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MLS roster transactions: Recapping a wild December

Los Angeles FC defender Laurent Ciman (23) moves the ball against Real Salt Lake forward Corey Baird (27) at Banc of California Stadium. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

You may have woken up a bit dizzy this morning, but it’s not from the midnight champagne toast. Major League Soccer rang in the new year with a bevy of roster moves — some shocking, others mundane — before the ball dropped in Times Square.

All 23 teams were busy in the final month 2018, and if you missed any of the roster moves, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

The biggest movers and shakers look to rebuild under new leadership, with Orlando City SC shedding 13 players from its 2018 roster — including transferring Peruvian international Yoshi Yotun to Cruz Azul in Liga MX and dealing Victor “PC” Giro, Mohamed El-Munir, Amro Tarek and Tony Rocha in four separate trades, while acquiring forward Tesho Akindele in a deal with FC Dallas and young defenders Joao Moutinho in a swap with LAFC and Danilo Acosta on loan from Real Salt Lake.

The Lions, who also signed midfielder Jhegson Sebastian Mendez from Independiente del Valle, aren’t quite done. They reportedly are interest in Brazilian midfielder Diego from Flamengo.

The Vancouver Whitecaps, meanwhile, said goodbye to 18 players on their books during the 2018 season. The biggest move, of course, was the transfer of Canadian international Alphonso Davies to Bayern Munich in a record-shattering transfer to the Bundesliga powerhouse.

The Caps also traded away standout central defender Kendall Waston, who joins expansion outfit FC Cincinnati, who selected forward Kei Kamara in the expansion draft, but subsequently dealt him to the Colorado Rapids.

Of course, FC Cincinnati was especially busy piecing together a roster that is up to 20 following the expansion draft, signings from their USL team, a few trades and a couple of transfers.

Maybe the biggest coup was late in December when Toronto FC traded with FCC to acquire the top spot in the league’s allocation list to sign central defender Laurent Ciman from Dijon in Ligue 1 after spending the first half of last season with LAFC.

And remember, transfer windows in Europe (Jan. 1) and countries like Argentina (Jan. 21), Brazil (Jan. 10), Costa Rica (Jan. 3), Peru (Jan. 7) and Panama (Jan. 3), which all have been fertile breeding ground for MLS talent, are opening soon. So, there is sure to be an additional flurry of activity before the 2019 regular season kicks off in early March.

Let’s recap the long December of MLS transactions team by team:

Atlanta United

No team looks the same year after year, not even the MLS Cup champion. Such is the reality for Atlanta United, which will look considerably different when the 2019 season kicks off than they did when they ended 2018 with a parade.

PLAYERS OUT: The biggest loss, to this point, for the Five Stripes was standout fullback Greg Garza, who was traded to FC Cincinnati for $250,000 in targeted allocation money and $200,000 in general allocation money.

The club also declined options on goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt, defender Sal Zizzo and midfielders Oliver Shannon and Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu.

PLAYERS IN: Atlanta signed captain Michael Parkhurst to a new contract and took a flyer on outside back Brek Shea, signed as a free agent Dec. 30. Argentine midfielder Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez from River Plate is expected to join the club during preseason.

WHAT’S NEXT: All eyes no doubt will be on Miguel Almiron, who has long been linked with Newcastle United in the English Premier League. Newcastle scouts have watched the Paraguayan midfielder closely, but the Mirror reported the move might be off because Newcastle manager Rafa Martinez is unsure what funds will be available during the January transfer window and the sides can’t agree on the transfer fee. Spanish side Real Betis has emerged as a potential landing spot. 

As for star forward Josef Martinez, Atlanta reached out the Venezuelan forward’s representatives about a new deal, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Chicago Fire

One of the biggest question marks during the offseason for the Chicago Fire was answered in late November when German legend Bastian Schweinsteiger re-signed for 2019. Chicago also agreed to terms with Diego Campos for a one-year deal with club options for 2020, 2021 and 2022.

But there still remains a lot of uncertainty in the Windy City with the calendar turning to 2019.

