THUMB ONLY: Emmanuel Ledesma points in celebration


FC Cincinnati have added another important piece to their roster ahead of the 2019 expansion season in MLS, announcing the signing of Argentine playmaker Emmanuel Ledesma on Monday.

The 30-year-old will occupy an international roster spot and is one of four players already signed for 2019, joining forward Fanendo Adi and midfielders Fatai Alashe and Corben Bone.

“This feels really good, this is something that I have been working towards since signing with FC Cincinnati,” Ledesma said in a statement. “Two years ago, it was my first season in the USA and from the beginning I was thinking about MLS. To be fair, at the beginning, it felt that MLS was so far away, but now it is so close to me and I am really, really happy. I am very excited.”

Ledesma earned USL Most Valuable Player honors this year with 16 goals and a USL-record 16 assists. In his 11-year career, which included stints at Middlesbrough, Queens Park Rangers, Rotherham United and Brighton & Hove Albion, he has scored 65 goals and added 40 assists across 260 combined appearances.

“Manu proved to be a difference maker on a number of occasions for us last season,” FC Cincinnati coach Alan Koch said in a statement. “While he had a special season at the USL level this year, I know he is driven to have greater success at the MLS level next year. We value not only his talent, but his character to reinforce the special culture we have created in Cincinnati and believe that Manu provides both components for our group.”