On Friday, a curious rumor popped up: Lalo Fernandez, Real Salt Lake’s third-string goalkeeper, was a target for Liga MX powerhouse Tigres.
A report from Univision — reliable sources for Liga MX news, at least — indicated that RSL would receive a near-six-figure transfer fee for Fernandez.
And while it was just a rumor, it sure looks like the 24-year-old, who signed with Real Salt Lake on a homegrown deal in February 2012 as a 19-year-old, might have just confirmed the rumor himself.
Yeah, that’s a photo of his passport, and he tagged Cris Barbosa of 911 Talent Management in the photo.
Of course, that’s not official confirmation or anything — we’ve reached out to the club for comment — but this photo sure throws a heaping can of gasoline on the once-slow-burn rumor fire.
What would that mean for Real Salt Lake? We’ll break that down further if the move comes to fruition, but here’s what we know so far.
Lalo Fernandez was not involved in last night’s Real Monarchs game against San Antonio Scorpions, with Connor Sparrow starting. That leaves us with some evidence that a transfer was planned, simply because it would have been no surprise to see him start that game.
Second-string keeper Matt VanOekel was still listed as questionable at last reckoning, but he may have recovered.
Fernandez, who RSL signed after a professional stint at Uruguayan club CA Peñarol, grew up in Texas but was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. He’s played at youth levels for both the United States and Mexico.
During his five-year career at Real Salt Lake, Fernandez played precisely one first-team match, and that came this year in the US Open Cup loss to Sacramento Republic. He never played in an MLS match. During three years of Real Monarchs being an entity, he was the first-choice goalkeeper, though he didn’t play when one of RSL’s other goalkeepers was injured or away on international duty.
So what’s next? Smart money could be on a player like Connor Sparrow getting a move to the first team in short order, although he’d certainly continue with Real Monarchs while RSL has two fit and available goalkeepers. It’ll have to be fast, whatever happens — the MLS roster freeze date is Sept. 15.