Looking to move forward from a disappointing 2018 campaign, Orlando City acquired defender Danilo Acosta on a season-long loan from Real Salt Lake in exchange for $75,000 of General Allocation Money.
Acosta, 21, was a Homegrown signing by RSL who debuted last year. He played in 12 matches (10 starts) for RSL in 2018, however, played just once in the club’s final 14 matches.
He’s also made 16 appearances for the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team. Acosta was a member of the team that won the 2017 CONCACAF U-20’s Championship where he kicked the game-winning penalty kick that defeated his home country of Honduras and played in the 2017 U-20 World Cup in South Korea.
Acosta fills a big need at left back after the Lions traded Victor “PC” Giro to Vancouver in early December for a third-round pick in the upcoming 2019 MLS SuperDraft. Orlando City also traded away left back Mohamed El-Munir to LAFC in exchange for Joao Moutinho.
Defending was a major issue for the Lions last season as they allowed a league-high 74 goals.
Orlando City signs Ecuadorian midfielder Mendez
Alongside the addition of Danilo Acosta on Friday, the Lions also signed Ecuadorian midfielder Jhegson Sebastian Mendez on a transfer for the top-flight Ecuadorian Serie A side Independiente del Valle.
Since joining Independiente del Valle back in 2015, Mendez appeared in 81 total matches for the club, including a pair of starts in the defensive midfield in the 2018 Copa Libertadores. He also earned five caps for the Ecuadorian National Team, and in those five appearances for country, Ecuador was 3-1-1 where they allowed just four goals with three clean sheets.
“Sebas is a very exciting, young player who we’ve been following for a while. He adds a level of versatility, athleticism and overall quality to our team,” said Orlando City SC EVP of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi. “There was a lot of international interest in him, and we are thrilled he chose Orlando and MLS as his next career move. Looking forward to integrating him into the roster next season.”
Rusnak signs new deal with RSL
Albert Rusnak signed a new contract with Real Salt Lake on Friday that will keep him with RSL through the 2021 season.
“I wanted to stay with Real Salt Lake because this is the perfect place to continue to develop as a player,” Rusnak said in a statement on RSL.com.
Since joining the club in 2017, Rusnak has scored 17 goals and tallied 21 assists, leading the club in both categories throughout the last two seasons.
“Albert is a very important piece on this team long-term. He’s a piece that, among others, we can build around,” head coach Mike Petke said. “He’s a kid that’s extremely talented and he’s not even at his ceiling yet. He has a hunger for knowledge. He wants to know. He asks questions. For me as a coach, those are players that I want to work with.”
RSL signs General Manager Waibel to new contract
Real Salt Lake also re-signed General Manager Craig Waibel to a new multi-year deal on Friday.
RSL has continued to increase their win total in each season since his appointment as the general manager of the club in 2015 and has made the playoffs in two of the last three years.
Waibel’s plan to build from within has paid off so far with young international signings like Joao Plata and Albert Rusnak, and with Homegrown talents like Justen Glad and 2018 MLS Rookie of the Year Corey Baird.
“In speaking with Craig about the future of the club, we are collectively very optimistic and excited about the direction of RSL,” Real Salt Lake Owner Dell Loy Hansen said in the club’s statement. “We share the same commitment to creating the best Academy and player development system in MLS and Craig has been successful in advancing that vision while signing key international players that create a playoff side. We are excited about the future of Real Salt Lake.”
Sounders acquire Jonathan Campbell from Chicago Fire
The Seattle Sounders traded a natural fourth-round pick in the 2020 SuperDraft to the Chicago Fire on Friday for defender Jonathan Campbell.
“Jonathan is a young, talented player who we think can provide some depth for us heading into 2019,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey in a club statement. “We are looking forward to bringing him into camp and seeing how he fits into our group.”
Campbell was the 12th overall pick of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of North Carolina and has appeared in 72 matches (49 starts) for the Fire since then. After starting in 30 of his 33 appearances for the Fire as a rookie in 2016, he only appeared in 15 games (11 starts) in 2018.
Campbell was also a member of the Sounders U-23 team in 2015.