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MLS Ticker: Keita, Bustamante, Fernandez sign Homegrown deals, and more

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The Columbus Crew appear ready to add a U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team defender to their squad after Goal.com reported the signing of Aboubacar Keita to a Homegrown contract on Monday.

Keita is coming off his only collegiate season at the University of Virginia, where he started 17 games for the Cavaliers. The defender helped the Cavaliers to a 10-4-3 regular-season record in the ACC, before seeing their season end in the third round of the NCAA Men’s Championship.

Standing at 6-foot-2, Keita recently impressed at the U.S. Under-20 national team camp and appeared for the Crew’s U-15/16 and U-17/18 Academy teams.

D.C. United make Antonio Bustamante its 10th Homegrown signing in club history

D.C. United added another local product to the squad with a Homegrown signing on Monday afternoon.

The Red and Black signed Antonio Bustamante, making the former William & Mary forward the club’s 10th homegrown signing all-time. Bustamante joined the D.C. Academy in 2012 and spent three years playing for the youth teams before heading off to college.

“Antonio is a promising young player and we are proud to add another Homegrown signing to our roster,” D.C. United GM and VP of Soccer Operations Dave Kasper said. “He had an excellent four years at the college level, and Antonio is now ready for the next step in his career. We look forward to integrating him into our group this preseason.”

During his four years with the Tribe, Bustamante scored 34 goals and registered 17 assists in 68 appearances. His most productive season came in 2017 where he scored 15 goals in 21 appearances, which ranked fourth in the country and earned him the CAA Player of the Year award.

Red Bulls sign Wake Forest’s Omir Fernandez to Homegrown Contract

Wake Forest standout winger Omir Fernandez has reportedly joined the New York Red Bulls via a Homegrown deal.

According to Goal.com, Fernandez was signed over the weekend, and while there has been no official announcement made, Fernandez was included in the list of players taking part in preseason with the Red Bulls as they kick off their preparations in Florida.

Fernandez played two seasons at Wake Forest, seeing his production rise drastically for the Demon Deacons. His freshman season saw him score six goals and add five assists in 23 matches before rising to 12 goals and six assists this past season.

The Bronx, N.Y. native helped Wake Forest to an 18-3 record in 2018 before losing to eventual College Cup finalists Akron last November.

A Red Bulls academy product, Fernandez will surely add another weapon to Chris Armas squad who are seeking to defending their Supporters Shield crown.

Jeisson Vargas not traveling with Impact for Florida camp

The Montreal Impact will be without a talented midfielder for their preseason camp in Florida.

Jeisson Vargas has not traveled to Florida due to his expected departure for a loan move, the club announced Monday. Vargas, 21, signed a three-and-a-half year deal with the Impact last year, and would score four goals in 19 appearances in 2018.

No official destination has been confirmed by the Impact, nor is the deal yet complete. However, Vargas reportedly is likely heading to Universidad de Chile in his home country.

Vargas began his senior career with Universisad Catolica in 2014, scoring nine goals in two seasons. He would later move to then Serie B side Bologna in 2016, but fail to make a single appearance with the club. .

He has also featured for the Chilean U-20 Men’s National Team in the past, but has yet to earn a senior call-up.

Marc Rzatkowski to join New York Red Bulls preseason

Monday saw the New York Red Bulls announce their 35-player roster for preseason camp in Bradenton, Fla which saw the team bring back midfielder Marc Rzatkowski.

Rzatkowski joined the Red Bulls from Red Bull Salzburg on-loan but saw his spell end in 2018. The 28-year-old made 24 appearances in his first MLS season, scoring two goals and adding seven assists.

His loan option was declined by the Red Bulls in November, but will be with the team for a pair of preseason camps. According to the MLS Players Association, Rzatkowski was on a base salary of $885,000 and a guaranteed total of $976,166.66.

The German-born Rzatkowski also made over 190 appearances in Germany, seeing stops at VfL Bochum, FC St Pauli, and Arminia Bielefeld.

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