MLS moves: Quakes and Lions swap midfielders

There's no more MPG in San Jose.

He was signed to run the Quakes' midfield, but problems with injuries and lackluster form have moved Matias Perez Garcia to Orlando City in exchange for Darwin Ceren.

In the trade announced Wednesday, the Quakes also receive salary-budget space to sign a season-ending injury replacement, and the Lions get an international slot for the rest of the current season.

Garcia, 31, was signed as San Jose’s third Designated Player in 2014 and this season couldn’t hold down a regular spot while playing centrally and out wide. Last year, he led the team with seven assists and also scored two goals in 27 games (25 starts). The offseason additions of Alberto Quintero and Simon Dawkins changed the team's persona and reduced his playing time; in 14 appearances (nine starts) in 2016 he registered just one assist in an April 13 game against the Red Bulls.

“Our club is very excited about bringing Matías into our camp,” said head coach Jason Kreis. “He has played at a very high level and has demonstrated his skill since joining MLS. Matías fits in nicely with our tactics and shape and will bolster our attack.”

Injuries and international duties have left the Quakes thin in midfield at times, and in Ceren they’ve added one of the top defensive mids in the league. “We think Darwin is a good young player who is going to add bite to our midfield,” said Quakes head coach Dominic Kinnear. “Every time I saw him play for Orlando, I thought he would be a good fit for us and I'm glad we have had the opportunity to bring him here.”

Ceren, 26, joined Orlando City for its final USL season in 2014, and has played 42 games (39 starts) in MLS. He has tallied two goals and four assists in league play. Internationally, Ceren has scored two goals in 34 appearances for El Salvador and has captained the team many times. He played all three of his nation’s matches at the 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup.

In effect, the teams have traded grit for glitz. Ceren is a solid tackler who can also connect passes well, Garcia's skills and flair can flourish in Kreis’ possession game.

“We're looking forward to having Darwin join the team,” said Earthquakes general manager John Doyle. “He is a young, versatile center midfielder that will make the team better.”


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