PLAYERS IN: A big focus for the Fire was up front, where they acquired Fabian Herbers in a trade with the Philadelphia Union and Marco Urena and Cristian Martinez in the waiver draft. The Fire also brought in Brazilian defender Marcelo in a transfer from Portuguese club Sporting CP for a reported €500,000.

PLAYERS OUT: Michael de Leeuw had his option declined and the Dutch forward took to the Eredivisie to sign with FC Emmen in a New Year’s Eve deal. Defender Jonathan Campbell went to the Seattle Sounders for a 2020 fourth-round SuperDraft pick. Options declined on midfielders Drew Conner and Daniel Johnson, goalkeeper Patrick McLain and forwards Yura Movsisyan and Luis Solignac. Alan Gordon, Brandon Vincent and Christian Dean retired.

WHAT’S NEXT: Defenders Johan Kappelhof and Matt Polster are out of contract. Polster and academy product Andrew Gutman are on trial with Scottish heavyweight Rangers FC. The Fire have also been linked to German goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm and Martin Ojeda, an Argentine winger.

FC Cincinnati

What will the expansion side look like when its MLS odyssey begins? One thing appears clear, FCC will have an MLS-ready backline.

PLAYERS IN: As mentioned earlier, the roster is 20 strong entering 2019. That started with the Portland Timbers and San Jose Earthquakes trades to acquire Fanendo Adi and Fatai Alashe, respectively.

The club brought up from its USL side midfielders Corben Bone, Emmanuel Ledesma, Nazmi Albadawi, Jimmy McLaughlin; defenders Blake Smith, Forrest Lasso and Justin Hoyt; and forward Emery Welshman. It then picked up Darren Mattocks, Kei Kamara, Roland Lamah, Eric Alexander and Hassan Ndam in the expansion draft.

In trades, FC Cincy brought in MLS veterans Greg Garza, Alvas Powell and Waston — expected Day 1 starters on the backline — while also signing midfielder Victor Ulloa in a deal with FC Dallas for $150,000 in GAM, though that number can increase by another $100,000 based on performance.

Cincinnati also signed French fullback Mathieu Deplagne from Ligue 2 side ESTAC Troyes, Swiss midfielder Leonardo Bartone from BSC Young Boys of the Swiss Super League and Polish goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton, who was out of contact.

PLAYERS OUT: Kamara was dealt to the Colorado Rapids immediately after being selected in the expansion draft. FCC got an international roster slot in return.

WHAT’S NEXT: There’s serious interest in Fabian Johnson, the U.S. international who has spent his entire career in the Bundesliga. FCC is also linked to Chilean playmaker Matias Fernandez, who plays for Necaxa from Liga MX.

Colorado Rapids

The Rapids rebuild a year ago included several players coming from England and Scotland. The start of Year 2 for Anthony Hudson began with multiple trades within MLS.

PLAYERS IN: Clearly production in the attacking third was on the wish list. The Rapids traded for Kei Kamara and Diego Rubio in deals with FC Cincinnati and Sporting Kansas City, respectively. Colorado also acquired midfielders Nicolas Mezquida (Vancouver) and Kelyn Rowe (New England) via trade, as well as defender Keegan Rosenberry in a deal with Philadelphia and Clint Irwin returned to the Rapids from Toronto FC. ‘Keeper Andre Rawls was selected in the re-entry draft.

PLAYERS OUT: Rowe came and left, heading to Sporting KC as part of a three-way deal. Edgar Castillo also left in a trade with the Revs, and Zac MacMath was traded to the Whitecaps. Options were declined for defenders Kip Colvey and Mike de Fonte; midfielders Giles Barnes, Sam Hamilton, Enzo Martinez, Ricardo Perez; and forwards Caleb Calvert and Jack McBean. Goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra and forward Yannick Boli are out of contract.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Rapids are reportedly one of three MLS teams, joining D.C. United and LAFC, interested in American-born Danish fullback Ryan Laursen, who plays for Odense Boldklub. Rumors persist regarding Romanian forward Claudiu Keseru out of Ludogorets Razgrad.

Columbus Crew SC

There hasn’t been a lot of movement for Columbus Crew SC — unless of course you include Gregg Berhalter becoming the new USMNT coach and that #SavetheCrew became a stunning reality. Once a new coach — Caleb Porter is the frontrunner — and general manager are hired, no doubt the Crew will be busy.

