LAFC trades Mark-Anthony Kaye, clearing the path to add Cristian Arango

Los Angeles FC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye during an MLS soccer match against the Austin FC, Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Los Angeles FC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye during a match against Austin FC April 17 in Los Angeles. (Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

LAFC traded midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye, one of the last original pieces from the franchise’s first season, to the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday for $1 million in allocation money and a 2022 international roster spot, clearing the way for the team to acquire Cristian Arango from Colombia’s Millonarios.

In addition, LAFC will receive 10% of the transfer fee should the Rapids sell Kaye abroad for at least $1 million while Colorado gets LAFC’s first-round pick in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft.

“It is a deal we couldn’t pass up,” said a source who was not authorized to speak publicly about the deal, adding it was brokered late Monday night. “His contract is up at the end of the year and we feel our midfield is strong.”

Kaye, 26, who LAFC discovered playing for USL Championship side Louisville, was an important part of LAFC’s Supporter’s Shield-winning team in 2019, finishing third on the team with eight assists. During four seasons with the team, he appeared in 77 games (71 starts), scoring nine goals and registering 18 assists.

But his play has been more erratic than solid this season, and the emergence of 22-year-old Ecuadoran midfielder José Cifuentes, who is tied for the team lead with five goals, made Kaye expendable.

The trade also accelerates the LAFC’s acquisition of Arango, a 26-year-old forward who scored 22 times in 58 appearances for Millonarios. That deal could be announced this week.

Arango, whose transfer will be funded using much of the allocation money received in the Kaye trade, is expected to play as a center forward for LAFC between Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi, filling the hole created when the team declined a contract option on Bradley Wright Phillips last fall.

The departure of Kaye, currently on international duty with Canada, leaves LAFC with just six players from the original 2018 roster in Rossi and Vela, midfielders Eduard Atuesta and Latif Blessing and defenders Jordan Harvey and Tristan Blackmon.

Kaye, who is signed through the end of this season with a club option for 2022, will earn $247,188 this season, according to figures provided by the MLS players union. Kaye was recently elected to the union’s executive board and is also active with the league’s Black Players for Change organization.

LAFC fifth in the MLS Western Conference standings, two points behind the Rapids, heading into Wednesday’s home match with Minnesota United.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.