The Cosmos had their first scrimmage and friendly, Tampa Bay continued their involvement in the Suncoast Invitational,
United TBD headed to Portland for their own tournament, and Rayo had their first scrimmage. But some moves were made and the last team without a player to its name, Puerto Rico FC, corrected that issue by signing two of them
Here’s a look at the roster moves around the league in the third week of February.
Two big moves for the Cosmos this week. They secured the services of David Ochieng, a Kenyan international that plays center back for added depth and Yasmani Duk, the Bolivian forward, finally arrived and is now with the club on loan.
Click here to read about the signing of David Ochieng.
Click here to read about the loan of Yasmani Duk.
The Strikers made one addition to their roster this week, signing midfielder Jean Alexandre. The 29-year-old Haitian has spent time with the San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake, Orlando City (USL) and joined Negeri Sembilan FA of the Malaysian Premier League in 2014. He’s also played extensively for the Haitian national team, including recent qualifiers for the World Cup and Copa América Centenario. In possession of US passport,
Miami made a signing of notice by bringing on former NASL Golden Boot Pablo Campos. After playing for the Fresno Fuego and spending time in MLS, also with the Earthquakes and Real, the 33-year-old joined the NASL in 2011. Spending the season with the Railhawks, he would switch over to the
Scorpions departed and win the Golden Boot and Golden Ball, scoring 21 goals in 30 games. Campos joins Miami after spending three seasons at Minnesota United. He scored 20 goals in 56 appearances and became the first NASL player to reach 50 goals in the modern era. In the last season, he made 29 appearances and scored seven times.
They acquired former Venezuelan youth international Bernardo Añor in a loan from Sporting Kansas City. The 27-year-old winger joins after a year with SKC, where he made 13 league appearances. Prior to that, he spent four years in the Columbus Crew system, making 72 league appearances.
United also grabbed Aaron Perez, a goalkeeper with the Orange Country Blues (USL) for the last three season. Perez made 100 appearances with them, but made none in 2015. His career to soccer was an interesting one as he went to UCLA to join their Division 1 football program and had short stints with the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.
And lastly, the new guys. Puerto Rico FC finally started the process of signing new players. The pair they signed immediately got attention, one for his connections to the island, the other for his experience in the NASL.
Midfielder Joseph “Jackie” Marrero joined the new club. The 22-year-old Puerto Rican played for several teams on the island, including the Islanders back in 2012. Most recently, he was with Kultsu FC (Finland) in 2014-15.
Their next signing was Pedro Mendes. Mendes is a long-time NASL veteran. The 25-year-old spent 2012-13 with the Silverbacks and 2014 between the Indy Eleven and Minnesota United. He returned to Atlanta in 2015 scoring seven goals in 19 appearances.
I really like the Campos signing for Miami. He would have struggled to find minutes with two other former Golden Boots on the team, Christian Ramirez and Stefano Pinho. Miami gains the experience of a seasoned NASL player and this looks win/win for player and club.
I’m relieved to see Duk finally arrive. I think he and Arrieta could give each other some fierce competition to for the starting striker spot. I reserve judgement on Ochieng, for now. It’s hard to get an accurate feel for how well he’ll fit, based on video. I’m happy that we picked up a young center back, but it’s too soon to tell.
At this point there’s only two things I want to see. I want to see another right back for depth and I really hope we can get Niko Kranjčar inked to a contract.
I have noted my thoughts on the Cosmos move, but it has to be said. What seemed like a bleak off-season turned into a very exciting one for the Cosmos. While they did not grab the world headlines with their signings, they put together a team that could be very exciting to watch come opening day. For sure, a playoff contender again.
Campos was a great signing for Miami as he will bring much needed experience to the new squad and he has proven he can score in this league. Miami is going to be a very tough expansion team to deal with.
It is good to see Puerto Rico start to sign players and I look forward to seeing that roster start to build out but we will touch on them more as the Fall Season rolls around.
Was glad to see the Cosmos beat Ararat, although saddened by the lack of coverage by the club. I hope we see better on Saturday night for the Earthquakes.