PLAYERS IN: The only real addition has been goalkeeper Joe Bendik, acquired in a trade with Orlando. It’s an important and understandable pickup since Zack Steffen will transfer to Manchester City in July. The club also signed Argentine left back Milton Valenzuela to a young Designated Player contract, while reaching a new deal with central defender Lalas Abubakar.

PLAYERS OUT: Midfielders Ricardo Clark, Mike Grella and Cristian Martinez, goalkeeper Logan Ketterer and forward Adam Jahn all had their options declined.

WHAT’S NEXT: A new coach, a new GM, a new stadium — in that order.

FC Dallas

There’s a new sheriff in town with Luchi Gonzalez taking over as head coach after Oscar Pareja left for Club Tijuana in Liga MX. Some big names continue to exit Frisco, and the club went outside MLS to make its first two signings ahead of the 2019 season.

PLAYERS IN: The first offseason move FC Dallas made might be its most important: signing Czech forward Zdenek “The Cobra” Ondrasek. He not only brings one of the coolest nicknames, but also a scoring pedigree from Polish first-division side Wisła Krakow, where he scored 11 goals in 19 appearances this season. Dallas also picked up Brazilian central defender Bressan from Grêmio.

PLAYERS OUT: Trades jettisoned Akindele to Orlando, Maxi Urruti to Montreal and Ulloa to FC Cincinnati, which also poached Lamah in the expansion draft. Defenders Jordan Cano, Maynor Figueroa and Kris Reaves, midfielder Abel Aguilar and forward Adonijah Reid all had their options declined.

WHAT’S NEXT: Most recently, FC Dallas was linked to Honduran international Bryan Acosta, a 25-year-old central midfielder who currently plays for Spanish second division squad Tenerife.

D.C. United

Will LuchoRoo have a Round 2? It’s clear Wayne Rooney will be back after a successful first (half) season with D.C. United, but will his favorite playmaker Luciano Acosta join him? That’s probably the biggest non-political question in the Capitol region right now.

PLAYERS IN: United officially welcomed Argentine midfielder Lucas Rodriguez to the District on New Years Eve, signing the 21-year-old on a year-long loan from Estudiantes de La Plata, with an option for a permanent transfer. DC sent $50,000 to Atlanta in exchange for his discovery rights. D.C. also acquired goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. in a trade with Orlando.

PLAYERS OUT: FC Cincinnati took Mattocks first in the expansion draft. Nick DeLeon left for Toronto FC in the re-entry draft. Taylor Kemp retired. Defenders Vytas, Kofi Opare and Kevin Ellis, midfielders Ian Harkes and Jared Jeffrey and forward Bruno Miranda all had their options declined. Midfielder Yamil Asad’s loan expired, and defender Oniel Fisher and goalkeeper Travis Worra are out of contract.

WHAT’S NEXT: The club reportedly is negotiating new contracts with both Acosta and Asad, while also in a three-team race to land Laursen, the American-born Danish fullback.

Houston Dynamo

The ageless DaMarcus Beasley is back and that’s good news for everyone, but the Houston Dynamo are seeking upgrades and depth with the 2019 season kicking off in the Concacaf Champions League.

PLAYERS IN: Bolstering the backline was of prime importance for coach Wilmer Cabrera, and that started with a trade for veteran right back Chris Duvall from the Montreal Impact. The Dynamo then acquired Slovakian center back Aljaz Struna from US Palermo in Italy’s Serie B, signed Argentine defensive midfielder Matias Vera from San Lorenzo in Argentina’s Primera Division and acquired New York City FC fan-favorite Tommy McNamara in the re-entry draft. Eric McCue signed a homegrown contract.

PLAYERS OUT: Midfielder Eric Alexander was picked up by FC Cincinnati in the expansion draft. The Dynamo declined the options of defenders Conor Donovan, Leonardo, Adolfo Machado, Dylan Remick and Jared Watts and forward Mac Steeves. Defender Philippe Senderos is out of contract. Midfielder Luis Gil’s loan expired. Defender Andrew Wenger announced his retirement.

