What's in the news ...

1. FC Cincinnati signed five more players from its USL team that won the 2018 regular-season title: Nazmi Albadawi, Justin Hoyte, Jimmy McLaughlin, Blake Smith and Emery Welshman. The latter three players have previously spent time on MLS rosters. On Sunday, the MLS expansion team acquired the rights to goalkeeper Spencer Richey from Vancouver. He had spent the 2018 season on loan from the Whitecaps. Already signed were defender Forrest Lasso, midfielders Fatai Alashe, Corben Bone and Emmanuel Ledesma and forward Fanendo Adi.

2. The Portland Timbers exercised the options on five players, including Jeremy Ebobisse, who started in the 2-0 loss to Atlanta United in MLS Cup 2018. Andy Polo's loan automatically became permanent after he met performance thresholds. Four players did not have their options picked up and four others are out of contract. They include Tomas Conechny, Andres Flores and Steve Clark with whom the Timbers remain in discussions about new contracts. Samuel Armenteros' loan from Italy's Benevento will expire at the end of December.

3. USL League One's 10 teams will play 28 games for its first season in 2019. The regular season will extend March 29-Oct. 5, while the four-team playoffs will kick off the weekend of Oct. 11-13. Four matches are set for the opening weekend: South Georgia Tormenta FC vs. Greenville Triumph on March 29 and North Texas SC vs. Chattanooga Red Wolves, Richmond Kickers vs. Lansing Ignite and Orlando City B vs. FC Tucson on March 30.
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