The Rayito era at LAFC is over, as attacker Brian Rodriguez has been transferred to Liga MX power Club América, as confirmed by the club this evening.
Rodriguez was sold to América for $6 million, with LAFC retaining 20% of his rights, according to a report from César Luis Merlo on Tuesday. LAFC originally signed the youngster for a fee that has reported to range between $8.5-11.5 million, although domestic claims are closer to the low end of that figure.
“Brian has been important contributor to our success since his arrival in 2019,” said LAFC Co-President & General Manager John Thorrington in a statement. “He is an exciting player who is capable of special things, which we witnessed many times. We wish him all the best in this opportunity with Club América.”
Rodriguez, 22, joined LAFC in the summer of 2019 on a transfer from Peñarol, the same club they got Diego Rossi from. Unlike Rossi, who was an unmitigated success with the black-and-gold, Rodriguez’s tenure with LAFC was more checkered. Across four seasons, he made 55 league appearances, scoring eight goals and 12 assists in regular season play. For a young player, and for a player who has played effectively three half-seasons and the improvised COVID-ravaged 2020 campaign, those numbers aren’t terrible, but his production largely came in fits and starts, not consistently.
Perhaps as importantly, after Rodriguez did not really feature in the run to the Concacaf Champions League final with LAFC, he’s been very clearly angling for an exit in the Uruguayan press. He went on loan to Spanish club Almería, then in the 2nd division, for the first half of 2021, but that was not an effective stint and he was benched before the loan expired and he was not bought by the club. After returning to LAFC and mostly putting his head down, he has been publicly talking about wanting to join América in recent weeks and he’s getting his wish.
LAFC are selling him for a loss, I’m sure reluctantly, but it’s pretty clear they won’t be getting any takers at a profit while he remains on the team. With Rodriguez being a rotational starter, not even an automatic selection by Steve Cherundolo, and his streaky play, plus his overt wishes to leave, the relationship seems to have run its course, and it’s time to part ways. On the spectrum of LAFC Designated Players, he’s not near the level of Rossi or Carlos Vela, but he’s been better than Andre Horta, although time will likely lump down at that end in looking back at LAFC DPs. Rodriguez has had some good games, but he wasn’t making leaps in his development, and maybe he needs a change of scenery to keep growing. Best of luck to him moving forward.
Rodriguez’s departure also means LAFC could make a shock swoop for another signing before the 2022 season is out, and we’ll keep you posted on developments on that front.
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