WHAT’S NEXT: Could another Honduran land in Houston? El Heraldo reports right back Kevin Alvarez is set to transfer to the Dynamo from Olimpia, the only club the 22-year-old has played for to this point.

Alvarez would be the fourth Los Catrachos player on the Dynamo roster, joining Boniek Garcia, Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto.

Los Angeles Football Club

It was a wonderful first year of existence, but what can LAFC do for an encore? With heightened expectations, it should be another interesting offseason in La-La Land.

PLAYERS IN: LAFC was desperate for defensive help. That was addressed with the additions of Colombian centerback Eddie Segura on loan from Atlético Huila and left back Mohamed El-Munir in a trade with Orlando City. The club also picked up forward Ricky Lopez-Espin in the waiver draft.

PLAYERS OUT: Joao Moutinho went to Orlando in the deal for El-Munir. Marco Urena was selected by Chicago in the waiver draft. Walker Zimmerman, Benny Feilhaber, Jordan Harvey and Dejan Jakovic are out of contract (Zimmerman is linked to Club Tijuana). Luis Lopez, Danilo Silva and Aaron Kovar’s loans expired. Charlie Lyon, Quillan Roberts, Nico Czornomaz, Calum Mallace, James Murphy and Steeve Saint-Duc had their options declined.

WHAT’S NEXT: LAFC did a good bit of business to re-sign midfielders Mark-Anthony Kaye and Eduard Atuesta. Tying up Zimmerman would be the hat trick. LAFC is also apparently in the three-team sweepstakes for Laursen, the American-born Danish fullback.

LA Galaxy

Change always seems to be abound for the LA Galaxy, who recently welcomed Guillermo Barros Schelotto as their new manager. Can the former Boca Juniors boss fix the club’s defensive woes? With superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic locked in for 2019, the new coach can focus his attention on other areas of the roster.

PLAYERS IN: Juninho is back! The Brazilian midfielder, who won MLS Cups with LA in 2011, 2012 and 2014, was brought in on a free transfer after the Galaxy sent $75,000 in GAM to Chicago for his right of first refusal. The Galaxy also picked up goalkeeper Matt Lampson in stage 2 of the re-entry draft.

PLAYERS OUT: Options were declined for defenders Michael Ciani, Ashley Cole, Rolf Feltscher and Sheanon Williams; midfielders Baggio Husidic and Servando Carrasco; and forward Ariel Lassiter. Dave Romney and Emmanuel Boateng are out of contract.

WHAT’S NEXT: There’s plenty of question marks for the Galaxy, the biggest being “What to do with Gio dos Santos?”

Minnesota United FC

Allianz Field will open for business in 2019, and that’s extremely exciting for everyone in the league. It also means this is a vital year for Minnesota United FC to make a move up the MLS ladder and into the postseason for the first time.

PLAYERS IN: The third DP has arrived and his name is Jan Gregus, a 27-year-old Slovak international midfielder who most recently played for Danish club FC Copenhagen.

PLAYERS OUT: Lampson was selected by the LA Galaxy in the re-entry draft. Loans expired for midfielders Maximiano and Alexi Gomez. Midfielders Harrison Heath and Johan Venegas are out of contract. Options were declined for Marc Burch, Ibson, Fernando Bob, Jerome Thiesson, Collen Warner, Bertrand Owundi Eko’o, Frantz Pangop and Alex Kapp.

WHAT’S NEXT: Is another Malmo player MLS bound? The Loons are reportedly on the verge of a $1.2 million offer for midfielder Fouad Bachirou, a 28-year-old French-born Comoros national team player.

Montreal Impact

It’s Year 2 of the Remi Garde era and the Montreal Impact desperately seek consistency in order to get back to the playoffs — especially since 2019 will be Ignacio Piatti’s final year.

PLAYERS IN: The Impact signed Harry Novillo, a 26-year-old French winger, to a two-year contract. The former Lyon academy product most recently played with Johor Darul Ta’zim FC in the Malaysian first division. They also acquired forward Maxi Urruti in a trade with FC Dallas for the No. 10 overall pick in the 2019 SuperDraft and $75,000 in TAM. Daniel Kinumbe and Clement Bayiha signed homegrown contracts.

