On Loan? Transferred? Where in the World is Amando Moreno?

USA TODAY Sports

It appears Armando Moreno is no longer with the Red Bulls. But is it permanent?

Looks like promising, young forward Amando Moreno is off to Mexico to join Club Tijuana.

There's no word from the club on whether it's a loan or a full transfer, but if Moreno's social media accounts are any indication, he's there. Or he's really, really good at Photoshop and ambition to play for a mid-table Mexican team.

In absence of an official word from the team, speculation takes over, and there's plenty of it to be had here.

That Moreno is only 18-years-old, signed out of the Red Bulls' academy, and a player thought of highly by Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh can all be used to bolster the loan argument. It's not like there was a competition for his signature, either, a la Matt Miazga last spring.

But, despite shining at the U-18 level, he played a paltry two minutes in two league appearances last year. And why would a player seemingly make a move up to a better league and a Xolos team comfortable with Americans if it wasn't permanent?

That hardly means it's a transfer. After all, he's still listed on the team's roster. And he did play in both the University of South Florida and Philadelphia Union pre-season games.

I suppose we'll be hearing from the team soon in regards to the move, but until then, let the speculation continue.

UPDATE: So Dave Martinez at Empire of Soccer got to the bottom of the Moreno situation.

Basically, with the cap situation so tight, combined with Moreno's unhappiness with little expected playing time, the Red Bulls and the young forward couldn't come to an agreement.

Relevant passages...

According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the New York Red Bulls did not pick up the option on Moreno's contract late last year. As a Homegrown Player, his salary of $35,125 did not count against the Red Bulls' cap. However, his renewal was set to come in at a higher number. By not picking up his option, that deal was nullified. New York countered with a league minimum offer that would see the promising U.S. Youth National Team player earning a similar salary for a second year in a row in order to squeeze him into an already tight salary cap.

...

But there was also one other factor worth noting. Moreno's general unhappiness with the club played a part in his decision as well. Several people close to the player and team acknowledge that the young forward fell frustrated in a system where he knew playing time was non-existent. That boiled over into the locker room, where several players and members of the technical staff, including head coach Mike Petke, caught wind of his outward disdain, creating a rift between player and club.

Unfortunately, this means the Red Bulls get precisely zero compensation for the move.

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