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MLS Ticker: Wondolowski signs new contract, Robinson, Parkhurst out against Union, and more

Chris Wondowloski will return to the San Jose Earthquakes in 2020.

The club announced Tuesday that Wondolowski has signed a one-year contract to remain with San Jose. Wondolowski, 36, scored 15 goals in 32 appearances in 2019 for the Western Conference club. It was the most goals in a season by the MLS veteran since 2016.

“I’m very excited to be back for one more year,” Wondolowski said in a club statement. “Knowing how much fun it is in the locker room, the team unity that we have and where this team is going, I wanted to be a part of it. I love this game. I love going out to practice. We’re a family. Even right now, it’s nice to have a couple days off, but I’m ready to get started again. When I do decide to step away from the game, my goal is to remain a part of the Earthquakes organization and help the team any way I can.”

Wondolowski currently has the MLS all-time goalscoring record and currently has 159 career league goals. The Earthquakes missed out on the playoffs this season, but did much better under first-year head coach Matias Almeyda than in 2018.

“It’s impossible to fully explain all the ways Chris is devoted to this club,” Quakes GM Jesse Fioranelli said. “He truly embraces a bigger cause, well beyond the goals he scores and the records he breaks. Wondo has an unparalleled love for the game and the Quakes organization as a whole and this is a great day for our fans and our club.”

Robinson, Parkhurst ruled out of Atlanta United’s playoff game vs. Union

Atlanta United will be without two of their centerback options for their upcoming Eastern Conference semifinal against the Philadelphia Union.

Five Stripes head coach Frank de Boer confirmed at training Tuesday that Miles Robinson and Michael Parkhurst will miss due to respective injuries. Robinson has been out since suffering an ankle injury on USMNT duty earlier this month, while Parkhurst suffered a shoulder injury in the Five Stripes’ 1-0 win over the New England Revolution last Saturday.

With both Robinson and Parkhurst out, it is unsure who will lineup next to Leandro Gonzalez Pirez in the heart of the Five Stripes backline. Florentin Pogba seems like the obvious option to play on Thursday with the Union coming to Atlanta.

The Union defeated the New York Red Bulls 4-3 in extra time on Sunday, with Marco Fabian coming off the bench to score the winner. Philadelphia took points in both regular season meetings with Atlanta in 2019, tying the Five Stripes 1-1 back in March.

Columbus Crew announce roster decisions ahead of 2020 season

The Columbus Crew have announced their roster decisions for the 2020 MLS season.

Federico Higuain and Ricardo Clark are on their way out of Columbus after not being re-signed, while Pedro Santos, Wil Trapp, and Jonathan Mensah have seen their options exercised by the club.

In addition, Waylon Francis, Hector Jimenez and Luis Argudo have also had their options picked up for 2020. The Crew have also agreed to new deals with goalkeeper Jon Kempin and defender Josh Williams.

Ben Lundgaard, Alex Crognale. David Guzman, Edward Opoku and Eduardo Sosa all saw their options declined, while Crew are in negotiations with out-of-contract wingback Harrison Afful.

“As we continue preparations for the 2020 season, our goal is to build a roster that can compete for championships,” Crew SC President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Although we were disappointed to miss the postseason, the team evolved throughout the year and was trending in the right direction at the end of the season.”

“We want to build on the work done by our technical staff and players this season as we continue to solidify our identity in this new era of our Club. While it is never easy to make difficult personnel decisions at the beginning of each offseason, we are confident the roster will continue to evolve in the coming months as we look toward 2020 and beyond.”

FC Cincinnati technical director Luke Sassano steps down due to family reasons

Luke Sassano will be stepping down from his role as FC Cincinnati technical director.

The club announced Monday that Sassano is stepping down from his position for family reasons, but will remain with the club through the end of the calendar year in an advisory role and assist with the transition to the new staffing structure. Sassano had been with the club since March 2018, while Freeman joined in October 2018 ahead of FC Cincy’s inaugural MLS season.

In addition, Hunter Freeman has been promoted to the team’s new position of Director of Scouting and Player Recruitment. In this position, he will oversee the club’s scouting activities and player recruitment strategies, as well as FC Cincy’s entire scouting staff. Freeman is one of six department heads on FCC’s soccer side who report directly to GM Gerard Nijkamp.

“We want to thank Luke for all of his work to get our project off the ground,” Nijkamp said. “Luke has been a valuable asset to the club, and to me since my arrival. We want to wish him and his family all the best as he makes this difficult decision to step away from his role with FC Cincinnati. For me, when you’re new in a country and in a new league, it’s always helpful when there is someone who can help you understand the rules and the roster. Luke has been a fantastic representative of this club and we very much appreciate his willingness to help stay with us through the upcoming transition.”

“We’ve known Hunter for a long time – for me, from the beginning of my time in Cincinnati,” Nijkamp said. “He’s shown his quality already in identifying talented players and managing that process. I’m very positive about this change. He’s worked closely with Luke for much of the last year and I’ve been very impressed working with him the last few months. I know that he will do a great job in this new role. We look forward to him growing the scouting and recruitment area.”



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