MLS Offseason Week 3 Recap

Follow @the_BRKDWN on twitter for all of your sports needs. If you missed the week 2 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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Toronto in talks to bring back their captain and among others:

Toronto FC announces that they are in talks to bring back their captain for another season. He has been with Toronto since 2011, making him one of the most tenured players in the MLS. Auro Jr., Julian Dunn, Richie Laryea, Chris Mavinga, Justin Morrow, Marky Delgado, Liam Fraser, Tsubasa Endohand and Patrick Mullins all had their contract options exercised as well.

Atlanta exercises options and offers contracts to others:

The Five Stripes exercised the contract options to both Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Julian Gressel. Both players have been major pieces over the past several years with both seeing the field at least 31 games every year that they’ve been in Atlanta. Atlanta also picked up the options for Mo Adams and Andrew Carleton while declining the contract options of Justin Meram, Florentin Pogba, Jose Hernandez, Chris Goslin and Patrick Okonkwo. The team did extend contract offers to goalkeeper Alec Kann and midfielder Jeff Larentowicz.

Orlando is hitting the reset button:

If you read my first team review piece, you’ll know that Orlando was not a good team and they’ve announced that they’ll be declining options to many of the team. This move has left 15 players on the roster. The players without a roster spot are Adam Grinwis, Mason Stajduhar, Carlos Ascues, Alex De John, Shane O’Neill, Lamine Sane, Cameron Lindley, Dillon Powers, Uri Rosell, Cristian Higuita, Will Johnson, Sacha Kljestan and Uri Rosell. Hopefully, Orlando can figure it out or they’ll be back in the bottom of next year’s list.

In addition to all of the players leaving, Orlando announced later that midfielder Uri Rosell has been extended for another two years.

Rumor: Vito Mannone asked to come back:

Minnesota United FC obtained goalkeeper Vito Mannone from English side Reading during the 2019 season on loan. It’s reported that he’s back in England waiting on a new contract from Minnesota. The two sides are said to be in talks to bring him back to the team for the 2020 season.

Polenta is leaving the Galaxy:

Diego Polenta announced that he will be leaving the LA Galaxy. The team formally declined his contract option.

Nashville is reaching into the USL for talent:

Many MLS teams have reached to the ranks of USL teams to pull talent for their teams. Nashville is no different. They are filling their roster by signing four more talented players from their USL Championship squad. They signed defenders Ken Tribbett and Taylor Washington, midfielder Matt LaGrassa, and Alan Winn. Tribbett, 27, has some MLS experience during his tenure with the Philadelphia Union in 2016 and 2017. Washington, 26, was drafted by Philadelphia. He has not played any games in the MLS but has made 62 appearances in Nashville for the USL team. LaGrassa, 26, has appeared 65 times for Nashville before moving up to the MLS. Winn, 23, has made 55 appearances in the USL.

Rumor: Mario Balotelli looking at the MLS?

One of the best forwards is looking to a possible stint in the MLS. He currently plays for Italian side Brescia but his time there is not going well. It’s been rumored that he could be making a move to Galatasaray but that if an MLS team made an offer he’d be tempted to come to the states.

Portland Timbers securing a young top player:

Portland has become the next team to reach out to secure a young talented player from Venezuela. They are currently in the process of completing a transfer deal for fullback Pablo Bonilla from the Vinotinto Under-20 National Team. Bonilla, 20, has started every game for his country’s team at the South American U-20 championship.

Colorado renew two players:

Colorado have resigned two players both to two year deals. Midfielder Nicolas Mezquida, 27, scored four goals and six assists in his 32 appearances for the club last season. While with the Rapids, he set career highs in minutes played, assists and tied his record for goals scored. The other players was goalkeeper Andre Rawls. Rawls, 27, spent last year on loan with the Rapids; USL side. Last season Rawls had six clean sheets in his 15 starts for the team. He has also spent three years with the MLS Club NYCFC but has yet to make an appearance in the MLS.

NYCFC is looking for overseas help:

There are reports coming out of Spain that NYCFC is targeting a player with a Spanish second-division club. NYCFC are trying to build up what was already a great squad for the playoffs in 2020. Giorgi Papunashvili, nicknamed Papu, is the subject of their target. Papu has bounced around to several clubs in his career while playing for his nation’s team where he’s scored three goals in 14 appearances. The club has also announced that they won’t make a move like this until a new head coach is hired.

US youth is signed to Homegrown deal:

NYCFC have announced that they are signing Tayvon Gray, 17, to a Homegrown contact. Gray has been featured in the U-17 World Cup with the United States squad. He joined the NYCFC academy in 2017 where he helped the U-19 team to back-to-back U.S. Development Academy National Championships. He becomes the team’s first ever Bronx native signing.

Rony Rocha coming back to NYCFC:

NYCFC have re-signed midfielder Tony Rocha to a new contract. Rocha, 26, has made 17 appearances in his first season with the club. He was acquired from Orlando City SC.

Report: Kemar Lawrence wants out:

There is a report out there that NY Red Bulls left back Kemar Lawrence is asking the organization to be traded. Lawrence, 27, joined the squad in 2015 from Jamaican club Harbour View FC. He’s asking for a trade due to his dissatisfaction with his current contract and the organization’s lack of interest in negotiating a new one. He currently has two more years and an option left on his contract.

