MLS Offseason Week 2 Recap

By: Christopher Smith @WannabeaCPA

Follow @the_BRKDWN on twitter for all of your sports needs. If you missed the week 1 recap you can find it here. There were plenty of roster moves and decisions this past week so let’s get into it.

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Miami is scooping up all the young players:

This was a late entry from the first week in the offseason. On the Nov. 14 Inter Miami announced that they acquired Gran Lillard, 23, as a homegrown player from the Chicago Fire. Paul McDonough, Inter Miami Sporting Director, stated that “Grant is a promising young defender. We are in the midst of building our team and adding key pieces to complement our supplemental roster.” Over the past two seasons with the Fire, Grant has made only 12 appearances. Prior to his stint in Chicago, he attended Indiana University for four seasons and started a total of 86 matches, scoring 14 goals and nine assists.

FC Cincinnati offs some extra baggage:

If you haven’t seen my thoughts on the disaster that was FC Cincinnati last year, please go and read it on our site. This team needs to shake up its roster because any team that loses 22 matches and allows 44 mo,re goals than scored needs to do something. The club announced that they are not picking up the contract option for Forrest Lasso. Lasso was brought over to the MLS when Cincinnati made the jump from the USL. He made five appearances in 2019 before he was loaned to the expansion team Nashville SC. There is potential still left in the 26-year-old defender as he was the USL Defender of the Year in 2018. If he can go to the right team he will be an asset. Cincinnati also declined the purchase option of Derrick Etienne Jr.’s loan from the NY Red Bulls.  

Not only did they off a couple of players, the team picked up the options for Logan Gdula and Hassan Ndam. Gdula was a selection in the 2019 MLS Superdraft where he was selected 13th overall. Ndam, meanwhile, was selected in the Expansion Draft from the NY Red Bulls. Neither player appeared in any of Cincinnati’s games in 2019.

Can the Galaxy get their second Zlatan?:

It was reported that the LA Galaxy are speaking with Paris Saint-Germain in hopes to sign their striker, Edison Cavani. During the summer, it was reported that he was in talks with possibly coming to Inter Miami over the summer. As that didn’t happen, the Galaxy are hoping that the 32-year-old will fill in the hole that Zlatan left in their team. He’d be a perfect fit for that position as he’s scored over 100 goals for PSG during his tenure with them. The only problem with him coming to LA would be that we would miss the in-your-face attitude that Zlatan gave fans.

Rumor: Jack Wilshere coming to MLS?:

It’s rumored that the West Hamilton midfielder is mulling over the idea of coming to America and playing in the MLS. The once-touted young player from Arsenal has been plagued in recent years with the injury bug. He’s hoping to be able to get healthy in America since the MLS is played at a slower paced. He may find it hard to be that marquee signing and prove that he deserves to be here since his current salary pays him £100,000 (US$128,800) per week. I don’t think there’s a club in America that will be able to compete with that kind of price tag.

NERevs resign their rookie:

The Revs announced that Djuan Jones, 22, is returning to New England next year. Last season Jones appeared in 20 regular season appearances and played the full 90 minutes in New England’s lone Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs match. Jones was selected 11th overall in 2019 after his four-season stint at Michigan State University. He appeared in 75 games and scored 16 goals and 14 assists during that time.

Brian Fernandez terminated:

The Portland Timbers have officially terminated Brian Fernandez’s contract. The Liga MX product will not be on the roster come the 2020 season. He joined the MLS via a transfer from Necaxa but would ultimately miss Portland’s lone playoff appearance due to voluntarily entering the MLS Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program.

Seattle’s Brad Smith Leaving?:

Seattle Sounders defender, Brad Smith, stated that he’s open to returning to his former English Premier League side Bournemouth. He was loaned to Seattle a year-and-a-half ago where he made 31 MLS appearances. The only stipulation regarding going back to Bournemouth is that he wants to play enough to qualify for the Australian National Team. He also stated that there were several other teams vying for him to come to their squad. He did not go into details of whether or not Seattle was among those recruiting him.

Houston’s top Striker eyeing what’s on the other side of The Pond:

Dynamo’s Mauro Manotas, 24, shared his dreams of playing in Europe next season. During his tenure with the Dynamo he has made 129 appearances and scored 48 goals and 15 assists. He told the news outlet, El Ambito, that he’s “100% adapted to football in the United States.” It’s also reported that he’s been subject to transfer bids from several clubs. Liga MX Cruz Azul has an $8.5 million offer on the table with rumors of an unnamed European club offering a similar deal. Should he leave Houston, the Dynamo will be in a scramble to replace a player that was a big part of their attack. 

Rumor: Aaron Long to the EPL:

It was rumored that NY Red Bulls’ Aaron Ling was eyed by the English Premier League side Southampton this week. This past season he’s been sought after by several teams from Europe. Over the summer months, West Ham United attempted to transfer him but was unable due to his inability to obtain a work visa from the UK. Should he become eligible, teams will need to pay a hefty amount for him to come to their team. His contract currently has a $6 million contract release clause. Ligue 1 side Marseille has also been apart of the rumor mill to try and obtain the 2018 MLS Defender of the Year when the January transfer window opens up in a few months. 

