The LA Galaxy have announced via press release that they have loaned Jose Villarreal to Cruz Azul FC in Mexico for the 2014 MLS season pending the finalization of an agreement with Cruz Azul. The loan includes an option to buy for the Mexican club and is scheduled to run through the 2014 season.
Villarreal appeared in 31 matches in all competitions last season for the LA Galaxy, scoring three times and adding an assist. He's made 32 MLS appearances in his career, which includes 12 starts during the 2013 season. Many of those starts were during periods where Landon Donovan was on sabbatical or both Donovan and Keane were off on international duty.
"Sending Jose Villarreal to Cruz Azul provides one of our Homegrown players an opportunity to gain additional experience," said LA Galaxy general manager and head coach Bruce Arena. "We’ll monitor Jose’s play with Cruz Azul and wish him well while in Mexico."
Per MLS and LA Galaxy policy the terms of the loan were not disclosed, though Ives Garlacep reports at Sporting News that the buy option is a modest $1 million. Garlacep was also the first to report that Villarreal's deal was a loan and not purchase.
Villarreal had two MLS goals plus one in CONCACAF Champions League, and he was also a part of the U-20 US national team that played in the U-20 World Cup in Turkey. He scored three times in four qualifying matches making the All-Tournament team.
As a hot young prospect for the future on a club with five such forward prospects and two Designated Players who are natural forwards, loan deals are going to be necessary to get every player enough experience to develop into a player capable of commanding a first team starting spot.