MLS Notebook: NYCFC pursuit of two attackers…Abila to Minnesota almost done

MLS star right back Kyle Duncan of the New York Red Bulls. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MLS star right back Kyle Duncan of the New York Red Bulls. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The MLS offseason is nearly over. But that doesn’t mean that the MLS silly season is anywhere close to being done.

A weekly look around MLS with original reporting on several moves in the works – or that are dead.

It’s been an unusual offseason for New York City FC, who are linked this week with former United States national team midfielder Alfredo Morales. The club has had a couple difficulties the past few weeks, unable to push across a move for young attacking midfielder Joao Rojas out of Emelec. They came close on Rojas – even down to a sizeable transfer fee - but didn’t get the deal done.

There was also interest from NYCFC in Santiago Muñoz that never materialized, a source close to the situation tells FanSided’s ‘MLS Multiplex.’

And 18-year old forward, Munoz is currently playing in Mexico for Santos Laguna and has played regularly for El Tri from the U17 national team up to the U23 national team. He is also eligible to play for the United States, having been born in El Paso, TX.

Munoz has his eyes on a move straight to Europe and not a steppingstone move to MLS, a source close to the situation tells FanSided’s ‘MLS Multiplex.’

Sticking on topic with New York City FC, the pending move for Morales has raised some eyebrows about the status of Jimmy Sands, who signed a contract extension this offseason. There is a belief within the organization, according to one source, that a midfield of Morales, Sands and Keaton Parks can play together. While Sands has generated some interest in Europe, he is unlikely to move this season unless there is a big upsell in interest.

The announcement of Craig Waibel as sporting director of the Seattle Sounders is expected in the coming days, as first broken here by FanSided’s ‘MLS Multiplex.’ The move is interesting because Waibel’s prior experience as a sporting director comes from Real Salt Lake, a club that had a substantially smaller footprint on the transfer market.

In Seattle, Waibel will have a significantly transfer budget but still will be tasked with helping to further integrate the club’s academy, which has struggled to feed first team players into a deep and talented roster pool.

An intriguing rumor popped up at the end of this week for the New York Red Bulls, who are now linked with Celtic striker Patryk Klimala. The 22-year old striker is on the outs at Glasgow Park and has had relatively good production in limited runs behind a deep and talented attack.

Adding a bit of bite to the sizzle is that Klimala reportedly has not trained with Celtic this week, a decision that could point towards a possible move to MLS for the former Polish youth international. It may be nothing at all, but there’s something there.

The signing of Ramón Ábila by Minnesota United  is nearly done (as documented with details here), with the player expected to take a medical soon. The move sees the Boca Juniors striker go on a one-year loan to the MLS side with an option to buy at the end of the move.

The loan represents a bit of a risk for Minnesota, as the forward has struggled with injuries over the past three seasons – all with the Argentine giants. But if Ábila can regain his fitness, the 31-year old has the potential to be a bigtime scorer in MLS.

Bojan Krkić still has interest in staying in MLS according to a source close to the situation tells FanSided’s ‘MLS Multiplex.’ One possible landing was Toronto FC but I’m hearing that, while there is some interest in the former Montreal Impact forward, that a move is unlikely at this time.

Interesting to see that Danny Szetela has signed with Morris Elite, a USL 2 team that will be based out of North Jersey for their inaugural season. Szetela, still just 33-years old, has had a globetrotting career that includes two MLS stints, Italy and Spain as well as starring with the New York Cosmos since 2013.

Szetela will be playing close to home – he’s from Clifton, NJ – and will be counted on to help mentor a young squad. Yet another chapter in a soccer life that has led to quite a few memories for the midfielder.