It’s been a fast and furious few days for Los Angeles FC, and that continued on Thursday with the signing of the organization’s second Designated Player.
LAFC announced the addition of Penarol forward Diego Rossi, joining manager Bob Bradley and the club’s first DP — Carlos Vela.
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Rossi, 19, became the second-youngest DP signing in Major League Soccer history upon completing his move from Uruguay’s first division, with only former FC Dallas attacker Fabian Castillo younger (18).
“Diego is a young and exciting attacking player,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said. “His experiences at Peñarol and his ability fit perfectly with our vision of the team we are building at LAFC. We believe Diego will mature into a top-class player.”
The expansion side’s current roster is now up to eight players, following a busy few days of MLS’ offseason. Rossi will join Vela, Egyptian international Omar Gaber, as well as Walker Zimmerman, Laurent Ciman, Tyler Miller, Latif Blessing, and Marco Ureña.
Like Atlanta United, Los Angeles FC appears to be forming its team with a distinctive Latin American flair.
According to a report out of Uruguay, LAFC is advancing negotiations for the $3 million transfer of 19-year-old forward Diego Rossi. For that kind of money, he’d join Carlos Vela as the team’s second Designated Player, likely slotting in as a Young Designated Player.
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The Uruguayan teenager had a breakout year for his club Penarol in 2017, scoring eight goals in 24 league matches and making three appearances in the Copa Libertadores. While he featured three times for the Uruguayan Under-20 Men’s National Team in the South American World Cup qualification tournament, he was somewhat surprisingly left off the 21-man squad for the World Cup last May and June in South Korea.
In the goal below, you can see why the LAFC technical staff would be willing to spend the big bucks on a youngster from abroad. Rossi plays a 1-2 in midfield, which cuts out two opposing defenders, before slaloming through four defenders (the last one who appears to fall over himself) before chipping the goalkeeper.
According to the report, LAFC would pay the $3 million fee in two installments. If LAFC does sign Rossi, it would be yet another signal that MLS is a serious destination for young South Americans who are looking for a stepping stone to Europe’s top leagues.
With the success of players such as Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez this season, others could see MLS as a pathway to greater financial security and glory abroad, as well as testing themselves in a league that is growing in talent year-on-year.