MLS Offseason 2020-21: TAM, GAM, Thank You Ma'am.

Titans Bastard

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MLS somehow made it through the 2020 season, which turned out to be fairly entertaining if often bizarre and quirky even by MLS standards. Theoretically, the delayed playoff structure for the 2020 season will make for the shortest offseason we've had in a while, but that's dependent on the 2021 season starting at a normal time, which is far from certain for obvious reasons.

Some major storylines heading into the offseason:

  • Austin FC joins the league in 2021 as the 27th team. While there's some general ill will toward Austin based entirely on distaste for their owner Anthony Precourt and his attempted re-enactment of the plot of Major League in Columbus, that doesn't seem to be translating to Austin itself where, like most expansion teams, there's a ton of interest in season tickets. They should be the best-supported team in Texas next year.

  • The CBA was amended in mid-2020 because of the pandemic, a process that included the insertion of a force majeure clause. As a result, there have been rumors that the owners are considering invoking it, which would dissolve the CBA and bring the parties back to the table with a fresh slate. This would be acrimonious, as the players are already unhappy with how owners conducted themselves in earlier rounds of negotiations.

  • The youth movement in MLS. A few pivotal events occurred in 2020: young American players played a lot, and did pretty well! The share of total MLS minutes going to US U23s increased by 37%. Digging deeper, this effect was even stronger among the U20 subset, whose share of minutes increased by 58%. I see several reasons why this happened: (1) there are more good young US players than there used to be and clubs have better infrastructure and club culture to accommodate bringing them into the first team, (2) the COVID-shortened schedule had aggressive travel that required a lot of squad rotation. We also saw increased willingness to sell: deals were struck for Cannon and Aaronson during the season, and it seems likely that Reynolds and McKenzie will be out the door this winter. So — how will these trends fare in 2021? I'm optimistic.

A well-maintained list of transactions this offseason can be found in a couple of places:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Major_League_Soccer_transfers_2021https://www.mlssoccer.com/transactions/2021
Today on Christmas, San Jose announced the return of club legend and all-around great story Chris Wondolowski, who had been toying with retirement. Instead, he'll return for his age 38 season.

Another aging MLS prolific-striker-turned-supersub, Bradley Wright-Phillips, has signed with Columbus.


Anyway, it will wonderful if we can get fans back in stadiums before the end of the season. I'm sensing that the rise of a strong generation of American players is something that is going to raise interest in all corners of American soccer (players abroad, USMNT, MLS) and I'd like to see the domestic league benefit from that as much as possible. Here's hoping.
 

Titans Bastard

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A few rumors from ESPN:

14.34 GMT: Portland Timbers are considering sending Jeremy Ebobisse on loan to a club in the German 2. Bundesliga, sources have told ESPN. The 23-year-old forward scored eight goals in 19 games last season.

Portland have also turned down offers of around $1.5m from Europe for midfielder Eryk Williamson.

14.00 GMT:
Columbus Crew only signed winger Luis Diaz for $1m from Club Sport Herediano of Costa Rica's First Division in July 2019 and now they've rejected a bid of twice that.

Diaz, 20, has impressed this season as he helped the Crew claim the MLS Cup trophy. Now sources have told ESPN that the club have refused a bid of around $2m from a unnamed side from the French Ligue 1.
I saw a report that the offer for Williamson came from Ferencvaros. I'd take a pass on that one.

I remain befuddled at the Timbers' attitude toward Ebobisse.
 

Titans Bastard

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Welp.......the league invoked the force majeure clause, which is a big deal.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/major-league-soccer/story/4275493/mls-informs-players-union-that-it-will-invoke-force-majeure-clause-to-terminate-cba-source
Major League Soccer has informed the MLS Players Association that it will invoke a force majeure clause that obligates the parties to negotiate modifications to the existing collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in good faith for 30 days, a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN on Tuesday. If the sides are unable to reach an agreement, the CBA negotiated in June could be terminated.

The source added that MLS has not yet made a proposal to the players for a 2021 CBA, but that would happen "promptly."
I'm not sure how this will play out. This has never happened before in MLS, nor am I an expert in labor negotiations. Doug McIntyre reported that MLSHQ does not expect fans to be allowed in stadiums for most or all of 2021, and as we know, MLS is much more dependent on gameday revenue than other American sports leagues that have much larger TV contracts.


