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MLS Notebook – The Athletic

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Sources confirmed to The Athletic on Friday that Toronto FC and Liga MX giant Tigres UANL are close to a deal that would send Toronto’s Venezuelan designated player Yeferson Soteldo to Tigres in exchange for Mexican international defender Carlos Salcedo.

According to two of the sources, no money would change hands in the transaction. It would be a straight swap of Soteldo for Salcedo. One source described the talks as being in the “eighth inning,” but cautioned that no deal has been completed. Another added that a framework for the deal is in place, but not yet finalized. If the deal does come to fruition, Salcedo would occupy a DP spot for Toronto, which last week signed Italian attacker Lorenzo Insigne to a massive DP contract of his own. 

Toronto-based journalist Michael Singh reported on Thursday that TFC had reached a deal to offload Soteldo and acquire Salcedo. He reported that it wouldn’t be a surprise if the two moves were related, but made no explicit mention of a straight swap.

TFC’s most glaring need for improvement entering this season was their back line, and Salcedo’s experience would immediately improve their defending capabilities. The 28-year-old has been in resurgent form with Tigres after a forgettable summer with the Mexico national team. Poor performances at both the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup, which included a public spat with one of Mexico’s top assistants, led to him missing out on Mexico’s World Cup qualifiers in the fall. Salcedo has since said that he apologized to Mexico’s staff, and he could make a return to El Tri for this month’s qualifiers.





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FC Dallas defender Justin Che headed to Hoffenheim – Loan-to-buy deal in place

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Return to Germany 

Six months after his loan at Bayern Munich expired, Justin Che appears to be on his way back to the Bundesliga. According to a report by the very reliable Sport 1 reporter Kerry Hau, the 18-year-old defender who has both a German and US passport is on the verge of joining Hoffenheim on an 18-month loan deal. Hoffenheim will have an option to make the deal permanent at any point during the loan. 

Bayern Munich were initially interested in a transfer, but Transfermarkt understands that interest cooled off in recent months due to Dallas’ negotiations tactics. As was the case with Ricardo Pepi, Dallas also preferred another destination. Pepi moved to Augsburg earlier this winter in a deal worth $18 million, including various performance-based incentives and a percentage of any future fee. Those sorts of incentives would have been more challenging to reach with Bayern. 

Che returns to Germany after spending the 2020/21 season in Germany. The Dallas academy product returned to Major League Soccer in June and played 15 games (three assists). Che can play both as center-back and as a right-back and will pair up with US compatriot Chris Richards at Hoffenheim. 

Pepi, Reynolds, Richards & Co.: FC Dallas record sales

Thiago Santos | To Grêmio in 2021 | Fee: $1.1m

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Chris Richards | To Bayern Munich in 2019 | Fee: $1.21m

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Juan Carlos Toja | To Steaua Bukarest in 2008 | Fee: $1.65m

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Anton Nedyalkov | To Ludogorets in 2018 | Fee: $2.2m

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Reggie Cannon | To Boavista in 2020 | Fee: 2.75m

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Fabián Castillo | To Trabzonspor in 2017 | Fee: $3m

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Loan fee and transfer fee combined.

Brek Shea | To Stoke City in 2013 | Fee: $3.3m

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Tanner Tessmann | To Venezia FC in 2021 | Fee: $4m

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Carlos Gruezo | To FC Augsburg in 2019 | Fee: $4.4m

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Bryan Reynolds | To AS Roma in 2021 | Fee: $7.43m

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Previously on loan

Ricardo Pepi | To FC Augsburg in 2022 | Fee: $18m

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Toronto FC’s GoalMachine takes home eMLS League Series One title

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It was a historic performance for the Toronto man, who just signed as the Reds’ eMLS representative in December and was making his debut appearance on the circuit. With the victory, he delivered Toronto FC’s first eMLS final appearance and championship in club history.

He got everything he could handle in the final from PauloNeto999, who had a 3-2 aggregate lead in the 88th minute of the second leg, only to see GoalMachine strike for a clutch late equalizer to force extra time.





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Lion Links: 1/16/22 – The Mane Land

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Hello, Mane Landers! This week kept The Mane Land staff team busy with breaking news, which must indicate the opening of Orlando City’s preseason camp is right around the corner. Tuesday, to be exact. Let’s head to the links!

Pato Returns to Orlando City

Orlando City announced Saturday morning the re-signing of center forward Alexandre Pato to a one-year deal. The Lions’ front office does not include financial terms when it announces transactions. However, multiple outlets reported the deal mostly consists of performance incentives. Pato was injured in the first game of last season and ultimately appeared in only four regular season matches and the Lions’ lone playoff game in Nashville. The accomplished Brazilian striker, if he can stay healthy, and Tesho Akindele are expected to provide goal-scoring depth behind whomever is acquired to succeed Daryl Dike up top. We’re going to sign more guys, right?

Moments after the club announced the return of Pato, which means “duck” in Portuguese, the Lions’ assistant general manager and technical director Ricardo Moreira tweeted perhaps the catchiest celebration of the news. LDG!

Pato shared an announcement video in which he promised “2022 will be better than the last one.”

Lions Announce 2022 Preseason Schedule

The Lions will face five MLS sides and Florida’s two USL Championship clubs in preseason action. All seven matches will be played behind closed doors. The preseason opener is Jan. 23 against an MLS club not yet named. Orlando City will also play Minnesota United, FC Dallas, and the Colorado Rapids. The Lions will battle the USL’s Miami FC, which is now led by former Orlando City B head coach Anthony Pulis. The Welshman played for Orlando City from 2012-2014 when it competed in USL Pro. The Lions and the Tampa Bay Rowdies square off on Feb. 19 to close out the schedule. Even though it’s a preseason match and the two teams compete in different tiers, is it still considered an I-4 derby? I think so.

Weston McKinnie Is On Fire

Juventus and U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Weston McKennie is the hottest American player in the world right now. McKennie headed in Juve’s second goal in its 2-0 triumph over Udinese yesterday, and he has now netted eight goals in 50 Serie A competitions. Yesterday’s goal followed one he scored in Juve’s Italian Supercoppa loss to Inter Milan on Wednesday. The American continues to improve on the pitch and that bodes well for the U.S. Men’s National Team as it prepares to resume Concacaf World Cup qualifiying later this month.

Reports: Che & Bassett to Europe; Arriola to Mexico City

MLSSoccer.com’s Transfer Tracker shared reports that two young MLS players will soon be loaned to European clubs for 18 months with options to buy. FC Dallas will reportedly send Homegrown defender Justin Che to the Bundesliga’s Hoffenheim and the Colorado Rapids will ship USMNT midfielder Cole Bassett to Eredivisie club Feyenoord. Club America is also expected to bring D.C. United and USMNT winger Paul Arriola back to Liga MX.

Man City Downs Chelsea, Coutinho Scores in Aston Villa Debut

A dazzling strike from Kevin De Bruyne lifted Manchester City over Chelsea yesterday to extend the Cityzens’ Premier League lead to 13 points. A close three-team battle for the Premier League crown is looking less likely.

Philippe Coutinho introduced himself to the Villa Park faithful with a game-tying goal after coming on as a substitute in Aston Villa’s come-from-behind 2-2 draw with Manchester United.

Free Kicks

Thanks for visiting, Mane Landers. Enjoy this week’s scenes from preseason camp.



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