PLAYERS OUT: Fullback Chris Duvall was dealt to Houston and goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau was sent to Vancouver. Forwards Quincy Amarikwa and Matteo Mancosu are out of contract. Rod Fanni, Kyle Fisher, Louis Beland-Goyette, David Choiniere and Michael Salazar had options declined.

WHAT’S NEXT: There’s the saga of Alejandro Silva, who reportedly could be on his way back to Olimpia in Paraguay.

New England Revolution

Brad Friedel promised change after a disappointing first season in charge, and the New England Revolution boss has backed that up.

PLAYERS IN: Veteran fullback Edgar Castillo arrived in a three-way trade with Kelyn Rowe heading to Sporting KC and Colombian forward Juan Fernando Caicedo was signed on loan from Independiente Medellín. Nicolas Firmino signed a homegrown contract.

PLAYERS OUT: In addition to Rowe, defenders Claude Dielna and Nicolas Samayoa, midfielders Guillermo Hauche, Cristhian Machado and Mark Segbers and forward Femi Hollinger-Janzen had their options declined, while Chris Tierney retired.

WHAT’S NEXT: After the midnight kit reveal, that’s a good question. There’s certainly plenty of need all over the field.

New York City FC

Dome Torrent will begin his first full season in charge at New York City FC, but he will be without the face of the franchise with David Villa signing with Japanese side Vissel Kobe.

PLAYERS IN: Just one new player on the books — for now — with midfielder Tony Rocha arriving in a trade with Orlando City SC.

PLAYERS OUT: In addition to Villa, Rodney Wallace is gone, signed by Sporting KC. Andre Rawls is now with Colorado and Tommy McNamara is in Houston. Eloi Amagat, Kwame Awuah and Ebenezer Ofori had options declined, while Yangel Herrera and Saad Abdul-Salaam are out of contract.

WHAT’S NEXT: There was no announcement to coincide with the turn of the new year like a year ago when the club signed Jesus Medina as a young DP. NYCFC is linked, though, with Peruvian Kevin Quevedo, a 21-year-old Alianza Lima striker. As for a DP to fill the massive void left by Villa, all quiet on that front. There was some speculation that perhaps Herrera would get that offer, but he’s been training with Manchester City after his loan expired.

New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls struggled to find enough creativity in the attacking third to advance to both the Concacaf Champions League and MLS Cup finals. But the league’s best defense appears to be intact for a promising 2019 campaign.

PLAYERS IN: New York addressed the need for centerback depth by obtaining Amro Tarek in a trade with Orlando City, while picking up Marcus Epps in the waiver draft for attacking depth. Jean-Christophe Koffi signed a homegrown contract.

PLAYERS OUT: The biggest loss will certainly be Tyler Adams, whose long-rumored move to RB Leipzig was made official at season’s end. Defending prospect Hassan Ndam was selected by FC Cincinnati in the expansion draft. Defenders Aurelien Collin, Ethan Kutler and Kevin Politz and forward Carlos Rivas had options declined. Loans expired for defender Fidel Escobar and midfielder Marc Rzatkowski. Tommy Redding is out of contract.

WHAT’S NEXT: Tim Parker was signed to a three-year deal, which was good, but now comes reported European interest in his central defense partner, Aaron Long. The Red Bulls will need to hope that’s just a rumor. Another homegrown signing is much more likely than a third DP.

Orlando City SC

Where to start with the fire sale that has been Orlando City SC? To say the changes have been wholesale would be underselling things, and there promises to be more movement on the horizon.

PLAYERS IN: In trades, the Lions acquired forward Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas) and defender Joao Moutinho (LAFC), defender Danilo Acosta on loan from Real Salt Lake and goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh and defender Kyle Smith from Louisville City. Ecuadorian midfielder Jhegson Sebastian Mendez arrived via transfer from Independiente del Valle in Ecuador’s top flight. Benji Michel signed a homegrown contract.

PLAYERS OUT: Yoshi Yotun was transferred to Cruz Azul in Liga MX for $4 million. Joe Bendik signed with Columbus. PC (Vancouver), Mohamed El-Munir (LAFC), Amro Tarek (RBNY), Tony Rocha (NYCFC) and Earl Edwards Jr. (D.C. United) were traded away. Donny Toia was selected by Real Salt Lake in the re-entry draft. Richie Laryea, Chris Schuler, Jonathan Spector, Scott Sutter and Jose Villarreal had options declined.

