CF Montreal have traded forward Erik Hurtado to Columbus Crew after he refused to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Crew have spent $200,000 in general allocation money, reinforcing an attacking line that is currently missing Gyasi Zardes and Kevin Molino - who are at the Concacaf Gold Cup with USMNT and Trinidad & Tobago respectively - as well as Bradley Wright-Phillips, who is currently injured.
30-year-old Hurtado had been in Montreal for just one season, having previously been acquired by Sporting Kansas City in 2018. He made 28 appearances and scored seven goals, but the club have decided to trade up after he indicated he did not intend to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Speaking of the decision to let Hurtado go, sporting director Olivier Renard said: "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.
"Because he's not vaccinated against Covid-19, his situation was problematic. 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.”
The Crew, meanwhile, appear to be delighted with Hurtado's acquisition, with president and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko saying of the trade: "Erik is a versatile forward who has valuable experience in our League and provides us with another option on attack.
"His addition to our roster will ensure that we have another proven MLS goal scorer to call upon when needed."
Hurtado's arrival is a boost for Crew's fledgling play-off hopes. The Eastern Conference side currently sit eighth in MLS' standings, having won just four of their 12 games so far, though they did come from two goals down against Cincinnati last time out to earn an impressive draw.