LAFC has loaned Uruguayan forward Brian Rodríguez to Almería of Spain’s second division. The loan begins immediately and runs through the end of Almería’s season in May, although it could become permanent if certain performance thresholds are met.
Diego Rossi, another LAFC Uruguayan playmaker and MLS’ leading scorer in 2020, had reportedly drawn interest from Reading of England’s second-tier Championship, but the transfer window closed Monday without a deal being announced.
Rodríguez, 20, joined LAFC as a young designated player in August 2019 and played in 26 games, scoring twice and leading the team with seven assists last season when he ranked second in MLS among U22 players. He has also made nine appearances for the Uruguayan national team.
However, Rodríguez didn’t start any of LAFC’s final five games in 2020 and played just 12 minutes off the bench in three games in the CONCACAF Champions League. His departure leaves LAFC with an open designated player spot to fill but if the team signs a replacement and Rodríguez returns from loan in May, that would leave it with four DPs, one over the league limit.
Designated players are those whose contracts only count partially against the MLS salary cap.
Almería (14-5-3) is third in LaLiga2, even on points with Espanyol and three back of league-leading Mallorca after 22 games. The top two teams will earn promotion to the top-tier La Liga with the third-place finisher advancing to a four-team playoff with another promotion spot at stake.
Almería last played in the top division in 2014-15.
LAFC is scheduled to open preseason training camp at Cal State Los Angeles on Feb. 22. The MLS season will start on the first weekend in April.