MLS Ticker: Kljestan announces retirement, Galaxy adds Rodriguez, and more


The L.A. Galaxy added two new faces for 2023, but also bid farewell to one of their veteran leaders. Sacha Kljestan announced his retirement on Thursday, ending a 17-year professional career. Kljestan featured for the Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, Orlando City, and Chivas USA during his MLS career while also playing overseas for Belgian club Anderlecht. “If you know me, you know this day is emotional and difficult because of my deep love for the game,” Kljestan said on Twitter. “Thank you soccer for taking me all over the world. Because of you I met and made friends from all different walks of life and all different parts of the world.” Thank you soccer.— Sacha Kljestan (@SachaKljestan) January 5, 2023 Kljestan, a California native, played collegiately at Seton Hall University before also earning 52 caps with the U.S. men’s national team. He won eight domestic trophies during his time with Anderlecht while also winning the 2015 Supporters’ Shield with the Red Bulls. Kljestan ends his Galaxy career with 69 appearances for the club in three years. Here is a closer look at all of Thursday’s MLS News: Galaxy adds Rodriguez, Mavinga as free agent signings The Los Angeles Galaxy made two roster additions on Thursday with the team’s midfield and defensive corps being bolstered. Memo Rodriguez and Chris Mavinga joined Greg Vanney’s squad as free agent signings, giving Vanney two new faces to call on in 2023. Rodriguez signed a one-year deal which includes two options years through 2025, while Mavinga signed a two-year contract through 2024. “We are pleased to welcome Memo to the LA Galaxy,” Vanney said in a release. “Memo is a talented and hard-working midfielder whose qualities complement our group and provide us with depth and versatility.” Rodriguez, 27, spent his entire MLS career to date with the Houston Dynamo, logging 148 appearances across all competitions, 21 goals and 15 assists. He also was loaned to USL Championship clubs Charleston Battery and Rio Grande Valley FC at different times. Mavinga, a Congolese international, played 124 regular-season games with Toronto FC after arriving in 2017 from Russian top-flight side Rubin Kazan. He was a part of TFC’s treble-winning side that year, when they captured MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield and Canadian Championship titles. “Chris brings experience, quality and more championship pedigree to our back line,” Vanney said in an official statement. “We are pleased to add him to our group and look forward to him being an important contributor.” The Galaxy reached the Western Conference semifinals in 2022 and will be keen to get back in 2023. Revolution adds Dave Romney in trade with Nashville SC Dave Romney is on the move in MLS with the veteran defender being reconnected with a former head coach in Foxborough. The New England Revolution acquired Romney in a trade with Nashville SC, reuniting the 29-year-old with Bruce Arena. In exchange for Romney, Nashville SC will receive $525,000 in General Allocation Money split over the next two MLS seasons. “Dave Romney is a reliable and quality defender in our league. He will be a great addition to our roster,” Arena said. “We look forward to Dave’s arrival in New England this preseason.” Romney spent the last three seasons with Nashville SC, helping the club reach the MLS Cup Playoffs in each of those three years. He has accumulated 171 regular-season appearances during his pro career, scoring seven goals and adding 13 assists. Romney joins a Revolution center back corps which features Henry Kessler and Andrew Farrell. Austin FC defender Gabrielsen moves to Norway Just one day after Austin FC added a new defender in Leo Vaisanen, the Western Conference club watched Ruben Gabrielsen depart. Gabrielsen returned to his native Norway on Thursday, signing with top-flight club Lillestrom. The 30-year-old originally joined Austin FC on a multi-year deal in January 2022, but now leaves after only one MLS campaign. “Though it’s difficult to say goodbye to Austin FC, as a parent of a child who requires special care, returning to Lillestrøm and Norway is what’s best for me and my family at this time,” Gabrielsen said. Gabrielsen returns to Lillestrom after previously playing there from 2009-14. He was a major contributor to Austin FC’s rapid turnaround in MLS last season, scoring two goals and adding three assists in 36 regular-season appearances. Josh Wolff’s squad reached the Western Conference Final in the club’s second MLS season. Quick Kicks: Charlotte FC defender Christian Fuchs announced his retirement on Thursday, ending his 19-year professional career. Fuchs spent the 2022 campaign with the expansion side, logging 26 regular-season appearances and helping Charlotte finish ninth in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta United sold defender Alan Franco to Brazilian club São Paulo, the club announced. The 26-year-old Argentine defender spent two seasons with the Five Stripes, recording one goal and seven assists across 56 appearances. Orlando City added Brazilian defender Rafael Santos from Serie A side Cruzeiro, the club announced Thursday. The 24-year-old totaled five goals and eight assists over 92 professional appearances in all competitions in Brazil. Inter Miami acquired Argentinian midfielder Nicolás Stefanelli from Swedish club AIK on Thursday. Stefanelli, 28, recorded 66 goals and 21 assists in 211 professional appearances for AIK, helping them win the 2018 Allsvenskan title. Nashville SC added defender Nick DePuy in a trade with the L.A. Galaxy, in exchange for $50,000 in 2023 GAM and a second round draft pick in the 2024 MLS Draft. DePuy made 59 regular-season appearances across the last three seasons for the Galaxy. He set a new career-high in 2021 with 1,856 minutes. Nacho Gil is staying with the New England Revolution for the 2023 MLS season after being re-signed on Thursday. Gil’s new contract keeps him with the Revs through the 2024 season, with an option for 2025. He is the brother of fellow Revs midfielder, Carles.