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Mentioned in other threads, but reliable sources are reporting that Philly CB Mark McKenzie will be sold to Genk for $6m + a sell-on fee and Dallas RB Bryan Reynolds will be sold to Juve for ~$10m (including incentives) and loaned to Cagliari.

This means that Philly are reaping >$12m in fees this winter along with the Aaronson transfer. However, they have some serious holes to fill now. Reynolds is sold just six months after he took over the RB job after Reggie Cannon was sold to Boavista. Cannon's fee was a steal for Boavista, but they're getting their money in this Reynolds deal.

McKenzie has a clear path to a bigger club if he performs well in Belgium. Reynolds' move is high-risk, high-reward given the level of Juventus and the perils of Life While On Loan.


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In more mundane news, Cincinnati have picked up Ronald Matarrita from NYCFC. Acquiring cost-effective known quantities in MLS isn't flashy, but ultimately you need a bunch of them on your roster to be effective.

https://www.fccincinnati.com/post/2020/12/29/fcc-acquire-costa-rica-international-defender-ronald-matarrita
 

Titans Bastard

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Houston completed their troll by signing Joe Corona to a 2+1 year contract. As you may recall, Corona was out of contract with LA Galaxy, Austin acquired his rights in the Expansion Draft, but because he was out of contract he was available in the Re-Entry Draft, so Houston nabbed his rights a week later.

Cincinnati signed ex-Rev goalkeeper Cody Cropper, who was with Houston last year. He's certainly still on track to be a career backup.


And @67YAZ's boy Mauricio Pineda got a new 3+1 year contract that undoubtedly comes with a nice raise.
 

67YAZ

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Houston completed their troll by signing Joe Corona to a 2+1 year contract. As you may recall, Corona was out of contract with LA Galaxy, Austin acquired his rights in the Expansion Draft, but because he was out of contract he was available in the Re-Entry Draft, so Houston nabbed his rights a week later.

Cincinnati signed ex-Rev goalkeeper Cody Cropper, who was with Houston last year. He's certainly still on track to be a career backup.


And @67YAZ's boy Mauricio Pineda got a new 3+1 year contract that undoubtedly comes with a nice raise.
Thats great news for the future captain. The Fire picked up his second year option just before MLS Is Back, so I’m a little surprised they negotiated a new deal so soon. Maybe someone else was sniffing around? In any case, it’s a nice signal to the raft of homegrowns sign last year that the club will invest in them if they perform well.
 

Titans Bastard

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Symbolic also because Mauricio's older brother was a classic example of an academy kid who went pro, but whose development was mishandled and who didn't get much of a real shot.
 

Titans Bastard

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As long expected, LA Galaxy have hired Greg Vanney as manager.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto did a poor job, but LAG's problems run deeper. I wonder how much control Vanney was able to get over roster decisions. Dennis te Kloese seems reasonable, but the root of the issues seem to lie with the club president, Chris Klein.

Will LAG ever cease the "chase shiny objects" method of roster-building? Even when the shiny objects are very, very good (Zlatan), the team is still disjointed and mediocre at best.
 

Titans Bastard

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Miami fires Alonso after all. Doing so in January makes no sense; if he's not the guy, why wait? That being said, we already know Miami is totally dysfunctional from the episode where the Athletic reported that he was fired, because it turned out Alonso thought he had been fired after a meeting and told a bunch of people about it.

https://www.intermiamicf.com/en/post/2021/01/07/inter-miami-cf-and-manager-diego-alonso-mutually-agree-part-ways

Meanwhile, Matt Besler has signed with Austin. They'll hope to get some veteran stability from him, but Besler's level has dropped and he lost his place in the starting lineup with KC last year.
 

67YAZ

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Miami fires Alonso after all. Doing so in January makes no sense; if he's not the guy, why wait? That being said, we already know Miami is totally dysfunctional from the episode where the Athletic reported that he was fired, because it turned out Alonso thought he had been fired after a meeting and told a bunch of people about it.

https://www.intermiamicf.com/en/post/2021/01/07/inter-miami-cf-and-manager-diego-alonso-mutually-agree-part-ways.
The Athletic reporting that Phil Neville, Beckham’s ol’ chum, is in talks to take over. This is complicated because Neville has agreed to stay on with the English women’s team through the Olympics, with his replacement set to come on in September.

Presumably, Miami wants him right away, but why would Neville trash his reputation in England for an MLS job? It's not like he's being recruited to take over ManU. England will be a favorite for the medal stand...maybe he doesn't think there will be an Olympics this summer?
 
