Jump to a specific club
Atlanta United FC
Columbus Crew SC
Minnesota United FC
New England Revolution
New York City FC
New York Red Bulls
Orlando City SC
Real Salt Lake
San Jose Earthquakes
Sporting Kansas City
The Primary Transfer Window closes on Monday night, which means that your team has one day left to get some work done before such transactions are shut down until the summer window arrives.
For some, it's a very pressing deadline. For others it's just another day.
Here, then, is one roster tweak for every team to make over the next few hours.
Ok, I lied – Atlanta don't really need to go out and do anything, or go out and get anything. They have unusual depth for an expansion team, their attack is prolific (despite Sunday's loss), and Tata Martino has shown he's willing to trust and develop the kids. The dirty secret of MLS teams that "lack depth" is that depth isn't what they lack. Rather, it's "our young players don't improve" that holds them back. Clearly not going to be an issues for Atlanta.
For the sake of completeness, though, I'll toss this out there: I think Kenwyne Jones is very tradeable as soon as Josef Martinez gets back healthy and as soon as Brandon Vasquez returns from duty with the US U-20s. That's going to be a story for the summer Transfer Window, though.
Prognosis: Hold steady
Let's all give the Fire braintrust a round of applause for their offseason work. Sure, some of the parts remain mismatched – there's no real place for Michael de Leeuw, for example – but this team did great work this past winter, and Bastian Schweinsteiger has been a snugger fit as a playmaker than most (including me) expected.
Prognosis: Try to swing a trade for Saad Abdul-Salaam, Igor Juliao or maybe one of D.C. United's surfeit of right backs? If not that, it's time for another dive into the international market (unless they can somehow scoop up soon-to-be out-of-contract former US youth international right back Desevio Payne).
Colorado's defense has regressed to the mean, but is still pretty good. They've added depth in youth at a couple of spots, have the best goalkeeper duo in the league, and while a true left back would do them some good, I'm still hoping we get to see some of Dillon Serna overlapping from that spot.
The attack is a different story. Colorado's high-priced imports haven't produced as hoped, and most of their younger players look like cogs rather than centerpieces. They need a real chance creator, and someone who'll finish those off.
Prognosis: Major surgery required in the attack, but it's probably not going to happen until summer. The real questions that I think need answering are just how to use Shkelzen Gashi, and just how effective a finisher he can be in this league.
Columbus play a high-risk, high-reward style that puts a lot of pressure on the fullbacks and often leaves them exposed. It is demanding, and there needs to be allowances made when judging individual performances by that metric.
Nonetheless, it's been difficult to ignore that Harrison Afful has looked a step slow this year. Teams are going right at him and enjoying themselves when they do so. It's not time to retire him or anything, unless they're very confident Connor Maloney can make a full-time switch to right back or that Hector Jimenez can soak up more minutes, it's a position they have to examine.
Prognosis: Nobody in the league has more tradable wingers than Columbus, and half of MLS is looking for upgrades on the wing. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this team was at the center of a major trade this week.
Speaking of teams that could use an upgrade out wide... D.C. have done good work with their over-30 crowd out wide, but Father Time is undefeated. They could definitely use a true winger who's in his early or mid-20s to add to the 20-something core they've already started to build up the spine.
United fans will tell you they need help at d-mid as well, but Jared Jeffrey's better-than-solid recent play and Chris Durkin's pending return from duty with the US U-17s tempers that need in my opinion.
Prognosis: If D.C. make a move it'll almost certainly be within the league. I do wonder if veteran Sean Franklin is a guy they'd feel comfortable parting with for the right price.
Houston's been good at absorbing pressure and turning that into counterattacking opportunities in the other direction, and they've been good at turning counterattacking opportunities into goals. Clearly, their success is built around the efficacy of their front line, and clearly they've got four high-level players for – at best – three spots.
Their backline needs some help, and while Alex has done great work thus far I don't think their need for a pure playmaker has abated. The question is whether they can flip one of those forwards or wingers within the league for an answer.
