Top Stories

MLS Deadline Day Ticker: Rossi joins Crew, LAFC sells Cifuentes, and more

One of the premier goalscorers in recent MLS history is back.

Diego Rossi joined the Columbus Crew as a Designated Player on Wednesday, signing through the 2026 MLS season with an option for 2027. Rossi has previously been with Turkish Super Lig side Fenerbahce.

Rossi, 25, previously featured in MLS with LAFC from 2018-21, totaling 48 goals and 21 assists in 104 regular season appearances. While at LAFC, Rossi was named a two-time MLS All-Star (2019, 2021) and in captured a trio of awards and recognitions in 2020: the MLS Golden Boot award, MLS Young Player of the Year award and was a MLS Best XI selection.

“Diego is a winner and an exciting, skillful player, and we are excited to welcome him to the Crew,” club president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a release. “He has a natural ability to score and create goals, and he has further demonstrated his exceptional quality over the past few seasons while competing in Europe. Diego is a great addition to our dynamic attack, and as importantly, he is a true fit for our club’s desired culture and style of play.”

Rossi eventually joined Fenerbahçe from LAFC in September 2021, initially on loan before sealing a permanent deal. He departs the Turkish giants with 10 goals and 20 assists in 90 appearances across all competitions.

The Crew recently lost star playmaker Lucas Zelarayan to Saudi Arabian club Al Fateh.

Here is a closer look at all of the MLS Deadline Day news:


LAFC sells Jose Cifuentes to Rangers


José Cifuentes is on the move to the Scottish Premiership.

SPFL giants Rangers have acquired Cifuentes on a permanent deal from Los Angeles FC, both clubs announced Thursday. The 24-year-old Ecuadorian international had been linked with a move to Glasgow throughout the year and finally has it ahead of the new domestic season.

Cifuentes registered 14 goals and 20 assists in 102 regular season appearances with LAFC, spending three-and-a-half seasons in California. He was a key part of the club’s MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield double-winning squad last season.

“Cifu has been an integral part of LAFC’s success over the last three years,” co-president & general manager John Thorrington said in a release. “He has developed into a top midfielder in our league, and we are excited for him to continue the next steps in his career at Rangers.”

Rangers begin its new SPFL season this weekend and remain in European qualifying this month.


Galaxy adds Maya Yoshida as free agent signing


The LA Galaxy added veteran help on the backend with Japan national team stalwart Maya Yoshida joining the club. .

Yoshida, 34, is under contract through the 2024 MLS season and was signed as a free agent. He last featured for German Bundesliga club Schalke, and also played for Southampton, Sampdoria, and VVV-Venlo.

During his club career, Yoshida has tallied 28 goals and 15 assists in 463 appearances across all competitions.

“We are pleased to welcome Maya to the LA Galaxy,” head coach and sporting director Greg Vanney said in a release. “Maya is a top center back who brings exceptional experience and leadership qualities to our team. We look forward to integrating him into our group moving forward.”

He captained Japan at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and overall has earned 126 caps for his country.


Whitecaps add Richie Laryea on loan


Richie Laryea also returned to MLS on Wednesday, joining the Vancouver Whitecaps on loan from English Premier League club Nottingham Forest.

Laryea’s deal runs through December 2023 after previously spending a loan spell with Toronto FC earlier this season. The 28-year-old recorded two goals and three assists in 18 appearances for TFC.

“Richie is a winner, competitor, leader and has proven to be one of the best fullbacks in our league,” Whitecaps sporting director Axel Schuster said in a release. “Since the end of 2021, he has played in every single national team game, including all three World Cup games. We are very pleased to welcome Richie, Melanie and their son Elijah, to our family.”

Laryea’s MLS career began in 2016 and he has since totaled 10 goals and 14 assists in 116 appearances. A former midfielder, Laryea has mainly featured as a fullback.

He has earned 45 caps with the Canadian men’s national team, helping Canada reach the 2022 FIFA World Cup last year.


Atlanta United acquires Saba Lobzhanidze as Designated Player


Atlanta United also made a major splash on Wednesday, acquiring forward Saba Lobzhanidze as a Designated Player.

Lobzhanidze makes the move to MLS from Turkish Süper Lig club Hatayspor, signing through the 2026 MLS season. The 28-year-old Georgian International joins a Five Stripes attack which features fellow DP’s Thiago Almada and Giorgos Giakoumakis.

The 28-year-old Georgian international has signed a contract through the 2026 MLS season.

“Saba is a player we had been speaking with since early in the transfer window and he continued to show his commitment and desire to come to Atlanta throughout the process,” vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a release.

After excelling for his native Dinamo Tbilisi, Lobzhanidze also featured for Danish club Randers, as well as Turkish sides MKE Ankaragücü, Fatih Karagümrük and Hatayspor. Lobzhanidze has recorded 69 goals and 57 assists in 288 career appearances overseas.

Lobzhanidze has also totaled three goals and five assists in 34 caps for Georgia.

The Five Stripes could definitely use a spark after dropping to seventh in recent weeks in the East.


Union add attacking depth with Tai Baribo signing


The Philadelphia Union’s deep attacking pool just got even deeper on Wednesday.

Tai Baribo joined the Eastern Conference club from Austrian Bundesliga side Wolfsberger AC, the Union announced. The 25-year-old signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Union which will run through the 2025 season.