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Titans Bastard

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This doesn't seem great:

https://theathletic.com/2311753/2021/01/08/
The ownership group for Sacramento’s incoming MLS club did not sign and submit its MLS expansion agreement or make a planned payment toward its $200 million expansion fee by a December deadline, according to multiple sources.

The sources don’t expect that the development will jeopardize the club’s entry to MLS, but one said it has sparked some concern among individual MLS owners. Having started play in the USL in 2016, the club’s elevation to MLS was officially announced in 2019 and was initially scheduled to occur in 2022; that was pushed back to 2023 in July in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More moves:

  • Columbus signed Kevin Molino, which is a biggie. While he's struggled with injuries at times, he was great in 2020 for Minnesota and gives the already-good Crew attack another boost. Santos/Molino/Diaz/Etienne is a solid group of wingers. Usually MLS Cup-winning squads don't have the cap space to make these kinds of signings. It's also a positive development for the Crew's chances in CCL, as I'd rate them as MLS' greatest hope in 2021.

  • The Revs signed Ema Boateng. 26 year old Ghanaian winger who has been around the league. Bruce signed him for the LA Galaxy in 2016. I don't think he'll be a starter.

  • D.C. acquired journeyman backup GK Jon Kempin from Columbus for a draft pick.
 

67YAZ

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Fire going hard on the youth movement, sign 17 year old Columbian striker Jhon Jáder Durán. Durán was just listed as one of the Guardian’s top-60 youth prospects world wide. He won’t come stateside until January 2022, but this is a quintessential Heitz move. The Basel-fication of Chicago picks up speed.

Edit: Here's the Guardian's write-up on him from October. Please don't try to sober me up, I'm drunk on this kool-aid right now - a "more complete" Lukaku with the flair of Tino Asprilla.

Aged 16 and already a towering 6ft tall, Jhon Jáder has made a habit of being ahead of schedule so far in his fledgling career. A revelation in youth football after the Medellin-born left footer was converted from winger to striker by the Under-15s coach Wilberth Perea, Durán went on to play for the Colombia Under-17s while still 15, before being promoted to the Under-20s national team that is currently preparing for the South American Youth Championships on home soil in 2021. In 2019, he became the second youngest goalscorer in Colombian top-flight history at the tender age of 15 years and 263 days with a goal after nine minutes. Strong, versatile and with a devilish burst of pace, he emerged from the same famed Envigado academy as James Rodríguez and Juan Fernando Quintero, then aged 11. Nephew to an ex-player who is now a football manager, Durán’s development has since been in good hands with several observers comparing his robust style to that of Romelu Lukaku. “Both are similar players, but for me Durán could develop to be even more complete,” coach Perea explains. “At the age of 15 he’d already broken all the limits. He has this strong character to always try risks – a bit like Tino Asprilla would do.”
 
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Titans Bastard

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67YAZ

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Columbus signed Isaiah Parente '00, a central midfielder from their academy who had gone on to play three years at Wake Forest. They'll have three 20-21 year old academy products in central midfield behind Nagbe and Artur next year. Zero backups with much experience is a real vote of confidence in MLS Cup hero Aidan Morris, as well as the other two to a lesser extent.

https://www.columbuscrewsc.com/post/2021/01/11/columbus-crew-sc-signs-academy-product-and-midfielder-isaiah-parente
Hmmmm...the Crew has done a very nice job of adding depth & competition elsewhere. They are clearly MLS’ best hope in the Champions League, but this seems like thin cover.
 

Titans Bastard

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LAFC signed Kim Moon-Hwan, a 25 year old Korean right back who has accumulated 11 caps over the last few years.

https://www.lafc.com/post/2021/01/11/lafc-signs-korean-international-kim-moon-hwan
LAFC have a couple of right backs in Tristan Blackmon and Erik Duenas, but Blackmon might be a CB long-term and Duenas is extremely young. If LAFC don't bring back Jesus Murillo than Blackmon would seem to be a lock starter alongside Eddie Segura.

Hmmmm...the Crew has done a very nice job of adding depth & competition elsewhere. They are clearly MLS’ best hope in the Champions League, but this seems like thin cover.
It's very inexperienced and quite possibly thin, but we'll have to see. Aidan Morris barely played before October, but then in his third career start he pocketed Nico Lodeiro in MLS Cup. If they believe he's anywhere near as good as he was in the game, that's a pretty solid third CM. Part of trusting in youth means taking these risks and if they are going to carry three young CMs they need to make sure they don't get buried. Of course, I completely agree that this type of inexperience is a concern in CCL...
 