Bill Hamid becomes a mainstay:

Hamid was acquired by D.C. United on loan from his Danish club FC Midtjylland. It’s reported that the team is paying around $750,000 in transfer fee to keep him with the team. He started his career with the team as a Homegrown signing and has played 10 seasons with the squad.

Sounders acquire a goalkeeper from Chicago:

The Seattle Sounders have acquired goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland and a second-round MLS draft pick from the Chicago Fire. Chicago received the Sounders first-round draft pick in exchange. Seattle needed to replace backup goalie Bryan Meredith after he was selected by Inter Miami in the 2019 Expansion Draft.

Seattle eyeing a move for Inigo Eguaras:

Shortly after parting ways with Victor Rodriguez, Seattle is reported to be looking for a replacement with Real Zaragoza’s midfielder Inigo Eguaras. Other teams in the MLS have been attached to him when the transfer window opens up in December; no other MLS team has been named.

Rumor: Ezequiel Barco being eyed by Europe:

Barco, 20, is being eyed by Liga NOS Sporting CP should they lose a player later this year. Barco had four goals and three assists in his 15 MLS appearances last season along with leading the Argentina team to the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup. He has also drawn eyes from Napoli earlier in the year.

Rumor: MLS club eyeing Franco Jara:

Striker Franco Jara has been eyed by an MLS club for a move this winter. Currently he’s playing for Prolific Pachuca where he’s scored 59 goals over the past four years. The name of the club has not been released.

New England sign veteran to new deal:

The New England Revolution have re-signed defender Michael Mancienne to a renegotiated contract. The 31 year-old has played in 26 games since joining in 2018 and has scored one goal. During the 2019 season he was sidelined with a foot injury which limited him to only 16 appearances. He will be competing for a starting spot with EPL signing Alex Buttner, Antonio Delamea and Andrew Farrell.

Toronto FC eyeing Italian striker:

Mario Balotelli has been thinking of a move to the MLS with no team being named — that was the case until Monday when Toronto FC were in the news that said that they were eyeing the 29-year-old as a potential move for him. Currently the squad has a similar player in Jozy Altidore but they will likely have a Designated Player spot open come the 2020 season as Michael Bradley will be without a contract.

FC Dallas trade for Fafa Picault:

Fafa Picault is leaving the Philadelphia Union as FC Dallas is sending $300,000 of GAM to the Union. Should he meet certain performance goals the Union will receive an additional $75,000 in 2021 GAM. Fafa scored four goals and four assists in his 21 starts for the Union last season.

Dallas and Matt Hedges agree to new deal:

Center back Matt Hedges and FC Dallas have agreed to a new three-year contract with a club option for both the 2023 and 2024 seasons. Hedges, 29, has made 243 MLS appearances with Dallas after the team drafted him in 2012.

Colorado sign Drew Moor:

This is an update to a past report regarding Drew Moor. The Colorado Rapids have made it official that the free agent will be with the club next season with a one-year contract. The 35-year-old has spent the past four seasons with Toronto FC.

Orlando is filling up more holes:

Orlando seemed to hit the reset button this week with them dumping many of the players that didn’t have contracts. They’ve signed to new players to the squad with resigning defender Alex De John and goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar. De John, 28, made six appearances for the squad last year. Stajduhar, 21, has been with Orlando since 2016 on a Homegrown deal. He has yet to make an MLS appearance.

Axel Sjoberg has been placed on waivers:

The Colorado Rapids have placed Axel Sjoberg on waivers this past week. The 28-year-old has made 88 appearances for the club since being drafted in 2015.

LA Galaxy approach Ricardo Centurion:

The LA Galaxy have approached Ricardo Centurion as the player has canceled his loan with the Liga MX side Atletico San Luis. He was approached this past week by head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto for a move to the MLS side. Centurion, 26, has played for several clubs across the world. Some of the clubs entail Italian side Genoa and Brazilian side Sao Paulo.

Alan Pulido is highly sought after by several MLS clubs:

The Mexican striker Alan Pulido told the press that he is expecting to move to the MLS this offseason. The 28-year-old has been attached to multiple MLS teams. Some teams include, San Jose Earthquakes, Orlando City FC, Chicago Fire and SKC. Pulido has a year and half left on his contract and a transfer fee of around $10 million.

Mexico’s star considering MLS:

Juan Jose Macias has received an offer from an unknown MLS club. The Mexican star has been one of Liga MX’s best strikers in 2019. He scored 19 goals for Club Leon. The 20-year-old has eyes set on the MLS as the next step in his career as he wants to go to Europe eventually.

Alejandro Hohberg eyeing the MLS:

Peruvian forward Alejandro Hohberg is eyeing a move to the MLS. His current contract has a clause that allows him a transfer to the MLS only if its immediate. In his eight years as a professional he has scored 35 league goals.

Vito Mannone waiting for a call:

Vito Mannone is to be without a job come the new year. His loan from Reading expires December 31st and he is unsure of whether or not he’ll be staying in Minnesota. Minnesota have expressed interest in keeping their prized goalkeeper but he is wanting to go back home and play for a Serie A squad. Last season he finished second in the MLS in saves, 129, while allowing the third-fewest goals in the Western Conference, 43. The same year he had 11 shutouts with a shutout streak of 259-minutes. Should he leave Minnesota will be in dire need to replace him.

It was another wild week of rumors, trades and signings in the MLS. Stick with The BRKDWN for more on the MLS offseason. If you want to join a wonderful team of like-minded individuals please message us on Twitter to inquire of any open positions.