MLS 2022: Our Weird, Fun, Chaotic, Dumb Domestic League

Titans Bastard

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MLS Cup may have been yesterday, but the offseason starts immediately, especially in a winter preceding a league expansion season. And for the sixth consecutive year, there will be a new team in MLS next year: Charlotte FC. Their owner, David Tepper, is rich even by MLS owner standards, so keep an eye on how big they decide to go with their ambition.

Today (Dec 12) there's a short transfer window which some teams will use to get some maneuvering done before Tuesday's expansion draft, so there should be a variety of moves.

The coaching carousel heading into 22:

Atlanta United: recently hired Sounders assistant Gonzalo Pineda
Charlotte FC: hired Spaniard Miguel Ángel Ramírez back in July, who has primarily worked as a youth coach, though he is coming off two stints in Latin America.
FC Dallas: recently hired USMNT assistant Nico Estevez, also a Spaniard. Most of his career has been in Valencia's system but wound up at Columbus then followed Berhalter to the USMNT
Houston Dynamo: vacant; their new owner just hired a new GM
LAFC: vacant after Bob Bradley's contract expired
RSL: vacant; Freddy Juarez left midseason to be an assistant(!) at Seattle, Pablo Mastroeni has been the interim
Toronto: Bob Bradley was recently hired
Vancouver: recently made interim Vanni Sartini permanent

Some big picture questions:

The MLS TV deal expires at the end of the 2022 season, and so we wait for announcement next year about what's going to happen and how much money the league will get. TV ratings have improved somewhat lately, but a 10% bump (or whatever it is) ain't much coming from a small base.

Close followers of MLS know that the league has a crazy Rube Goldberg system for player movement and roster budgeting. This ultimately results in relatively inefficient spending because teams can spend huge sums on their biggest three earners but don't have the option to spread that cash out over 6-8 players if they wanted to. This results in a lot of parity, but hinders the growth of the level of play, as evidenced by the brick wall known as the CONCACAF Champions League. The 2021 season was particularly silly, with four of the five biggest spenders failing to reach the playoffs.


I'll leave it to others to cover the viewpoint of their specific team heading into the offseason & next season if they feel like it!
 

Titans Bastard

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Somehow I skipped multiple Cs! The Fire have hired Ezra Hendrickson, who has been just about everywhere across the league as a player and coach. Most recently he was with the Sounders, whose assistants are in high demand these days!
 

Phil Plantier

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I really liked this Sam Stejskal piece in The Athletic about the state of the league.

The richest teams in MLS spent roughly $20 million each on total salaries in 2021. Salaries alone are an imperfect way to measure spending, but, with transfer fees paid for players not available in many cases, it’s the most accurate data available. $20 million is an amount that’s on par with the top-five of the Dutch Eredivisie, in the bottom tier of France’s Ligue 1 and the Championship and, according to several MLS technical staffers, only behind the top teams in Liga MX.

Yet despite having a comparable level of salary spending, it’s reasonable to say that those high-spending MLS teams would struggle over a course of a season against their peers in those listed European leagues.
https://theathletic.com/3009792/2021/12/10/out-of-balance-as-2021-ends-mls-continues-to-show-that-improving-quality-of-play-isnt-top-priority/
 

67YAZ

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Somehow I skipped multiple Cs! The Fire have hired Ezra Hendrickson, who has been just about everywhere across the league as a player and coach. Most recently he was with the Sounders, whose assistants are in high demand these days!
I’m excited for the Fire to have a manager with deep and varied MLS experience, especially at some of the very best clubs in recent years. But I get the sense Heitz took the plunge with Hendrickson because as a first time manager, Hendrickson couldn’t negotiate a contract that stipulated a voice in transfer business and roster construction. The Fire have 11 slots to full, including 2 DPs, right now. I hope Heitz is better informed about what works in MLS.

Jhon Duran arrives this winter. Let’s hope he’s hungry like the wolf

In other Fire news, the club had purchased land to build a brand new $90m HQ and training center up in Belmont-Cragin, a low income majority Hispanic neighborhood on the city’s northwest side. It‘a exactly the kind of community development Mansueto has been talking about But on Friday the club announced they are going to pursue other options because the the land they purchased abuts 3 different Chicago Public Schools, and the club have not been able to get a phone call returned or a meeting with CPS officials since June. I trust Mansueto will find other opportunities within the city, but the mayor and school system really dropped the ball on this. Pumping $90m into Belmont-Cragin never happens.
 

