BASQUE PLAYMAKER JOINS TFC
In a transfer that has our very own Chris Darwen a little excited, if his predictions for the new seasons are concerned, Toronto have now officially unveiled midfielder Ager Aketxe. The move was expected as per yesterday’s Rundown. Our MLS predictions featuring the esteemed Mr. Darwen will be published later today.
The Spaniard signs via Targeted Allocation Money and will be added to Toronto’s 2018 squad list upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and Canadian work permit.
“Ager is a talented midfielder, that developed at an historic club, in one of the top leagues in the world,” said TFC senior VP and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko in a club statement. “Ager has both the ability to create as well as finish. He possesses a tremendous work rate along with a great attitude. We are very excited to bring him to Toronto FC and have no doubt he will be a welcomed addition to our club.”
Aketxe is 24, a Bilbao native who rose through Athletic’s respected youth academy system from the age of 10, making his first-team debut in 2013. The club terminated his contract by mutual consent on last week to clear the path for his move to MLS. Aketxe scored five goals in 18 matches on loan with Spanish second-division side Cadiz last year before returning to Athletic to make made 14 appearances for the Basque club during their current campaign, primarily coming off the bench in Europa League and Copa del Rey action.
KELLYN ACOSTA SIDELINED FOR 6-8 WEEKS
Rundown hates to see an injury at this time of the year with the MLS season all set to begin next weekend. FC Dallas faced Tauro FC in the CONCACAF Champions League earlier this week, they were without the services of midfielder Kellyn Acosta and it appears that they will be missing him for a significant amount of time.
The 22-year-old will be out for 6-8 weeks after undergoing successful surgery to repair a sports hernia. That will put him out for the second leg of Dallas’s Round of 16 matchup and the quarterfinals if the Texans were to advance. He would also miss the first three games of the MLS season at least.
With Acosta sidelined, veteran Victor Ulloa started the match against Tauro on Wednesday and the 25-year-old is likely to receive benefit of Acosta’s injury next to Carlos Gruezo in central midfield. Ulloa started 18 matches in 2016 and 12 in 2017.
PARKER ANGLING FOR TRADE
Following Rundown’s story yesterday regarding Tim Parker, it seems Sam Stejskal has more details. Parker requested a trade during the offseason due to the salary offered as part of new contract negotiations. Parker is looking for a deal that will pay him more than the maximum budget charge of $504,375 per year, placing him at or above the salary level of fellow American centre backs Matt Hedges (FC Dallas) and Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United).
Because Vancouver couldn’t or wouldn’t meet his terms, Parker asked for the trade and this led to discussions recently between the New York Red Bulls and Vancouver, with talks reportedly involving Felipe Martins.
Parker’s contract will expire at the end 2018 so without a new deal, he’d be able to leave Vancouver and join a team outside MLS for free following the 2018 season or sign a pre-contract in the summer that would commit him to joining a foreign club next January.
The straight swap featuring Parker and Felipe won’t happen as the Whitecaps value Parker around $1 million on the trade market, and wanted a significant amount of allocation money in addition to Felipe, which the Red Bulls were unwilling to give.
Kristian Dyer reports that D.C. United and the Montreal Impact were “in the mix to land Parker” but baulked at the asking price.
Selected by Vancouver with the 13th overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, Parker became a full-time starter midway through his first season and has held onto his position in the team ever since. He started 28 regular season games in 2016 and 32 in 2017, he also has five career MLS Cup Playoff appearances.
Despite his trade request, Parker has been an active participant in Vancouver’s preseason since he joined the team following the conclusion of the US men’s national team’s January camp. He has trained with the Whitecaps and played in friendlies during the club’s recent camps in Hawaii and Las Vegas, including 45 minutes in the club’s 2-0 friendly win against LA Galaxy just this week.
Any Other Business…
Goal.com report that LA Galaxy are considering a move for French-born former Martinique international Mathias Coureur, who is currently plying his trade in Kazakhstan… Minnesota United have brought in defensive midfielder Luiz Fernando on loan from Fluminense FC with an option to buy. The 22-year-old will occupy an international spot for the Loons… Los Angeles FC have signed third overall 2018 MLS SuperDraft selection Tristan Blackmon and will add him to LAFC’s supplemental roster… Sean Franklin has signed a one-year contract with Toronto FC. The veteran right-back will turn 33 next month and has won two MLS Cups during his 10-year MLS career.
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