NEW YORK CITY SIGN HOUNTONDJI
New York City FC have added defender Cedric Hountondji to their squad for the 2018 season, the club announced have announced, pending receipt of his P1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate. The 23-year-old centre back signs on a free transfer after playing in France for Gazelec Ajaccio.
“Cedric is a strong player who is dominant aerially and physically, he is excellent in one-v-one situations and is calm on the ball as well,” NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said in a club statement. “We were looking to strengthen our back four and Cedric is someone we were following for a long time. He’s a young defender with his best years ahead of him and there was a lot of interest in him. I think it says a lot that a young player in Europe wanted to come to us and believes in our project and the ambitions of our football club.”
Hountondji was born in France and came through the well-regarded Rennes youth set-up. Making his first-team debut there in 2013, he then spent time on loan at two Ligue 2 clubs, Chateauroux and Auxerre, before moving to fellow Ligue 2 side Gazelec in 2016. He is also a Benin international, having made his debut in a friendly for the West African country in 2017. Previously, Hountondji was a French youth international.
New York Red Bulls have brought Amando Moreno back to the club where he was once a Homegrown player, signing him to a deal for the 2018 campaign.
“We are glad to have Amando back with the organization,” said Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch in a club statement. “Amando brings speed and good attacking qualities to our team. We look forward to getting him integrated in preseason and seeing how he fits within our group.”
A product of New York’s academy, the 22-year-old forward signed a Homegrown contract with the Red Bulls in December 2012 and spent 2013 with the first team. He made two regular-season appearances that year, totalling two minutes in league action. He left New York to join Liga MX club Tijuana in February 2014, but received limited playing time with Xolos. He appeared in just four Liga MX matches with the club and spent last year on loan to second-division side Dorados de Sinaloa.
TWO BETWEEN THE STICKS
Montreal Impact signed a pair of goalkeepers, announcing that they’ve completed deals with ex-LA Galaxy ‘keeper Clement Diop and Homegrown netminder Jason Beaulieu.
Diop signed a one-year deal with three option years. Montreal did not disclose the terms of Beaulieu’s contract.
“I am very pleased to be able to count on Clément for the next few seasons,” Impact head coach Rémi Garde said in a statement released by the club. “Despite receiving other offers, he made the choice to continue his development in Montreal. His MLS experience will be an asset as he integrates the team. It is also excellent news to see Jason return with the club after growing up within the Impact academy. He will have the chance to work in a [favorable] professional environment to further his development.”
Diop was selected by Montreal in the 2017 MLS Waiver Draft in December. The 24-year-old was with the LA Galaxy in 2016 and 2017, appearing in 17 career regular season matches for the club, all of which were starts. He started 15 games in 2017, conceding 31 goals and compiling a 4-8-3 record. A former French youth international, he represents Senegal at senior level and has one cap for the country.
A product of the Impact academy, Beaulieu spent the last four years at the University of New Mexico. The 23-year-old appeared in 69 games for the Lobos, recording 34 wins, 22 losses, 11 draws and 22 clean sheets during his college career. The Montreal native was named Impact U-21 MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in 2012.
Impact now have three goalkeepers in their 2018 squad. 2017’s number one Evan Bush will return to the team this year after having his contract option picked up in November.
NGUYEN WANTS OUT
New England Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen asked the club to trade him earlier this offseason, MLSsoccer.com reveals according to ‘sources’. The sources said that Nguyen, 31, asked for a trade before New England hired Brad Friedel as head coach and that his request for a move is motivated by a desire to continue his career elsewhere.
The sources said that New England are reluctant to move the playmaker and that it’s no sure thing that he’ll be traded or transferred by the Revolution, who open camp on January 22. The sources did say that Chicago are among the teams that have spoken to New England about a potential deal for Nguyen, who has a guaranteed contract in 2018 and two club option years in 2019 and 2020.
Nguyen, who was an MLS MVP finalist in 2014, joined the Revolution ahead of the 2012 season following two years in Vietnam and has been one of the most productive attacking midfielders in MLS over the last four years. He finished 2017 with 11 goals and 15 assists in 31 regular season matches, giving him 42 goals and 40 assists in 128 regular season appearances since the start of 2014.
Any Other Business…
A report in Portugal lists Los Angeles FC as looking to acquire 21-year-old midfielder Andre Horta. Horta is under contract with Benfica but on loan until the end of the season at Braga. Benfica are trying to negotiate an early termination of the loan so they can sell Horta to LAFC for 6 million euros… After a day of negotiations, Liga MX’s Veracruz have ended in their interest in Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres according to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle… Colorado Rapids have emerged as front-runners to land Ola Kamara from Columbus Crew SC, according to Minnesota-based reporter Jeff Rueter.