MLS 2024: It’s Leo’s league, we’re all just playing in it

Titans Bastard

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DC United officially announces Troy Lesesne as their manager, as reported about a week ago.

CF Montreal announced Frenchman Laurent Courtois as their new manager, replacing Hernán Losada. Courtois managed Columbus Crew 2 for the last two years, where he won MLS Next Pro in 2022 and reached the championship game in 2023. He isn't exactly a "Wilfried Nancy discipline" because he was at Columbus before Nancy arrived, but it is highly amusing that Montreal hired one of Wilfried Nancy's underlings after chasing him out of town following the 2022 season, seemingly because Joey Saputo is really annoying.

Anyway, as a player, Courtois spent a lot of time in Ligue 2, some time in Ligue 1, and had an unsuccessful stint with West Ham United. Toward the end of his career, he entered the MLS ecosystem as a Chivas USA player and eventually as an LA Galaxy player, ending his career as a player-coach for the Galaxy reserves. It's interesting how the late 00s / early 10s Chivas USA squads have turned out to be manager factories. The 2008 team had four future MLS coaches on it (Jim Curtin, Paulo Nagamura, Raphael Wicky, and Jesse Marsch) plus some guys who are reserve team coaches or assistant coaches in MLS organizations (Zach Thornton, Ante Razov, Shavar Thomas). They also had Atiba Harris, who is now the president of the St. Kitts & Nevis FA, who made it to the Gold Cup for the first time in 2023.

Austin FC signed 23 year old Brazilian left back Guilherme Biro. This guy was a regular for Mirassol in Brazil's Série B last year, and prior to that was with Coritiba as they yo-yoed between the top two divisions. You just never know with these types of signings.

Inter Miami signed Julian Gressel. They already have DeAndre Yedlin at right back, but they need a ton of depth with their schedule. MLS, Leagues Cup, Champions Cup, US Open Cup, etc, so there will be plenty of minutes. Gressel is a talented crosser who is an offense-first RB or RWB. He's a bit slow and isn't great defensively. This Miami team is going to be good and they're going to be fun — not just because of Messi, but because they're going to win a lot of games 4-3.

Atlanta United signed soon-to-be-37-year-old Dax McCarty, who was out of contract with Nashville. He still has value as a veteran backup.

St. Louis signed 22 year old Danish left back Nikolas Dyhr from Midtjylland. He wasn't starting in Denmark, which does not bode especially well.

LA Galaxy signed 30 year old Japanese right back Miki Yamane from Kawasaki Frontale. He's been a regular starter in the J.League for many years and also has 16 caps for Japan and a bunch of AFC Champions League experience.


A few academy signings:

Colorado signed goalkeeper Adam Beaudry '06. Inter Miami signed center back Tyler Hall '06. Both were on the most recent US U17 squad at the World Cup.
 

dirtynine

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The Bridgeport Ballot Stuffers


But seriously, it's gotten extremely tiresome that at all levels of domestic pro soccer, every single team uses boring-ass Anglophile names that have no character.

In 2011, the Portland Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps joined MLS.

Since then we have:

CF (formerly Montreal Impact)
FC
City SC
United FC
United FC
FC
FC
CF
SC
FC
FC
City SC
I see “FC” or “SC” etc like a formality/placeholder like “Inc.” - just a way to indicate a soccer enterprise, not a full and true identity. There’s nothing stopping FC teams from embracing organic, interesting identities - see MNUFC and the Loons. The supporters and local media need to take responsibility for that. To me this is way better than inventing a team identity and stamping it on the club before anyone has ever loved it.
 

Awesome Fossum

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I see “FC” or “SC” etc like a formality/placeholder like “Inc.” - just a way to indicate a soccer enterprise, not a full and true identity. There’s nothing stopping FC teams from embracing organic, interesting identities - see MNUFC and the Loons. The supporters and local media need to take responsibility for that. To me this is way better than inventing a team identity and stamping it on the club before anyone has ever loved it.
If it were intended to be placeholder that evolved into an actual official nickname, I think that would be a cool/smart strategy. As you obviously know, branding is hard, and letting it evolve organically seems like a clever solution. But I don't ever actually see that happen. Minnesota United FC are not, in fact, the Loons. If anything, it goes backward, like in Montreal.
 

Titans Bastard

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I see “FC” or “SC” etc like a formality/placeholder like “Inc.” - just a way to indicate a soccer enterprise, not a full and true identity. There’s nothing stopping FC teams from embracing organic, interesting identities - see MNUFC and the Loons. The supporters and local media need to take responsibility for that. To me this is way better than inventing a team identity and stamping it on the club before anyone has ever loved it.
We’re not English and we shouldn’t act like it. People try this but it never sticks. Lean into local culture and stop trying to be a second rate version of someone else. Garish team nicknames is our thing. Let’s not be embarrassed about it.
 

steeplechase3k

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I 100% agree about FC and SC being terrible, particularly for Atlanta and Minnesota. Both of those areas had long standing lower division teams with interesting names. Minnesota Thunder and Atlanta Silverbacks are both much more interesting.
 

