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MLS Ticker: LAFC acquires Baird, Heinze’s coaching staff announced, and more


LAFC already poses a top notch attack with Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi, and now the Western Conference club added even more firepower in a trade on Monday.

Corey Baird was acquired by Bob Bradley’s side in a trade with Real Salt Lake. In exchange, RSL received $500,000 General Allocation Money, spread across 2021 and 2022, a 2021 international roster spot and future considerations.

“Corey is a dynamic attacker and we are excited to welcome a player of his caliber and qualities,” LAFC Co-President & GM John Thorrington said. “We are confident he will prove to be a great fit into how we play and will help us achieve our ambitions as a club in the years to come.”

Baird, who turns 25 later this month, signed a Homegrown contract with RSL ahead of the 2018 campaign and was named Rookie of the Year after a strong first season. Over three seasons in Utah, Baird scored 15 goals and added 13 assists in 81 appearances.

The versatile forward has also earned five caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team to date and won three collegiate championships at Stanford University.

Atlanta United names Heinze’s coaching staff

Atlanta United will be under new leadership with Gabriel Heinze taking over as head coach along with several new faces on the staff.

The Eastern Conference club announced it has added five members to Heinze’s staff for the 2021 season. Assistant coaches Mariano Toedtli, Nicolas Pavlovich and Pedro Mateo Leivas, fitness coach Javier Vilamitjana and video analyst Diego Navone will join current goalkeeper coach Liam Curran to round out Heinze’s First Team staff.

Last season’s interim head coach Stephen Glass and assistant Henry Apaloo have returned to their respective roles for Atlanta United 2, while Tony Annan continues his role as Academy Director. In addition, Rob Valentino will continue on with the club as staff coach with a focus on player development.

The Five Stripes will be aiming to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs this Fall after missing out in 2020.

Fire adds young Colombian forward Duran

The Chicago Fire’s busy offseason continued Monday with the acquisition of a young international forward.

Colombian forward Jhon Jáder Durán was added on Monday, joining from his native Envigado FC. The 17-year-old is the youngest international player signing in MLS history.

His three-year contract with the Fire will begin on January 1, 2022, and also includes club options for the 2025 and 2026 seasons. Durán will spend the 2021 season with Envigado before joining the Fire in 2022. He will occupy an international roster spot.

“Jhon is a very special and highly rated young talent, who will be an excellent addition to our Club,” said Chicago Fire FC Sporting Director Georg Heitz. “We’re extremely excited that Jhon has decided to take the next step in his career with the Chicago Fire, as he received interest from numerous Clubs from around the world.”

A tall and versatile striker, Durán has made 24 appearances overseas and scored two goals across all competitions since making his professional debut with Envigado in 2019. He will also be reunited with former Envigado teammate Carlos Terán, who joined Chicago in August 2020.

Crew signs homegrown player parente

The Columbus Crew bolstered their midfield depth on Monday with the signing of academy product.

Wake Forest midfielder Isaiah Parente signed with the Crew as a Homegrown Player. Parente played for his alma mater from 2018-2020, appearing in 50 matches while scoring three goals and dishing out 19 assists.

The Medina, Ohio native is one of five Crew academy players that are currently on the first-team roster.

“We are thrilled that Isaiah has earned a first team opportunity and are pleased to have Isaiah return home to Ohio,” said president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko in a team-issued statement. “Isaiah’s time at Wake Forest was very successful and we are thrilled to have yet another Crew SC academy player join the Crew SC first team.”

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