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MLS Ticker: Fire sign forward Beric, Orlando City adds Gallese, and more

After being linked to the club earlier this week, Robert Beric is on his way to the Chicago Fire.

The Fire signed the Slovenian National Team forward to a Designated Player contract through the 2021 season with an option for 2022.

“I’m very happy to be in Chicago, and I think this is going to be a great new era for the Fire,” Berić said. “I am looking forward to getting to work with my new teammates and starting the new season.”

The 28-year-old Beric comes from Saint-Etienne in France’s Ligue 1 and brings experience from top flight leagues in Slovenia, Austria, and Belgium. He scored 122 goals during his time in Europe, including a dozen in the Europa League and UEFA Champions League.

He has 25 caps for the Slovenian National Team.

“We are very excited to add Robert to our roster ahead of the upcoming season,” Chicago Fire FC Head Coach Raphael Wicky said. “Robert is hard-working, intelligent number nine who has the ability to score goals at a high rate. We are looking forward to welcoming him and his family to Chicago.”

Orlando City adds Gallese

Orlando City’s quest to find a new starting goalkeeper is complete, with the Lions successfully landing Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese in a deal made with Targeted Allocation Money.

Gallese has totaled 62 appearances for the Peruvian National Team, appearing in two Copa America tournaments. He also helped Peru reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup, playing in all three of the team’s group stage matches.

He joins from Liga MX Veracruz, where he totaled 51 appearances in three seasons with the club.

Orlando City aims for their first-ever MLS playoff appearance in 2020.

Fire sign Pineda to homegrown deal

The Chicago Fire signed University of North Carolina captain Mauricio Pineda to a homegrown deal for the 2020 MLS season with options years for 2021, 2022, and 2023.

Pineda never missed a match in his four seasons with the Tar Heels. He scored 17 goals in 79 appearances in college and was named to one of the All-ACC teams in every season he played.

Pineda joined that Fire academy at 10 years old and helped them  its first-ever U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) National Championship in 2015. He also has appearances with the U.S. U-18 and U-19 National Teams.

“I’m so happy to sign my first professional contract with the Fire,” Pineda said. “I joined the Club when I was 10 years old and have been dreaming of playing for the Fire since then. I can’t wait to get started.”

He’s not the first member of his family to sign a homegrown contract with the Fire, either. His older brother, Victor, was the team’s first ever academy signing back in 2010. He only made four appearances in four years, however.

FC Cincinnati waives Adi

FC Cincinnati waived forward Fanendo Adi on Friday, making the move before it leaves town for preseason next week.

The announcement comes as little surprise after Adi, among other things, failed to show his best in the back-half of the 2018 USL season, criticized the 2019 side for lacking identity, getting arrested for speeding and driving intoxicated, and finally filing a complaint with the MLS Player’s Association after being kept out of Cincy’s lineup when he claimed he was healthy towards the end of 2019.

Adi’s recollection to the Cincinnati Enquirer of his first meeting with GM Gerard Nijkamp, shows the writing had been on the wall for some time.

“With Gerard, it’s just a little bit complicated. The first meeting he had with us in the locker room, I think he did something very strange and he knows that. I don’t need to expose everything but they know what he did and he knows what he did.”  Adi said.

“I think I’m not going to tell him how to behave but I think he’s a grown man and a family man as well, and there’s a way you talk to people. You don’t talk to people that way. He said some things that were very hurtful. Some things that were like personal vendetta without even knowing the person, so there’s other things and I wish them the best. If I’m going to be here, I don’t know.”

Also leaving the team are goalkeeper Jimmy Hague and playmaker Emmanuel Ledesma. Hague, a former 2019 second round draft pick, did not make an appearance with the team last season. Ledesma, 31, scored six goals and five assists in 26 MLS appearances, but failed to reach the heights of his production when the club was back in the USL.

Sporting KC sign Melia to extension

Sporting Kansas City announced a contract extension for goalkeeper Tim Melia that will keep him with the team until the end of the 2022 season.

“I could not be more excited to extend my contract with a club that has given me so much,” Melia said. “To play any length of time at such a special and supportive club is something all athletes dream of. I only hope to help contribute in bringing our owners, technical staff, players and fans the rewards that Sporting deserves.”

Melia arrived in 2015 and has helped SKC make the playoffs four times and with the U.S. Open Cup twice. He’s started 170 games while racking up 45 shutouts and a league leading ten penalty saves. He was named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2017.

“We are very happy to extend Tim’s contract for the long term,” SKC head coach Peter Vermes said. “He has great goalkeeping qualities and has performed at a consistently high level in MLS. Welcoming him for the next three seasons is a big positive for us moving forward.”

FC Cincy’s Cruz, Deplagne obtain U.S. Green Cards

FC Cincinnati saw two players become permanent United States residents on Friday.

Midfielder Allan Cruz and defender Mathieu Deplagne obtained their U.S. Green Cards, which will no longer see them occupy international roster spots on FC Cincy’s roster.

Cruz, 23, made 22 appearances while scoring a team-high seven goals in 2019. The Costa Rica National Team player was named FC Cincy MVP and was voted FCC Players’ Player of the Year last season.

The 28-year-old Deplagne made 33 appearances, scoring one goal and adding two assists in FC Cincinnati’s debut MLS season. Deplagne will hope to propel FC Cincy to a better season in 2020 after finishing last in the league in 2019.

Ron Jans’ side opens the 2020 season at the New York Red Bulls on March 1st.

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