MLS Insider: Tom Bogert

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window

Gustavo Bou - New England Revolution - celebrates a goal - close-up

There are too many words below to waste time and space here. Too Deep For The Intro, as J Cole might say. 

Onto the grades! 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - ATL

Atlanta United: B+

It was a tidy window for the reigning champs, sealing a loan acquisition of Emerson Hyndman and trading for Mo Adams

Hyndman immediately stepped into the first team amid injuries and fit in seamlessly. There's an option to purchase the 23-year-old from Bournemouth at the end of his loan and he seems a valuable addition to the squad, both in the interim and future.

Adams, meanwhile, gives the team added defensive help in the middle of the park and is versatile enough to help out at left wing back, too. It's a solid squad addition, particularly for the low cost of $100,000 GAM. Two solid pickups for Frank de Boer's side. 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - CHI

Chicago Fire: D

There was talk of a fire sale this summer in Chicago if things didn't turn around. 

Well, things didn't turn around, typified by a week with back-to-back home games against FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew with just one point gained, yet no fire sale transpired. Just Mo Adams, who had made only five starts this season before being traded. 

Jonathan Bornstein, 34-year-old fullback, and Michael Azira, a soon-to-be 32-year-old defensive midfielder, were the only players added. A promising yet inconsistent and unbalanced roster remained essentially intact, and the team has now drifted to six points below the playoff line with two non-playoff spots to jump. They were neither buyers nor sellers this summer. 

Expect much more movement this winter, when the club can open all three DP slots. 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - CIN

FC Cincinnati: B-

Cincy's transfer window finished with a flurry, announcing acquisitions of three-time US international Joe Gyau from MSV Duisburg then Derrick Etienne Jr. from the New York Red Bulls on Thursday morning after the deadline closed. 

Before that, they added Celtic left back Andrew Gutman on loan and Dutch center back Maikel van der Werff. Between, they appointed Ron Jans head coach, ending a three-month period of Yoann Damet as interim boss. 

Not bad for Gerard Nijkamp's first window in charge, especially considering he didn't begin working full time with Cincy until August 1. He inherited a mess, with little flexibility, yet he was able to bring in a handful of promising players. 

Jans, likely to play the Dutch-favored 4-3-3, now has a few more wingers at his disposal in Etienne and Gyau. Gutman plugs the black hole at left back left in the wake of Greg Garza's injuries, while van der Werff reunites with Jans. The pair enjoyed success together at PEC Zwolle.

This is all good and well, given the circumstances. Nijkamp will be judged on a granular level once he gets expanded freedom under the salary cap and makes major signings. 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - COL

Colorado Rapids: C+

The Rapids have spoke at length about 2020 being the season with flexibility. They still don't have a full-time head coach, as interim boss Conor Casey is doing fine in the role.

Colorado didn't make moves for the sake of making moves, which is good. But they weren't able to move the needle forward very much, the way they did at the end of the Primary Transfer Window.

In May, the club added Jonathan Lewis, Lalas Abubakar and Abdul Rwatubyaye. One was a big investment for a player who immediately became one of the current roster's cornerstones, one a defensive pick up that's shrewd in hindsight and one flier on a young, raw talent who might turn into something useful in the future. They could have used something similar this summer. 

Still, this winter will be pivotal. 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - CLB

Columbus Crew SC: B+

Life is all about relativity. Relatively speaking, the Crew had a great window because they plugged a number of holes. But, having holes in the first place helped accelerate the Columbus rebuild under Tim Bezbatchenko. 

Bezbatchenko and head coach Caleb Porter, who both arrived this offseason, weren't in a position to kick off this rebuild eight months ago. They inherited a regular playoff team with a number of veterans, and Porter and former head coach Gregg Berhalter have similar philosophies, so why not pick up right where you left off? Why change for change's sake?

Well, a rash of injuries and some underperformers made that apparent before long. Now, the club have accumulated a few pieces for the core and continued flexibility. 

This summer, the club added key players Eloy Room, Luis DiazYouness Mokhtar and Chris Cadden.

Room has predictably been very good, a career 'keeper in the Netherlands and a star of the 2019 Gold Cup. Diaz, signed as a young DP, has been impressive in a small sample size. How successful the young Costa Rican is will go a long way to determining the relative success of this window for Columbus. 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - DC

D.C. United: C

Before, like, two days ago, things were pretty quiet in D.C. The odd link to Yamil Asad here, the wayward Lucho Acosta report there.

Then, all hell broke loose. 

Reports emerged from England that maybe, just maybe, Wayne Rooney's days at D.C. were numbered. Before long, Rooney was en route to England. Before long, the club confirmed that Rooney will be departing the club this winter for Derby County.

Like a house of cards, that sent the structure spiraling. Acosta's impending contract is now even more significant than 48 hours ago, and it seems more likely that he now departs the club for free. We were reminded that loans for Leo Jara, Lucas Rodriguez and Bill Hamid all expire after the season ends. Oh, hey, remember how Paul Arriola has suitors abroad?

Yeah. Next season's team is going to look a whole lot different than this year's. 