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View: https://twitter.com/TimbersFC/status/1349069115617468416


Jorge Villafaña to LAG, in Exchange the Timbers move up a few spots in the draft and might get some Allocation Money depending on how he performs.

I'm sad about this, Villafaña was amazing in 2015 and has struggled lately, but when he was playing well he was really good. The Timbers do have to fix problems on the back line, but I never thought Villafaña was part of the problem. Though he is from Anaheim so he might have asked for a trade to be closer to home.
 

Titans Bastard

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I don't follow soccer (sorry) but can someone enlighten me on how this kid from Leominster got the bums rush? Age or Arena?
Fagundez was a teenage phenom early in his career, but he plateaued for a while and then in the last few years, his role with the Revs has steadily diminished. It certainly didn't feel like Arena saw him as part of his long-term plans, but Fagundez's stature with the Revs was slipping before Bruce's arrival.

I'm not really sure what it is. It's not age: he's been around forever but he turns 26 next month. Sometimes it feels like he just lost his mojo at some point. I think a change of scenery has the potential to be good for him.
 

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Montreal signed Sunusi Ibrahim, an 18 year old forward, from 36 Lion FC which appears to be a third-division club in Nigeria. Interesting...

His club is perhaps one that is mostly a youth club. Ibrahim has played with Nigeria's U23 squad.

https://www.impactmontreal.com/en/post/2021/01/12/impact-acquires-forward-sunusi-ibrahim
I'm interested in this because Montreal just signed Mustafa Kizza from Uganda. Maybe the Impact are targeting African players as undervalued?

Looks like Ibrahim is signed with an agency called Ultimate Sports LTD, a Russian outfit with a bunch of Russian players in Russian second division and youth sides plus a few African players here and there. Most of the agency info is in Russian, but they have an Instagram page! From what I have seen, third-party ownership by agencies is not uncommon in Russia, but it's quite a bit different laundering the rubles from team to agent around the domestic second tier than swinging a deal with MLS.
 
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Titans Bastard

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Toronto have hired Chris Armas as their new manager. Armas was fired by NYRB in the middle of 2020 and doesn't feel like a particularly inspiring pick at all. I won't write him off entirely just yet, as NYRB's investment in their roster is weak so perhaps Armas will have more success in a different environment. That being said, I think NYRB's results improved after he left.
 

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I don't follow soccer (sorry) but can someone enlighten me on how this kid from Leominster got the bums rush? Age or Arena?
Adding to what TB wrote, Diego signed an ill-advised extension in 2016 (his agent is his father) that quickly became below market as similar players cashed in on the new TAM, GAM, and young DP bonanza. Mike Burns brought in objectively worse players on multiples of Fagundez’s salary, and at some point around two or three years ago the club/player relationship become irreparable.

Arena also played hardball with him, leaving Diego completely out of the match day 20 for much of the playoffs after he didn’t agree to the Rev’s final contract extension offer, but by that point, he was no longer a key contributor, with the additions of McNamara and Nguyen.
 

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Mourinho gave a keynote at the United Soccer Coaches convention. He's also interesting, said this about Euro scouts looking at MLS:

“To be honest, the example of the Canadian boy [Davies] in Bayern [Munich], this is the kind of situation that opens the eyes to European scouts. In this moment European scouts, they have an eye on MLS, I promise you that. People now they believe that they can scout and they can find good players in there, so the production is very positive.”
 

67YAZ

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Nice interview with Mansueto in the Tribune. He indicates a strong commitment to building a scouting network as well as getting the homegrown pipeline flowing. He also notes that through “shared sacrifice,” the club has been able to weather COVID without layoffs.
 

67YAZ

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Mansueto making the rounds with another interview today. He indicates a future plan to have their own USL or U23 side and takes all the blame for the current team crest. As the author notes:

Mansueto seems to be the rare owner who gives credit to others when things are going well, and shoulders the blame when they’re not.
Mansueto also takes a shot at John Lennon for good measure.
 

Titans Bastard

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Catching up on some things:

Montreal announced their rebrand and are now known as "Club de Foot Montréal" or "CF Montreal".



I don't mind the new logo, but from the outside this really feels like a rebrand for the sake of rebranding. Sometimes it feels like new executives do this stuff simply to justify their existence. The ExtraTime Radio podcast did a long interview with a Montreal exec and I came away thoroughly unimpressed. Anyway, Impact fans are known to be salty and are not happy about this.

