Jose Cifuentes, whose 25-yard shot
against the USA was the Goal of the Tournament at the 2019 Under-20 World Cup, became the latest young South American to join LAFC when he signed from America de Quito.
The 5-foot-9 Cifuentes is the second Ecuadoran to sign with LAFC since August 2018. Diego Palacios, Cifuentes' teammate at the 2019 U-20 World Cup, where Ecuador finished third, has since made three appearances for Ecuador's senior national team.
“Jose was one of our top offseason priorities after very strong showings for his club and on the international stage,” said LAFC general manager John Thorrington. “We’re confident that he will fit in seamlessly into our system, and we are very pleased that he’s chosen to continue his professional career with LAFC.”
In all, LAFC has seven South American players under the age of 22 on its roster, all senior or under-23 internationals.
Uruguayan Francisco Ginella, another newcomer, and Cifuentes are at the 2020 South American Olympic qualifying championship that begins Saturday in Colombia. Third-year players Eduard Atuesta (Columbia) and Diego Rossi (Uruguay) and second-year defender Eddie Segura (Columbia) are also at the Conmebol Preolimpico.
At the U-20 World Cup, Ginella played alongside Brian Rodriguez, LAFC’s 2019 summer signing who has already scored three goals in six matches for the Celeste's senior team.
LAFC began preseason camp on Monday. It opens its season in February against Mexico's Leon in the Concacaf Champions League.
2020 MLS Roster:
Goalkeepers (1): Pablo Sisniega.
Defenders (8): Tristan Blackmon, Mohamed El-Munir, Jordan Harvey, Dejan Jakovic, Diego Palacios, Eddie Segura, Danilo Silva, Walker Zimmerman.
Midfielders (6): Eduard Atuesta, Latif Blessing, Jose Cifuentes, Francisco Ginella, Alejandro Guido, Mark-Anthony Kaye.
Forwards (7): Adama Diomande, Danny Musovski, Adrien Perez, Josh Perez, Brian Rodriguez, Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela.
Photo: Newspix/Imago/Icon Sportswire