LAFC acquires USMNT midfielder Kellyn Acosta from Colorado for a hefty price

Midfielder Kellyn Acosta (23) controls the ball in front of Jamaica forward Cory Burke
Midfielder Kellyn Acosta (23) has been purchased from Colorado by LAFC for as much as $1.5 million in allocation money.
(Associated Press)

LAFC landed its second MLS All-Star midfielder in less than a week Friday when the team acquired Kellyn Acosta from the Colorado Rapids for as much as $1.5 million in allocation money.

Acosta, 26, has logged 196 appearances with Colorado and FC Dallas in nine MLS seasons, making the All-Star team in 2017. He also has 45 caps with the national team, playing in seven of the eight U.S. World Cup qualifiers last year. He joins former Sporting Kansas City standout Ilie Sánchez as new additions to the LAFC roster. Sánchez signed a two-year free-agent deal with the team Wednesday.

In exchange for Acosta, Colorado will receive $550,000 in general allocation money in 2022 and $550,000 in 2023. Colorado could get up to an additional $400,000 in general allocation money if certain performance metrics are met, making it potentially one of the richest trades in MLS history. The Rapids also will receive a percentage of any future transfer fee if Acosta is moved.

Acosta was not a designated player last season when his guaranteed compensation was $1.115 million. He is in the final year of his contract after the Rapids picked up his club option last month.


The two additions are the latest moves in a substantial remake of the LAFC roster. Among those who won’t be around when LAFC opens preseason training camp next week are Bob Bradley, the only coach in franchise history, assistant coach Kenny Arena and more than a dozen players who were with the team in 2021.

The departed players include former all-star midfielders Eduard Atuesta, who was sold to Brazilian club Palmeiras, and Mark-Anthony Kaye, who was traded to Colorado last summer. This week’s signings effectively fill those gaps.

“Kellyn is a player that has all the attributes necessary to play how we want in the midfield,” said John Thorrington, LAFC’s general manager and co-president. “He provides versatility and ability to help our team immediately. He is in his prime, a fixture in our national team, and offers the MLS experience we sought in the off-season.”

Thorrington still has some moves to make because LAFC will open camp with just one goalkeeper — 21-year-old Tomas Romero — on its first-team roster. And then there is the status of captain Carlos Vela, whose contract expires in June. Vela, who has missed more than half the team’s games to injuries and personal issues the last two seasons, made a league-high $6.3 million in 2021. LAFC would like to extend his deal but at a reduced rate.

“We are in a strong position to improve the team, which is what we plan to do,” Thorrington said. “And those improvements are across the whole roster, whether that is our roster players all the way up through the designated players.”

When LAFC completes the sale of forward Diego Rossi to Turkish club Fenerbahçe, it will have an open designated-player spot to use, greatly assisting Thorrington’s rebuilding efforts.