PHILADELPHIA FIND THEIR NUMBER 10
Philadelphia’s search for a midfield playmaker has concluded with the loan signing of 29-year-old Czech international Borek Dockal to a Designated Player contract. In a separate transaction, Philadelphia used discretionary Targeted Allocation Money to buy down David Accam’s contract and free up a DP roster slot.
After acquiring Accam from the Chicago Fire on the day of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft to play out wide, signing Dockal represents the fruition of Union sporting director Earnie Stewart’s desire to add a central playmaker.
“When we set out to identify targets for our number 10 position that would be a good fit within our system and parameters, Borek stood out as a leading candidate from the very beginning,” Stewart said in a club statement. “We believe Borek has the quality to make everyone around him better. This deal took time and patience to complete and we are excited to welcome him to Philadelphia. We look forward to integrating him with our group as quickly as possible as we turn our attention to the 2018 opener on March 3.”
Dockal joins Philadelphia from Chinese club Henan Jianye, has made his more than 350 professional appearances, and has experience both in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. He’s also made 35 appearances for the Czech Republic, including seven during their 2018 World Cup Qualifying campaign.
ATUESTA ADDED TO LOS ANGELES FC SQUAD
With their first-ever game rapidly approaching, LAFC has made another new signing. The expansion club have announced the acquisition of 20-year-old midfielder Eduard Atuesta, who was signed with Targeted Allocation Money from the Colombian side Independiente Medellín.
Atuesta will occupy an international slot on LAFC’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 visa. The Colombian played in 44 matches for Independiente Medellín, helping them win a league title in 2016..
“Eduard is a young midfielder of great versatility and promise who we’re confident will have a bright future with LAFC,” LAFC general manager John Thorrington said in a club statement. “We’ve monitored him at both the league and international level and we believe he has all the right attributes to have an immediate impact with our group.”
At international level, Atuesta captained Colombia’s U-20 team at the South American Championship in 2017, appearing in seven of the nine matches as Colombia finished sixth in the competition.
“Eduard has great technical ability and a strong understanding of the game,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “We’re excited to bring him to Los Angeles.”
STRENGTH ADDED TO NEW YORK CITY
26-year old central defender Sebastien Ibeagha has joined New York City FC having spent preseason on trial with the club. Sebastien was previously named the USL Defender of the Year in 2017 while playing for NYCFC’s USL affiliate San Antonio FC.
“I’m really excited – it’s been cool to come in from an affiliate team in San Antonio in USL and to join NYCFC for preseason and to see that come to fruition,” Ibeagha told NYCFC.com. “The first thing I learned coming in for preseason was that this is a team of great guys. I’ve never seen a team in MLS as close as this, coming together in preseason to welcome people into the family and to take the new guys under their wings and making it easy to settle in.”
Ibeagha was born in Nigeria but grew up in Texas, playing for the Houston Dynamo academy before starring collegiately at Duke and then playing overseas for Danish clubs Horsens and Fredericia, as well as Fram Reykjavik in Iceland.
“I like the way Sebastien trained,” NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said. “He showed a lot of character, he’s physically very strong and his tactical knowledge is very interesting. Of course there is room for him to improve himself but I’m not worried about that because he’s a quick learner and he’s somebody who asks a lot of questions.”
KOREAN INTERNATIONAL JOINS SOUNDERS
Rundown previously reported that Seattle Sounders were interested in defender Kim Kee-Hee and now he’s officially signed. The 28-year-old Korean international tempted Seattle to use Targeted Allocation Money to acquire Kim, who has spent his last two seasons with Shanghai Shenhua of the Chinese Super League. He joins the Sounders squad pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.
“We’re excited add Kim to our roster,” Sounders GM and president of soccer operations Garth Lagerwey said in a club statement. “He brings solid experience from some top-flight leagues and international tournaments and gives us more depth at a vital position.”
Coach Brian Schmetzer may be in need of a solid replacement defender as. Román Torres will miss a considerable chunk of time this season as Panama travel to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia but Kim could also be in Russia this summer with the South Korean national team, having appeared six times during their successful qualifying run.
“Kim is a strong, experienced player that we believe will be a good addition to our defence,” Schmetzer said in a club statement. “His signing gives us very good options at centre back going forward, and I’m excited to see how he integrates to the squad.”
Any Other Business…
DC United are set to acquire Costa Rican left back Joseph Mora… following their victory over Colorado Rapids, MLS Champions Toronto FC now take on Liga MX champs Tigres UANL in the CCL quarterfinals… Rapids coach Anthony Hudson commented on their loss to Toronto that the “games have been an incredibly important part of our preseason preparation”.
Thank you reading the MLS Rundown, a column focused on news, rumours and transfers. Following today’s edition and the onset of the MLS season, Rundown will land on MLSFootball Tuesday and Thursdays. If you would like to connect with the writer, please do so on twitter @CT_MLS