When the players took the field for the MASL International Challenge Friday night at Family Arena, they were one league Most Valuable Player short.

Franck Tayou, the MASL’s two-time reigning MVP, was forced to withdraw from the game after signing with the Richmond Kickers of the United Soccer League.

“It all happened fast,” said Tayou. “I had everything set to go to St. Louis for the game but my agent told me I needed to be back Friday to do my medical and train so I could be available Saturday to play. So I took the flight anyway to spend some time with my brother Uzi and they flew me to Richmond this afternoon.”

While the signing kept him off the field Friday, it doesn’t mean he won’t return to the MASL in November. Contractually Tayou could still play in both the USL and the MASL, like several other players do, but ultimately he’d like to play in MLS, which would effectively end his indoor career.  “The decision is mine to make,” said Tayou. “I would say depending on how the season goes I will make a decision.”

Tayou has spent the last two seasons with Soles de Sonora, who lost in the Ron Newman Cup finals both years. The Soles are already hurting from the losses of Raymundo Contreras and Hiram Ruiz, who signed with San Diego, and Diego Reynoso and Damien Garcia, who signed with Monterrey.