LAFC fans anxious about the club’s roster should have their concerns eased in the coming days, according to a league source.
The expansion team have just 18 players under contract with less than two weeks until their inaugural game at Seattle on March 4. That’s nowhere near enough to enter a season with and well off the league maximum of 30 rostered players.
The source said Tuesday that number will soon increase, with LAFC expected to sign Portuguese midfielder Andre Horta before the start of the season and set to ink several preseason trialists to MLS deals this week. The source told MLSsoccer.com that, if signed, Horta will be LAFC’s third Designated Player. Further details of the potential transfer aren't yet known.
ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle reported Friday that LAFC were “moving closer” to acquiring Horta, who they’ve been linked to for over a month. The 21-year-old central midfielder is currently on loan to Braga from Portuguese giants Benfica; he’s recorded one goal and five assists in 11 league matches this season.
It was reported last month that LAFC and Benfica had agreed to a transfer for Horta, but that Braga refused to let him out of his loan to facilitate a move to MLS. Their concerns appear to have receded, with Horta likely set to join Mexico striker Carlos Vela and Uruguayan forward Diego Rossi as LAFC’s three DPs.
The source also said that LAFC will likely ink four unsigned players who have been training with the club throughout preseason, one of whom will be No. 3 overall SuperDraft pick defender Tristan Blackmon.
The source said that LAFC are aiming to have 24 players signed by opening day, leaving them room to add several impact players later in the MLS primary transfer window and again when the league’s secondary transfer window opens in the summer.