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MLS: Lucas Melano Loaned Off To Belgrano, Union Sign Jay Simpson

10 JUL 2016: Portland Timbers forward Lucas Melano (26) during the first half of the game between the New York Red Bulls and the Portland Timbers played at Red Bull Arena in Harrison NJ.The game ended New York Red Bulls-0 and Portland Timbers -0. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In today’s MLS roundup, a number of moves are being made as the countdown to the MLS SuperDraft continues. Portland Timbers midfielder Lucas Melano has been loaned off to Club Atletico Belgrano for the remainder of 2017. Melano played for Belgrano de Cordoba as a youth and was the club where he broke onto the scene as a pro.

“In loaning Lucas to Belgrano, we are looking to place him in a situation that can help him succeed,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers. “There is always a transitional risk with any foreign player, and that is magnified with young players. The 2016 season was difficult for Lucas; however, we believe he is a talented player, and he was a crucial contributor to the Timbers winning MLS Cup in 2015. We expect him to regain his form at his home team in Belgrano, and we wish him all the best.”

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English striker Jay Simpson, a former Leyton Orient forward, has been signed by the Philadelphia Union as a Discovery signing via Targeted Allocation money. Sinpson is a journeyman, having played for six clubs in England and one in Thailand. Simpson also scored 36 goals in 99 appearances for Leyton.

“Jay brings goal-scoring prowess to our team, in addition to a valuable veteran presence, as he has demonstrated with multiple clubs in England,” said Philadelphia sporting director Earnie Stewart. “He has played at the highest levels of club soccer, including in the [English] Premier League, and we are excited to add a forward of his quality to our squad.”

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The Seattle Sounders are keeping mum on Clint Dempsey’s condition, indicating that they are not going to rush their main man into the fray.

“Dempsey is participating now, he’s running,” Garth Lagerwey said. “Will he be 90-minutes match fit at the start of training camp? No, but nor will many of our guys given how long they played [last season]. We’re going to take it easy at the beginning, but we’ll ramp him back up slowly. You’ve got to be safe with him Dempsey hasn’t played soccer in six months. You don’t overcome that in a day or a week. You’ve got to get fit and play soccer and all those kinds of things. We’ll be carefully monitoring every step of the way in that process.”

FC Dallas midfielder Ryan Hollingshead suffered a scary injury after being hit by a car on an icy surface but is not too badly damaged and should be back in action by April. Fortunately, he’s got his son Huck to cheer him up.

Waka Flocka has chipped in his support for Atlanta United…

While a couple of other transactions have taken place.

Transaction date: 1/9/2017
SKC SKC receive: Christian Volesky
POR POR receive: Natural 4th round pick in 2017 SuperDraft (No. 80 overall)
Transaction date: 1/3/2017
MIN MIN receive: Collin Martin
DC DC receive: 4th round pick in 2018 SuperDraft

Finally, there is talk that the San Jose Earthquakes are looking to get the signatures of Darwin Quintero and Salomon Kalou, and a few other helpful hands as well. From…

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Multiple league sources confirmed to ESPN FC that the Quakes are prepared to put together a financial package whereby the transfer fee and salary will both be in the multimillion-dollar range. Acquiring Quintero would give San Jose — which scored and MLS-worst 32 goals last season — the kind of creative, dynamic attacking threat it has long lacked. Quintero, 29, has spent the past seven years playing in Liga MX, first with Santos Laguna and most recently Club America. 

San Jose has also been in pursuit of Hertha Berlin and Ivory Coast forward Solomon Kalou. The financial demands of Kalou, 31, are similar to Quintero’s, making it likely that the Quakes will sign at most, one of those two players, but not both.

The Quakes recruiting push doesn’t end there either. The sources confirmed that San Jose is close to signing FC Lucerne and Albania midfielder Jahmir Hyka, and is also close to doing the same with Costa Rica international forward Marco Urena, who is currently on the books at Danish side Brondby.

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