale, Connor Maloney, Gaston Sauro and Josh Williams, as well as midfielders Luis Argudo and Niko Hansen. Hansen led these players with 23 appearances this season, scoring two goals. Williams made 22 appearances in the backline, while Kempin was the No. 2 keeper behind Zack Steffen.

Gregg Berhalter’s side also announced conversations with left back Milton Valenzuela who joined Columbus on a one-year loan deal from Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina.

“2019 roster preparations are ongoing, and together with our returning players we look to add new talent that can execute our style of play and position the team to return to the postseason,” Berhalter said.

The Crew also declined options with goalkeeper Logan Ketterer, midfielder Ricardo Clark, Mike Grella, and Cristian Martinez as well as forward Adam Jahn. Columbus are currently in talks to resign Clark.

FC Cincinnati sign Argentian playmaker Ledesma

As they prepare for their first season in Major League Soccer, newcomers FC Cincinnati signed 30-year-old Argentine playmaker Emmanuel Ledesma on Monday.

Ledesma is one of four players signed to the club for their inaugural 2019 MLS season, joining Fernando Adi, Fatai Alashe and Corben Bone. He will take up an international spot.

Ledesma was an important piece to FCC’s season in the USL last year, scoring 16 goals and a league record 16 assists which helped him earn the USL’s Most Valuable Player award.

Figueroa, Lamah among FC Dallas options not picked up for 2019

As FC Dallas heads into life without Oscar Pareja as head coach, the team has made its first set of roster moves.

Jacori Hayes, Ryan Hollingshead, Victor Ulloa, and Kyle Zobeck saw their contract options exercised for the 2019 season, the club announced on Monday. The club also extended an offer to Tesho Akindele whose current deal expired.

Veterans Maynor Figueroa and Roland Lamah were among the players whose contract options were not exercised, joining Abel Aguilar, Jordan Cano, Kris Reaves, and Adonijah Reid on that list.

The Western Conference club did not live to high expectations in 2018, seeing their season end in the MLS Knockout Stage back in early November. Now, the team continues their search for a new head coach after Oscar Pareja mutually agreed to step down.

Impact announce roster moves with Sagna, Fanni not exercised for 2019

Veteran defenders Rod Fanni and Bacary Sagna played important roles for the Montreal Impact in 2018, but were two names who highlighted the team’s roster moves on Monday.

The pair are among a group of players who did not have their contract options exercised for next season, joining Louis Beland-Goyette and Michael Salazar on that list. Midfielder David Choiniere will be invited to preseason training camp after seeing his option also declined by the Impact.

Despite five players seeing options declined, the team did exercise the options of seven players for 2019. Goalkeepers Jason Beaulieu, Maxime Crepeau, and James Pantemis, defender Victor Cabrera and midfielders Michael Azira, Ken Krolicki. and Jeisson Vargas will all be back for Remi Garde’s team next season.

The Impact finished seventh in the East last season, four points below the red line.

Fire in talks to resign Schweinsteiger, Kappelhof following roster moves

The beginning of what will be a busy offseason for the Chicago Fire, began on Monday with six players seeing their contract options picked up for 2019.

Brandt Bronico, Diego Campos, Stefan Cleveland, Jorge Corrales, Raheem Edwards, and Nico Hasler all will be back with the Fire next season, the club announced. Elliot Collier’s contract was also extended late Sunday, joining these players next preseason.

Johan Kappelhof, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Matt Polster are all out of contract but remain in negotiations with the club.

Seven players saw contract options declined for the next season, with several being able to participate in the MLS Re-Entry Draft. Jonathan Campbell, Drew Conner, Michael De Leeuw, Patrick McLain, Yura Movsisyan, and Luis Solignac are can enter the Re-Entry Draft while Daniel Johnson is eligible for the MLS Waiver Draft.

The Fire finished with the fourth-worst record in 2018, totaling 32 points in 34 matches.

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