FELIPE GUTIERREZ A DESIGNATED PLAYER FOR SPORTING KANSAS
Sporting Kansas City have secured the signing of 27-year-old Chilean midfielder Felipe Gutierrez as a Designated Player on a three-year contract to 2020, with an option for 2021.
“Felipe has a tremendous amount of experience playing in very difficult environments in top-level competitions,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said in a club statement. “He also possesses the DNA that we look for in players that fit our style. He is excited about joining the club and we are ecstatic for him to be a part of our team.”
Gutierrez, who will occupy an international roster spot, has represented Chile’s senior national team 35 times, including appearances at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2015 Copa América, which Chile won.
At the club level, the midfielder has played in nearly 250 matches across top-flight leagues in Chile, Netherlands and Spain. In Chile, he starred for CD Universidad Catolica before transferring to Dutch side FC Twente ahead of the 2012-13 Eredivisie campaign. The following season, he started 33 league matches was named the 2013-14 Eredivisie Most Valuable Player, and after another strong year in 2015-16, he moved to La Liga side Real Betis in 2016-17. His first La Liga goal was a stoppage-time winner vs. Osasuna in October of 2016, but he spent most of 2017 on loan at Brazil club Internacional, helping them gain promotion.
At the 2014 World Cup, he featured in all four matches, leading Chile out of the group stage before they fell to host Brazil on penalty kicks in the Round of 16. The following year, he helped Chile win the country’s first-ever Copa America title as they edged Argentina on penalties on their home soil.
LA LIGA LOAN
Chicago Fire have addressed their need on the wing with the addition of Serbian international Aleksandar Katai, as the club announced his addition to their squad. He has been acquired on loan from La Liga side Deportivo Alaves, with an option to purchase the player outright and to extend his MLS contract.
“Aleksandar should make our attack more diversified,” Fire president and general manager Nelson Rodríguez said in a club statement. “He has the ability to turn a game on a single play whether it be off the dribble, with a pass or cross or even on set pieces. His desire to triumph should also fit well in our locker room.”
Katai, 26, joined Alaves in 2016, appearing in 23 matches with three goals and four assists for the La Liga side. Coming through the youth ranks of Vojvodina, his hometown club, he made his professional debut there in 2009. He’s also played in Serbia for FK Palic and Red Star Belgrade, and in Greece for Olympiacos, OFI Crete and Platanias, before his last move to Spain. With Red Star, Katai won the Serbian SuperLiga in 2015-16 and was the league’s golden boot winner that year, with 21 goals.
He is also a Serbian international, having amassed six caps for his country since making his debut in 2015, including four appearances during the recent World Cup qualifying campaign.
KAYE JOINS LAFC
Los Angeles Football Club have bolstered their midfield for their inaugural season with the signing of midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye, on a transfer from USL side Louisville City FC.
The 23-year-old helped lead Louisville to the league title last season, scoring four goals and one assist. In two seasons with the Kentucky club, he played 39 games. Prior to that, the Toronto native played for the Wilmington Hammerheads, then in USL, and Toronto FC II for their inaugural season in 2015.
“Mark-Anthony is a promising young player with great potential and versatility,” said LAFC EVP of soccer operations and general manager John Thorrington in a club statement. “We look forward to integrating him into the group as we believe he can become a significant contributor to our team immediately.”
Kaye is also a Canadian international. After previously playing at U-23, he made his debut at the senior level in 2017, racking up five caps last year, including two in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where Canada had their best showing in a decade.
“Mark-Anthony is an exciting player who has shown creativity and good football both at Louisville City and at the international level,” said LAFC head coach Bob Bradley. “He gives our Club another talented option as we build our roster for the season.”
KEVIN ELLIS IS IN DALLAS
Even though he’s under contract with Sporting Kansas City, defender Kevin Ellis is in preseason camp with FC Dallas.
FC Dallas revealed the somewhat unusual news on their website Monday, with head coach Oscar Pareja saying that the club will look “closely” at Ellis to see how the 26-year-old fits in their system.
The unusual situation was born out of a leave of absence mutually agreed upon by SKC and Ellis last September. Ellis hasn’t re-joined the team since taking his leave, with The Kansas City Star reporting in January that the team had received several enquiries from other clubs about his availability.
Dallas were one of the interested parties, and SKC agreed last week to let Ellis train in Texas, according to an FCD spokesperson. The spokesperson said Ellis will be with Dallas through the weekend, at which point the club will assess whether they want to try to work a trade with SKC for him. A SKC spokesperson told MLSsoccer.com that the club is looking to find a solution that works for Ellis and the team.
“Kevin is providing us the opportunity to see him closely here and see how he fits into our system,” FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja told the club website, noting Ellis’ flexibility to play both in the middle and as a right back. “He’s someone who has experience already – being young still – who knows the league and knows the system. All of those things are a bonus for us to have someone who can come and give us that privilege to see him. We respect him, but at the same time we invited him to camp to see how things look for him and us.”
It’s unlikely that Sporting’s asking price would be high for their former Homegrown defender, who has made just 19 regular season appearances since he started 26 games in 2015. A Kansas City native, Ellis signed with SKC in February 2011. Capable of playing as a centre back or a right back, he has five goals and five assists in 68 career regular season appearances.
Any Other Business…
Greek outlet The National Herald claims international goalkeeper Stefanos Kapino has received an offer to join an MLS team but doesn’t go as far as to state which one… According to Colombian sports radio station Antena 2, Millonarios have sold Harold Santiago Mosquera to FC Dallas. A previous news story indicated that Dallas had made a $4 million offer for the player… Out-of-contract Maurice Edu is on trial with LAFC.