Prognosis: The trade market for Mauro Manotas is so, so ripe. I don't think Houston's going to make a move this window, but they might want to, since his trade value will only decline if they keep giving him just spot minutes.
LA's entire backline needs help. Ashely Cole looks his age, and Nathan Smith has had trouble adjusting to the speed of the league. Daniel Steres battles, but he's been lost at times, and Jelle Van Damme remains a freelancer at heart. He's an overlapping center back, if there is such a thing.
Central midfield is just as unstructured, but I don't think they'll be making any moves there even if they should. The presumptive starting frontline of Giovani dos Santos and Gyasi Zardes, meanwhile, has barely had a chance to step on the field together in 2017.
Prognosis: It seems like the spot they're most likely to add reinforcements at is center forward, which isn't the spot that needs it. Zardes is productive when he plays there, willingly does the donkey work of a No. 9, and is a good partner to carve out room for dos Santos. Moving him to the wing doesn't really make sense.
My guess, though, is that's what'll happen this summer.
They've made a pretty good start of unwinding their catastrophic roster mistakes from the winter, but there remains much to be done. Most of it is about figuring out how to unload certain contracts, but part of it has to be figuring out how to acquire at least one young, athletic center back who they can start grooming for the future – and who can step into the breach when circumstances dictate.
Prognosis: I think they'll be making at least one more "incoming" move this window, and perhaps a couple of "outgoing" moves. Rumor is they're targeting the wings for upgrade, but that doesn't make sense to me given the personnel they already have there.
Montreal give up soft goals on an almost weekly basis, which goes back to their long-running struggle to lock down central defense. Montreal need a physical, stay-at-home presence at center back who can pair with the more adventuresome Laurent Ciman, and they need their Homegrowns to keep developing, and they need Blerim Dzemaili to just get here already.
Prognosis: It looks like that last part is happening. Beyond that, it's tough to say.
In his last 17 games across all competitions, Juan Agudelo has 13 goals and 3 assists. The vast, vast majority of those numbers have come when he's a true center forward, rather than when he's doing double-duty with Kei Kamara. Those guys clog up each other's space, and it's time for the Revs to build that attack around Agudelo.
That means Kamara's a trade chip – one that the Revs should use to try to add a left back who can take the job over full time.
Prognosis: New England have plenty of room for internationals (they've used just three of their allotted spots), and have filled only 23 of 30 roster spots all told. They should find a young, athletic CB to take a flier on for depth purposes at the very least, and adding a veteran, "break in case of emergency" d-mid wouldn't hurt, either.
Patrick Vieira has the most eclectic mix of players in the league, as befitting a team from the Bronx. MLS cast-off Ben Sweat crossing to prized Man City youngster and future mainstay in the Venezuelan midfield Yangel Herrera for a goal? Sure. Herrera's high pressure forcing a turnover that last year's No. 1 overall pick Jack Harrison deposits for the game-winner? Yup. Last year's USL MVP, Sean Okoli, starting at center forward in place of last year's MLS MVP, David Villa (who was sick)? Legend Andrea Pirlo not even getting off the bench?
All of that can and does happen in the funhouse that is NYCFC.
Prognosis: What you're seeing right now is their squad for 2017 unless someone makes them an offer they can't refuse for Tommy McNamara. Which someone absolutely should, by Sunday at the very latest.
What the Red Bulls really need is for Gonzalo Veron to live up to his billing and start contributing the occasional difference-making play. He continues, however, to be hard-working but wasteful, and there are only so many minutes to go around for him to try to shake it off while the team is trying to pick up points.
In lieu of Veron finally finding his feet: New York need another guy to score goals. Maybe it comes from within via a few guys already on the roster, or maybe they can swing a deal from within the league.
Prognosis: I feel like they're going to sit tight and try to emulate Seattle's plan from last year. Deals are easier to make in the summer, and New York will be happy to cruise along at their current rate until the the window opens in July and they can – hopefully, for them – add their final piece.