OCST

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That name is so bad it seems more like a parody than a real team.
As a Connecticut native who left upon becoming a man and never went back, my love of the place cannot obscure that any such thing - a new footy team- that has the potential to be good - will be so badly executed that it will embarrass everyone involved.
 

dirtynine

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We’re not English and we shouldn’t act like it. People try this but it never sticks. Lean into local culture and stop trying to be a second rate version of someone else. Garish team nicknames is our thing. Let’s not be embarrassed about it.
Garish as they may have always been, they weren’t always assigned by a marketing team. Newspapers named the Red Sox… and along with employees and college students, many other clubs / teams we know and love now. I don’t hold modern franchise-era American teams as the high / holy model to aspire to here. Baseball clubs used to be supported in the States like soccer clubs are abroad. See the Royal Rooters, et al. That shit is cool. It comes naturally to Americans and soccer woke it up for a lot of people. I don’t think it’s trying to be English to hope that MLS is forging its own interesting path instead of trying to be the NFL.
 

67YAZ

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Garish as they may have always been, they weren’t always assigned by a marketing team. Newspapers named the Red Sox… and along with employees and college students, many other clubs / teams we know and love now. I don’t hold modern franchise-era American teams as the high / holy model to aspire to here. Baseball clubs used to be supported in the States like soccer clubs are abroad. See the Royal Rooters, et al. That shit is cool. It comes naturally to Americans and soccer woke it up for a lot of people. I don’t think it’s trying to be English to hope that MLS is forging its own interesting path instead of trying to be the NFL.
Before the picked the Commanders, I was rooting for them to just stay the Washington Football team like some of the great soccer clubs: Liverpool, Barcelona, etc. Keep the team colors and use a stylized W logo. It was different and distinct during that short interim between names.

It’s nice that the Chicago Fire has a locally meaningful and non-pluralized name, but it’s pretty generic. Even the University of Illinois-Chicago gave the same concept a twist by being the Flames.

The Red Stars is a killer name, though - references the beloved municipal flag and has soccer cred with its Red Star Belgrade similarity.
 

67YAZ

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Tom Bogert reporting that the Fire are just about to sew up Hugo Cuypers, a 27yo forward, from Gent for $12m plus $2m in add-ons. The Fire desperately need a 9 that can bang in goals and Cuypers has been doing that in Belgium. But it's a risky outlay for a 27yo moving over to MLS. I am heartened that his FBRef profile shows a very well-rounded #9 - progressive passing and defensive actions rank highly. And some of Cuypers' top comps are Julian Carranza, Brandon Vazquez, and Brian White. If Cuypers can give the Fire a couple of seasons of 15+ goals, good hold-up play, and effective pressing, he'll be worth it.

Of course, the big news Fire fans are hanging on to hear is Kellyn Acosta. Chicago brass have been engaged with Acosta all winter and he would immediately solidify the weak, soft central midfield the Fire have been rolling out in recent years.

There's also some sales work for Heitz. Przybylko, Torres, and Souquet are being flogged to every passerby. Teran asked out earlier this winter, but he recently had a knee procedure that will keep him sidelined into March.
 
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67YAZ

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It's happening! Acosta to Chicago.

IMO, this gives the Fire the engine room player they have been sorely lacking for a long time...since the Dax-Schweinsteiger midfield.

This would put Chicago 3 players over the roster limit, so Heitz still has a work to do. Pryzbylko is a buy out candidate since there is zero interest in him at current salary. Torres is still trying to find a move for himself in Mexico, and Souquet is a prime candidate for a switch to Lugano (though it's rumored he's trying to get a green card to facilitate a trade within MLS). Gimenez appears to have some interested suitors in Argentina (window open to Feb 16), but is also the best CM on the roster at present. He'd be an effective partner for Acosta, so hoping Gimenez stays.

 

Titans Bastard

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The first MLS action of last night was in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, where Vancouver "hosted" Tigres, though the game was actually at Pacific FC's stadium in Victoria.

The Whitecaps scored a nice opening goal, but in classic early-season-CONCACAF-play-against-a-Mexican-giant fashion, they blew the lead late in the game. Andre-Pierre Gignac is freaking eternal. He has over 200 goals for Tigres since joining in 2015 from Marseille.