Titans Bastard

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Okay, here's what we got so far today:

The biggest-money transaction was RBNY's acquisition of Miami winger Lewis Morgan. Morgan has been a fairly consistent performer on an inconsistent team. Since Miami's salary budget has been heavily penalized by the league, trading their better assets like Morgan becomes a necessity to generate a good about of allocation money (which is basically tradable salary cap space, which they badly need.)

RBNY didn't really use wingers in 2021, so this kind of outlay would seem to signal a change in system.

https://www.newyorkredbulls.com/news/new-york-red-bulls-acquire-scottish-winger-lewis-morgan-from-inter-miami-cf

Miami also re-signed long time league workhorse Victor Ulloa. They had declined literally every club option they had, so presumably they are trying to get some other guys back on lower salaries than the whatever the club options were for.

https://www.intermiamicf.com/news/inter-miami-cf-re-signs-victor-ulloa

And Miami signed Jean Mota, a 28 year old Brazilian CM who has played for Santos in the Campeonato Serie A for a number of years now.

https://www.intermiamicf.com/news/inter-miami-cf-signs-midfielder-jean-mota

Houston picked up CB Daniel Steres from LA Galaxy for a throwaway draft pick. This is a partial salary dump (LAG on the hook for part of his salary, which was $375k in 2021), and Steres will likely be depth in Houston.

https://www.houstondynamofc.com/news/houston-dynamo-fc-acquire-defender-daniel-steres

A week ago, Montreal signed 21 year old Italian CB Gabriele Corbo on loan from Bologna — a likely story, as they always have loanees from Bologna, who are also owned by the Saputo family. Corbo was peripherally involved with the Italian U19 national team, and spent last season on loan in Serie B with Ascoli, but he hasn't played for Bologna this season. Some of these Bologna loans have worked out; others haven't.

https://en.cfmontreal.com/news/cf-montreal-acquires-defender-gabriele-corbo-on-loan-from-bologna-fc

LAFC traded for Atlanta's 26 year old Argentina right back Franco Escobar, who spent 2021 on loan at Newell's Old Boys. These are two clubs that have spent a lot without much success in 2021, and are going to look to overhaul their rosters if they can. It's hard to know what LAFC's roster situation will look like because I expect a fair number of changes (and in fact, reports today suggest that Eduard Atuesta is heading to Palmeiras). This deal is for "up to $600k in GAM", which isn't nothing.

https://www.lafc.com/news/lafc-acquires-defender-franco-escobar-from-atlanta-united

Nashville had a very MLS-y sort of day. They traded an international slot to Dallas for $250k in GAM, then traded two more international slots to Charlotte for another $500k in GAM. And while it hasn't been announced yet, they are reportedly trading a fourth international slot to NYCFC for yet another $250k. Nashville have the most domestic-slanted roster in the league, so they don't need these slots, and can stockpile extra salary cap space. They have an open DP slot as well, so this could get interesting for them.

They also picked up a couple of depth pieces around the league (both of whom are domestics, naturally) in Ethan Zubak from LA Galaxy and Teal Bunbury from the Revs.

For the Revs, Bunbury is the sort of player who would be left exposed in the expansion draft so it's nice to get a little cash for him.

https://www.nashvillesc.com/news/nashville-soccer-club-acquires-forward-ethan-zubak-from-la-galaxy
https://www.nashvillesc.com/news/nashville-soccer-club-acquires-mls-veteran-attacker-teal-bunbury-from-the-new-en

Charlotte signed two players today. Young right back Jaylin Lindsay comes from Sporting Kansas City. Lindsay was a former U17 NTer who has some talent but gets hurt a fair amount. He's probably not on a NT track anymore, particularly with the competition that has emerged, but he could develop into a really nice MLS player.

More boringly, they also acquired Pablo Sisniega from LAFC, who will likely be a backup goalkeeper.

https://www.charlottefootballclub.com/news/charlotte-fc-acquires-defender-jaylin-lindsey-from-sporting-kansas-city-for-100-
 

biollante

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There are too many generic names in the MLS or copy cat names. This needs to change.

No more penalty shootouts. Lame way to end the season or a game.

They might put a team in Vegas ? So the players can burn and die ?

The best part of a MLS game is you never know what might happen.
 