With all due respect to the Fire, it looks very much like Orlando City had the best offseason of any MLS club. They added difference-makers at three backline spots and in midfield, and Jason Kreis is also obviously the Rivas Whisperer.
This group doesn't need any changes for the time being.
The Union need major surgery. If Haris Medunjanin is going to be their d-mid, they need two two-way midfielders protecting him. If that's going to be the case, they need at least one real chance creator on the wing because they won't be playing with a real No. 10. And if they have a real chance creator on one wing and C.J. Sapong (a very good hold-up player, but unreliable finisher) at center forward, then they need the other wing to be a goal-scoring dynamo.
They also need their central defense to play better, and Andre Blake to go back to last year's form.
Prognosis: Philly's filled all 30 of their roster slots, so don't expect any movement just yet. That will not please their fans.
Portland signed Gbenga Arokoyo last year with the idea that he'd be their solution in central defense. He ruptured his left Achilles' tendon back in January, and they've been holding the backline together with toothpicks and glue ever since while new acquisitions are teased every so often on social media.
This is their one obvious need.
Prognosis: They'll bring in a new center back by Sunday.
Injuries have just killed this backline. Justen Glad hasn't played and Aaron Maund has played 103 minutes – that was supposed to be their starting pair. Chris Schuler has been ok but is always just one bad step away from months on the mend, and veteran depth signing David Horst got hurt, and longtime right back Tony Beltran has been hurt and you get the idea.
RSL badly need a central defender who's not wearing a cast. They also, long-term, need to find an heir to Kyle Beckerman at d-mid.
Prognosis: I think one of the two issues above will be resolved this week.
The Quakes ended their six-match winless streak this past weekend, and if you look at the underlying numbers they're not in as much trouble as public perception would indicate – they're among the league leaders in expected goals differential, which is a good long-term predictor.
However, they've scored just nine goals in nine games, which is right in line with the past attacking shortcomings. The pressure is on their forwards to finish.
Prognosis: This group will get until the summer to make good on those underlying numbers. If they're fading out of the playoff race by July, expect changes.
Seattle have battled just as many backline injury issues as RSL and Portland, and have regularly dropped results that they otherwise probably would have picked up.
Guess what? Nobody's gonna panic. The powers that be know they just need to stick within striking distance while the mainstays get healthy, and get fit, and get back out onto the field.
Prognosis: I still think that they could add a young center back at some point just to make sure poor Gustav Svensson doesn't get posterized by Agudelo again. But the reality is I'm pretty sure they'll stand pat until July, then make a significant, DP-caliber addition in attack.
If they sell Erik Palmer-Brown after the U-20 World Cup – which I'd imagine they will – they're back to a paper-thin rotation at center back, and one of the mainstays in the rotation is the oft-injured Ike Opara. Ike's been great, but he's already made eight starts, and his career high is 16. Matt Besler, meanwhile, could possibly miss a good chunk of the summer on international duty.
Sporting have a number of center backs stashed at their USL affiliate, Swope Park Rangers, and the most promising of them is probably former Canadian youth international Amer Didic. Maybe they sign him?
Prognosis: They have to add backline depth at some point. They're also very obviously one of the teams that could use a goalscoring winger, and are now five deep at right back in a league where everybody needs right backs. Make a trade, guys.
I thought Drew Moor was something close to irreplaceable for this team, but they've proved to have more backline depth than anyone thought. The fact that Chris Mavinga isn't really part of that is kind of a surprise, but that speaks to the good work TFC have done developing their draft picks (Nick Hagglund) and academy kids (Raheem Edwards).
This team is fine. If they add anyone, it'll be an academy kid.
Prognosis: That doesn't mean they won't listen to offers, especially with Marky Delgado apparently having beaten out Armando Cooper for a starting job in midfield! TFC can swing a deal if they want to.
Vancouver have undergone a facelift this offseason that's extended into the regular season itself, and it'd be prudent to let that settle before making any other major moves.
Prognosis: My guess is they'll sit tight for now, then reassess in the summer after Yordy Reyna gets healthy and they figure out how he fits in.