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MLS Ticker: Brenner completes blockbuster move to FC Cincinnati, Atlanta United’s Escobar leaves on loan, and more


FC Cincinnati is reportedly prepared to make a big splash on the transfer market this winter, and completed the first major deal on Tuesday with the acquisition of young Brazilian forward Brenner.

The Eastern Conference club announced the signing of the Young Designated Player from Brazilian Serie A side Sao Paulo. Brenner will occupy an international roster spot on FC Cincy’s 2021 MLS roster.

Brenner is coming off a sensational campaign with Sao Paulo, scoring 21 goals and adding four assists in 39 combined appearances for the club. The 21-year-old has made 61 career appearances in four seasons with Sao Paulo, but will now look to replicate that impact in MLS.

Outside of playing for Sao Paulo, Brenner also spent one season on loan with fellow Serie A club Fluminense. Internationally, Brenner has featured for Brazil’s Under-17 National Team during the 2017 Under-17 World Cup in India as well as the 2017 South American Under-17 Championship in Chile.

FC Cincinnati has also been linked to a move for former Atlanta United playmaker Pity Martinez, while also plotting a move for a central defense.

Here are some other news items from around MLS:

Atlanta United loans Escobar to Newell’s Old Boys

Franco Escobar has been one of Atlanta United’s reliable defenders over the past few seasons, but his services will be unavailable for the 2021 MLS season.

The Five Stripes have loaned Escobar to Argentinian Primera Division side Newell’s Old Boys for the season. Escobar still has a club option with the Five Stripes in 2022, should the Eastern Conference club decide to keep him in MLS.

Escobar joined Atlanta United in 2018 from Newell’s Old Boys and helped make an immediate impact at the club. The Argentine defender made 22 regular season appearances before scoring twice in the Five Stripes run towards a first MLS Cup title.

The 25-year-old has since totaled 41 combined appearances for the Five Stripes, scoring two goals during the 2019 season. He will now return to his native country in hopes of playing a vital role for Newell’s in multiple competitions.

Newell’s will compete in three tournaments during 2021 and is scheduled to start later this month with the 2021 Copa de Liga Professional. The club will also compete in the 2021 Copa Sudamericana and the Argentina Primera Division.

Report: Orlando City makes offer for Pato

Orlando City already possesses an entertaining attacking corps and could possibly be in the mix for another forward.

Former Brazilian international Alexandre Pato has been reported offered a deal by the Lions, AM reported Monday. The 31-year-old has been without a club since the summer of 2020, but could make MLS his next destination.

Pato burst onto the scene as Brazil’s next big star when his goal at the 2006 Club World Cup broke Pele’s record for the youngest goalscorer at a FIFA event. The Brazilian embarked to AC Milan as an 18-year-old and totaled 63 goals and 18 assists in 150 appearances for the club.

Injuries though hampered Pato’s time in Europe and forced him to move back to his native Corinthians. Pato has also featured for Chelsea, Villarreal, Tianjin Tianhai and Sao Paulo during his professional career.

Pato would join Chris Mueller, Daryl Dike, and Nani in the Lions attack this season, should he make the move to Florida. The Lions reached the second round of the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2020, the first season under head coach Oscar Pareja.

Red Bulls sign Estrela to Homegrown contract

The New York Red Bulls made its youngest Homegrown signing in club history on Tuesday with Bento Estrela putting pen to paper.

Estrela becomes the youngest New York Homegrown signing and the fourth-youngest signing overall in league history at the age of 14 years and 364 days. He becomes the 24th Homegrown signing in club history.

Estrela joined the New York Red Bulls Academy in July 2019 and has appeared in 22 matches. He scored his first goal for Red Bulls Under-19’s at 14-years-old against Philadelphia Union II in November 2020.

Estrela also helped the Under-14’s become the only MLS academy team to advance to the Round of 16 in the International Champions Cup Futures Tournament, beating Tottenham Hotspur along the way.

Whitecaps re-sign defender Nerwinski

The Vancouver Whitecaps retained a veteran presence in its backline going forward, signing right back Jake Nerwinski to a new contract.

Nerwinski’s new deal runs through the 2022 MLS season and comes with an option for 2023. The Lawrenceville, New Jersey native is the second-longest tenured player on the Whitecaps roster with 105 appearances across all competitions.

Nerwinski joined the club as a 2017 MLS SuperDraft selection and has quickly become a regular contributor on the pitch. In his MLS career, Nerwinski has contributed three goals and eight assists from the backline.

LAFC Homegrown trio called up for Mexico U-17 duty

LAFC has seen its first three Homegrown signings in club history all called up for International duty.

Right back Erik Duenas, center back Tony Leone and forward Christian Torres have been called up by Mexico’s Under-17 National Team. Torres and Duenas have appeared for LAFC’s first team while Leone awaits his first team debut.

Torres made eight appearances for Bob Bradley’s side in 2020, scoring an equalizer in a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers in October. Duenas logged a combined 34 minutes in two appearances off the bench.

Leone has previously been called into various United States and Mexico Youth National Teams, while Torres represented the United States at the Concacaf Under-15 Boys Championship in 2019.

All three will join Mexico’s U-17 team for training until February 11th.

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