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Second Colombian joins Sounders
by Ridge Mahoney, February 19th, 2009 7:01AM



Another piece in the building of Seattle's back line had been laid into place.

Colombian center back Jhon Kennedy Hurtado has been signed and will join the team during its preseason trip to Argentina, which begins next week.

Hurtado, 24, completed a trial with Italy's AC Milan last month. He played the second half in a friendly against Hannover. He comes to Seattle from Deportivo Cali, where he was a teammate of Seattle forward Fredy Montero, who has joined the MLS team on loan.

Hurtado (6-foot, 183 pounds) played the 2008 season for Cali following four seasons at Real Cartagena, for which he played 121 matches in the First and Second Divisions.

"Jhon has good speed, he's a good man-to-man marker, a good tackler and uses his speed to close people down," said Sounders FC technical director Chris Henderson. "We had a chance to see him play two, three times, plus some video. We're excited to have him join our team."

Still unclear is the status of defender Jeff Parke. Seattle claimed him in the expansion draft though his contract was about to expire. He has gone on trial in Europe and is out of contract. Seattle, which retains his MLS rights, is offering him in trades but he would have to agree to the trade and also sign a new MLS contract, which has yet to transpire.

RICHARDS GETS UPGRADE. He's only played two MLS seasons, yet speedy winger Dane Richards has earned himself a new contract.

The Red Bulls have announced the Jamaican midfielder has signed a multi-year deal for an undisclosed salary. Just about anything would be an upgrade; he earned the MLS minimum of $33,000 last year.

Richards, 25, played 25 games last year and led the team with six assists in addition to his three goals during the regular season. He played in all four playoff games in the Red Bulls' run to their first MLS Cup Final and won Player of the Week honors for contributing to all three goals in New York's 3-0 upset of Houston in the Western Conference final second leg. He assisted on the Red Bulls' only goal in their 3-1 loss to Columbus in MLS Cup 2008.

Richards was a MLS Rookie of the Year finalist in 2007, during which he scored two goals and recorded six assists in 28 games. New York selected him in the second round (No. 19 overall) of the 2007 SuperDraft out of Clemson. He has played 12 times for Jamaica at the senior level.

RAPIDS RE-UP. Colorado retained two veterans of its attack and defense by signing Jamaican Omar Cummings and Ugo Ihemelu to new contracts. They have signed four-year deals at undisclosed salary terms.

"This is a reward for both of these players as to what they have contributed to the club, but also a sign for what they mean to this team moving forward," said head coach Gary Smith.
Cummings, 26, posted his best numbers last season, finishing second on the team in scoring with six goals and four assists in 26 games. He also earned his first callup to the Jamaican national team. In 2007, his first MLS season, he scored two goals in 11 games.

Ihemelu, 25, is entering his fifth year as a pro since being drafted by the Galaxy out of SMU. He started 16 of 18 games last year and in his career has played 97 regular-season games, with one goal and one assist.

He played his second game for the U.S. national team last month in a 3-2 defeat of Sweden at Home Depot Center.

QUAKES ADD STRIKER. Quincy Amarikwa, San Jose's third round (32nd overall) pick in the 2009 SuperDraft, has signed a contract and joined the team's regular roster.

"He's very raw but I've seen enough of him to believe he can score goals in this league," says head coach Frank Yallop, who scouted Amarikwa several times during his college career at UC Davis, located near Sacramento. He scored for the Quakes in a preseason game against Seattle last week.

Amarikwa tallied 15 goals for the Aggies in his senior season as they reached the second round of the NCAA Division I tournament for the first time in school history. He played 77 games in his collegiate career and scored 31 goals while assisting on seven others. The NSCAA named him a second-team All-American and first team All-Far West.

His chances for playing time have increased since the departure of Antigua & Barbuda international striker Peter Byers, who trained with the team while discussing a contract but left two weeks ago when negotiations snagged and has since re-signed with his former club, Montreal (USL-1).

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