MLS Ticker: Gallese signs new Orlando City deal, and more

    Orlando City has watched a few key starters depart the club this offseason, but will have its No. 1 goalkeeper back for 2023.

    Pedro Gallese signed a new contract with the Eastern Conference club on Tuesday, committing the next two years to the Lions. The 32-year-old Peruvian was out of contract since the end of the 2022 campaign but will return for his fourth and fifth consecutive seasons.

    “Pedro has been an important part of our club’s success over his three years in Orlando and we’re very excited to agree to a deal that will see him remain with us for the foreseeable future,” Orlando’s EVP of soccer operations and general manager Luiz Muzzi said.

    “We believe he is one of the most talented goalkeepers, not only in our league, but in the world and we are happy to have him representing our club, our city and our fans.”

    Gallese arrived in Orlando in 2020 and since has posted 21 clean sheets for the Lions in 103 appearances. The Peru international helped the Lions win the U.S. Open Cup this past season, officially clinching them a first-ever berth into the 2023 Concacaf Champions League.

    His return to Oscar Pareja’s squad is key, especially with Joao Moutinho, Ruan, and Andres Perea already moved on to new destinations.

    Here is a closer look at the recent MLS News:

    Fire adds Haile-Selassie on loan; parts ways with Espinoza

    The Chicago Fire added attacking depth on Tuesday while also mutually parting ways with one of their defenders.

    Maren Haile-Selassie joined the Fire on loan from Swiss Super League side FC Lugano for the 2023 MLS season. Haile-Selassie’s loan also includes a permanent option to buy the winger outright, should the Fire decide to go that route.

    “We are pleased to welcome Maren to the Fire and look forward to integrating him into the group,” said Chicago Fire FC Sporting Director Georg Heitz. “We have watched his development during the past year at FC Lugano and believe that he will be a great fit in Chicago and provide us pace on the wings, which is a priority for us this offseason.”

    Haile-Selassie has appeared in 199 matches across all competitions and leagues in Switzerland, including 63 appearances in the Super League. He scored three goals in 32 appearances for Lugano, winning the Swiss Cup during the 2021-22 campaign.

    While Haile-Selassie has joined the Fire, defender Jhon Espinoza has parted ways with the club in preparation for a permanent move to FC Lugano. Espinoza will officially join Lugano during the January Transfer Window, ending his two-year stay in MLS.

    Espinoza originally joined the Fire from Ecuadoran side S.D. Aucas. He made 39 appearances in two seasons for the Fire, and also made five appearances for Fire II in MLS NEXT Pro during the inaugural 2022 season.

    The Fire failed to make the playoffs in 2022 during Ezra Hendrickson’s first season in charge.

    Charlotte FC sells forward Daniel Rios to Chivas de Guadalajara

    Daniel Rios had been linked with a return to Liga MX this fall and the Mexican forward now officially sealed his return on Monday.

    Rios joined Chivas de Guadalajara on a permanent transfer, Charlotte FC announced. The 27-year-old spent the last four seasons in MLS, three with Nashville SC and one with Charlotte FC.

    “It was a pleasure to see Dani’s skills evolve throughout the year and make a strong impact on the field late in the season which is a testament to the type of player development we’re building at Charlotte FC,” said Charlotte Sporting Director Zoran Krneta. “Everyone at the Club thanks Dani for his time at CLTFC and wishes him all the best upon the return to his former club.” 

    Rios joined Charlotte FC in February 2022 and proceeded to score seven league goals in 27 appearances. His most memorable performance came in a 4-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union, where Rios scored all four goals in a dominant win.

    The Mexican forward began his career in the Chivas academy before heading out on loan to fellow Mexican clubs Coras and Zacatepec. Rios also scored 20 goals in a loan spell with USL side North Carolina FC before making the jump to MLS.

    Quick Kicks:

    St Louis CITY SC acquired South African midfielder Njabulo Blom on a two-year deal through 2024. Blom spent the last three seasons with Kaizer Chiefs, registering eight assists in 94 games for the club. He made his international debut with South Africa in September 2021.

    The Columbus Crew signed free agent defender Jimmy Medranda to a one-year contract through the 2023 season. Medranda, 28, has totaled nine goals and 11 assists in 145 regular-season games during stops with the Seattle Sounders, Sporting KC, and Nashville SC.

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