Matt Miazga is on his way back to MLS.
FC Cincinnati is reportedly signing the U.S. international center back on a free transfer from Chelsea just prior to the close of MLS’s secondary transfer window, according to MLSSoccer.com, ending Miazga’s time abroad—at least for now—after six loan-filled years. Miazga left the New York Red Bulls for Chelsea in January 2016 in a transfer worth a reported $5 million. He hardly featured for the Premier League side, though, making just two appearances for the Blues, both coming in his first half-season at Stamford Bridge.
Since then, he was loaned to Vitesse, Nantes, Reading, Anderlecht and Alavés, earning considerably more playing time but never truly increasing the likelihood that he would feature for his parent club. Now 27, with 22 U.S. caps to his name, Miazga is headed back to the league where he initially broke out, joining a team that’s in the mix to reach the playoffs for the first time in its history. For three seasons, FC Cincinnati has produced the worst record in MLS, but it currently sits tied with Charlotte FC and Inter Miami on points for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, trailing just on the total wins tiebreaker. Its 42 goals conceded are second-worst in the conference, however, and that’s an area where Miazga could certainly be of assistance.
Given Miazga’s status on MLS’s allocation list (players joining or rejoining MLS subjected to the league’s allocation order due to meeting specific criteria), FC Cincinnati needed to use its place atop the allocation order to acquire him and now goes to the back of the line. FC Dallas now occupies the top position.
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Miazga leaves behind U.S. teammate Christian Pulisic at Chelsea, and he’ll have the chance to go head-to-head against one of the Blues’ newest signings, with Chicago Fire goalkeeper and U.S. international Gaga Slonina heading to London following the end of the MLS season after signing a six-year deal with Chelsea this week.
As for his U.S. World Cup prospects, it figures to take something significant to get Miazga back on Gregg Berhalter’s radar, even with a long-term injury to fellow center back Miles Robinson. He did not participate in World Cup qualifying, and his last appearance with the U.S. was in the semifinals of the Concacaf Nations League in June 2021.
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