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LA Galaxy announced two GK signings this week. One was the re-signing of Jonathan Klinsmann and the other was the acquisition of Jonathan Bond from West Bromwich Albion. Bond has played for both Welsh and English youth teams and also has US citizenship through his mother. Even the most die-hard followers of obscure dual nationals didn't know this.

Anyway, Bond has been on the books at West Brom, Reading, and Watford and gone on a ton of loans. His only season as a full starter came at Peterborough in League One a few years ago and now he's 27. LA Galaxy are moving on from David Bingham and perhaps Bond was brought in to be a starter, but from the looks of it he'd be an awfully weak incumbent so perhaps one of LAG's three young keepers will take the job at some point.

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Houston signed Canadian Tyler Pasher, a goalscoring winger who has torn up USL for a few seasons with Indy Eleven. He had a cup of coffee with KC a few seasons ago and maybe he'll get more of a shot this time.

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FC Dallas traded for the rights to Philadelphia Union academy product Kalil ElMedkhar. He's a winger who completed his NCAA career at Kentucky. Philly didn't want to sign him but I guess he was an interesting enough player that they could get a little cash for his rights. Dallas has ditched a couple of wingers and this guy will be a backup next season.

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Columbus sold Chris Cadden to Hibernian. He made very little impact since arriving from Motherwell and spent part of last season on loan at Oxford United. I'd say no need to waste an international slot on a deep backup, but a bunch of Crew fans contend that he was actually pretty good but was homesick. Either way, time to go.

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Dallas took Freddy Vargas on loan from Deportivo Lara. He's a 22 year old Venezuelan winger whose quality is impossible to ascertain. Dallas have been hopelessly bad with their international signings over the last few years and that will need to change if they ever want to be a serious contender. They can't survive purely on academy products, especially since the best of them tend to be sold now.
 

Titans Bastard

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D.C. announced the hiring of Hernán Losada as their new manager. He's a 38 year old Argentine who spent the bulk of his playing career in Belgium, and got his first head coaching job with Beerschot in 2019. He led them to promotion from the second division last year, and at the moment they are midtable in the First Division A.

D.C. spent time pursuing several domestic options (Chris Armas, who wound up with a better job in Toronto anyway, and Sounders assistant coach Gonzalo Pineda) but talks broke down over money. I guess Losada came fairly cheap. I would be lying if I suggested I had the faintest idea if Losada is a good manager or how he'll try to play.

https://www.dcunited.com/post/2021/01/18/dc-united-name-hern-n-losada-head-coach
 

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Timbers complete transfer of Chilean international forward Felipe Mora from Pumas UNAM

https://www.timbers.com/post/portland-signs-felipe-mora-2021-mls-season-transfer-news
The Portland Timbers announced today that the club has completed the transfer of Chilean international forward Felipe Mora from Liga MX club Pumas UNAM, signing the forward to a new contract utilizing Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). Mora was originally acquired by the Timbers on loan from Pumas on Jan. 31, 2020.

Mora, 27, tallied seven goals and two assists in 1,204 minutes played across 19 appearances (13 starts) for the Timbers in MLS regular-season play last season. Across all competitions for the Timbers in 2020, Mora made 24 appearances (14 starts) and registered seven goals and two assists.
 

Titans Bastard

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Houston traded for Tim Parker. It's hard to know how much they're really paying without knowing how easy it will be for him to hit performance clauses. Parker is the sort of unexciting but solid CB that can really help stabilize a team that isn't very good.

This came on the heels of a deal where Houston sent their Slovenian CB Kiki Struna to Montreal in exchange for professionally frustrating forward Maxi Urruti, who's now on his fifth MLS team.

