Jose Cifuentes - Ecuador - tight shot


LAFC added to their growing corps of young South American players on Monday, announcing the signing of 20-year-old midfielder Jose Cifuentes on a transfer from Ecuador's América de Quito.

The club used Targeted Allocation Money to complete the signing, after initially trading $100,000 in General Allocation Money to Orlando City for Cifuentes' rights.

“Jose was one of our top offseason priorities after very strong showings for his club and on the international stage,” LAFC EVP & general manager John Thorrington said in a team statement. “We’re confident that he will fit in seamlessly into our system, and we are very pleased that he’s chosen to continue his professional career with LAFC.”

Cifuentes is a 5'9" defensive midfielder who began his career in 2016 with Universidad Catolica in his home country, playing six matches with the team before moving to América de Quito, where he spent the last two seasons. In 2019, Cifuentes appeared in 17 league contests and two cup matches.

LAFC's newest signing also has a burgeoning career at the international level. He has made 19 appearances for Ecuador's Under-20 national team, playing 1,701 out of a possible 1,740 minutes. Alongside Black-and-Gold teammate Diego Palacios, Cifuentes was a member of the team that won the 2019 South American U-20 Championship and placed third at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He recently made his first appearances for the senior national team, debuting as a substitute in an international friendly against Peru on Sept. 6, 2019, and earning his first start in a friendly against Argentina on Oct. 13.

Cifuentes becomes the seventh South American player under the age of 22 to sign with LAFC. The club also signed Uruguayan youth international Francisco Ginella this offseason, while Palacios and Brian Rodriguez were both noteworthy additions from last season that will figure to play more prominent roles in 2020.