SocrManiac

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There is no content in this post. I just wanted to marvel at @Titans Bastard for the effort he puts into this thread. This is a premiere baseball and NFL analysis and news aggregation board but this MLS topic consistently ranks at or above that level. Absolutely incredible work.
 

Titans Bastard

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There are too many generic names in the MLS or copy cat names. This needs to change.
Amen.

It's incredible. Here are the last eleven teams accepted into the league:

2023: St. Louis City FC
2022: Charlotte FC
2021: Austin FC
2020: Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC
2019: FC Cincinnati
2018: LAFC
2017: Atlanta United FC and Minnesota United FC
2015: Orlando City SC and New York City FC

The twelfth was the Montreal Impact in 2012....who just changed their name to CF Montreal.

So you have to go back to 2011 (Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC) to find new teams that go by something other than some combination of United/City/FC/SC/Inter.

During this time, Chicago made the monumental, crucial, game-changer move of rebranding from Chicago Fire SC to Chicago Fire FC. And Columbus tried to drop the Crew from their name and go to Columbus SC, but the league should know by now that Crew fans are tough to beat.

No more penalty shootouts. Lame way to end the season or a game.
It's not too late to become a real retro MLS hipster and advocate for a return to the original MLS/NASL style 35-yard hockey-style penalty shootouts.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRITqS6WEn0


They might put a team in Vegas ? So the players can burn and die ?
I suspect they will be playing in an air-conditioned dome, whether it's Allegiant or a new stadium. It would be terrible conditions for the players if they were to play outside in the summer, but we'd get some hilarious quotes from newly-signed northern Europeans at least.
 

Titans Bastard

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There is no content in this post. I just wanted to marvel at @Titans Bastard for the effort he puts into this thread. This is a premiere baseball and NFL analysis and news aggregation board but this MLS topic consistently ranks at or above that level. Absolutely incredible work.
Thanks. I enjoy the zaniness of MLS, I enjoy having a domestic league to follow, I enjoy the increased focus and capacity on player development, but for me the biggest thing is that it's fun to watch a league — that was literally one meeting on Phil Anschutz's ranch in December 2001 away from folding — to grow and develop. It's crazy how far things have come, even if it's still a niche of a niche — the third most popular league of the fifth(?) most popular sport in the country.

Mad props to guys like @steeplechase3k and many others who have put a ton of time, energy, and money over many years to create the sort of in-person energy, atmosphere, and culture that have come to be associated with the better-developed fanbases of the league.

(I'm assuming steeplechase3k is our runaway clubhouse leader in terms of the number of domestic pro soccer games attended!)
 

ninjacornelius

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I suspect they will be playing in an air-conditioned dome, whether it's Allegiant or a new stadium. It would be terrible conditions for the players if they were to play outside in the summer, but we'd get some hilarious quotes from newly-signed northern Europeans at least.
Worth noting that the Las Vegas Lights FC (coached by Steve Cherundolo!) currently play in an outdoor stadium. However, most of their home matches start at 8pm Pacific so that'd be pretty tough to pull off in MLS from a national TV perspective.

It's crazy how far things have come, even if it's still a niche of a niche — the third most popular league of the fifth(?) most popular sport in the country.
Up to number four, baby!

Anyway, I know that things in MLS can change at a moment's notice, but the Western Conference looks particularly brutal next year. The addition of Nashville plus theoretical bounce-backs from LAFC and The Galaxy will make reaching the playoffs for the Vancouvers and Salt Lakes of the world that much more difficult. I'm not expecting great things from my beloved Austin FC, but word is that they're looking to buy down Tomas Pochettino with TAM to free up a DP spot. I'm still incredibly skeptical that Josh Wolff is a capable MLS coach, but I like the moves that Claudio Reyna's made so far as sporting director so I'd love to see what he can do with another DP.
 

steeplechase3k

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(I'm assuming steeplechase3k is our runaway clubhouse leader in terms of the number of domestic pro soccer games attended!)
I should try to count the number of games I've been to. It's got to be several hundred. I've only missed 2 home Timbers games (that count, if you add in preseason it's about 8) since early in the 2004 season. I'd been to a few games in 2003 but then a friend suggest I stand with him in the North end. I was hooked. I've also been to every League match in Seattle in that time (missed a few Open Cup matches), been to Vancouver 6-8 times, Salt Lake City 3 times, and Colorado once.
 

