Three Major League Soccer players are reportedly making the jump south of the border to join Liga MX power Cruz Azul, including a promising Homegrown talent for the LA Galaxy and a 2012 All-Star from the Philadelphia Union.
ESPN Deportes reported Friday that Galaxy striker Jose Villarreal, Union midfielder Michael Farfan and San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Rafael Baca have all passed physical exams with Cruz Azul and have inked contracts with the Mexican club, according to a source close to Cruz Azul officials.
Cruz Azul’s team website also included all three players on their roster as of Friday afternoon, and the ESPN Deportes report indicates the players will either join the first team or the reserve team, which plays in Mexico’s second division, Ascenso MX.
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Baca was born in Michoacán, Mexico, while Villarreal and Farfan were both born in the United States but have Mexican-American roots.
A Galaxy official declined to comment when contacted about the report when contacted by MLSsoccer.com, while an official with the Earthquakes asserted that Baca is under contract with the club for 2014, and that the team looks forward to bringing him back next year.
The Philadelphia Union declined comment on the report.
Villarreal, however, released a cryptic tweet on Thursday -- "New opportunity for me to prove myself. Hope all goes well. Missing my family already" -- that was was promptly deleted after it was posted to his personal account.
Villarreal, 20, has appeared in 32 games for the Galaxy since signing a first-team contract in 2012, scoring three goals and notching an assist. He started 12 games for the club in 2013.
Farfan, 25, has appeared in 82 games over three seasons for the Union, notching four goals and nine assists. He was a last-minute addition to the MLS All-Star team roster in 2012 and logged 16 minutes off the bench.
Baca, 24, has appeared in 79 games over the past three seasons for San Jose, including a career-high 33 appearances during the team’s run to the Supporters’ Shield in 2012.