FC Cincinnati is the first MLS club to begin its roster moves ahead of 2021, but will see two veteran players seek new chapters going forward.
The club declined the options on 12 players on Monday which featured Costa Rican international defender Kendall Waston and veteran left back Greg Garza. Joe Gyau and Caleb Stanko also saw their options declined, but are in negotiations with the club on new deals.
“Making end-of-year roster decisions is always an important step to take as we continue the process of building a roster that fits our playing philosophy,” General Manager Gerard Nijkamp said. “There are always difficult decisions to be made, and oftentimes, a mutual parting of ways between a player and a club proves to be the best decision for both parties.”
“We have seen the potential in a number of players who have shown their quality and how they can fit within the club’s playing style. We’re also utilizing our partnership with TSG Hoffenheim to evaluate the opportunity with Franko Kovačević to see if there is a fit within our roster following the 2021 preseason.”
Haris Medunjanin, Nico Bailey, and Ben Lundt all saw their options exercised for the 2021 MLS season while Andrew Gutman and and Nick Hagglund are also in talks with the club despite seeing their contracts expire.
FC Cincinnati finished last in MLS this season, earning only 16 points from 23 matches.
Dynamo re-sign veteran defender Valentin
The Houston Dynamo locked up a veteran defender for the next few MLS seasons on Tuesday.
Zarek Valentin agreed to an agreement with the Western Conference club through the 2022 season with an option to extend to 2023. Valentin was acquired in a trade with Nashville SC in November 2019 after the expansion club chose him in the Expansion Draft.
The former Portland Timbers left back appeared in 18 games for the Dynamo this season and leads the backline with three assists, which is a career-high.
“When we acquired Zarek last offseason we knew we were adding a top professional both on and off the field.” said SVP/General Manager Matt Jordan. “We are very pleased he’s made the decision to be a part of what we are building here, rather than explore free agency.”
Valentin has totaled 157 MLS appearances to date with two goals and nine assists on record.
Timbers forward Niezgoda undergoes successful knee surgery
Portland Timbers forward Jaroslaw Niezgoda will play no part in the club’s playoff run.
Niezgoda underwent a successful surgery on Monday to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, the club announced. He will be expected to return in the 2021 MLS season, but will be sidelined for 6-8 months.
The 25-year-old suffered the injury in a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on November 1st. The Polish striker registered seven goals and one assist in 17 games this season, including two separate multi-goal performances.
He’s the second Timbers Designated Player to receive season-ending ACL surgery after Sebastian Blanco’s procedure in September.
Dynamo loans winger Bajamich until January 2021
The Houston Dynamo loaned out winger Mateo Bajamich for the next two months in order to obtain playing time.
Argentina club Instituto AC will receive Bajamich until January 20th, 2021, the Dynamo announced Monday. Bajamich signed with the Dynamo on a full transfer from Instituto on Oct. 5th and will rejoin the Dynamo for preseason training camp ahead of the 2021 season.
“In preparation for the 2021 season, we felt this short term off-season loan would benefit Mateo and our club to help him continue playing and gaining rhythm as we prepare for next season.” Dynamo Senior Vice President and General Manager Matt Jordan.
The 21-year-old scored 10 goals and tallied six assists in 28 matches with Instituto during his time with the club. He made his debut at the age of 19-years-old, but did not feature for the Dynamo during the 2020 MLS season.