Stage Two of the MLS Re-Entry Draft didn’t produce much in the way of fireworks, but it did include one move that will reunite a pair of former USMNT teammates.
Toronto FC picked up Juan Agudelo in the Re-Entry Draft on Tuesday, making him one of just two players selected. FC Cincinnati selected fullback Saad Abdul-Salaam, who joins from the Seattle Sounders.
Agudelo, 27, spent the last six seasons in two separate stints with the Revolution, scoring 36 goals in 160 league appearances.
With Jozy Altidore recovering from an injury-plagued 2019, the arrival of Agudelo gives head coach Greg Vanney a versatile option to play in attack.
FC Cincinnati selected Abdul-Salaam after his option was not picked up by the Sounders. He made 18 appearances in 2019 for the Sounders, but did not make an appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Abdul-Salaam has made 86 appearances in five MLS seasons, mostly seeing time at right back.The 28-year-old has spent time with Sporting KC and NYCFC in his MLS career.
Should FC Cincinnati sign Abdul-Salaam, as well as Stage One selection Haris Medunjanin, that would give Cincinnati 27 players under contract for 2020.
RSL keeping Juarez as coach, Fall as GM
Freddy Juarez will begin the 2020 MLS season as Real Salt Lake’s permanent head coach.
After serving in an interim role for the conclusion of last season, Juarez has been named to a permanent role as RSL tries to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs. Juarez took over as interim head coach back in Aug, 2019 following the firing of Mike Petke. He also was the head coach of RSL’s USL affiliate, Real Monarchs from 2015-16.
“When you look at Freddy and the progression that he has taken, he has the natural heart to develop. He will constantly develop players and help them improve their game and he’s done that for 10 years,” Real Salt Lake Owner Dell Loy Hansen said. “Players love to play for Freddy. He’s a father figure and he’s respected. He’s beloved and that’s hard to find in a coach.”
Juarez led RSL to a third place finish in the MLS regular season. RSL eliminated Portland Timbers in the opening round of the MLS Cup Playoffs, but were ousted in the semifinals to eventual league winners, Seattle Sounders.
In addition, RSL has named Elliot Fall as the club’s new General Manager, which sees him promoted from Assistant General Manager. USL Championship-winning Real Monarchs GM Dan Egner has been promoted to Technical Director and two-time MLS All-Star and RSL legend Tony Beltran has also been hired as Assistant General Manager.
Fall has served in multiple capacities with the club since 2007 and now becomes the league’s youngest GM at 34-years-old. Egner joined the Real Monarchs staff in 2015, while Beltran was a 2008 MLS SuperDraft selection by RSL. He announced his retirement earlier this year.
Report: Inter Milan, Roma eyeing Barco
Atlanta United’s Ezequiel Barco is reportedly drawing interest from Serie A sides Inter Milan and Roma.
Barco joined Atlanta United in 2018 from Argentinian side Independiente. After 38 appearances for Independiente, Barco made the switch to MLS and has lifted three trophies with the Five Stripes.
In two seasons, Barco has eight goals and eight assists for Atlanta, who won the 2018 MLS Cup under then head coach Tata Martino. The 20-year-old midfielder only made 18 combined appearances for the Five Stripes this season, after being on international duty with the Argentina U-20 Men’s National Team at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Inter Milan currently sits top of the Serie A table, while Roma are nine points back in fifth place.
MLS fines Altidore, Almeyda and Dos Santos
Major League Soccer announced fines to Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore, San Jose head coach Matias Almeyda, and Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos on Tuesday.
Altidore was hit with an undisclosed fine for comments made after the MLS Cup final which were critical of the match officiating.
Dos Santos was fined for comments made about the league in an interview published on November 4th. The comments were deemed to be a violation of the league’s public criticism policy.
Almeyda was fined for critical comments about match officiating following San Jose’s September 21st match against Atlanta United.