Oakland Roots confirmed on Thursday that they’ve transferred Edgardo Rito to Hartford Athletic in exchange for Jeciel Cedeño and cash.
The blog was informed from multiple sources outside of the club that Rito was on the verge of being traded until it came to fruition Thursday morning.
Headlines from last Friday’s match at Colorado Springs was Rito being pulled from the starting lineup and subs list. We were told Rito missed the match due to a “personal matter” and the club could not elaborate on the situation.
According to club sources, Roots began trade talks with Hartford two weeks ago and the deal was nearly called off at the 11th hour this morning. The deal began to heat up prior to the Colorado Springs match, leading to Rito missing the game.
The club indicates Rito’s contract demands spurred trade efforts for Oakland. The two sides have been negotiating an extension into 2024, but a deal was never close to being finalized. Edgardo, allegedly, was demanding at least a top-three salary in the USL Championship.
With his value, coupled with his contract demands, Roots felt it was best to move on from Rito at his peak value instead of watching him walk away for free in the offseason.
Roots shopped him around to MLS organizations, but they did not receive any interest.
In exchange, Oakland is getting a 23-year old Jaciel Cedeño from Hartford. He’s spent his last three years at the club and is in the midst of a career-season with 10 appearances, seven starts, and already reached career-highs of 576 minutes, two goals, and one assist. One of his goals came in Hartford’s win over Roots.
Listed as a midfielder, Cedeño can potentially step into the central role, which is dealing with depth issues following Danny Gomez and Irakoze Donasiyano’s injuries.
One more caveat to the deal, Cedeño possesses a Green Card and therefore opens up one more international slot for Roots. They now have three.
Oakland could still have more incoming moves in mind. It could be a situation to keep an eye on over the next two months as the club makes its playoff push.
Rito, 27, was our 2022 RootsBlog Player of the Year and was well on his way to another hallmark year in Oakland after converting to right wing from outside back.
In 2023, Rito has appeared in 10 games for a total of 900 minutes thus far, recording two goals and two assists–seemingly on his way to another career-year in the USL Championship.
He earned first-team All-USL Championship last season. His seven assists led the team and he contributed toward 12 total points with his five goals scored–which puts him second on the team in points behind Karlsson’s 21. He finished the season as Oakland’s third most active player with 2,652 minutes in 31 appearances and 30 starts.
It marked a career-year for Rito in several categories, including goals, assists, minutes played and amount of starts. FotMob, meanwhile, ranked his 11 Big Chances Created as tied for No. 12 in the USL Championship.