WHAT’S NEXT: Reportedly Brazilian midfielder Diego, a 33-year-old who currently plays for Flamengo. It’s hard to believe the Lions will end there.

Philadelphia Union

The most successful season in Philadelphia Union history ended with a knockout round defeat to NYCFC. Can the Union build on that in 2019 under new sporting director Ernst Tanner?

PLAYERS IN: Brazilian forward Sergio Santos was signed from Chilean Primera Division club Audax Italiano, while Brenden Aaronson and Matt Freese inked homegrown contracts.

PLAYERS OUT: The biggest surprise is young defender Keegan Rosenberry, dealt to the Colorado Rapids for $200,000 in allocation money and a possible $100,000 in 2020, depending on performance results. Also traded was midfielder Fabian Herbers, who landed in Chicago. Midfielder Borek Dockal’s loan expired. Marcus Epps was selected by the Red Bulls in the waiver draft, John McCarthy and Raymon Gaddis are out of contract. Jake McGuire, Richie Marquez, Josh Yaro, Adam Najem and Jay Simpson had options declined.

WHAT’S NEXT: No, Mario Balotelli isn’t coming to Philly, but will Dockal, the MLS leader in assists in 2018, be back? Tanner said signing the 30-year-old playmaker is the club’s “first choice.”

Portland Timbers

Giovanni Savarese has an eye for talent and an ability to get his team to the biggest games. We’re excited to see what that means for the Portland Timbers in 2019.

PLAYERS IN: It’s been quiet on this front so far for the Timbers, who signed midfielders Marvin Loria and Renzo Zambrano from their USL affiliate.

PLAYERS OUT: After signing Zarek Valentin to a new deal, it became clear Alvas Powell was expendable. The Timbers shipped the Jamaican international to FC Cincinnati for $250,000 in GAM.

WHAT’S NEXT: That money should come in handy with club president and general manager Gavin Wilkinson saying the Timbers are eying “three or four players who can fight for starting spots.” He also hinted as the possibility of another DP.

Real Salt Lake

Put Real Salt Lake, one of the league’s leaders in player development, in that category of MLS team seeking more consistency in 2019. They’ll do that with Albert Rusnak under contract, and that’s a breath of fresh mountain air for RSL fans everywhere.

PLAYERS IN: Defender Donny Toia was selected in the re-entry draft and Julian Vazquez, David Ochoa and Luis Arriaga were signed to homegrown contracts.

PLAYERS OUT: Danilo Acosta was loaned to Orlando City SC. Ricky Lopez-Espin was acquired by LAFC in the waiver draft. Options declined: Goalkeeper Connor Sparrow; defenders Shawn Barry, David Horst, Taylor Peay and Demar Phillips; midfielders Jose Hernandez, Luke Mulholland and Sunny; and forward Luis Silva.

WHAT’S NEXT: RSL reportedly is on the verge of signing Argentine striker Germán Cano, a 30-year-old who scored 32 goals in all competitions for Independiente Medellín in 2018.

San Jose Earthquakes

With a dreadful 2018 in the rearview mirror, the San Jose Earthquakes look forward with former Chivas Guadalajara boss Matias Almeyda leading what they hope is a culture change.

PLAYERS IN: Just one more so far, though more moves are certain in the coming weeks and months. Brazilian midfielder Judson arrives on loan from Tombense. The 25-year-old spent the last three seasons on loan at Avai between the Brazilian top and second divisions.

PLAYERS OUT: Defender Yeferson Quintana, midfielders Jahmir Hyka and Chris Wehan and forwards Danny Musovski and Mohamed Thiaw had options declined. Forward Dominic Oduro is out of contract.

WHAT’S NEXT: It will be interesting to see if/when Chivas players join their former coach. The first rumored to make the move is 19-year-old defender Benjamin Galindo Jr., whose father is one of Almeyda’s assistant coaches.

