Lalo Fernandez’s transfer to the Liga MX club Tigres UANL was completed just before Mexico’s transfer window closed.
Real Salt Lake’s third-string goalkeeper transferred to the well-known Mexican club Tuesday, RSL announced, the last day of Mexico’s transfer window.
“Real Salt Lake is home,” Fernandez said in a team release. “It will always be my home. I was here for six years and gave everything I could, and the club was the same for me. They were always behind me and supporting me. I could not be more thankful to the club and the whole organization. To be in the eye of a big club like Tigres is an honor by itself. For them to be interested in me is what you play for, and it’s an opportunity that I have to take.”
Fernandez, one of eight homegrown players on RSL’s squad, signed with Real Salt Lake in 2012. He has yet to make a first-team MLS appearance over six seasons with RSL. His contract was set to expire at the end of this MLS season.
“I want to thank [RSL general manager] Craig Waibel, [VP of soccer administration] Rob Zarkos, [assistant GM] Elliot Fall and [owner] Dell Loy Hansen for the way they handled the negotiation to help make this a smooth transition,” Fernandez said in the release. ”It’s so important to know that they are looking out for the best interests of the players.”
The Guadalajara native has played on the youth level for both the U.S. and Mexican national teams.
Tigres signed Fernandez after goalkeepers Enrique Palos Miguel Ortega both suffered injuries last week.
Center back Marcelo Silva (hamstring) is on track to return for Saturday’s match at Vancouver. He had to sub out of RSL’s Aug. 19 match at Montreal in the sixth minute due to injury and has missed two games since.
“I’m expecting him back in to practice full tomorrow, but anything could change over the rest of the day,” Coach Mike Petke said. “But he’s progressing well.”
Forward Chad Barrett (knee) continues to inch toward a return. He tweeted that he had his six-month MRI on Friday after undergoing surgery in April to repair a left knee femoral chondral defect and a trochlear defect.
Barrett is scheduled to receive the MRI results Wednesday, he said, which will determine whether he is ready to return to running on the field.
Forward Luis Silva worked out with RSL athletic trainer Tyson Pace on Tuesday, but Petke said they just were taking precautionary measures. He said he expects Luis Silva to be healthy for Saturday’s match.
RSL struggled to weather a rough stretch of injuries, suspensions and international call-ups early in the season, but it has won its past two matches with key pieces missing.
Starting defenders Marcelo Silva and Demar Phillips (hamstring) were sidelined in both RSL’s 4-0 win over San Jose and its 4-1 victory against Colorado. Captain Kyle Beckerman was suspended for the Colorado match due to yellow card accumulation.
Forward Brooks Lennon said the difference is largely a change in mentality.
“I think early on in the season we had so many injuries and we were kind of scrambling on options,” he said. “... But now I think we’re such a tight group and we know our eventual goal, and that’s to get into the playoffs. So whoever goes down, the next man’s ready to step up, and we’ve been training like that every day.”