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MLS Rundown: MLS Veteran Joins LAFC



Aaron Kovar joins expansion side Los Angeles FC from the Seattle Sounders on loan for the 2018 season. The 24-year-old Sounders homegrown has spent four seasons with his hometown club, making 44 appearances across all competitions and scoring three goals. He also made 25 appearances, scoring two goals, with Sounders 2 in USL.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Aaron to gain playing experience and further his development as a player with exposure to another club,” said Sounders FC general manager & president of soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a club statement. “LAFC provides a new, competitive environment for Aaron and we feel this loan benefits all parties.”

Kovar signed with Sounders FC as a Homegrown Player prior to the 2014 season after two standout campaigns at Stanford, where he was the 2012 PAC-12 Freshman of the Year.


Lee Nguyen did not report for the New England Revolution’s first session of preseason, and the club is taking a very tough stance to the situation.

“Lee didn’t report to preseason and he’s not honouring his contract,” general manager Mike Burns told “We’ll handle the matter internally, and we’ve already had discussions with MLS. It’ll be handled appropriately. We have zero tolerance for guys who don’t honour their contracts.”

Rundown has discussed Nguyen’s desire to trade away from New England, which occurred prior to the arrival of Brad Friedel, who had a blunt response when asked where Nguyen was, “You’ll have to ask Lee.”

Nguyen is under contract with the Revs for the 2018 season, and then has two option years for 2019 and 2020. Nguyen also made a base salary of $500,000 in 2017, the seventh-highest total on the Revs, according to MLS Players’ Union records. Through his six seasons with New England, Nguyen has 51 goals and 49 assists in 191 regular season games. He also was an MVP finalist in 2014, leading the Revs to an MLS Cup appearance against the LA Galaxy.

The Revs didn’t comment on whether they’d trade away Nguyen, but Friedel made clear what his focus is for New England heading into the new campaign.

“The goal is to instil a work ethic and start relationships with all the players, and the goal ultimately is to win games,” Friedel said. “That’s what we’re here for in professional sports. If you don’t win games, players get moved on, coaches get moved on, and that’s the reality of the situation. We want to come in and bring an up-tempo feel to the place, and I think we’ve accomplished that on Day 1.”


US U-20 national team midfielder Eryk Williamson is one of the top prospects to come out of D.C. United’s academy in recent years, but curiously is turning pro with the Portland Timbers. D.C. traded Williamson’s Homegrown Player rights to Portland on Tuesday, receiving $100,000 in 2018 General Allocation Money, $100,000 in 2019 Targeted Allocation Money, a second-round pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft and a 2018 International roster slot.

Should Williamson transfer out of MLS in the coming years, the Black-and-Red will also receive 50 percent of any future transfer fee as well as a 2020 second-round SuperDraft pick.

“Eryk is a dynamic young midfielder that has shown his abilities at the youth levels in this country, and his talents were on display this summer with the United States at the U-20 FIFA World Cup,” said Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese in a club statement.

“We believe Eryk is capable of further growth and development, and has the potential to become a quality player at the next level. He is a forward-thinking player and approaches the game with an aggressive mindset, which are traits that we believe will fit well within our group moving forward.”

Williamson, 20, is a junior midfielder at the University of Maryland who played a significant role on Tab Ramos’ US U-20 side during both CONCACAF qualifying and FIFA U-20 World Cup action last year, scoring a goal and two assists in 12 games (10 starts) across all competitions. He netted 14 goals and 13 assists over three years with the Terrapins before foregoing his senior season to turn pro.

Trading Homegrown rights is a relatively rare phenomenon in MLS, but earlier this month the Chicago Fire did so with Cam Lindley, sending his rights to Orlando City in exchange for Rafa Ramos and a package of Targeted Allocation Money after Lindley and the Fire were unable to reach agreement on a contract deal.


Toronto FC have announced that they have re-signed defender Eriq Zavaleta. The 25-year-old centre back made 36 appearances between the regular season, Canadian Championship and Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in 2017.

“Since joining Toronto FC, Eriq has developed into a core member of this team as well as a leader both on and off the field,” Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko said in a club statement. “He has been an important part of our club for the past few years and we are happy to ensure he is back this season as we defend our championships.”

Zavaleta joined TFC in 2015 after one year with Seattle and one year with Chivas USA. He has 84 career MLS regular season appearances.

Any Other Business…

Portland Timbers have unveiled their new away kit for 2018, a white kit accompanied by ponderosa green and ravens gold which is reminiscent of the club’s historic jerseys from eras past. Rundown never thought it would use the word ‘ponderosa’ in a news report… After a breakout season with Montreal Impact, Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla appears set to make a move to Europe with Barcelona reported as the frontrunner… Giovanni Reyna, the son of NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna, has headed to Jacksonville for NYCFC preseason training along with four other Academy teammates.