Awesome Fossum

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Amen.

It's incredible. Here are the last eleven teams accepted into the league:

2023: St. Louis City FC
2022: Charlotte FC
2021: Austin FC
2020: Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC
2019: FC Cincinnati
2018: LAFC
2017: Atlanta United FC and Minnesota United FC
2015: Orlando City SC and New York City FC
This isn't a fully thought out idea, but it would be interesting if these teams debuted with the basic ass FC name and then evolved into the nickname that the fan base gravitates toward. eg, Minnesota United FC evolving into the Minnesota Loons. Just imagine all the billable hours for the trademark attorneys.

Edit: And +1 on the quality of Titans Bastard's posts. Literally my favorite soccer writer.
 

Senator Donut

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Ugh. TR seems pretty plugged in and actually doesn’t tweet that often, only occasionally chiming In with what he really knows. So uh…yeah…
Chicago just freed up a DP slot by unloading disappointing winger Ignacio Aliseda to their sister club Lugano FC. Buying a second soccer team on which to unload bad MLS contracts seems to indicate some level competency in the front office.
View: https://twitter.com/tombogert/status/1470415999425994759
 

67YAZ

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Chicago just freed up a DP slot by unloading disappointing winger Ignacio Aliseda to their sister club Lugano FC. Buying a second soccer team on which to unload bad MLS contracts seems to indicate some level competency in the front office.
View: https://twitter.com/tombogert/status/1470415999425994759
Well, Heitz is in charge of both clubs, so this is really just him cleaning up his own mess.

It’s really fun to think about the Fire as the hub in an international network of clubs, especially if Heitz can tap into that special Basel magic he used to conjure in Switzerland.

But it’s hard to imagine the Fire being a consistently successful MLS club if they can’t simultaneously develop home growns, recruit young internationals with promising upside, and navigate MLS to build out the roster with reliable, veteran depth. It’s a three legged stool, and if you don’t know the rules to install the third leg, then you end up on your ass.
 

Titans Bastard

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Chicago just freed up a DP slot by unloading disappointing winger Ignacio Aliseda to their sister club Lugano FC. Buying a second soccer team on which to unload bad MLS contracts seems to indicate some level competency in the front office.
View: https://twitter.com/tombogert/status/1470415999425994759
I think Heitz came into MLS with a reputation for being a savvy at wheeling and dealing in the international market, which was a selling point in favor of his hire. The problem is that to be a successful GM in MLS, you have to engage with the concept of opportunity cost at a deeper level than what GM-equivalents in any other league need to do. In his past professional life, he traded players for money. In MLS, there's a bit of that, but there's also a ton of trading players and other assets for GAM, which as we know is something that seems like money but is actually more like tradable salary cap space.

Maybe I'm missing someone but I believe the only player the Fire have acquired from within the league since Heitz's arrival in late 2019 was backup CB Wyatt Omsberg (the only active male pro from the state of Maine!) in February 2020. And even Omsberg may have been a vestige of the old FO. If you eschew talent from within the league, you absolutely need to get good value out of your foreign signings and nail your high-impact DPs, but sadly Heitz has also been bad at that.
 

Senator Donut

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Maybe I'm missing someone but I believe the only player the Fire have acquired from within the league since Heitz's arrival in late 2019 was backup CB Wyatt Omsberg (the only active male pro from the state of Maine!) in February 2020. And even Omsberg may have been a vestige of the old FO. If you eschew talent from within the league, you absolutely need to get good value out of your foreign signings and nail your high-impact DPs, but sadly Heitz has also been bad at that.
Put some damn respect on Bobby Shuttleworth’s name, TB!

I agree with your larger point. The structure of MLS requires that roster spots 4 through 25 are mostly occupied by low-wage players who hold green cards. The international marketplace is going to be very thin or nonexistent on those types of players. Starting an MLS Next Pro team next year will definitely help the very back end of the roster in that regard, but they are very late to the game on having a B club.
 

67YAZ

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Put some damn respect on Bobby Shuttleworth’s name, TB!

I agree with your larger point. The structure of MLS requires that roster spots 4 through 25 are mostly occupied by low-wage players who hold green cards. The international marketplace is going to be very thin or nonexistent on those types of players. Starting an MLS Next Pro team next year will definitely help the very back end of the roster in that regard, but they are very late to the game on having a B club.
Its hard to know what was in process when Heitz was announced on Dec 20, 2019. But Shittlesworth came in late-Jan and Omsberg mid-Feb (IIRC), both as free agents. Yeah, nice moves, especially Bobby who was the starting keeper for 2.75 seasons. But that’s it for internal MLS business.

