Crew closing in on Peruvian international striker

Bliss: Mendoza deal not done yet, but nearly there

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — As the Crew took to the field Thursday night at PPL Park, Peruvian international forward Andres Mendoza remained unsigned but on the verge of a contract with the Eastern Conference leaders.

Reports on Thursday said a signed deal for the 32-year-old would be done by the time the Crew faced the Philadelphia Union, but Crew president Mark McCullers and technical director Brian Bliss said an hour before kickoff that a deal was not finalized.

“He hasn’t signed a contract yet,” McCullers said. “He wants to be here. We like him. Our intent is to sign him. I think we’re getting close. He may be going to sign it but he hasn’t.”

There are few small sticking points that need to be resolved before he joins coach Robert Warzycha’s squad, but Bliss reiterated an initial offer has been made.

“There are some T’s and I’s that are not in order,” he said. “In our last conversation they were still not in order. There are minor things. I think they can be worked through. Mark thinks they can be worked through. Robert thinks they can be worked through.”

McCullers agreed, “We’re trying to get the structure of the contract in a form that the league and the player are all comfortable with. Generally, I think we’ve got an agreement in principle but need to fine tune some of the structural points.”

Mendoza, nicknamed La Pantera (the Panther) in his homeland, last played in Turkey but his club, Diyarbakırspor, was expected to release him. Before moving to Turkey, he scored 13 times for Mexican side Morelia in 2008-09. He also has eight goals in 44 international appearances since 1999.

If Mendoza signs it will be the second straight year the Crew have acquired a South American forward. Last year it was Venezuelan Emilio Renteria, who is second on the Crew this season with four goals.