MLS clubs confirm permanent Cruz Azul moves for Michael Farfan, Rafael Baca; loan for Jose Villarreal
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On Monday, days after Cruz Azul announced the acquisition of MLS trio Jose Villarreal, Rafael Baca and Michael Farfan, the San Jose Earthquakes and Philadelphia Union confirmed that Baca and Farfan had been permanently transferred to the Liga MX club pending finalization of the moves. Per MLS and club policy, terms were not disclosed.
“Michael has been an important member for our club both on and off the field over the past three years,” Union manager John Hackworth said in a statement. “We thank him for his contributions to the Union and wish him the best of luck as he continues his career in Mexico.”
The LA Galaxy also confirmed on Monday that Villarreal would head to Cruz Azul on loan for the entirety of the 2014 MLS season, staying with the Mexican club for the 2014 Clausura and Apertura campaigns. The loan also includes a purchase option. Per club and league policy, the loan fee was not disclosed.
“Sending Jose Villarreal to Cruz Azul provides one of our Homegrown players an opportunity to gain additional experience,” Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said. “We’ll monitor Jose’s play with Cruz Azul and wish him well while in Mexico.”
Cruz Azul sporting director Agustín Manzo praised the trio on Saturday as Villarreal, Baca and Farfan were presented to the press, and said he'd leaned on LA assistant Curt Onalfo for insight on MLS talent.
“Sincerely, they play very well,” Manzo said. “You will love how these boys move and above all how they will challenge for a spot with a lot of dignity.”
“We’ve seen in other teams, like Tijuana and Santos [Laguna], that there are players that come from the first division there and function very well in Mexico,” he continued.
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Villarreal, 20, signed as a Homegrown player with the Galaxy in December 2011 and has totaled three goals and two assists in 32 MLS appearances. He has featured for the US at various youth international levels and also boasts Mexican heritage.
Baca, 24, was born in Mexico and signed as an undrafted free agent by the Earthquakes in July 2011 before locking down a starting spot in the 2012 season. He totaled 79 regular season appearances for the Quakes, registering two goals and nine assists.
Farfan, 25, has Mexican heritage and recently completed his third year in MLS after being selected No. 23 overall in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. He has totaled four goals and nine assists in 82 appearances for the Union.