FC Cincinnati is building with an eye on its 2019 MLS expansion season.

By Avi Creditor
July 30, 2018

FC Cincinnati doesn't have much time to get MLS-ready for its 2019 expansion season, and the club swung for two deals on Monday with an eye on next year.

In a pair of trades, FC Cincinnati acquired striker Fanendo Adi from the Portland Timbers and central midfielder Fatai Alashe from the San Jose Earthquakes, adding a pair of pieces up the middle that will strengthen manager Alan Koch's squad.

Adi, 27, had reportedly requested a move from Portland, where he fell out of favor despite scoring 54 goals in over four seasons with the club. His last one, on Saturday night, came in the 80th minute of a 2-1 win over Houston and delivered a three-point parting gift. He fetched $450,000 of General Allocation Money, $400,000 of Targeted Allocation Money and the potential for an additional $100,000 in TAM based on performance incentives. Portland also holds a stake of any potential future transfer up to the 2020 summer window. Adi will be the club's first Designated Player.

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The 24-year-old Alashe, meanwhile, had, like Adi in Portland, fallen out of favor in San Jose after two strong first seasons in MLS. He was a distant second in voting for 2015 Rookie of the Year behind Cyle Larin and earned U.S. U-23 national team call-ups for 2016 Olympic qualifying. He joins FC Cincinnati in USL on loan immediately and will join the club permanently in MLS next season after FCC sent San Jose $75,000 in GAM and $60,000 in TAM.

FCC is currently tied with Real Monarchs SLC for the most points in the 33-team USL with 44 through 21 games, and it leads the Eastern Conference by six points over the second-place Charleston Battery.

The club was granted its MLS expansion franchise in May and will start play next season, using the University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium as a temporary home while its new venue is built.

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