The Los Angeles Football Club acquired forward Christian Ramirez from Minnesota United on Monday in exchange for as much as $1 million in allocation money.
Ramirez, 27, scored 21 goals in 50 games for Minnesota United after the club joined MLS before last season, including seven goals this year.
LAFC will send Minnesota $500,000 in general money over the next two seasons, $300,000 in targeted allocation money in 2018-19 and up to $200,000 in future allocation money, depending on Ramirez’s performance.
With LAFC, second in the league with 45 goals, Ramirez joins a crowded and eclectic group of attackers led by Mexican national team star Carlos Vela; Norwegian Adama Diomande, the team’s leading scorer with nine goals; Ghana’s Latif Blessing; Marco Urena, a two-time World Cup player from Costa Rica; and Uruguayan Diego Rossi.
“Christian’s a bit different from what we have. He has an ability to score goals that you can’t coach,” said John Thorrington, the expansion team’s executive vice-president of soccer operations. “The ball seems to find him in the box.
“As we’re building something not just in the short term, but medium and long term, we think the way we play we do create a lot of opportunities and we think he can exploit them.”
Because Ramirez played in a U.S. Open Cup game for Minnesota he will not be eligible to take part in LAFC’s tournament semifinal Wednesday at Houston but could suit up for the team’s MLS game Saturday against Sporting Kansas City at Banc of California Stadium.
“We have a pretty specific profile of the types of players that we think will help strengthen us. Christian, his statistics speak for themselves,” said Thorrington, who has been watching Ramirez for more than a year.
“He ticks a lot of boxes for us. This conversation didn’t start yesterday. It’s been an ongoing process. Once the opportunity arose to actually make it happen, we thought it was a great chance to strengthen our team.”
Ramirez’s father played soccer in Colombia before emigrating to Southern California. Christian was born in Santa Ana and played at La Quinta High, Concordia University in Irvine and UC Santa Barbara.
“That’s not an insignificant aspect of this for us as a club,” Thorrington said of Ramirez’s roots.
The acquisition is the second in four days for LAFC, which last week added defender Danilo Silva on a five-month loan from the Brazilian club Internacional. Silva made his MLS debut in Sunday’s loss to the New York Red Bulls.
Thorrington said that Diomande, who left Sunday’s game in the 69th minute because of a hamstring issue, will be evaluated Tuesday in Houston.