TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing
Chicago Fire FC have acquired defender Jhon Espinoza from Ecuadorian club S.D. Aucas, the club announced Monday. He's under contract with Chicago through the 2023 season, with two more club options thereafter.
Espinoza, 21, made 48 starts with Aucas since joining the club in 2018 after breaking through with C.D. Cuenca, featuring most often as a right back. He has made two appearances with the Ecuadorian national team after becoming a regular with the U-20 side, including making seven appearances at the 2019 U-20 World Cup alongside fellow MLSers Jose Cifuentes and Diego Palacios (both LAFC) and Alexander Alvarado (Orlando City).
“Jhon is a talented, young right fullback who will be a great addition to the club,” sporting director Georg Heitz said in a club statement. “With Jhon’s signing, we’ve added another player who will provide more competition and quality within the roster heading into next season. We are excited that he is coming to Chicago and look forward to working with him.”
Espinoza is the club's second signing of the offseason after their 2020 campaign came to an end on Decision Day presented by AT&T two weekends ago. Chicago already announced the acquisition of 20-year-old Nigerian forward Chinoso Offor.
The Fire wanted to get younger this offseason as well as handle their transfers before preseason starts, after a rebuild last winter in which many key acquisitions didn't arrive until long after the group started training and preparing for the season.
Espinoza's signing gives the club 29 players under contract for 2020. He (and Offor) will occupy international roster slots. Heitz told media last week that seven international players are in the final stages of receiving their green cards, thus opening plenty of international slots.