FC Cincinnati to sign USMNT defender Matt Miazga from Chelsea - source

Matt Miazga is headed back to MLS, signing a three-and-a-half year contract with FC Cincinnati via a free transfer from Chelsea, a source confirmed to ESPN.

The Queen City Press was the first to report the news.

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The source added that Miazga will not be a designated player, meaning his salary can't exceed $1,612,500. He was obtained using the league's allocation mechanism, in which Cincinnati had the top spot, giving it right of first refusal on players returning to the league after previously being transferred out.

The move concludes a nomadic spell over the last six years for the 27-year-old. He moved to Chelsea from the New York Red Bulls back in January of 2016, and made two appearances for the Blues that season. But he was then sent out on a series of loans, including spells at Dutch side Vitesse, Ligue 1 side Nantes, Reading in the English Championship, Belgian side Anderlecht, and Alaves in Spain's LaLiga.

Miazga's form fluctuated in that time. While he was successful with Vitesse, Reading and Anderlecht, he struggled for playing time with Nantes and Alaves.

At international level, Miazga has seen his stock fall to the point where at this stage he isn't expected to make the U.S. roster for the 2022 World Cup.

A successful spell with FCC might change that, and Miazga fills a major need for Cincinnati. FCC is in the thick of the playoff race, with 29 points from 23 games, leaving it level with Charlotte FC and Inter Miami for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. But the team's 47 goals conceded is tied for the third-worst mark in MLS, leaving Miazga with an opportunity to make a significant impact.

Miazga rose through the ranks of the Red Bulls academy, and signed a homegrown contract in 2013. He made his professional debut later that season, and by 2015 had become a mainstay in New York's backline. He moved to Chelsea following that campaign.

Miazga has appeared 22 times for the U.S., scoring one goal.