The offseason tends to ramp up immediately after MLS Cup, so it's time for a new thread! Big-Picture Changes Against all odds, #SaveTheCrew has continued to progress. Haslam hasn't officially bought the team yet; there are new stadium plans being bandied about first. Nonetheless, nobody seems to be signally that there is any doubt the Crew will be staying in Columbus. FC Cincinnati joins as the 24th team, bringing their very hefty USL fanbase with them. Nashville and Inter Miami joining in 2020. Austin TBD. The 28th team is yet to be announced and they're going to continue to expand past that. FCC took their final season in USL seriously as an audition for MLS; they've bumped up three players from their USL squad and are expected to bring up a number of others. Garber's annual "state of the league" address is always a good way to take the temperature of what the larger ownership group is thinking. It's noteworthy that Garber talked about the need for MLS to become more of a selling league this week. After a few years of taking it on the chin with academy players walking to foreign clubs on free transfers, it's finally dawned on MLS owners that they need to do a better job of developing players and selling them on when the time is right. Relatedly, MLS support for solidarity payments and training compensation is now becoming fairly vociferous...just need to get the MLSPA on board. On the academy front, MLS is rumored to be loosening the rules around "homegrown territories", meaning everyone will be able to recruit more widely around the country. Turning up the pressure to have a good academy + pathway to first team playing time is a very good thing. There have been reports that MLS will change the playoff system for 2019, moving up MLS Cup before the momentum-killing November FIFA break. Stadium stuff: Minnesota's new stadium will open in 2019. The Timbers will start on a lengthy road trip as Providence Park is expanded to 25k. Cincinnati will play at the Cincinnati Bearcat's Nippert Stadium until their own place opens in 2021. Managerial Carousel New hires: SJ (Matias Almeyda) --> this was a shockingly big hire for a club like SJ Vancouver (Marc dos Santos) --> an assistant with some buzz around him Openings: Atlanta (Tata Martino). Rumors: Guillermo Barros Schelotto Columbus (Gregg Berhalter). Rumors: Caleb Porter, Josh Wolff Dallas (Oscar Pareja). Rumors: Tab Ramos, Luchi Gonzalez LA Galaxy (Sigi Schmid / Dominic Kinnear [interim]) Rumors: Kinnear, Jason Kreis 2019 CCL Atlanta's MLS Cup win confirmed that NYRB will be the fourth US team in CCL. The first round kicks off in just over two months. Herediano (CRC) vs. Atlanta United Independiente (PAN) vs. Toronto FC Sporting KC vs. Toluca (MEX) Guastatoya (GUA) vs. Houston Dynamo Atlético Pantoja (DOM) vs. NYRB Key Dates Today — half-day transfer window, geared mainly towards allowing teams to fiddle with their rosters prior to the expansion draft 12/11 - Expansion draft + beginning of free agency period 1/11 - college draft 2/19 - 2/21 - first leg of CCL March - 2019 season begins Signings so far Everyone other than the MLS Cup participants have announced their departures already. Most of the incoming players thus far have been academy signings — HOU, MTL (x2), NE, NYRB, PHI, RSL (x3), SKC, and VAN have all given contracts to youth players. Cincinnati has five players so far. They picked up Adi from Portland and Alashe from SJ during the season and have promoted three USL guys so far. LAFC announced a loan for 21 year old Colombian CB Eddie Segura and Montreal signed French winger Henry Novillo.