View: https://twitter.com/BrianSciaretta/status/1755442484237177288


View: https://twitter.com/ArnoldcommaJon/status/1755457454563848661
 

67YAZ

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Torres takes a buy out. That opens a DP slot, but the Fire are still 2 players over the roster limit. Maybe they make a run at a new DP this summer.

Torres got into 119 matches at Atlas by age 21, but completely stalled out in Chicago. He seems like a good enough kid with time left to get his career back on track. Good luck to him.
 

67YAZ

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The Fire solve their roster logjam by loaning Przybylko and Reynolds to Lugano. Having being part of an international club network has paid off well for Chicago. Off the top of my head, that makes 5 players the Fire have offloaded without having to actually find a transfer partner.

Which something Miami desperately needs. They have a very expansive roster crunch to sort out by Tuesday and it seems like the rest of the league is reveling in their struggle. There maybe some real cut rate deals available over the next few days - Messi enjoying his first President’s Day Weekend Sale.
 
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Titans Bastard

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Which something Miami desperately needs. They have a very expansive roster crunch to sort out by Tuesday and it seems like the rest of the league is reveling in their struggle. There maybe some real cut rate deals available over the next few days - Messi enjoying his first President’s Day Weekend Sale.
Inter Miami is reportedly finalizing a deal to sell Gregore to Botafogo. That is a real loss to their midfield. There are also some reports their expensive deal to sign highly rated DM Federico Redondo from Argentinos Juniors has fallen through.

I wonder how things will go with Miami this year. They have a lot of talent, but they're going to have to jettison some value to be roster compliant, their oldies are old, and they already had a brutally long schedule in 2024 even before the farcical dog-and-pony show of their recent international tour. These guys are going to be logging a lot of miles and a lot of minutes.

Meanwhile in CCL, Toluca threw up all over themselves last night. In the first leg, they went to Costa Rica and beat Herediano 2-1. They went into HT of the second leg with a 2-0 (4-1 on aggregate) lead. And then they blew it in the second half, conceding three goals at home and losing on away goals.


The regular season starts in five days!
 

67YAZ

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I haven’t been following this story until now - MLS likely to start season with replacement refs since league delegated organization (PRO) & the officials’ union can’t come to agreement.

Bad way to start a season - with Messi featuring, nonetheless. Staffing up with replacements is hard because no one who hopes to ever break into a MLS job or anyone who simply has a conscious about scabbing will sign up. Like we saw with the NFL, the jump from high school and semi-pro is so massive as to be almost impossible.
 

Senator Donut

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I haven’t been following this story until now - MLS likely to start season with replacement refs since league delegated organization (PRO) & the officials’ union can’t come to agreement.

Bad way to start a season - with Messi featuring, nonetheless. Staffing up with replacements is hard because no one who hopes to ever break into a MLS job or anyone who simply has a conscious about scabbing will sign up. Like we saw with the NFL, the jump from high school and semi-pro is so massive as to be almost impossible.
I don’t understand how PSRA and PRO could negotiate and reach a “tentative agreement,” yet that agreement was so unpalatable to union rank and file that it was voted down soundly.

View: https://twitter.com/psraofficials/status/1757813686947762520
 

67YAZ

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I don’t understand how PSRA and PRO could negotiate and reach a “tentative agreement,” yet that agreement was so unpalatable to union rank and file that it was voted down soundly.

View: https://twitter.com/psraofficials/status/1757813686947762520
Soundly softens the reality of a 95.8% no vote. I haven’t seen reporting about what the rank & file objected to - is if one key issue or the whole package? The refs should probably be looking for new leadership, which would unfortunately extend their strike if they do so now.
 
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67YAZ

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With less than a week to get read for the season?!?!? Doesn’t seem like he’s being set up for success.
 

ThePrideofShiner

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I can't believe the season starts tomorrow.

Predictions? Predictions!

MLS Cup winner: Columbus
Shield: Cincinnati
Golden Boot: Bouanga
MVP: Messi
 

Cellar-Door

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I don’t understand how PSRA and PRO could negotiate and reach a “tentative agreement,” yet that agreement was so unpalatable to union rank and file that it was voted down soundly.

View: https://twitter.com/psraofficials/status/1757813686947762520
View: https://twitter.com/JeffreyCarlisle/status/1760800272937566661


PSRA says they told PRO repeatedly there was no way it would get voted for, but PRO refused to negotiate further so they brought it back to be voted on.
 

Titans Bastard

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Well, Miami kicked off the year with a 2-0 win over RSL on Wednesday, but the full slate of games falls over the weekend. I'm looking forward to the return of weekend MLS. Happily, the schedule this year seems to have 2-3 midday games on Saturday instead of lining up everything from 7pm-10pm kickoffs, which means it will be easier to watch more games.

The first leg of the first round of CONCACAF Champions Cup went well for MLS clubs despite the preseason rust that often affects performances at this time of year.

