It appears that Matías Laba has finally found a home for the 2014 season after all.
The Province's Marc Weber reported on Tuesday evening that the Vancouver Whitecaps had acquired the young Designated Player from Canadian rivals Toronto FC via MLS' intra-league loan system.
The Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC did not immediately respond to an MLSsoccer.com request for comment on the report.
The move would allow Toronto to bring the number of DPs on their roster down to three, the maximum allowed. Though Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen originally stated he would "move hell and high water" to keep the 22-year-old, the club's prior acquisitions of Jermain Defoe, Michael Bradley and Gilberto, all DPs, forced him to turn to the possiblity of a loan.
The Reds contacted the Columbus Crew about the player at one point in their search, but Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter turned down the inquiry citing financial concerns.
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Laba would be the second player in MLS to be dealt using the loan mechanism – introduced last year – after the Colorado Rapids loaned young attacking midfielder Tony Cascio to the Houston Dynamo in January.
The rules of the intra-league loan system – which MLS clubs can utilize only with players 24 or younger – stipulate that all loans run through the end of the season, meaning Laba would remain with the Whitecaps for the duration of the 2014 campaign before returning to Toronto.
A native of Argentina, Laba originally joined TFC from Argentinos Juniors in his native country in April 2013. He started all 16 games he played for Nelsen's team that year, scoring one goal in the process. At the international level, Laba has played for Argentina's Under-20 national team and appeared in all five of the team's matches during the 2011 U-20 World Cup.