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MLS Ticker: LAFC adds Wright-Phillips, SKC acquires defender Reid on loan, and more

Bradley Wright-Phillips is officially an LAFC player after joining one of the league’s deadliest attacking fronts in MLS.

The club signed Wright-Phillips on Friday, six days after the forward announcing via social media he would be joining LAFC. He comes to the West Coast after spending the last seven seasons with the New York Red Bulls, becoming one of the league’s prolific goalscorers.

“Bradley is one of the most prolific goalscorers in MLS history and the type of player that can be a difference-maker for us,” LAFC EVP & General Manager John Thorrington said. “He brings invaluable experience to the group as a proven winner in our league, and we look forward to welcoming him and his family to the Club.”

Wright-Phillips, a two-time MLS Golden Boot Winner, MLS Best XI selection and MLS All-Star, has scored 108 goals in 195 regular season appearances. The 34-year-old forward has also appeared in at least one postseason match every year since joining the league in 2013.

2019 saw Wright-Phillips score two goals and register four assists in 23 regular season games. He appeared in all four Concacaf Champions League matches as well for the Red Bulls.

He joins an LAFC attack which features reigning league MVP Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi, and Brian Rodriguez.

Sporting KC adds West Ham defender Reid on loan

Sporting KC gained the experience of an international center back for the 2020 MLS season.

New Zealand Men’s National Team center back Winston Reid joined the club on loan Friday from English Premier League side West Ham United. The 31-year-old World Cup veteran will occupy an international roster spot for 2020.

Reid joined the Hammers in 2010 from Danish side Midtjylland and eventually totaled 222 appearances in all competitions for the London club. He made 30 or more EPL appearances in three seasons for the Hammers, while also playing one season in the English Football Championship. However, he comes in with zero senior appearances over the past two seasons.

A native of New Zealand, Reid has earned 25 caps for his country’s National Team, appearing in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He made one appearance for the All Whites in 2019 and will look to help a Sporting KC backline which struggled last season.

Peter Vermes’ side failed to make the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2019.

Minnesota United adds defensive depth with Aja signing

Minnesota United added depth to their defensive corps on Friday with an experienced MLS centerback.

The club signed Uruguayan defender José Aja on Friday, who will not occupy an international roster spot. Aja joins the likes of Ike Opara, Michael Boxall, and Brent Kallman in Adrian Heath side’s center back pool.

“Jose is another valuable piece for us to add. With Brent’s [Kallman] suspension early on, we feel as though we’re a little bit light at centerback,” Heath said. “To get somebody who’s been in the league, got a Green Card, has come for the opportunity of staying here long-term — we felt it was too good of an opportunity to turn down. Especially as the lad’s played in the league and knows the league inside out. He’s a big, strong, athletic centerback. I think he’ll be another huge addition to our squad.”

Aja joins the Loons from Chile’s Primera Division side Union Espanola, where he’s made five appearances since signing with them in 2019. The former Orlando City and Vancouver Whitecaps defender totaled 42 league appearances over two prior seasons in MLS.

A 6-feet-4 defender, Aja has also played with Nacional and Racing Club during his professional career. He has scored three career goals since his professional career began in 2014.

Kallman was handed a 10-match suspension by MLS back in mid-September for violating the league’s Substance Abuse policy.

RSL re-sign midfielder Mulholland

Real Salt Lake retained the services of another experienced midfielder ahead of the upcoming MLS season.

Luke Mulholland was re-signed on Thursday, ahead of his seventh season with the club. Mulholland joins the likes of Kyle Beckerman and Donny Toia who were also re-signed this offseason.

“Luke is an established member of our club and community and we are thrilled to have him back in an RSL jersey for the 2020 season,” RSL General Manager Elliot Fall said. “He is a player who has dealt with significant adversity over the last couple years and has bounced back in a fantastic way. Without his contributions, the Real Monarchs would not have had the postseason success they did last year – that alone shows his level of professionalism and character. He is a role model for our young players both on the field and in the locker room”

Since being acquired by the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the former NASL in 2014, Mulholland has appeared in 123 matches, scoring 16 goals and adding 16 assists. A native of Preston, England, Mulholland has also made five playoff appearances for RSL.

In 2019, he made eight regular season appearances for Real Monarchs, tallying one goal and one assist. He then was a key component of the USL Championship squad on its playoff run with one assist in four matches, who eventually won the 2019 USL Championship title.

RSL finished third in the 2019 MLS regular season, winning one playoff game before falling to eventual Cup winners Seattle Sounders.

Whitecaps sign Pecile to Homegrown Contract

The Vancouver Whitecaps FC made their fifth Homegrown signing in the past year on Friday.

Whitecaps BMO Academy System product Damiano Pecile signed an MLS Homegrown contract, becoming the 22nd academy product in the club’s history to do so. The 17-year-old joins Thomas Hasal, Georges Mukumbilwa, Patrick Metcalfe, and Gianfranco Facchineri as Development Squad players who have signed in the last year.

Pecile spent 2019 playing with the Whitecaps FC Development Squad, including trips to face international competition in England, South Korea, and Mexico, with the Academy Under-19 side, and with Canada’s Under-17 Men’s National team.

“Damiano is a talented young prospect who still has a great deal of room to develop and improve,” Whitecaps sporting director Axel Schuster said. “For now, Damiano will continue to play with our Development Squad, as well as our U-19 team. We will continue to evaluate the best options for him, which may include a loan in the coming months should it make sense for his progression.”

Pecile originally joined the Whitecaps FC BMO Academy System in August of 2015. In his 56 appearances, the midfielder scored 20 goals.

He could play a vital part for the Whitecaps turnaround in 2020 after missing the MLS Cup Playoffs a year ago.



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