GHANIAN JOINS NYCFC
Patrick Vieira has added another young, hungry, experienced international to his 2018 squad with the signing of Ghanaian midfielder Ebenezer Ofori from VfB Stuttgart.
Just 22-years-old, Ofori has amassed eight international caps for Ghana and has signed on for a one-year loan with a club option to buy at the end of the 2018 season as was first suggested in Rundown on February 2nd.
“I’m feeling good and happy because I’ve been looking forward to start this new chapter with a big club like NYCFC,” Ofori said in a club statement. “For me, I just want to be part of a successful team this year, to be happy and to play in and win as many games as I can with my new team.”
After beginning his career with New Edubiase United, Ofori moved to AIK in Sweden, where he made his debut against Manchester United in a friendly in 2013. He scored four goals in 81 appearances before joining VfB Stuttgart, where he helped the club gain promotion to the German Bundesliga after winning the 2. Bundesliga title.
“I’m really excited to bring in Ebenezer – he’s a young player who is looking to improve, he is really dynamic and can cover ground. He’s really aggressive, but he’s good with the ball, too. I’m really pleased that we managed to bring him to the football club,” Vieira said. “He’s a competitor, he’s a guy who likes to win, he’s a strong character. He’s coming to this club to compete with the midfielders we have and, like I always say, that will bring the best out of all of the players we have at this football club.”
Ofori joins a young and dynamic midfield that includes internationals Yangel Herrera from Venezuela (20 years old), Alex Ring from Finland (26) and Jesus Medina (20) from Paraguay.
AKETXE SHUNS LA LIGA
Spanish midfielder Ager Aketxe is closing in on a move to Toronto FC as reported in the Toronto Sun. A medical and paperwork are all that stand in the way of the 24-year-old joining Toronto after he severed ties with Athletic Bilbao a week ago.
As with Auro yesterday, Aketxe turned down offers to remain in Spain’s La Liga to star for Toronto in MLS. He has featured in five Europa League fixtures for Bilbao this season following a loan spell with Cadiz last campaign in Spain’s second division.
It is expected that Aketxe would join as cover for a midfield containing Michael Bradley, Victor Vazquez, Jonathan Osorio and Marky Delgado.
SUPERDRAFT PICK SIGNED
Everton youth academy graduate Oliver Shannon has been snapped by Atlanta United, who selected him at 36th in the 2018 MLS Superdraft.
Shannon is a native of Liverpool in England, he is the fourth and final member of Altanta’s Superdraft quartet to ink a deal after Jon Gallagher, Gordon Wild and Paul Christensen, who signed with Atlanta United 2.
“Since joining our team for preseason, Ollie has proven to be a good fit for our style of play and he’s earned his place on our roster,” Atlanta vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a club statement. “He’s a player we scouted in-depth for a long time and quickly learned that his physical makeup and player profile would fit in well with our club philosophy.”
DISRESPECT FELT BY DAVID BINGHAM
On August 12th 2017, David Bingham realised that his time at San Jose Earthquakes had come to an end. After starting 91 MLS games in succession, his name was omitted from the teamsheet as the Quakes took on Houston Dynamo.
He realised that there were fundamental changes going on within the team and within the club, and it was clear, he thought, that those changes would not include him. Fast-forward six months and Bingham is now with LA Galaxy as a first-choice custodian.
“I think there’s just big differences of opinion between [the club and myself], and we knew it wasn’t going to work out,” Bingham told MLSsoccer.com. “And it wasn’t just me. There were six other players that are actually full internationals that they got rid of, too, so it was a little surprising. But we kind of knew what was coming.”
Eight players including some with previous international experience such as Victor Bernardez, Cordell Cato and Kip Colvey departed, Costa Rican star Marco Ureña went to Los Angeles FC in December’s Expansion Draft, and Bingham, or the right to first refusal on him, was traded to the Galaxy for $200,000 to $250,000 in allocation money, the total dependent on his performance this season. Two more players with international experience, Jamaica’s Simon Dawkins and El Salvador’s Darwin Ceren, have since been cut loose.
“[It’s about] how they treat you, how they offer you. It’s a lack of respect there. To be fair, it’s more than just a lack of [respect]. If you’ve never done it before, it’s a learning curve, and some people don’t understand that.”
Sigi Schmid has arguably led a similar evolution at LA Galaxy during the offseason, Bingham added to Brian Sylvestre after all three of Galaxy’s goalkeepers departed – Brian Rowe, Clement Diop and Jon Kempin. Galaxy II keeper Justin Vom Steeg is likely to be promoted to the first team to fill out the goalkeeper ranks.
Any Other Business…
Both Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley and manager Greg Vanney have called into question the caution shown to Bradley at the conclusion of their CONCACAF Champions League fixture with Colorado Rapids. There is concern for a ban following a second yellow in games to come and Bradley may end up sitting out a crucial fixture.
Thank you reading the MLS Rundown, a daily column focused on news, rumours and transfers. If you would like to connect with the writer, please do so on twitter @CT_MLS