Alex Mendez and Sebastian Soto headed to Portuguese teams

Californians Alex Mendez and Sebastian Soto are headed to clubs in Portugal.

They were among six players on the 2019 U.S. U-20 World Cup team who had moved to Germany amid great fanfare in 2018-19. Two years later, just one player is likely to begin the 2020-21 season in Germany.

For 20-year-old Mendez, who began at Freiburg, the transfer to Vizela comes after two seasons with Jong Ajax in the Dutch Eerste Divisie. Vizela won promotion to the Portuguese top flight in 2021-22 after finishing second in the 2020-21 Liga Portugal 2.

Soto, also 20, will play on loan to Porto B from Norwich City. He spent two seasons at Hannover 96, playing five games in the Bundesliga in 2018-19, but got shut out of the team following its relegation to the 2. Bundesliga when he did not sign a contract extension.

He signed with Norwich City in July 2020 and was immediately loaned to Telstar of the Dutch Eerste Divisie for the first half of the 2019-20 seasons.

Soto scored two goals in his senior national team debut in November 2020 and played for the U.S. U-23s in Olympic qualifying. Mendez was injured last season, limiting him to just six starts for Jong Ajax.

Also on the 2019 U.S. U-20 World Cup team were Chris Gloster (Hannover 96), Uly Llanez (Wolfsburg), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich) and Brady Scott (FC Cologne). Gloster and Scott are now reserves on MLS teams, and Llanez is spending preseason at Austrian second division club St. Poelten after a disastrous loan move to Dutch Heerenveen. Richards started for Hoffenheim after his loan move from Bayern but will be back at the German champion for the 2020-21 preseason.

Elsewhere ... Richy Ledezma is still recovering from his knee injury and won't travel with PSV to preseason camp in Marienfeld, Germany. It will take 29 players. Ten other players are missing.

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