The rich got richer on Thursday with the defending MLS champions adding a top attack to the mix.
Midfielder Kevin Molino signed with the Columbus Crew as a free agent, making the move from Minnesota United. Molino, a Trinidad & Tobago international, bring six years of experience in the league to Columbus.
In total, the 30-year-old Molino has made 104 regular-season appearances in MLS, scoring 32 goals and providing 27 assists. Molino helped the Loons reach the Western Conference Finals in 2020, scoring three goals in four MLS Cup appearances.
“Throughout his time in this League, Kevin Molino has been one of the most talented and explosive wingers in Major League Soccer, and he proved that not only throughout the 2020 regular season, but most recently when it mattered most, in the playoffs, on a team that was minutes away from an MLS Cup final,” said Crew SC President & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko.
Molino played for Minnesota United from 2017-2020, registering 21 goals and 18 assists in 67 combined appearances.. Prior to his time in Minnesota, Molino spent six seasons with Orlando City SC, playing for the Lions in USL Pro from 2011-2014 and in MLS from 2015-2016.
He will join a Crew attack which already features Gyasi Zardes, Pedro Santos, Lucas Zelarayan, and recently added Bradley Wright-Phillips.
RSL adds young USMNT forward Rubin
Real Salt Lake also added to its attack on Thursday, announcing the signing of Rubio Rubin from USL side San Diego Loyal.
Rubin was linked with a move to the Western Conference club previously and will now make the move to Utah. The U.S. Men’s National Team forward scored seven goals in five appearances for Landon Donovan’s side last season.
“We’ve kept tabs on him from a young age and we are excited to bring him in,” RSL head coach Freddy Juarez said. “He is young but has experience playing in Europe and Mexico. We hope to be able to help in his continued development and with his quality he can add a lot to our roster.”
The 24-year-old has also played with Liga MX side Club Tijuana, Ascenso MX side Dorados, as well as three European clubs (FC Utrecht, Silkeborg, and Stabaek. During his three-year run with Xolos, Rubin appeared in 21 matches and scored one goal.
He’s also earned seven caps with the USMNT to date.
Nashville signs GM Jacobs to contract extension
Nashville SC had a successful first season in MLS and rewarded general manager Mike Jacobs for it.
Jacobs signed a new contract extension with the club on Thursday, after helping lead the expansion side to an MLS Cup Playoffs berth in its first season. His deal will run through 2023, a deserved move after proving many doubters wrong in 2020.
“I and the owners are hugely delighted to announce we’ve reached an agreement to extend Mike’s role here at Nashville Soccer Club for a further three years,” Nashville CEO Ian Ayre told media on a virtual press conference. “He’s a hugely talented individual, committed and extremely dedicated. He eats, sleeps and breathes this thing.”
Jacobs originally joined the club in 2018 during their time in the USL and was also assistant technical director with Sporting KC in the past. He watched as Nashville SC finished seventh in the Eastern Conference regular season standings before eliminating both Inter Miami and Toronto FC in the playoffs.
“This job is a dream job for me,” Jacobs said. “Not just the chance to put a team together and help run a club, but to do it here in Nashville. To do it with people I have shared visions with, people who get along real well.”
The club will now look to replicate its success heading into the 2021 season.
Revs add veterans DeLaGarza, Boateng to team
The New England Revolution made a pair of roster moves on Thursday, bringing in two experienced MLS players.
A.J. DeLaGarza and Emanuel Boateng both signed with the club, making the move to Foxborough from respective Eastern Conference teams. DeLaGarza was reportedly linked with a move to New England, while Boateng’s move also reunites him with former head coach Bruce Arena.
The 33-year-old DeLaGarza has registered 266 appearances, two goals and eight assists across 12 MLS seasons. He played under Arena with the L.A. Galaxy, winning three MLS Cups, two Supporters’ Shields, and two Defender of the Year awards with the club.
He has also played with the Houston Dynamo and Inter Miami in his lengthy career.
“It is a pleasure to welcome A.J. DeLaGarza to the New England Revolution. I’ve known A.J. for a number of years and know he will be a great addition to our team,” Arena said. “A.J. is an experienced defender who can play all positions across the backline. He is a great professional, an excellent communicator, and a tactically sound player. We look forward to working with him in New England.”
Across five MLS seasons, Boateng has totaled 121 appearances, tallying nine goals and 14 assists. The Ghana native was with the LA Galaxy from 2016-19, where he made 108 regular season appearances and played under both Arena and Revolution Technical Director Curt Onalfo.
Boateng played in 10 games with the Columbus Crew in 2020, winning MLS Cup with Caleb Porter’s side.
“Ema Boateng is an experienced left-footed attacking player with very good pace. He is comfortable playing on the flanks, which is an area where he can help improve our team.” Arena said. “Ema’s character and professionalism will be welcomed additions to our team, and we look forward to his arrival in Foxborough.”
Sprorting KC retains veteran midfielder Espinoza
Roger Espinoza will remain with Sporting KC for the 2021 MLS season, after the veteran midfielder signed a new deal.
The 34-year-old has played 11 seasons with the Western Conference club to date, which included Espinoza being a part of three U.S. Open Cup winning sides. Across two separate stints at SKC, Espinoza ranks third in club history with 301 competitive appearances and fifth in both starts (271) and minutes (24,025).
He has also scored 12 goals and is ranked fifth on SKC’s all-time charts with 41 assists.
“I’m very excited for the opportunity to return to Sporting and compete for an MLS Cup,” Espinoza said. “Kansas City is a special place where I have spent most of my career and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I’m proud to continue representing this club and playing for our fans.”
His return gives Peter Vermes a familiar and physical presence in midfield.
FC Dallas keeper Zobeck undergoes successful surgery
FC Dallas announced Thursday that goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this week.
Zobeck is expected to miss four-to-six weeks due to rehabilitation, meaning he could miss the start of the 2021 MLS season. The 30-year-old made his league debut in a 1-1 draw with Sporting KC back in September 2020, replacing the injured Jimmy Maurer.
Zobeck started in the following three matches and recorded a 2-1-1 record overall for Luchi Gonzalez’s side.