Seattle Sounders FC

Things might be relatively quiet in Seattle, at least for the time-being, with the Sounders emerging from a turbulent 2018 season in pretty good shape from a roster-building perspective.

PLAYERS IN: Central defender Jonathan Campbell arrived in a trade with the Chicago Fire for a 2020 fourth-round SuperDraft pick.

PLAYERS OUT: Goalkeeper Calle Brown, defender Tony Alfaro, midfielder Lamar Neagle and forward Felix Chenkam had options declined. Midfielders Osvaldo Alonso and Aaron Kovar are out of contract.

WHAT’S NEXT: Alonso is the biggest question mark for the Sounders. Can they, or will they, come to terms with the 33-year-old Cuban after a stellar 2018 campaign? Nico Lodeiro has also been the subject of a rumored move to Cruz Azul.

Sporting Kansas City

Peter Vermes had specific upgrades in mind at Sporting Kansas City, and it appears he achieved that goal even before “Auld Lang Syne” played.

PLAYERS IN: Rodney Wallace signed as a free agent. Forward Erik Hurtado arrived in a trade with the Whitecaps. Midfielder Kelyn Rowe joined as part of a three-way deal with the Colorado Rapids and New England Revolution. Central defender Botond Barath arrived on a free transfer from Budapest Honved. Tyler Freeman signed a homegrown contract.

PLAYERS OUT: Diego Rubio was traded to the Rapids in that deal to acquire Rowe. Forward Kharlton Belmar, midfielder Cristian Lobato and defenders Amer Didic and Colton Storm had options declined. Brad Evans retired and forward Khiry Shelton is out of contract.

WHAT’S NEXT: Maybe a tweak, according to Vermes, but little more than that. There’s also Ike Opara’s situation, which Vermes clarified in a conference call two weeks ago, saying the central defender is looking for a raise, but hasn’t demanded a trade.

Toronto FC

Perhaps no team in MLS is happier to see the calendar change than Toronto FC, which missed the playoffs a year after capturing MLS Cup. So which TFC will emerge in 2019? That’s one of the more intriguing storylines this season.

PLAYERS IN: In perhaps the shrewdest move of the offseason, the Reds traded with FC Cincinnati to get the top allocation order spot to obtain central defender Laurent Ciman, who returns to MLS after transferring to Ligue 1 side Dijon midway through last season. TFC also acquired veteran fullback Nick DeLeon in the re-entry draft.

PLAYERS OUT: Goalkeeper Clint Irwin was traded to Colorado. Forward Lucas Janson’s loan expired. Forward Tosaint Ricketts had his option declined. Defender Jason Hernandez and forward Jordan Hamilton are out of contract.

WHAT’S NEXT: Will Sebastian Giovinco get the new deal he’s angling for? All three Designated Players are in the final year of their contracts.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

The Marc Dos Santos era began with a bevy of offseason moves, with the Vancouver Whitecaps nearly completely overhauling their roster.

PLAYERS IN: Goalkeepers Zac MacMath (Colorado) and Maxime Crepeau (Montreal) arrived in trades, as did versatile PC (Orlando). Midfielder Andy Rose arrived on a free transfer from Scottish Premiership side Motherwell FC. Theo Bair signed a homegrown contract.

PLAYERS OUT: Alphonso Davies transferred to Bayern Munich for a record-breaking transfer fee. Erik Hurtado (Sporting KC), Kendall Waston (FC Cincinnati), Nicolas Mezquida (Colorado) and Spencer Richey (FCC) were jettisoned via trade. Kei Kamara landed in Colorado after being selected by Cincinnati in the expansion draft. Brek Shea was signed as a free agent by Atlanta United. Brian Rowe, Sean Franklin and Cristian Techera are out of contract. Jordon Mutch’s loan expired. Stefan Marinovic, Jose Aja, Roberto Dominguez, Aaron Maund, Marvin Emnes, Aly Ghazal and Myer Bevan had options declined.

WHAT’S NEXT: Many additions are certainly on the horizon, with a report linking Vancouver to 28-year-old Swedish defender Johan Larsson, who just left Brondby, as well as South Korean midfielder Hwang In-beom, a 22-year-old who currently plays for Daejeon Citizen in the K League 2.




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