MLS Ticker: Galaxy adds Katai, LAFC re-sign pair of defenders, and more

MLS Ticker: Galaxy adds Katai, LAFC re-sign pair of defenders, and more

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MLS Ticker: Galaxy adds Katai, LAFC re-sign pair of defenders, and more

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Aleksandar Katai is switching from the Eastern Conference to the Western Conference for 2020.

The L.A. Galaxy signed Katai on Tuesday with Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) and he will occupy an international roster spot. Katai comes from the Chicago Fire, where he scored 18 goals and added 12 assists over the past two seasons.

“Aleksandar is a proven attacking threat who will be an important piece on our team,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Dennis Te Kloese. “In addition to his success playing in Europe, he has shown his quality in Major League Soccer since he joined in 2018. We are excited to add Aleksandar to our roster and look forward to him representing the LA Galaxy.”

Katai, 28, moved to MLS in 2018 after playing in numerous European leagues. The playmaker has also spent time with Red Star Belgrade, Alaves, and Vojvodina. He’s also earned nine caps with the Serbian Men’s National Team, but has yet to score for his country.

His arrival in L.A. gives Guillermo Barros Schelotto a new attacking option to choose from in 2020, following Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s departure.

LAFC re-sign veteran defenders Jakovic, Harvey

Bob Bradley will have two veteran defenders returning to LAFC in 2020.

The club re-signed defenders Jordan Harvey and Dejan Jakovic on Tuesday ahead of the upcoming MLS season. Harvey and Jakovic have a combined 445 league appearances heading into a new season with the defending Supporters’ Shield winners.

“Jordan and Dejan have been consummate professionals since joining the Club and we’re pleased to have re-signed both players,” LAFC General Manager and EVP of Soccer Operations John Thorrington said. “They provide an invaluable veteran presence in the locker room, and their level of experience and dedication have been crucial to the team’s success the past two years.”

Harvey, a 14-year MLS veteran tallied one goal and a career-best five assists in 30 appearances in 2019. In total, the 35-year-old has made 59 regular-season appearances in his two seasons with the Western Conference club.

Jaković has seen action in 18 regular-season games, as well as two U.S. Open Cup matches. He’s also earned 41 caps with the Canadian Men’s National Team, while also playing for numerous teams in Europe over his career.

LAFC conceded only 37 goals in 2019, eventually falling to the Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference semifinals.

Charlotte MLS hires Krneta at first Sporting Director

Charlotte MLS named its first Sporting Director on Tuesday ahead of its league debut in 2021.

The club announced the hiring of Zoran Krenta, who is the club’s first technical staff appointment. Krneta helped discover current European players Luka Jovic, Andriy Lunin, and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, as well as current NYCFC forward Heber.

“We have been preparing for several months in anticipation of being awarded an MLS expansion franchise,” President of Tepper Sports and Entertainment Tom Glick said. “Zoran is the executive we sought to lead us in our pursuit of building a consistently high-performing team, including winning in our first season. We are delighted to confirm his appointment and also to have him on the case immediately as we begin our journey.”

“Zoran is a highly talented soccer professional and leader who will help us build a club that identifies and attracts talent from around the world to join us in Charlotte while also investing in the development of young players in our home here in the Carolinas.”

Krneta’s duties will include all on-field operations, recruiting coaches and professional support staff, identifying and signing players for the MLS roster, and creating a youth development academy and related youth player initiatives. During his time with global sports agency Star Sports and Entertainment, Krneta helped negotiate contracts for both John Stones and Branislav Ivanovic, who both have played in the English Premier League.

“This is a hugely exciting time for Charlotte and I am thrilled to be part of this new MLS club,” Krneta said. “David Tepper’s vision, together with the knowledge and expertise of the technical and executive team we are assembling, demonstrate that our goal will be to compete for the MLS Cup title starting from year one.”

Krneta will officially begin his duties with Charlotte following the approval of his work permit in the United States.

 

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