CF Montreal trades Hurtado, citing his unwillingness to get COVID-19 vaccination

CF Montreal forward Erik Hurtado (11) maneuvers the ball as Toronto FC defender Auro Jr. defends during the second half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. CF Montreal won 4-2. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

CF Montreal has traded Erik Hurtado to Columbus for US$200,000 in general allocation money, saying the fact that the veteran American forward was not vaccinated played into the deal.

"There was some interest in Erik during the past few weeks and we listened to the offers, even though we were satisfied with Erik's work," Montreal sporting director Olivier Renard said in a statement Thursday. "Because he's not vaccinated against COVID-19, his situation was problematic and we started considering a trade when we got the confirmation that the team could return to Montreal."

"Before proceeding, Erik also confirmed that he was not comfortable taking the vaccine, so we concluded this deal, which we felt was very satisfactory. We would like to thank Erik for his professionalism and wish him good luck in his career."

Like Toronto, Montreal is taking advantage of loosened pandemic-related travel restrictions for those fully vaccinated.

The MLS clubs are returning north of the border to train, with the hope they can resume games at their home stadium.

Hurtado joined Montreal as a free agent on Feb. 16. He played seven games with Montreal, including two starts, recording one assist.

Hurtado is a nine-year MLS veteran who has made 140 regular-season appearances (60 starts) with 19 goals and 11 assists.

"Erik is a versatile, powerful forward who has valuable experience in our league and provides us with another option on offence," Columbus president and GM Tim Bezbatchenko said in a statement. "His addition to our roster will ensure that we have another proven MLS goal-scorer to call upon when needed, especially during this particularly congested season."

Columbus has lost striker Gyasi Zardes to the U.S. national team for the Gold Cup while veteran forward Bradley Wright-Phillips has been dealing with a thigh injury.

The Vancouver Whitecaps selected Hurtado in the first round of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. He spent six seasons in Vancouver from 2013-2018, making 105 regular-season appearances (47 starts) with 12 goals and 10 assists.

In 2015, Vancouver loaned him to Norwegian first division club Mjondalen IF, where he played 11 league games and one cup game. He was traded to Sporting Kansas City in December 2018.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2021.


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