[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Jose Adolfo Valencia, the first MLS signing to a Young Designated Player contract, won't be playing any time soon. The son of former Colombian great Adolfo "El Tren" Valencia underwent successful surgery Monday afternoon to repair damaged cartilage in his left knee. He'll miss 6-12 months.
"El Trencito" trained with the Timbers just once in January before he was held out because of swelling of his knee.
“I’m gutted for him as a person,” Timbers head coach John Spencer said after an MRI confirmed the injury. “I’m a father myself, and to be in a different country, doesn’t speak the language and all of a sudden after a week here, you’re getting knee surgery. It’s disappointing. We’re going to try to put an arm around him and look after him and protect him as much as we can.”
It is uncertain when the 20-year-old Valencia was hurt. The loan agreement reached in December with Colombia's Independiente Santa Fe was rewritten after his injury became apparent.
Rules for Young Designated Players were instituted for 2012 to allow teams to take a chance on young foreign players without having their contract count against their salary cap.
In the case of the Timbers and Valencia, it was a big chance, but the agreement with Independiente Santa Fe will mean Valencia won't be considered a Young Designated Player.
MLS has had bad luck with young signings this preseason. El Salvador product Marvin Iraheta (Chivas USA) is also out with a knee injury, while U.S. U-20 prospect Jose Villarreal is sidelined with a leg injury.