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MLS Ticker: Beckerman announces retirement, Atuesta out for CCL Final, and more

Kyle Beckerman has been one of the centerpieces of MLS during his time as a professional player, but the longtime midfielder is officially hanging up his cleats for good.

Beckerman announced Monday that after 21 seasons in MLS and 14 with Real Salt Lake, he will be retiring from professional soccer. The nine-time MLS All-Star, four-time club Most Valuable Player, and captain of the 2009 MLS Cup champion RSL team will be saying goodbye to the league he’s called home.

“I came to Utah knowing there was a mountain to climb but feeling we could get to the top with a team that valued hard work, belief in ourselves and commitment to one another,” Beckerman said in a statement. “We succeeded together, and I lifted a trophy for each one of you who believed in us.  We created a foundation on which RSL Nation will rest for years to come.”

Beckerman finishes his career as the league’s all-time leader in career MLS regular season games played (498), games started (461) and minutes played (41,164) among field players. Outside of playing most of his club career with RSL, Beckerman also played for the Miami Fusion and the Colorado Rapids.

The Maryland native also lifted one Concacaf Gold Cup during his time with the U.S. Men’s National Team while finishing his international career with 58 career appearances.

LAFC to miss Atuesta for CCL Final

LAFC faces its biggest test as an MLS franchise on Tuesday night with the club looking to capture its second trophy in franchise history.

Bob Bradley’s side will square off with Liga MX side Tigres in Tuesday’s Concacaf Champions League final, but will be without midfielder Eduard Atuesta due to suspension. Atuesta was sent off in LAFC’s 3-1 semifinal win over Club America, after seeing a straight red card.

Despite LAFC appealing Atuesta’s red card, Concacaf announced Monday that Atuesta will be suspended for Tuesday’s final as the federation does not overturn refereeing decisions in the tournament. Atuesta has been a key player for LAFC since joining in 2018, but Bradley will now have to rely on other players to step up against Tigres.

In addition, Andre-Pierre Gignac (thigh contusion) and Javier Aquino (muscle discomfort) have been reported as major injury doubts for Tigres. Gignac has scored five goals in this season’s competition while Aquino has been a longtime key player for the club, and he did score in a 4-0 quarterfinal second leg win over NYCFC.

Both players missed Monday’s team training session.

Austin FC adds veteran midfielder Jimenez

Austin FC’s frequent roster moves continued on Monday with the addition of three-time MLS Cup winner, Hector Jimenez.

The free-agent midfielder joined Austin FC as the club’s first-ever free agent signing and its 13th roster move ahead of its first MLS season. Jimenez spent the last seven seasons with the Columbus Crew and helped the team win the 2020 MLS Cup.

“Hector is an experienced, versatile MLS player who will bring a wealth of success and flexibility to the squad,” said Austin FC Head Coach, Josh Wolff. “Along with his quality on the field, we know he will be an influential person in the locker room as well as the training field.”

During his time with the Crew, Jimenez made 141 league appearances while recording six goals and 25 assists. Jimenez also lifted two MLS Cup titles and one Supporters’ Shield with the L.A. Galaxy prior to moving to Columbus.

The 32-year-old will add needed experience to the expansion side’s midfield heading into 2021.

FC Dallas adds Spanish defender Martinez from Eibar

FC Dallas made a defensive acquisition on Monday, bringing Spanish defender José Antonio Martinez to the club.

Martinez joins from La Liga side Eibar on a permanent transfer and Dallas has signed him using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). His deal runs through the 2023 season with club options for both 2024 and 2025. Martinez will occupy an international roster spot on Dallas’ roster.

The 27-year-old spent the last two seasons on loan from Eibar, appearing in 56 matches for Granada. He helped the club earn promotion to La Liga last season.

Martinez mainly plays as a center back and featured for several other Spanish clubs before making the move to MLS.

Revs acquire Colombian left back Mafla

The New England Revolution bolstered its defensive corps on Monday with the acquisition of defender Christian Mafla.

Mafla, a Colombian left back, joined the Eastern Conference side from Atlético Nacional. The 27-year-old arrives in New England after 10 professional seasons in South America, including the last five in Colombia’s top-flight Categoría Primera A with Atlético Nacional and Atlético Bucaramanga.

“Christian Mafla is a left-sided defender who offers both experience and skill in his position, making him a very good addition to our backline,” Sporting Director and Head Coach Bruce Arena said. “Christian is a strong one-on-one defender, a talented passer, and is comfortable moving into the attack. We are delighted to welcome him to the Revolution.”

Mafla has totaled 190 professional appearances in all competitions across stints with Atlético Nacional, Atlético Bucaramanga, Boyacá Chicó, América de Cali, Sud América, and Olimpo. He joined Nacional in 2017 and played 78 games for the club, with 62 coming in league play.

His arrival gives Arena even more experience to choose from at left back with Alex Buttner also on the roster.

FC Dallas re-sign Bressan, keeps Megiolaro on loan

FC Dallas added two familiar faces back to the club ahead of the 2021 MLS season.

Bressan signed a new one-year deal with options for 2022 and 2023, while goalkeeper Phelipe Megiolaro was re-acquired on a one-year loan from Gremio. Dallas also has the option to acquire Megiolaro on a permanent deal from Gremio following his latest loan spell.

The 27-year-old Bressan joined Dallas in December 2018 and since has scored one goal and added three assists in 36 appearances. He previously spent six seasons with Gremio, totaling over 150 appearances for the club in all competitions.

Megiolaro, 21, signed with FC Dallas on loan from Grêmio in August 2020, and later made his MLS debut in November against Minnesota United. He was called up to the Brazil Olympic Roster on in October for the November international window, before helping Brazil defeat South Korea’s U-23 team 3-1.

D.C. United re-signs veteran goalkeeper Seitz

D.C. United retained its veteran backup goalkeeper on Sunday, with Chris Seitz signing a new deal with the club.

Seitz will continue with the Black and Red after signing a new contract through the 2021 MLS season. The veteran joined the team in January 2019 and since has totaled seven appearances for the club, with six coming in 2020.

“Chris has been a great addition to the roster since he joined the club two seasons ago,” said D.C. United GM and VP of Soccer Operations Dave Kasper. “He had some impressive displays in goal in 2020 and his experience and leadership have been integral in our locker room. We are excited to extend his contract through 2021 and have his knowledge and experience of the league in the locker room next season.”

Seitz will enter his 15th season as a professional in 2021 after being selected No. 4 overall by Real Salt Lake in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft. He won the 2009 MLS Cup with RSL and has also appeared for the Philadelphia Union, FC Dallas, and Houston Dynamo during his professional career.

Seitz will continue to back-up Bill Hamid in D.C. with the club continuing its search for a new head coach.


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