Just hours before taking the field for its U.S. Open Cup semifinal Wednesday, the Los Angeles Football Club made another move to shore up its roster for the MLS playoff race, signing forward Joshua Perez on a free transfer from Italian club Fiorentina.
Perez is the third significant player John Thorrington, LAFC’s executive vice-president for soccer operations, has added in the last six days, following last week’s acquisition of defender Danilo Silva on a five-month loan from Brazil’s Internacional and Monday’s trade with Minnesota United for forward Christian Ramirez.
The Galaxy, LAFC’s cross-town rivals, also made a deal on the final day of MLS secondary transfer window, selling its top spot in the allocation order to the Portland Timbers for $175,000. The Timbers used that spot to acquire former Chivas USA defender Jorge Villafana, who returns to MLS after 2½ years in the Liga MX with Santos Laguna.
The Galaxy, in desperate need of defense help, had to pass on Villafana because they couldn’t fit him under the MLS salary cap.
Like Ramirez, Perez is a Southern California native. He played in the Chivas USA development academy before leaving for Italy in 2013, eventually signing a four-year deal with Fiorentina. He made his only Serie A appearance two years ago, becoming the youngest American to play in Italy’s top league, before being loaned to Serie C club Livorno.
“Josh is a young player of great promise who we feel has a bright future here,” Thorrington said in a statement.
Perez, 20, a Salvadoran American also played for three U.S. age-group national teams. He is the nephew of former U.S. World Cup player Hugo Perez.