Deal to take Dallas' Urruti and Barrios to San Lorenzo falls through - sources
The FC Dallas duo of midfielder Michael Barrios and forward Max Urruti will remain with the MLS club, at least through the end of this season, and will not be transferred to Argentinian side San Lorenzo, according to FC Dallas owner Dan Hunt.
The two teams have been engaged in talks over the course of the past week, and on Tuesday multiple sources confirmed to ESPN FC that the odds of either player moving to San Lorenzo were "50-50". With the transfer window in Argentina closing, those negotiations have ceased, allowing Dallas to hold on to both players for at least the remainder of this season.
Hunt divulged that Dallas received an initial offer on Tuesday, which was turned down. San Lorenzo came back with what Hunt called "a much improved offer" of $5 million total for both players. That offer was subsequently rejected as well.
Hunt said the situation was discussed with both players, and that both Urruti and Barrios had expressed a desire "not to abandon their teammates" in the middle of the season.
"It would be a very difficult situation because we first and foremost want to win MLS Cup this year and deliver that championship to our fans," he said via telephone. "Given the difficulty of the timing plus the actual desire of the club and the desire of the players, this wasn't the right time."
The news amounts to a boost for FCD in terms of its on-field fortunes, given that Barrios and Urruti are two of team's biggest attacking pieces. Urruti -- who was acquired prior to the 2016 season in the MLS Re-entry Draft after the Portland Timbers declined the option on his contract -- is Dallas' leading scorer this season with 12 goals and five assists. Barrios has scored just twice, but has 12 assists, a mark that is tied for second in the league behind Victor Vasquez of Toronto FC.
Dallas has also been struggling mightily for results of late, going winless in its last six games. The spell has seen FCD fall into seventh place in the Western Conference, though it has two games in hand on sixth place San Jose. Still, Dallas' fall is a shocking development for a team predicted by many to be an MLS Cup contender at the start of the season.
Had FCD transferred both players, it would have amounted to a huge blow in terms of its postseason aspirations. It also would have marked the second consecutive year in which an important player or players had left the club in midseason. Last year, winger Fabian Castillo departed amid a contentious transfer to Turkish club Trabzonspor.
Now with Urruti and Barrios both staying in Dallas, the team's playoff hopes look more promising.
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.