All told, Heitz is roughly -15.5m in transfer business over the past 2 years with so little to show for it - no playoff appearances and 2 DPs already out the door. Fede Navarro showed some real grit at the end of last season. Maybe he’s a real one and makes good of the $5m fee. But the Basel model Heitz promises to deliver relies on a steady flow of flipping high potential young players, both developed at the club and recruited out of secondary and tertiary footballing nations.

But it’s very telling that the bedrock of this season’s defense was Johnny Bornstein, who returned to MLS on a free from Israel 6 months before Heitz came in.
 

Titans Bastard

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RSL takes the interim tag off Pablo Mastroeni. This makes sense: he did pretty well with a limited roster, and while I don't think Mastro is a high-upside choice, going with a stable option is sensible when we're talking about the least attractive job in the league (given the ownership situation).

https://www.rsl.com/news/real-salt-lake-names-pablo-mastroeni-permanent-head-coach

View: https://twitter.com/SoccerInsider/status/1470771979984773127


The numbers so far are:

ABC: 1.14m
TUDN: 133k
UniMás: TBD
 

ThePrideofShiner

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I'm a little surprised the 2020 number was so high, though I guess NYCFC isn't a big ratings draw? I figure all of Portland and large chunks of Seattle were watching/hate-watching this year's cup for sure.
 

Titans Bastard

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I'm a little surprised the 2020 number was so high, though I guess NYCFC isn't a big ratings draw? I figure all of Portland and large chunks of Seattle were watching/hate-watching this year's cup for sure.
2020 was in prime time instead of mid-afternoon. I’m not knowledgeable enough to know if that is enough to account for the difference.
 

67YAZ

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Well, I was coaching my oldest’s U12 practice instead of watching the match together, like last year. So I’d guess prime time is worth a lot of eyeballs.
 

Titans Bastard

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Goff tweeted more context about the MLS Cup numbers: 1.5m in total with all Spanish language viewers accounted for.

2.4m for Sunday night's Liga MX final between Atlas and Leon, two teams that AFAIK don't have especially enormous followings in the US compared to some other Mexican clubs.

A decent number, but the battle for eyeballs presses on.
 

steeplechase3k

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View: https://twitter.com/SoccerInsider/status/1470914976223305730


Steven Goff:
Charlotte FC's MLS expansion draft

1. Austin FC F McKinze Gaines
2. Atlanta United D Anton Walkes
3. D.C. United D Joseph Mora (DCU had cut ties with him two weeks ago)
4. LAFC D Tristan Blackmon
5. NYCFC F Ismael Tajouri-Shradi
And Blackmon is said to be going to Vancouver for GAM/TAM/KAM/JAM,/PAM/HAM/WAM or whatever it is called.
 

Titans Bastard

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Blackmon to Vancouver was just officially announced by the Whitecaps, which I think is a good move. I'd say it's a mild red flag for Charlotte's FO that they dealt a sold, relatively cheap domestic player like Blackmon rather than keep him. Better hope they nail their scouting if they're going to focus on imports.

Tajouri-Schradi is reportedly going to LAFC.

Gaines and Mora are backups. Walkes could be a starting CB, but they only have fourteen players so far so it's hard to tell.


Yesterday Charlotte signed Vinicius Mello, a 19 year old Brazilian forward. He's classified as a "U22 initiative" signing (do you really want to ask?) so he'll come cheap as far as the salary cap hit anyway. He played a bit for Internacional, alongside the great American U23 Johnny Cardoso.

https://www.charlottefootballclub.com/news/charlotte-fc-signs-brazilian-forward-vinicius-mello
 

67YAZ

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Pre-draft, looked like former Chicago player Brandt Bronico was their only player with MLS experience. And they signed him last winter with a loan out until the 2022 season. And there’s Christen Fuchs! And that Aussie who scored a scorpion kick a few years back.
 

67YAZ

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The Revs close out the season here in Chicago. Will be nice that they can pass off the Supporters Shield in person.
 

steeplechase3k

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I said in the thread for last season when the first matches were revealed, but if any Revs fans want to come to Portland for the opener I'll happily answer any questions you have.

