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MLS Ticker: Wooten moves to Austria, Quakes sign ‘Chofis’ Lopez, and more

The Philadelphia Union did not pick up the contract option on striker Andrew Wooten this offseason and he will now embark back to Europe to continue his professional career.

Austrian Bundesliga side Flyeralarm Admira announced the signing of Wooten on Wednesday. Wooten signed a two-and-a-half year deal with Flyeralarm and will hope to revamp his career after a slow period in MLS.

“Andrew can help us immediately,” Flyeralarm Sporting Director Franz Wohlfahrt said. “He is of great quality and has a lot of experience. We, the people in charge of sport, agreed from the start that Andrew is exactly the right man. We are pleased that Andrew, despite other offers, decided on the FC Flyeralarm Admira.”

Wooten made the move to the Union from German side Sandhausen in 2019, but never replicated his goalscoring form. The 31-year-old totaled 25 combined league appearances for Jim Curtin’s side, registering five assists and being a part of the 2020 Supporters’ Shield winning side.

The German-born American still remains Sandhausen’s leading goalscorer with 48 goals in 151 appearances. Wooten has also played for Wormatia Worms, Kaiserslautern, and FSV Frankfurt during his career.

Wooten earned one cap with the USMNT during Jurgen Klinsmann’s time as head coach, appearing in a 2015 friendly against Peru.

earthquakes land ‘chofis’ lopez on loan

The San Jose Earthquakes have just reunited head coach Matias Almeyda with an attacking midfielder that previously played for him in Mexico.

The Earthquakes announced on Wednesday that they have acquired Javier Eduardo ‘La Chofis’ Lopez on a one-year loan from Chivas de Guadalajara. The loan for Lopez, 26, comes with an option to either buy or extend the loan by six more months. An option to complete a permanent transfer remains even if the option to extend the loan is initially chosen.

“We have followed Eduardo for two years and he is as excited to come to San Jose as we are to bring him,” said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli in a prepared statement. “He is a dynamic attacking midfielder in his prime and will be competing for a team other than Chivas for the first time in his career. We are confident that he will benefit from the opportunity to reunite with Matias, who he previously flourished under.

“We thoroughly evaluated this transfer over the past few months and appreciate Chivas’ effort and transparency throughout the process.”

Revolution parts ways with left back Buttner

The New England Revolution and defender Alexander Büttner mutually parted ways on Wednesday, ending the defender’s short spell in MLS.

Büttner, 31, spent one season with the Revolution in 2020, registering three assists in 17 league appearances. The Dutch left back had been linked with a move back to Europe and very well could end up there following his departure from Foxborough.

DeJuan Jones’ rise to the left back position kept Buttner on the outside in the latter stages of 2020. With Jones as a younger option at 23-years-old, Buttner will now embark on the next chapter of his career.

The Revolution reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020, but lost to eventual champions Columbus.

Sporting KC signs trio of players to Homegrown contracts

Sporting Kansas City announced Wednesday that the club has signed three players to Homegrown contracts.

20-year-old midfielder Grayson Barber, 16-year-old forward Ozzie Cisneros and 18-year-old goalkeeper Brooks Thompson all signed multi-year MLS contracts with player options for the future. SKC’s average squad age now is 25-years-old following the signing of these three players.

Barber, a member of the Sporting KC Academy from 2015-2017, enjoyed a standout collegiate career at Clemson University from 2018-2020. The playmaker totaled 13 goals and 18 assists in 49 appearances across three seasons, leading Clemson to the 2019 NCAA Tournament quarterfinals and the 2020 ACC Championship.

Cisneros has competed for Sporting KC at the Under-13 through Under-19 levels over the last five years, becomes the fourth-youngest signing in club history at age 16. He notably starred at the 2019 Concacaf Under-15 Championship in Bradenton, Florida, scoring both goals in a 2-0 quarterfinal win over Costa Rica.

Thompson is currently recovering from injury, but will be expected back on the field this summer. He has two seasons of professional experience with Sporting Kansas City II in the USL Championship. He led SKC II goalkeepers during the shortened 2020 campaign with 26 saves and a 1.17 goals against average in six matches.

SKC will look to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs after finishing as the No. 1 seed before suffering elimination to Minnesota United.

Galaxy signs academy defender Neal

The L.A. Galaxy continued its busy week of signings, inking another young talent to a first team contract.

Academy product defender Jalen Neal became the latest player to sign with the Galaxy on Wednesday, following Adam Saldana who signed on Tuesday. The 17-year-old defender played his first year with L.A. Galaxy II last season in the USL Championship, where he appeared in multiple positions along the backline during his 13 appearances.

“Jalen is a talented defender who has shown his capability at the professional level last season with LA Galaxy II,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese. “We are excited that he will become another player on our first-team roster that has come through our developmental system. We look forward to Jalen continuing to learn and grow with our club.”

Neal made 13 appearances for Los Dos during the 2020 season in various positions across the back line. Since 2016, Neal has also represented the L.A. Galaxy Academy at the U-13, U-15, U-16/17 and U-18/19 levels, making 69 total appearances in the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy. Neal has also featured for U.S. Youth National Teams, including the U.S. Under-16 squad.

He will aim to earn valuable experience in Greg Vanney’s team this season.

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