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Brotherly Game Daily Links: Why every MLS team should be optimistic in 2022

Salt Lake signs youngest MLS player ever, plenty of MLS transfer rumors from the weekend, and more in today’s links

MLS: Conference Finals-New York City FC at Philadelphia Union Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

MLS News

One reason every MLS team should feel optimistic as 2022 preseason begins
There’s still a lot of work left to do for a whole lot of teams, but now is as good a time as any to talk about why there’s reason for optimism at this very early and beautiful moment of the MLS season where anything could happen.

Inter Miami CF Signs Jamaican National Team Defender Damion Lowe
Lowe, 28, has been a regular for the Jamaican national team since making his senior international debut in 2016. Overall, he has made 41 appearances for the Reggae Boyz, competing in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Concacaf Gold Cup, Concacaf Nations League, the Caribbean Cup, and more.

Union Español sign Nashville SC attacker Rodrigo Piñeiro on loan
The Uruguayan youth international was limited to just 10 minutes in a pair of substitute appearances with Nashville in 2021, failing to appear in any of the club’s final 27 matches.

Timbers reportedly close to signing Estudiantes midfielder David Ayala
Ayala has already made 33 professional appearances in the Argentine first division, and at 19, the defensive midfielder would be an ideal candidate to eventually succeed Diego Chara, who today signed a multi-year contract extension. Ayala would occupy one of Portland’s U22 Initiative spots for the 2022 MLS season.

Rumors about a Paul Arriola transfer to Club América continue to swirl
Arriola arrived from Xolos in August 2017, on a rumored $3M transfer. Since he has been here, he has been the key to D.C. United’s attack, providing an unstoppable engine. In his five seasons with the team, he has 20 goals and 16 assists, and has been a consistent member of the US men’s national team during that time.

Justin Che nears deal with German side Hoffenheim
At the beginning of the year, FC Dallas technical director Andre Zanotta told the media that Che’s future with the club was being actively discussed. The timing also makes sense as they will want to not complicate things too much with the start of preseason on Monday.

FC Dallas close to completing Alan Velasco transfer
Velasco is a 19-year old winger, who is considered one of the jewels of Argentine soccer. He played in 43 matches for Club Atletico Independiente (Argentina top flight) last year, across all competitions, and started 33 of those matches.

Orlando City Re-Signs Striker Alexandre Pato
After signing with the Lions on Feb. 13 of last year, Pato was injured in the season opener and managed just four regular-season appearances in 2021 (one start), logging only 106 minutes played.

RSL signs 14-year-old homegrown Axel Kei, youngest MLS signing
Kei is just 14 years old — and he only just turned 14 on December 30 — giving him exclusive rights to that record. He was born in Ivory Coast, was raised in Brazil, and moved to the San Diego when in 2017.

Raúl Ruidíaz, João Paulo close to extending Sounders contracts
Raúl Ruidíaz and João Paulo are both close enough to finalizing contract extensions that a source told Sounder at Heart an announcement could be made as soon as this week. The discussions were first reported by The Athletic on Friday and Niko Moreno even indicated that João Paulo’s new deal through 2024 is already completed.

Rest of the World News

Gambia and Mali draw after two late VAR penalties
Two late penalties awarded after intervention by the Video Assistant Referee saw debutants Gambia hold Mali to a 1-1 draw at the Africa Cup of Nations in Limbe on Sunday as the teams stayed joint top of the Group F standings.

Equatorial Guinea upset holders Algeria in Africa Cup of Nations shock
The shock Group E result leaves Algeria bottom of the standings and needing a win in their last group game against the Ivory Coast on Thursday to stand any chance of advancing.

Sierra Leone late equaliser against Ivory Coast thanks to late howler
Goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare lost control of the ball and spilt it for Sierra Leone’s Alhaji Kamara to snatch a 95th-minute goal as they grabbed their second point of the tournament after holding defending champions Algeria 0-0 last week.

Tunisia rout Mauritania to get back on track at Africa Cup of Nations
Tunisia, who missed a late penalty from Youssef Msakni, have three points from their opening two matches and are in third in the group behind Gambia and Mali, who have four points each. Mauritania will finish bottom after two defeats.