Spanish forward David Villa may have only just departed from MLS but he will be facing some former opponents in his first action with Vissel Kobe.
The J-League side announced their preseason tour on Friday, which will see them take on the Columbus Crew, LAFC, and Toronto FC in Southern California beginning late January.
Villa signed with Vissel Kobe back on Dec. 1st, and will partner up with former Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta and German forward Lukas Podolski.
Vissel will take on the Crew first on Jan. 28th in Irvine before taking on LAFC at Banc of California Stadium three days later. Their preseason tour continues against TFC back in Irvine on Feb. 2nd while they will also entertain USL outfit, Orange County SC at a later date.
Villa finished his MLS career with 80 goals and 26 assists in 124 league matches. He will now prepare to help Vissel Kobe improve on their 10th place finish in the J-League last season.
Report: Orlando City set to sign Univ. of Portland forward Benji Michel to homegrown contract
Orlando City struggled throughout the 2018 MLS season but are hoping to rebound with the new year right around the corner. The Lions now look set to add a young forward to a talented bunch of attackers.
The Lions are set to sign University of Portland striker Benji Michel to a Homegrown contract, Pro Soccer USA reported on Saturday. Michel, a Orlando native, played for Orlando City’s development academy and is coming off his third consecutive double-digit scoring campaign.
After tallying 10 goals in both of his freshman and sophomore seasons, Michel tallied 11 in 2018. Out of his 53 appearances at Portland, Michel made 51 starts and also scored the game-winning goal in his side’s 1-0 win over UCLA in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
Michel would add another element to the Lions attack which tallied the 43 goals last season, the fewest in the Eastern Conference. Dom Dwyer led the way with 13, but Rookie of the Year finalist Chris Mueller was up-and-down.
Report: Paraguayan side Olimpia in mix for Impact’s Alejandro Silva
After an impressive first campaign in MLS, Uruguayan forward Alejandro Silva could be on his way back to one of his former clubs.
Silva’s transfer to Paraguayan outfit Olimpia is reportedly “almost complete” and is expected to be the biggest transfer in Montreal Impact history. Silva’s total compensation for 2018 was $800,040 per the MLS Players’ Association.
INFO: Le départ d’Alejandro Silva pour Olimpia est presque bouclé. #IMFC devrait réaliser le plus gros transfert de son histoire avec l’Uruguayen de 29 ans. Le club va aussi se donner un peu de latitude au niveau de la masse salariale, qui posait problème #ImpactTVASports
— Vincent Destouches (@100_Soccer) December 29, 2018
The 29-year-old scored five goals in 31 appearances under Remi Garde in 2018, but made 83 appearances for Olimpia between 2012-14 and 2015-16. He has also seen stints with Fenix, Lanus, and Penarol during his professional career and won four caps with the Uruguayan National Team.
Olimpia president Marco Trovato was interested in re-acquiring the winger but originally had no deal in place due to Silva’s price tag.
Ex-Sounders defender Alfaro signs for Chivas de Guadalajara
After seeing his option declined by the Seattle Sounders this offseason, Tony Alfaro has found himself a new club.
The 25-year-old joined Liga MX side Chivas on Friday, after three seasons with the Sounders. Alfaro, the 27th overall selection in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, made 25 appearances for the club including 12 starts.
Despite not making any playoff appearances in 2016, Alfaro was part of the Sounders roster who lifted MLS Cup. He struggled for consistent playing time in Seattle and hopefully will be given a fresh start with Chivas, who finished 11th in the 2018 Apertura.
Alfaro is the second MLS player to head south this offseason following Yoshi Yotun’s $4 million move from Orlando City to Cruz Azul.