GERMAN SUPERSTAR IS BACK IN CHICAGO
Chicago Fire have announced that they have re-signed German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger to a Designated Player contract for the 2018 season. The 33-year-old made 24 MLS regular season appearances, scoring three goals and six assists, and one MLS Cup Playoffs appearance in 2017 for the Fire, the club he joined in March from Manchester United.
The World Cup winner helped revitalise the Fire last season, as they qualified for the postseason for the first time in five years and finished in third place in the Eastern Conference. Schweinsteiger was also an MLS All-Star in 2017 and captained the side vs. Real Madrid.
“I am very happy to re-sign with the Chicago Fire, and to continue what we started in 2017,” Schweinsteiger said in a club statement. “Last year was a special moment for my career, but it felt incomplete without a trophy. But I am sure we can create another memorable season with the support of our great fans. I love this city, this sport, and winning, so I look forward to another season with the Fire as we progress to hopefully another level of success.”
The 2014 World Cup winner, who amassed 121 caps with Germany, arrived in MLS in 2017 after 13 years at German giants Bayern Munich (Dec. 2002 to July 2015) and just under two seasons at English powerhouse Manchester United (July 2015 to March 2017).
VETERAN BEASLEY REMAINS WITH DYNAMO
Houston Dynamo and free agent DaMarcus Beasley have agreed to a deal that will bring the veteran back to the club in 2018.
“I am excited about having DaMarcus back because he is a true leader and a role model. He demonstrates his professionalism in the way he takes care of himself, and the way he behaves on and off the field is important,” said Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera in a club statement. “In the locker room, he is a point of reference for all his teammates. As a player, he still delivers quality and a proficient level of soccer, ideas, talent and we need that this season.”
Beasley, 35, recorded one assist in 28 regular season and playoff games at left back in 2017 after re-signing a one-year deal with Houston as a free agent last winter. DaMarcus joined Houston following the 2014 World Cup. He has played 86 regular season games since joining the Dynamo and has earned 126 international caps.
PONTIUS COMING HOME TO CALIFORNIA
Southern California native Chris Pontius is set to sign with LA Galaxy. The 30-year-old MLS veteran has spent the last two seasons with the Philadelphia Union, reinvigorating his career in 2016 with 12 goals and six assists to win MLS Comeback Player of the Year honours and help the Union make the playoffs for the second time in club history. Despite remaining one of head coach Jim Curtin’s favourite options on the wing last season, he only finished with two – both of which came in the same game.
Pontius, who made his first US national team appearances last year under former LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, previously spent seven up-and-down seasons with D.C. United, enjoying an All-Star season in 2012 but struggling with injuries for much of his tenure there.
MICHAEL PETRASSO TO MONTREAL
Montreal Impact have boosted their defensive ranks with right back Michael Petrasso. The 22-year-old joins on a two-year deal, with an option for the 2020 season, from English Championship side Queens Park Rangers.
“Michael joining the roster is positive because he is a young Canadian international,” said Impact head coach Remi Garde in a club statement. “His qualities allow him to play in different positions and therefore offer many options for the team. The room he has for improvement is very interesting for him and for the Impact.”
Petrasso joined QPR’s youth set-up in 2012 after a stint with Toronto FC’s academy. At QPR, he made his first-team debut in 2013, making a total of 11 appearances for the club during his time in London. The right back is also a full Canada international, with eight caps for the senior team, including four from the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where he started all of Canada’s games as they reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 2009.
“I’m very happy to join the Montreal Impact,” said Petrasso. “After being away for so many years, the prospect of coming back and playing soccer at home, in Canada, is very exciting for me. It’s a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to my new future in Montreal.”
Any Other Business…
Vancouver Whitecaps have officially announced the signing of Liga MX veteran and former Mexico international midfielder Efrain Juarez from Monterrey using Targeted Allocation Money… Orlando City have traded defender Rafael Ramos and $100,000 in Targeted Allocation Money ($50,000 in 2018 and $50,000 in 2019) in exchange for Homegrown rights to Cam Lindley from the Chicago Fire… Whitecaps midfielder Andrew Jacobson has announced his retirement after a 10-year professional career.