Charlotte FC continued bolstering its roster for life in MLS, making its second-ever signing on Monday.
Australian midfielder Riley McGree was signed by the club from Adelaide United and will join EFL Championship side Birmingham City on loan for the 2020-21 season. McGree, 21, is a former youth international for Australia, but has yet to make his senior debut for the Socceroos.
“Riley is a young international player who has already proven to be an impressive goal scorer,” said Charlotte FC Sporting Director Zoran Krneta. “We are building our team with young talent that matches the aggressive style of play, and intensity in the game, that our fans will love to watch. Riley is a perfect fit for us, and we are thrilled to secure his signature for Charlotte FC with so many clubs in Europe fighting for him. His loan move to Birmingham City in England’s Championship, one of the top competitive soccer leagues in the world, will help Riley get to the top of his game and ready for our start in 2022.”
In McGree’s professional club career, the left-footed midfielder has scored 26 goals in 89 matches. McGree also joined Belgian side Club Brugge from 2017-19, but never cracked the first team and was loaned back to Australia on a pair of stints.
McGree returned to Adelaide United for a highly successful campaign in 2019-20, where he was named the Hyundai A-League Young Footballer of the Year. He finished the season as the team’s top goal scorer and was named the club’s MVP.
“I’m so excited to be part of something special with Charlotte FC,” said McGree. “The opportunity to play in a fast-growing league like MLS is perfect for me and I’ll give everything I have to make our fans proud. After speaking with Zoran and learning about the club’s ambitions and goals, I couldn’t be more thrilled to join this team.”
Crew’s Zelarayan to miss few weeks with hamstring injury
Lucas Zelarayan has made a major impact with the Columbus Crew, but will be on the sideline for the next few weeks.
In a conference call on Monday, Crew head coach Caleb Porter confirmed his No. 10 has a hamstring injury. He is not expected to play midweek vs. Montreal and is likely to miss upcoming clashes with both Orlando City and FC Cincinnati.
“With Lucas it’s definitely a high hamstring,” Porter said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “He’s definitely out this next game. We’ll have a timeline how long he’ll be out, but it’s probably a couple weeks, maybe more.”
Columbus is leading the Eastern Conference with 31 points, but holds off Toronto FC on goal difference. The club recently fought back for a 2-2 draw at FC Dallas, but will miss the playmaker’s impact going forward.
Zelarayan has also missed time with ankle and knee injuries this season, but has been as dynamic as advertised when he’s been on the field, with five goals and four assists in over 700 minutes in his first MLS season.
His absence should see Pedro Santos fill in as the creative piece of the Crew’s midfield.
Mitrita, Dos Santos, Pulido among MLS players heading on international duty
Several MLS players will be missing the next week of league action after receiving international call-ups abroad.
NYCFC announced that forward Alexandru Mitrita has been called up by Romania for matches during the October window. Mitrita has scored four goals in his last two appearances for the Eastern Conference club, filling in for the injured Heber.
The club declined a Peru call up for Alexander Callens while also not releasing defenders Anton Tinnerholm and Maxime Chanot for international duty.
Elsewhere, the L.A. Galaxy will be without midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos and defender Rolf Feltscher due to respective international call-ups. Dos Santos joins Mexico for friendlies in the Netherlands against the Dutch and Algeria.
Feltscher will join up with Venezuela for FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches against Colombia and Paraguay. Both players will miss at least two MLS matches and could miss more due to quarantining once returning to the United States.
LAFC and Sporting KC will see top offensive options on the move with Diego Rossi and Alan Pulido being called up to their respective National Teams. Pulido is coming off his first brace at SKC while Rossi has seven goals this season for LAFC.
Inter Milan will also be without a key attacking option with Rodolfo Pizarro joining Pulido in the El Tri set up. Pizarro has scored two goals and registered four assists for the club this season, who remains six points from the playoff places.
Here’s a closer look at each team’s absentees for the next two weeks:
Chicago Fire: Gaston Gimenez (Paraguay), Miguel Navarro (Venezuela)
LAFC: Jose Cifuentes (Ecuador), Diego Palacios (Ecuador), Brian Rodriguez (Uruguay), Diego Rossi (Uruguay).
LA Galaxy: Jonathan Dos Santos (Mexico), Rolf Feltscher (Venezuela)
Inter Miami: Rodolfo Pizarro (Mexico)
Minnesota United: Jan Gregus (Slovakia)
Montreal Impact: Lassi Lappalainen (Finland), Jukka Raitala (Finland)
NYCFC: Alexandru Mitrita (Romania)
New York Red Bulls: Cristian Casseres Jr. (Venezuela), Kaku (Paraguay)
Orlando City: Pedro Gallese (Peru), Jhegson Mendez (Ecuador)
Portland Timbers: Andy Polo (Peru)
Real Salt Lake: Albert Rusnak (Slovakia)
San Jose Earthquakes: Guram Kashia (Georgia), Marcos Lopez (Peru), Vako (Georgia)
Seattle Sounders: Xavier Arreaga (Ecuador), Raul Ruidiaz (Peru), Gustav Svensson (Sweden)
Sporting Kansas City: Alan Pulido (Mexico)
Vancouver Whitecaps: Jasser Khmiri (Tunisia)
Crew acquire MLS veteran Krisztian Nemeth
The Columbus Crew added experienced attacking depth for the final push of the MLS season.
MLS veteran Krisztián Németh signed with the club on Monday, after most recently playing in Slovakia’s top flight. The 31-year-old will occupy an international roster spot for the Crew and will have to undergo a mandatory quarantine period before he can train.
“Krisztian is a seasoned veteran whose international experience will greatly benefit our squad and help increase competition amongst our attacking group,” said Crew SC President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “We want to welcome Krisztian to Columbus – a player who is a proven goal scorer and is familiar with our League, we expect him to quickly integrate into our team. We look forward to his contributions to the Club down the stretch this season.”
Nemeth spent four seasons in MLS, featuring for Sporting Kansas City (2015, 2018-19) and the New England Revolution (2017-18). The forward made 82 regular season appearances in MLS, registering 20 goals and providing 12 assists.
He’s also played in Qatar, Hungary, and the Netherlands during his lengthy professional career. Nemeth has earned 37 caps with the Hungarian National Team to date, with four goals to his name.
Nemeth joins a Crew attack which already features Gyasi Zardes and Lucas Zelarayan.
Dynamo adds winger Bajamich from Argentina
After losing Alberth Elis to Boavista, the Houston Dynamo added a new face to the offensive corps in hopes of replicating his production.
Mateo Bajamich joined the Western Conference club on a full transfer from Argentinian club Instituto AC. He will officially join the club upon completion of the mandatory quarantine period outlined by local health officials and MLS.
The 21-year-old scored 10 goals and tallied six assists in 28 matches with Instituto during his time with the club. Born in Argentina, Bajamich is eligible to represent the Croatian National Team after acquiring his passport earlier this year.
“After a lengthy process, we are pleased to welcome Mateo Bajamich to the Houston Dynamo,” Dynamo Senior Vice President and General Manager Matt Jordan said. “Mateo is a talented young player who can create chances and score goals in the final third, while showing a willingness to put in the work defensively. We are confident Mateo will be in an environment with our club and our staff to develop and grow while helping the team be successful.”
The Dynamo currently sit in 10th place in the West, two points out from the final playoff spot.