Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles FC and Seattle Sounders were dealt a blow over the weekend as longtime transfer target Keisuke Honda surprised the football world and signed a deal with Mexico’s Pachuca.
The Japanese international had been linked with a move to the states this summer, and was even training with LA FC’s affiliate team Orange County SC. However, Honda now joins the reigning CONCACAF Champions League winners.
While most recent reports had tied Honda to Los Angeles, it was Seattle Sounders who had been originally linked with the Japanese playmaker last winter.
Losing out on Honda is a major blow for MLS and its teams. Not only is the league failing to attract big names from foreign leagues, but Honda was on a free transfer. MLS has also lost out to regional rival Liga MX, which surprisingly outperforms MLS in television ratings in the United States.
Honda spent last season with Serie A club AC Milan, however, the club let his contract expire once it was taken over by new owners.
Keisuke Honda 2016-17 key stats:
- 1 goal in 8 Serie A appearances
- 1.4 key passes per Serie A appearance
- 220 minutes of playing time in Serie A
- 0.5 shots per Serie A appearance