FC Dallas eyeing French Winger:

Ligue 1 club Nimes is currently in talks with FC Dallas to acquire French winger Romain Philippoteaux. Nimes, newly promoted to Ligue 1 is asking for a transfer fee of about €400,000 Euros (about US$442,000). Philippoteaux, 31, is a reliable contributor that can play both sides of the wing and will help FC Dallas score more goals next season should the deal be signed. Currently Philippoteaux is Nimes’ co-leading scorer through 10 matches this season with three goals and two assists. 

Inter Miami signs another player:

USL side El Paso Locomotive has dealt their 26-year-old forward, Jdrome Kiesewetter, to Inter Miami. Kiesewetter scored 12 goals in 28 appearances for the USL team last season. He began his career in Germany with Hertha Berlin’s youth system. While in Germany he played for Stuttgart and Fortuna Dusseldorf prior to coming to America. He is now the second forward to be signed by the expansion team. 

Cristian Pavon is staying in LA:

La Galaxy has announced that Cristian Pavon will be staying through the 2020 season as a designated player. Pavon was signed by the Galaxy last summer at the end of the transfer window via a loan from the Boca Juniors. During the 2019 season he made 11 MLS regular-season appearances and scored three goals and eight assists. Pavon will be the biggest name to return to the Galaxy after Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced that he will not be playing for the LA Galaxy any further.

Rumor: Djordje Mihailovic going to Germany?:

Last week the Chicago Fire allowed their young midfielder to train with FC Nurnberg. The Bundesliga 2 side announced on Twitter that the two sides are in potential transfer talks. Mihailovic made 27 appearances and scored three goals with two assists in 2019.

New England Revolution re-sign Bye:

The New England Revolution wasted no time in re-signing defender Brandon Bye. Bye started all 30 games he appeared in last season. Bye was a major part of the Revs defensive core last season while also scoring two goals and two assists. This signing allows the Revs to keep a young star on the team as a building block to an already good team with the likes of Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou. The length and salary of the contract was not disclosed to any media source.

Sebastian Lletget is staying in LA:

Sebastian Lletget has been resigned by the Galaxy. The 27-year-old midfielder will be but a cog in the machine that is the Galaxy’s attack. Last season he scored three goals and six assists. While the galaxy still are unsure where most of their goals are going to come from with Zlatan leaving, resigning a key piece like Lletget will go a long way toward their rebuilding efforts.

Portland Timbers making moves with Diego Valeri and Dario Zuparic:

Portland Timbers are trying to make some serious moves as the transfer season starts up. It was reported that they are in talks with Diego Valeri and are close to  re-signing a deal. The Timbers announced at the conclusion of the season that re-signing Valeri was a top priority.

Portland has also announced that they have signed Dario Zuparic from HNK Rijeka to help boster their backline. Zuparic, 27, was signed to a multi-year deal using Targeted Allocation Money.

Romell Quioto going to Montreal:

The Dynamo have dealt winger Romell Quioto to the Montreal Impact. This is the first big transaction this offseason by the Impact. The teamreceived Romell in exchange for defender Victor Cabrera and $100,000 in GAM. Quioto has spent the last three years with the Dyanmo and have scored 15 goals and 17 assists in those same years. Cabrera, 26, has spent the last five seasons on the Impact’s squad and has made 93 appearances. He helped the Impact over Toronto FC to win the Canadian Championship last season.

Doneil Henry being sent to K League 1

Vancouver have transferred center back Doneil Henry to Suwon Samsung Bluewings. As a personal side note, I am not sure why this team transferred him. He was one of the only good players on the Whitecaps last season. If there were any players that should have stayed for the 2020 season.

Rumor: Sporting KC looking at Lucas Cavallini:

Canadian national striker Lucas Cavallini has been eyed by Sporting Kansas City this week. Cavallini is currently playing for Puebla in Liga MX. Cavallini is said to be a physical, hard-working player and will be an asset to KC. It’s also rumored that other Liga MX teams are interested in the 26-year-old along with SKC.

Montreal sign Ignacio Piatti, solidify Saphir Taider and among others

The Impact announced late last week that they’ve picked up Ignacio Piatti’s contract. The 34-year-old midfielder has been with the Impact since 2014 and has become a mainstay. During his tenure with the Impact he has scored 71 goals and 38 assists. He will be a help for first year coach Thierry Henry.

The team also announced that they have signed Saphir Taider. He was a transfer from Bologna and will now be with Montreal for the next two seasons.

The Impact also exercised the options for goalkeeper James Pantemis, Jorge Corraels, Clemen Bayiha, Mathieu Choiniere, Samuel Piette, Romell Quioto, Amar Sejdic and Shamit Shome. There are several other players that are out of contract that have not been named.

These are the major moves that teams have made in week two of the MLS offseason. Stay tuned to the BRKDWN for more news from the MLS. Throughout the season we will continue with our team reviews and in the coming days we will be have a team roster moves recap. There is a ton of content in the pipeline that will prepare you for the 2020 MLS season.