The weather here in late February isn't great, it's similarly grey and dreary to New England, just warmer. If you wanted you wouldn't even need a rental car. The MAX (commuter) train from the airport goes directly by the stadium, and there are a good number of hotels at various price points in downtown that are all walkable to Providence Park. I can throw together a Google Map if anyone was interested.
 

Titans Bastard

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The 2022 CONCACAF Champions League draw is out, and as far as I know, does not need to be voided and done a second time.

The Sounders play Motagua (Honduras), and potentially León in the quarterfinal.

The Rapids play Comunicaciones (Guatemala) and NYCFC plays Santos de Guápiles and could face each other in the QF.

On the other side the bracket, the Revs play Cavaly AS (Haiti), and potentially Pumas in the QF.

Montreal plays Santos Laguna, and potentially Cruz Azul in the QF if they get there (which they probably won't).

These R16 games will be season openers for all MLS clubs, as the league schedule doesn't begin until later in February. Having only one Mexican team on one side of the bracket is a nice opportunity for MLS to give themselves a punchers' chance in the final.

 

Titans Bastard

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Lletget to the Revs is official, and it doesn't come at a super high price — $500k in GAM spread across the next two seasons.

https://www.revolutionsoccer.net/news/revolution-acquire-united-states-international-sebastian-lletget-from-la-galaxy


The Red Bulls picked up Dylan Nealis from Nashville, a RB who was a top draft pick but hasn't yet distinguished himself after one year in Miami and one year in Nashville. A decent flyer, but they'll want to sign a surer thing as well, since Kyle Duncan is leaving for Belgium. RBNY coached up his brother Sean to be a reasonable contributor at CB this year.

View: https://twitter.com/NewYorkRedBulls/status/1471495662483116038
 

Senator Donut

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Lletget to the Revs is official, and it doesn't come at a super high price — $500k in GAM spread across the next two seasons.

https://www.revolutionsoccer.net/news/revolution-acquire-united-states-international-sebastian-lletget-from-la-galaxy
Jeff Carlisle reported there could be up to an additional 800,000 in performance-linked allocation money.

View: https://twitter.com/jeffreycarlisle/status/1471295037744971778


Still seems like a bargain in a universe where Lewis Morgan is worth 1.25 million.
 

67YAZ

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Fire sign Sounders’ back up keeper Spencer Richey. The interesting piece is that Heitz framed Richey as a mentor to both Gaga Slonina and Chris Brady.

Brady is the Fire’s other 17 year old hot shot keeper prospect, who has spent last two seasons with Madison Forward. He won USL League 1 young player of the year there in 2020. He also picked up a couple USMNT youth caps in 2019.

It’s good to see that Heitz rates Brady enough mention him here. He needs another loan to keep his development. Indy Eleven could be a great, nearby destination or maybe Memphis 901, where Andre Reynolds recently put in a good loan stint.
 

Senator Donut

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It’s good to see that Heitz rates Brady enough mention him here. He needs another loan to keep his development. Indy Eleven could be a great, nearby destination or maybe Memphis 901, where Andre Reynolds recently put in a good loan stint.
Don’t forget Chicago will be fielding a team in MLS Next Pro next season. Presumably, that’s the best spot for him, as he’ll be within an arm’s length of the first team staff.
 

67YAZ

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Don’t forget Chicago will be fielding a team in MLS Next Pro next season. Presumably, that’s the best spot for him, as he’ll be within an arm’s length of the first team staff.
It would be nice to see him take the step up to USL Championship, but I’m not sure he graduated high school yet. That would be a good enough reason for him to play Next Pro for a season.
 

Titans Bastard

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There's been a steady drumbeat of moves on Friday and on Monday — mostly depth players and a few free agents on the move. There's definitely nothing that I'd call a big-time signing (either Famous Euro Guy or Exciting Latin American prospect or even the sort of Above Average Liga MX-based #10 that have a high rate of success).

