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MLS Ticker: Loons acquire goalkeeper Miller, McKenzie signs new Union deal, and more

Minnesota United has a new starting goalkeeper heading into the 2020 MLS season.

The club acquired goalkeeper Tyler Miller in a trade trade with LAFC on Thursday, sending $150,000 in 2020 General Allocation Money (GAM) and $50,000 in 2021 Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) to their fellow Western Conference rivals. Miller signed a two-year contract with the Loons, with a club option for an additional year.

“We think we’ve signed one of the best young goalkeepers in the league, who was invited to the (U.S.) national team last year,” MNUFC Head Coach Adrian Heath said. “We’ve spoken to all the people that have worked with him and they’re all incredibly complimentary. But more importantly, Stuart Kerr, who we believe is the best goalkeeping coach in the league, he thinks the upside is huge with this guy. We are delighted to get him. The fact that’s he’s American helps us with our international numbers. I think the best days of Tyler Miller are ahead of him and I couldn’t be more pleased that we’ve got him.”

Miller joins the Loons after two seasons with Supporters’ Shield winners LAFC. He was selected with the first pick of the 2017 MLS Expansion Draft from the Seattle Sounders ahead of LAFC’s inaugural season in 2018 where Miller started 33 regular-season games. During LAFC’s historic 2019 season, the 26-year-old Miller remained a mainstay between the pipes, starting 28 of 34 regular season games, registering nine shutouts and making 72 saves.

Internationally, Miller has worked up the ranks of U.S. Soccer, earning his first senior team camp invite in January 2019. He will replace last season’s MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Vito Mannone, who failed to sign a deal to return to the club.

Union sign Homegrown defender McKenzie to new deal

Philadelphia Union homegrown defender Mark McKenzie has committed his future to the club.

The club announced Thursday that McKenzie has signed a new contract through the 2022 season. The contract also includes club options 2023 and 2024. McKenzie signed a Homegrown deal with the Eastern Conference club back in 2018 and since has become a key contributor for Jim Curtin’s side.

“We’re excited to have come to an agreement on a new contract with Mark, solidifying his spot on our team. As a homegrown player, he exemplifies our commitment to the development of our academy players,” Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said. “Mark has become a proven asset on and off the field. Through his development, he’s become a valuable centerback who sees everything in front of him and is an emerging role model in the community.”

McKenzie worked his way through the Union’s Academy before making 19 regular-season appearances in the 2018 season. He finished that season as a finalists for the league’s Rookie of the Year award.  Despite an injury-plagued 2019 season, the center back made seven appearances for the club in MLS play, helping them win the club’s first-ever playoff match.

McKenzie has earned multiple call-ups to the U.S. Men’s National Team, but is still seeking his senior debut. He is currently in the Jan. 2020 camp in Bradenton, Fla.  He was named captain of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team during the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland, which the U.S. reached the quarterfinal stage.

With Auston Trusty now in Colorado, McKenzie is slated to be starting next to fellow center back Jack Elliott on Matchday 1 of the 2020 season at FC Dallas.

NYCFC sign playmaker Tajouri-Shradi to new deal

New York City FC saw one of their playmakers sign a new multi-year contract with the club.

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi signed a new contract with the Eastern Conference club on Thursday. The 25-year-old has played in 52 matches across all competitions over the past two seasons for NYCFC, scoring 19 goals and adding seven assists.

“I’m really happy to extend my contract to stay here with NYCFC who from the first day has showed me so much love. I just want to keep going with this amazing Club in an incredible city,” Tajouri-Shradi said. “Since my first game at home, the fans have been amazing to me and the energy they give us every game is incredible.”

“We have a really strong team and can achieve something bigger than the last few years this season. I’m excited for the start of the season and really happy to stay here for a few more years and win some titles with this amazing Club.”

Tajouri-Shradi joined from Austrian Bundesliga side Austria Wien in Jan. 2018, and went on to score four goals in his first four starts with the club. His 11 goals in 2018 were second-most on the squad behind David Villa and he is one of four forwards currently at the Club to have a double-digit goal season.

“We want to play attacking football and having wingers like Ismael makes our team incredibly hard to defend,” NYCFC head coach Ronny Deila said.. “He can run at defenders in one-v-one situations, but can also score from long range when given an inch of space. He’s dynamic and I love the skill set he brings to our side.”

NYCFC will look to bounce back in 2020 after a disappointing playoff loss in 2019 to Toronto FC.

Whitecaps add Canadian left back Gutierrez

Marc Dos Santos will have a new left back to possibly call on in 2020.

The Vancouver Whitecaps acquired Canadian-born left back Cristian Gutierrez on Thursday on a free transfer. Gutierrez joins from Chilean Primera Division club Colo-Colo after signing a contract through 2021, with options for 2022 and 2023.

“Cristian was looking for a new opportunity and we are excited to bring him to Vancouver,” Whitecaps FC sporting director Axel Schuster said. “He has the four cornerstones we look for in a player, he is fully aware of the challenge in front of him, and he is excited to continue his development in his native country.”

Gutierrez moved through the youth ranks at Colo-Colo and eventually made his professional debut with the club in 2015. He played five seasons in the Chilean Primera Division, including stints with Union Espanola in 2017, and Huachipato in 2017-18. Over that span, he played in 52 league matches, in addition to 26 appearances in the Copa Chile.

He’s represented the Chilean U-20 Men’s National Team in the past.

Rapids sign Argentinian winger Galvan

The Colorado Rapids signed a young winger on Thursday, continuing a busy period of acquisitions.

The Western Conference club announced the signing of 19-year-old winger Braian Galvan from Argentina’s Club Atlético Colón. Galván will see out the remainder of his contract with the Superliga side before joining the Rapids upon the opening of the Secondary Transfer Window on July 7. He will occupy an international roster spot on the Rapids roster.

“Braian is a highly touted prospect whose development we’ve been monitoring for some time now,” Rapids Executive Vice President and General Manager Pádraig Smith said. “He’s a fast, skillful and talented player who has already made his professional debut and has been a part of the Argentine youth national team system. We see great potential in him and couldn’t be more thrilled to have him join our club.”

Galvan joins the Rapids after spending the past three seasons in the Argentine first division with Colon de Santa Fe with whom he made his professional debut at 17-years-old. Born in Argentina, Galvan has represented the Argentina U-20 Men’s National Team in the past.

He has scored one professional goal with Colon in eight career appearances.



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