“In just two years playing in the Austrian Bundesliga, Tai has proven himself to be an incredibly dangerous and productive striker,” said Philadelphia Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner. “We are continuously looking to add to the quality of our roster, and having one of the top scorers in the Austrian league join us will help build on the success of this team. We look forward to seeing what he’ll contribute the rest of this season and going forward

Baribo recorded a team high 16 goals and three assists this past season for Wolfsberger. In total, Baribo scored 27 goals in 61 combined appearances for the Austrian Bundesliga club.

Internationally, Baribo has featured for the Israeli National team, earning 11 caps and scoring three goals.

He joins Jim Curtin’s attacking corps which already features Daniel Gazdag, Julian Carranza, and Mikael Uhre.


Quick Kicks:

  • FC Dallas bolstered its midfield options with Asier Illarramendi joining the Western Conference club. Illarramendi, 33, was part of Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League-winning squad in 2014 and overall brings over 350 career appearances to the Dallas midfield. He’s also earned 33 caps with the Spanish national team.
  • Jan Gregus was re-acquired by Minnesota United on Thursday in a trade with Nashville SC. Nashville SC received Nashville $75,000 in 2024 General Allocation Money (GAM) and the Loons’ natural second-round pick in the 2024 MLS Draft. Gregus has totaled two goals and 24 assists in 105 MLS appearances.
  • DC United added veteran depth to its backline on Wednesday with the signing of free agent defender Eric Davis. The 32-year-old Panamanian last played for Slovakian first-division side DAC Dunajska Streda. Davis scored 20 goals and recorded 32 assists in 196 appearances across all competitions. 
  • The Colorado Rapids added youth to its midfield on Thursday with Sidnei Tavares joining from FC Porto on an 11-month loan. The signing is part of MLS’ U22 initiative and the Rapids also hold a purchase option in the deal. Tavares, 21, registered four assists in 38 appearances for FC Porto B.
  • Sam Adekugbe returned to MLS on Wednesday, rejoining the Vancouver Whitecaps from Turkish club Hatayspor. Adekugbe’s deal runs through the 2026 MLS season with an option for 2027. A Canadian international, the 28-year-old previously spent 2013-17 with Vancouver, while also being loaned out on several occasions.
  • The New York Red Bulls also added attacking depth on Wednesday with 19-year-old Jorge Hurtado joining on loan from English second-tier club Watford. Hurtado has yet to debut for Watford, making six appearances on loan back in his native Colombia with Independiente Medellin this season.
  • Atlanta United have transferred winger Marcelino Moreno to Brazilian Serie A side Coritiba. Moreno had been on loan with Cortiba since January 2022. He tallied 13 goals and 14 assists in 68 games for the Five Stripes.
  • The Portland Timbers added Brazilian winger Antony from Portuguese club FC Arouca, the club announced. Antony, 21, has been signed as part of the league’s U22 initiative. He totaled eight goals and three assists in 63 combined appearances for the club.
  • DC United adding attacking help as well in the form of Jose Fajardo, the club announced Thursday. Fajardo has earned 36 caps for the Panamanian national team, scoring seven goals and adding two assists. He joins fellow international teammate Eric Davis, who also signed with the Black and Red.
  • Atlanta United added additional attacking help on Wednesday with Xande Silva joining on loan from French club Dijon. The 26-year-old former Portuguese youth international registered six goals and three assists in 32 matches for Dijon.
  • Charlotte FC bolstered its fullback options with Jere Uronen joining the club from Stade Brest. The 29-year-old Finnish international has totaled over 300 appearances in Europe and most recently spent the second half of last season with German club Schalke.
  • Real Salt Lake permanent acquired Braian Ojeda from Nottingham Forest after he originally joined the club on loan. Ojeda, 23, has recorded two assists in 27 league matches this season for Pablo Mastroeni’s men.
  • Michael Barrios is on his way to the LA Galaxy after a trade between them and the Colorado Rapids. In exchange, Colorado will receive the Galaxy’s natural first-round draft pick in 2024 and could also receive $50,000 in GAM pending performance-based metrics. Barrios, 32, joined the Rapids ahead of the 2021 season and went on to record 12 goals and 16 assists across 87 regular season appearances.
  • The LA Galaxy also added 22-year-old midfielder Edwin Cerrillo in a trade with FC Dallas, both clubs announced. FC Dallas received $200,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money (GAM) and could receive up to $400,000 in conditional GAM if certain performance metrics are met by Cerrillo. He has tallied four assists in 96 appearances across all competitions for FC Dallas.

Comments

  1. On paper Columbus selling Zelarayan and bringing Diego Rossi back to the league is a really sharp bit of business. Rossi is six years younger than Zelarayan and makes half as much, and he was every bit as productive – 48 goals and 21 assists in 104 games for LAFC, while Zelarayan got 38 and 30 in 98 games. The Crew also likely made a nice net in the transfer fee exchange…Rossi cost the Crew $6.58 million, but while the transfer fee the Saudis paid for Zelarayan was not disclosed, the Saudis have been wildly overpaying for players and one can surmise it was Very Large.

    We’ll see if it works. JR – you’re the Columbus expert. Does Rossi replace Zelarayan at the 10, or does he bump Christian Ramirez from the other striker spot alongside Cucho while Alexandru Matan replaces Zelarayan?

    Reply
    • Honestly I’m a little perplexed. The front 3 kind of all interchange at times so I could see Cucho officially be the 10 but with Diego doing some of that too. I was confused about Gressell because Wilfred Nancy’s WBs have to do a ton of running so I wasn’t sure Julian had the legs for that so him replacing Lucas as a 10/W made sense. I don’t know how it will all work but I’m excited. I would guess Matan becomes the super sub. Ramirez and Cucho have played a ton of minutes so having some depth should help them physically too.

      Reply

Leave a Comment