Photo by Bill Barrett/ISIphotos.com
Omar Bravo's time in MLS is up.
Sporting Kansas City and top-flight Mexican club Cruz Azul agreed to a deal that will see the Designated Player return to his native country after one season in MLS. No terms of the deal were disclosed.
Bravo scored nine goals in his lone MLS campaign and combined with Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury and C.J. Sapong to comprise the deepest front line in the league. It is the remaining presence of the latter three players that makes Bravo's loss less of a blow to SKC's attack. Even so, Bravo made a DP-worthy impact during the season and was rewarded with one of two of commissioner Don Garber's picks for the MLS All-Star Game.
The move frees up an international roster spot and a chunk of the salary cap for SKC, which has already been an active player in the offseason market. The club has already added the likes of Bobby Convey and Paulo Nagamura while retaining Seth Sinovic and Jimmy Nielsen and dealing Davy Arnaud as it tries to improve on last year's season, which ended in the Eastern Conference final.
Here are a few more items from around the league:
FREI TRAINING WITH LIVERPOOL
Toronto FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei joined the growing list of MLS players training with big clubs abroad by linking up with Liverpool for the next week.
Frei is the second MLS player to train with Liverpool this winter, doing so after New York Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo. He had an up-and-down season with TFC in 2011, starting off strong before eventually dealing with injuries and losing the starting job to Milos Kocic.
Frei will be with the Reds until Dec. 18.
UNION SIGN HOMEGROWN PLAYER
The Philadelphia Union's youth movement continued with the club announcing the signing of midfielder Jimmy McLaughlin to a Homegrown Player contract on Monday.
McLaughlin, and 18-year-old winger, just completed his freshman year at Colgate University, where he helped the team to an NCAA Tournament berth. He becomes the second Homegrown Player to sign with Philadelphia, following in Zach Pfeffer's footsteps.
RAPIDS NAME HINCHEY PRESIDENT
The overhaul in the Colorado Rapids' front office made some headway with Tim Hinchey being named the club's president.
Hinchey boasts a wealth of experience in professional sports, including three years as a vice president for Derby County, which played in the Premier League and League Championship during his stint with the club. Prior to Monday's appointment, he was the Rapids' chief marketing officer.
Colorado has been in a transition period after severing ties with former coach Gary Smith and seeing general manager Jeff Plush resign just a year after both helped guide the club to an MLS Cup title.
Do you think Sporting Kansas City will be fine without Bravo? How would you rate his time in MLS? Where do you think Frei stacks up among MLS goalkeepers? Think McLaughlin can make an impact soon for the Union?
Share your thoughts below.