Considering 2022 MLS Cup champion LAFC played over 50 games this past season, the Crew knows it needs to add depth to its roster. Club President and GM Tim Bezbatchenko has started working to do just that.
On Monday, the team made a deal with Seattle to send $325,000 in 2024 General Allocation Money in exchange for two international roster spots. While a move like this hardly makes a ripple for the majority of fans, it is one that shows Bezbatchenko is working on a plan.
The latest roster news is the signing of goalkeeper Nicholas Hagen. With Evan Bush turning 38 in just a few months, the 27-year-old Hagen gives Wilfried Nancy a much younger option for a backup to Patrick Schulte. All five of Bush’s starts came in either the U.S. Open Cup or Leagues Cup, so it will be interesting to see how much of a workload is entrusted to Hagen.
Hagen, who is a native of Guatemala, began his professional career in his home country before moving on to stints in the Azerbaijani Premier League, Norway’s first division, and most recently Israel’s Premier League. He’s appeared for his country 34 times in international competitions.
Not long after the Hagen announcement, the club finalized a deal with Derrick Jones, who started 20 games for Charlotte FC last season. The veteran of eight MLS seasons will provide depth at center back and midfield. At 6’4”, he also brings some much-needed height to the Crew lineup.
When you look back on the deals Bezbatchenko made in 2023, you can bet a lot is going on behind the scenes. He’s made it clear he wants to add depth and competition to the Crew roster. He may just be getting started.