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Defiance sign Kossa-Rienzi and Lopez

Sounders draft picks Kossa-Rienzi and Lopez join Tacoma Defiance.

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Tacoma Defiance added two more players to the roster with just over a week to go before the start of their MLS Next Pro season on March 15. Midfielder Kalani Kossa-Rienzi and defender Antino Lopez, both 21, join the squad after being selected by the Seattle Sounders in the MLS SuperDraft and spending much of preseason with the First Team.

Kossa-Rienzi, a midfielder from Berkley, Calif., spent his college career at the University of Washington and has drawn comparisons over the years to other former Huskies-turned-Sounders like Cristian Roldan and Dylan Teves for his skill and tenacity.

“Kalani has a terrific mentality, is versatile and athletic, but also has a very solid technical foundation,” said Sounders FC Director of Development Wade Webber. “He’s got all the tools to have a good professional career and we are happy he is taking his first step with us.”

While Kossa-Rienzi is listed as a midfielder, he impressed with the Sounders in preseason while playing as a right back. His performances at that position seemed to give him the inside track for an MLS contract among those not yet signed to the First Team. Signing with Defiance should give him plenty of game time to be able to develop and earn a first team deal down the road.

Antino Lopez is a former Sounders Academy player who had previously spent time with the Sounders in preseason before moving on to join Duke University where he played four seasons. Lopez is a center back who will compete with fellow former Academy players Elias Katsaros, possibly Gio Miglietti, and first team player Stuart Hawkins for minutes as the foundation of the Defiance defense.

“Tino was a talented and successful Academy player,” explained Webber, “and we were impressed by his continued development at Duke. He has leadership qualities in addition to good composure and defensive instincts and we expect him to be an impactful player for Defiance this season.”

These two signings bring the Defiance roster to 16 signed players, although with Antonio Herrera’s loan to Chivas de Guadalajara U-23s there are 15 players available not excluding academy players and those loaned down from the Sounders first team.

DEFENDERS (5): Blake Bowen, Elias Katsaros, Antino Lopez, Pedro Rodrigues, Travian Sousa

MIDFIELDERS (10): Chris Aquino, Faysal Bettache, Snyder Brunell, Frank Daroma, Burke Fahling, Sebastian Gomez, Antonio Herrera*, Kalani Kossa-Rienzi, Gio Miglietti, Georgi Minoungou

Forwards (1): Yu Tsukanome

*On loan to Chivas de Guadalajara U-23