In what would be an interesting development in the Seattle Sounders’ player pipeline, Tacoma Defiance midfielder Antonio Herrera will be going on loan to Liga MX giant Chivas de Guadalajara, according to a report out of Mexico. Chivas would also have a purchase option as part of the loan.
While it would be very odd for the 18-year-old Herrera to make the jump from MLS Next Pro directly to Liga MX, he would more likely play for the Chivas U23 team (also known as CD Tapatío) that plays in the second-tier Liga de Expansión where they finished the most recent season 12th out of 15 teams.
Herrera has been a promising player in the Sounders pipeline for several years and signed a pro contract with Defiance in 2022 when the Tacoma native first started getting Mexican youth national team call-ups. He saw steady playing time with Defiance in 2023, logging nearly 1,000 minutes and making 11 starts. He also scored his first professional goal while playing mostly as a winger.
The Sounders have been outspoken about their desire to find more opportunities like this one for young players in their system, but this would provide an interesting twist as they've never sold a player directly from Defiance. In order to reap the maximum reward from the sale (allocation money), the Sounders would probably need to sign him to a first-team contract first.