  • A rarity in MLS - a straight up player-for-player trade! Inter Miami sent backup GK Dylan Castanheira to Atlanta in exchange for CM Mo Adams; both had their 2022 options declined a few weeks ago but have found new homes. Miami is going to be forced to forage for cheap players from within MLS to build a roster that fits their shrunken salary budget for the next two years.
  • Charlotte signed RB Harrison Afful, a free agent. Afful has been a really good RB in this league, but he's going to turn 36 next season and if I were Jaylin Lindsay I would be feeling good about my chances of getting a lot of minutes next year.
  • Charlotte also signed Peruvian forward Yordy Reyna, who was also a free agent. Experience with Vancouver and D.C., reasonable talent, seems like classic expansion team fodder.
  • RBNY signed CM Daniel Edelman '03 to a homegrown contract. He played a ton in USL last year and was part of the first U20 national team camp of the cycle. An option at the six who hopefully develops well because his age cohort is light in 6s nationally.
  • FC Cincinnati signed Jamaican RB Alvas Powell. This guy was a regular for Portland for many years, but his standing in the league has slipped in the last few years and he's been mostly a backup outside of a brief, random foray to the Sudanese league. He's only 27, and thus far is competing with the younger Zico Bailey on Cincinnati's roster.
  • The extremely MLS-y Re-Entry Draft was last week (if you don't know what this is, assume that you probably don't want to know). As is the norm, literally one player was selected — Josh Bauer — who is going from Atlanta to Nashville. Nashville has gotten a lot of mileage out of boring American MLS lifers, especially on the backline, so perhaps this guy, who has never actually played in an MLS game, will turn into something. He's a relative rare pro from New Hampshire (Bedford).
  • Austin FC signed winger Ethan Finlay. He's been a useful MLS player who you don't want to be your star. The risk is that he turns 32 next season and he's the sort of player who will quickly become pretty useless when he loses his speed.
  • SKC signed left back Ben Sweat, who extremely hardcore USMNT fans will remember as one of the more random Dave Sarachan call ups back in late 2018. SKC jettisoned nearly all their fullbacks so he's currently the only LB on the roster but I suspect they'll bring in someone else to be the starter.
 

ninjacornelius

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I’m hoping that Ethan Finlay just needs a change of scenery, because his numbers last year were abysmal, and that was on a team that was much better than Austin last season.
 

67YAZ

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Dec 1, 2000
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The Fire announce the completion of their 50 mini-pitches across Chicago project launched in 2017. Pretty great stuff. If only they were heated to facilitate winter use…maybe Mansueto can kick in for that next time around.
 

67YAZ

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Dec 1, 2000
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The Fire also sign Indiana University grad & Chicago native Vicyot Bezerra to a homegrown deal. Bezerra had a nice college career with 28 goals and a lot of team success at IU.

At 21, Bezerra becomes the second oldest striker on the squad - Ivanov is 22, Offor is 21, Rodriguez is 21, and Duran is 17. Clearly they need a veteran goal scorer, preferably someone with a proven MLS track record. But competition for rotation slots will be intense. Will be a good indicator of Hendrickson’s youth development philosophy to see how he manages this.
 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
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Dec 15, 2002
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Alistair Johnston goes from Nashville to Montreal for $1m in GAM.

After selling off four international roster slots and now this, Nashville is sitting on a lot of salary cap space. I'm curious to see what they do with it.

Montreal has shown a lot of interest in acquiring solid talent from within the league (a departure from their historical tendencies), but so far it's paid off: Mihailovic and Miller have been great, and Toye has shown promise though has been limited by injuries. Johnston has progressed from random draft pick to a starter for Canada, and can play RB, RWB, or RCB.

https://en.cfmontreal.com/news/cf-montreal-acquires-canadian-international-alistair-johnston
 

Senator Donut

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Apr 21, 2010
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Lorenzo Insigne rumors to MLS (likely TFC) keep popping up in Italian media. The article itself pours cold water on the idea, but Insigne is out of contract in June and is miles apart from Napoli on an extension. There will likely be a resolution one way or another in the January window.

It’s hard for me imagine Insigne in MLS before the 2022 World Cup, but stranger things have happened. I don’t think he’d be frozen out of the national team like other aging European imports.
Toronto is returning to the championship formula of signing short Italian internationals by going after Lorenzo Insigne. Its far from a done deal, but the numbers mentioned would be staggering for an MLS club. EUR 11.5 million net after Canadian and provincial taxes would be far more than double the league’s highest salary, which is Carlos Vela at USD 6.3 million.

View: https://twitter.com/fabrizioromano/status/1475825322834776066
 

67YAZ

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Dec 1, 2000
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Wow. My guess is with that kind of money on the table, the biggest issue was getting assurances that this move wouldn’t hurt Insigne’s national team spot.