For NYRB, Parker was expendable because he's out of contract next year and they don't want to give him a big raise and because they signed Andres Reyes from Colombia's Atlético Nacional. Reyes was on loan with Inter Miami last year, but they declined his option allowing NYRB to swoop in. He wasn't great in 2020 but Miami were dysfunctional.

https://www.newyorkredbulls.com/post/2021/01/19/new-york-red-bulls-sign-colombian-youth-international-center-back-andr-s-reyes
Atlanta signed Machop Chol, a winger who was originally from their academy, after four years at Wake Forest. Born in Sudan, according to the press release he apparently has his US citizenship so he won't cost an international slot.

https://www.atlutd.com/post/2021/01/19/atlanta-united-signs-machop-chol-homegrown-player
 

Titans Bastard

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The MLS SuperDraft is today. The 2nd and 3rd rounds are now happening via conference calls. Here's my analysis:

Players were picked. Some will be good, but most won't. The percentage of young domestic talent that comes through the NCAA is smaller than ever, so college soccer gets less coverage than it used to — even when the seasons aren't canceled by COVID. So basically, nobody knows much about these guys or who had a good draft. I do recognize some names from old YNT camps or who came through MLS academies, but many of the names are international players recruited to NCAA programs, players from out-of-the-way places who played for small clubs or even HS soccer, and late bloomers.

The #1 and #20 overall picks are both immigrants who played for a small club in Roanoke, VA. The #14 overall pick played HS soccer in a small town in Fresno County, CA. I like these stories.

But a lot of these guys are going to be USL lifers.
 

67YAZ

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Hell yeah, the Fire draft a dude named Mitch Guitar!


The Fire sent their first round pick to Colorado for $125k in GAM. They then drafted 2 in the 2nd round - Jackson Ragen (Def, U of Michigan) & Christian Pinzon (Fwd, Cal State Fullerton) - then "Hot Licks" Guitar (Mid, Indy Eleven). None of the three are expected to join the Fire this year, which is fine given the number of homegrown and international youngsters now on the roster. Ragen seems like the most intriguing prospect - 6'6" CB and can pass the ball a little bit.
 
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candylandriots

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A guy I know coaches high school soccer in New Jersey. Just heard one of his former players was maybe one of the last picks in the draft (round 3, #30), Rene White. I'm guessing he's USL bound, but still kinda cool.
 

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TBH, I'm surprised it took Mansueto this long. Maybe he just wanted a little institutional stability while his other hires settled in.

https://www.chicagofirefc.com/post/2021/01/25/chicago-fire-fc-president-nelson-rodr-guez-resigns
I'm mildly surprised, although you may be right about Rodriguez serving as a bridge. Rodriguez was involved in the deal to leave Bridgeview and get back to Soldier Field. And this past year, he was given lots of resources to build out the marketing and sponsorship teams, which has seriously upped the Fire's social media game and got them to sign an e-sports star as an ambassador. They also got all matches on local TV. So while this is goodbye for Rodriguez, his last 2 years have helped completely reshape the club.
 

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MLS announced that they intend to start preseason on Feb 22 and the season on Apr 3. MLS Cup on December 11.

The R16 and QF rounds of CCL will be rough, as both are in April. However, MLS teams that survive to the SF will have until August to round into form, which is nice.

Everything here is subject to change, realistically — both COVID and especially potential labor strife are in play.

https://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2021/01/25/major-league-soccer-announces-2021-season-and-preseason-start-dates
 

Titans Bastard

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Catching up on signings:

- San Jose signed 26 year old Mexican winger/AM Eduardo Lopez on loan from Chivas. Almeyda will be well familiar with him from his stint as manager there.

- As part of draft dealings, Houston acquired 23 year old CM Derrick Jones. Tab Ramos is starting to assemble a bunch of solid domestic MLS types, which will be an improvement on their below-average imports. Still a ways to go for the Dynamo to be good.

- Seattle struck a permanent deal for CM João Paulo, who was on loan from Botafogo last year and who was a key part of their team.

- Orlando acquired 21 year old GK Brandon Austin on loan from Tottenham. He's English-American, but his connection to the US is entirely through the US Virgin Islands and he may not be eligible for the USMNT, if he ever came good.

- Austin signed 26 year old speed merchant Kekuta Manneh, who didn't make much of an impact with the Revs last year.

- LAFC signed Jesus Murillo permanently. The 26 year old Colombian CB did a nice job partnering with Eddie Segura when on loan last year, and finally gave LAFC's defense some stability that was lost when they traded Walker Zimmerman.

- NYRB signed a very young Venezuelan CM, Wikelman Carmona. He turns 18 next month. Hard to know much about him!

- Atlanta United signed Lisandro Lopez, who is a million years old, and who had some very nice seasons for Porto and Lyon between 8 and 12 years ago. Now 37, I guess he'll be a veteran forward option off the bench.

- Vancouver signed 20 year old Colombian winger Deiber Caicedo, who looks like an interesting signing. Quite a few CONMEBOL players from the last U20 WC have wound up in the league:

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