Kenny Saief joins the expansion project in Cincinnati, leaving Belgium for MLS.
FC Cincinnati's building process has continued with the acquisition of U.S. international midfielder Kenny Saief, on loan from Belgian power Anderlecht.
Saief, 25, figures to slot in on the left wing for manager Alan Koch, whose side fell to the Seattle Sounders 4-1 in its inaugural match in MLS. Saief has endured an uneven time since leaving Gent for Anderlecht, with injuries and a lack of playing time chopping away at his production, which had earned him U.S. recognition. He has scored just one goal in 34 appearances in all competitions with Anderlecht, that coming in a league game in January 2018. He had 15 goals in the previous four seasons with Gent.
“We are excited to add a player of Kenny’s caliber to our team,” Koch said in a statement. “He is someone who comes to our club with significant top-tier experience. We look forward to welcoming Kenny to Cincinnati and integrating him within our group immediately.”
Saief has four caps with the USMNT over the last two years, with the most recent one coming off the bench in a November loss to England. He first appeared for the U.S. as a sub vs. Ghana prior to the 2017 Gold Cup, upon the completion of his one-time switch from Israel to the USA. He also started against Paraguay in March 2018 and vs. Colombia in October 2018.
Saief, despite his status as a U.S. international, was not among the players subjected to MLS's allocation order–reserved for select U.S. internationals, U.S. youth players and players returning to MLS after having previously been sold for a fee of over $500,000–for which FC Cincinnati sits in 24th and final position. FCC twice held the top spot and twice traded it to Toronto FC (along with $300,000 in allocation money), netting Nick Hagglund and a 2019 second-round SuperDraft pick.