  • Philly won on the road in Costa Rica at Deportivo Saprissa
  • The Revs won on the road in Panama at Independiente
  • Orlando won on the road in Canada over Cavalry on neutral ground since apparently playing outdoors in Calgary in February is tough
  • Cincinnati won on the road in Jamaica over Cavalier
  • Nashville won on the road in the DR over Moca
St. Louis beat Houston 2-1 at home, so they have everything to play for in the second leg.

Earlier Vancouver had held Tigres to a 1-1 draw at home and predictably lost 3-0 on the road, but the Whitecaps in preseason form were never going to win this one.


Inter Miami signed Federico Redondo from Argentinos Juniors. The son of Fernando Redondo, he's supposed to be the tier of Argentine prospect who goes straight to a big Euro club. I've never seen him play, but They're Saying that this is something of a coup for an MLS team. He comes in as a "U22 Initiative" signing, which is one of those complicated MLS salary budget concepts that boils down to the fact that only $200k of his salary will count against the cap because the league is trying to incentivize younger imports with big resale potential.

View: https://twitter.com/InterMiamiCF/status/1761106333506347189
 

67YAZ

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2 minutes in, Gutman goes down with a non-contact injury. He was able to limp off, but was visibly distraught. Helluva start to the season.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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I wanted to go to the game in Philly tonight, but it’s just way too cold. Never thought MLS soccer would be of any interest to me, but I went a few times last year and it was actually much better than I thought it would be.
 

67YAZ

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I wanted to go to the game in Philly tonight, but it’s just way too cold. Never thought MLS soccer would be of any interest to me, but I went a few times last year and it was actually much better than I thought it would be.
There’s a very good crowd there despite the cold.

Philly looking tired and slow, like they played a mid-week match in paradise and are freezing their asses off 3 days later.
 

67YAZ

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This Chicago - Philly game is just amazing.
But all too familiar in the end. Chicago can't hold a goddamn lead.

Edit: Of course, I would have taken a point if you offered it pre-match. But disappointing to let points slip away so late.
 

steeplechase3k

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DaBella will go down as one of the shortest kits sponsorships in history with one match.*

View: https://twitter.com/RyanTClarke/status/1762955198304276494


BREAKING: A former executive accuses DaBella CEO Donnie McMillan Jr. of unwanted advances/sexual harassment of at least 3 female employees.

DaBella signed as kit sponsor for the Portland Timbers beginning this season.
View: https://twitter.com/RyanTClarke/status/1762961211199824358


The Timbers have terminated their sponsorship with DaBella .
* however, they have what will likely be one of the best records as a kit sponsor of 1-0-0, +3 GD
 

Titans Bastard

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I think it's been a decade since I read an article about the Portland Timbers that wasn't about sexual misconduct.
 

Titans Bastard

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The Revolution concluded the series with Independiente with a comfortable 3-0 home win (4-0 on aggregate).

CONCACAF Champions Cup has gone well for MLS thus far. No dumb losses amid preseason rust — the Whitecaps have been knocked about by Tigres (expected) and St. Louis were beaten by Houston.

MLS-related matchups in the R16:

Philadelphia vs. Pachuca (MEX)
New England vs. Alajuelense (CRC)
Houston vs. Columbus
Orlando vs. Tigres (MEX)
Cincinnati vs. Monterrey (MEX)
Nashville vs. Miami
 

67YAZ

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Brady with a great reaction save.

The Fire look fantastic back in red.
 

67YAZ

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Brady with a crucial kick save. There aren’t many soccer players with Brady’s size and athleticism. In another life, he’s a D1 tight end preparing for his junior year.
 

Zomp

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Just got back from the Revs opener. Probably my first mls game in 10 years. Insigne scored a peach but New Wmgland had a load of chances but couldn’t convert.

it will be interesting to see if Messi plays when Miami comes. I know in the past some players haven’t played against New England because of the turf. Today it looked particularly bad.
 

Senator Donut

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Just got back from the Revs opener. Probably my first mls game in 10 years. Insigne scored a peach but New Wmgland had a load of chances but couldn’t convert.
The Revs played a like a team with no strikers, because that’s what they are right now with the entire position injured or suspended. They won 11 corners to Toronto’s 0!
 

ThePrideofShiner

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The Sounders are one of two teams - NYCFC the other - who have not scored in open play this year. They are 0-1-1 and just announced that their new DP is out 6-8 weeks with a hamstring injury, plus they are already missing three starters (Frei, Joao Paulo and Albert Rusnak) and have to play at Philadelphia this week.

Recipe for disaster, this season is.
 

Senator Donut

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Revs are playing tonight without Carles Gil or a striker in their XI. There are also more La Liga fans here for this 6:00 weekday kickoff.