Soon to lose Rooney, and probably Acosta, and possibly a few other key players, D.C. worked overdrive to compensate. They added Ola Kamara, Felipe and Emmanuel Boateng

They also are getting a meeting with Mesut Ozil's reps ... to talk coffee shops first, then maybe his playing future. 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - DAL

FC Dallas: C-

This is something. 

Gyasi was the club's lone addition this summer as Pablo Aranguiz headed back to Chile. The deal suggests the Ghanaian is meant to be a key player for Dallas, whose fatal flaw this season is scoring goals. Well, Gyasi had six goals in 52 appearances for Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia. 

The thinking behind the move is sound: Gyasi won't block minutes for promising young attackers like Jesus Ferreira or Ricardo Pepi, but the deal may be eerily similar to their last attacking TAM import from an Eastern European team, Zdenek Ondrasek, who has made just one MLS start for his new club.  

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - HOU

Houston Dynamo: B

Was Christian Ramirez to play with Mauro Manotas, or replace him? That's the big question coming out of this window.

The Premier League window closed Thursday, but most of Europe can still buy players through the end of the month. Ditto for Liga MX. It's possible Manotas and Alberth Elis leave before September 1.

Or not! Who knows! What we do know is adding Ramirez for just $250,000 in varied allocation money is great business.

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - LAFC


When you have the league's runaway MVP candidate, on pace for perhaps the best season in league history, as well as the frontrunner for MLS Defender of the Year as well as one of the league's most promising young players all contributing to a team on pace to break the league record for points in a season, what exactly are you supposed to do in a mid-season transfer window?

That's right: You spend between a reported $8-11 million to sign one of Uruguay's top talents. The rich get richer, or something like that.

The best part? Just like Andre Horta before him, Brian Rodriguez is essentially a luxury DP signing by LAFC. They're already the best team in the league. Their attack is carnivorous. How many teams would be quite happy to lean on Adama Diomande every week? They'll be fine if Rodriguez doesn't settle quickly. Can they possibly be even better if he hits the ground running?

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - LA

LA Galaxy: A

Finding a way to get Cristian Pavon is impressive on its own, but someone doing Olympic-level cap gymnastics so that he doesn't count as a Designated Player just yet? Bravo. 

The Galaxy front three, at some point next month if all healthy — and that if is carrying a lot of weight in this sentence given recent history — will be comprised of Pavon, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romain Alessandrini. They can play 4-3-3 with Joe Corona, Jonathan dos Santos and Sebastian Lletget in the midfield. They can shift to a 4-2-3-1 to put one of Uriel Antuna or Favio Alvarez in the team. Even if Alessandrini never does get healthy enough to make a big impact on 2019, they're fine.

Imagine that, an attack so star-studded that they can just shrug their shoulders if a DP winger simply doesn't return to the field. Dennis te Kloese navigated the Gio dos Santos saga and has added the likes of Diego Polenta, Corona, Antuna, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Alvarez and, now, Pavon since he took over this winter.

Pretty, pretty, pretty good.

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - MIN

Minnesota United FC: A

Conventional wisdom would have suggested that Minnesota's winter spending spree to improve their defense would have left them with little room to maneuver in the summer. 

Instead, they signed Finnish international Robin Lod to a TAM deal, French left back Wilfried Moimbe to a short-term deal then spent a non-insignificant transfer fee to sign Thomas Chicon to a young DP deal. It doesn't hurt that the team is on an 11-game unbeaten run, either 

Sporting director Manny Lagos wasn't kidding when he told a few weeks ago that the team still had a ton of flexibility.

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - MTL

Montreal Impact: B-

Struggling for goals while missing Ignacio Piatti for a few months? Well, the Impact went out and added a handful of attackers to see what sticks. Most importantly, though, Piatti is back.

To accentuate their star Argentine, Montreal added former "next Lionel Messi" Bojan Krkic as well as completing the loan signings of Lassi Lappaleinen and Ballou Tabla. They join Maxi Urruti, Omar Browne and already on-loan winger Orji Okwonkwo in attack.

All good players on their own, head coach Remi Garde has to find the right combination — and fast. Montreal are just a point above the playoff line. 

Will the club switch to a 4-2-3-1 to accommodate another attacker, as well as setting Bojan in his preferred No. 10 role? Will Urruti pick up his goalscoring form or will Piatti have to play makeshift No. 9 again? Does this take away minutes from Okwonkwo, on loan from sister club Bologna? Where does Ballou fit in? Forget about Browne and Anthony Jackson-Hamel, too. 

That's a lot of questions for a team under pressure to pick up points. 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - NE

New England Revolution: A-

They made one signing: Gustavo Bou. Good enough. 

The Revs had looked promising since parting ways with Brad Friedel. The arrival of Bruce Arena, then Bou, has solidified that promise. They're above the playoff line, already had Carles Gil firing and the rest of the roster playing better than the sum of its parts. They added a shiny new part in Bou. 

New England are docked a tad because their defensive ranks are light. They can hold it together for the rest of the season, but one would imagine that'll be the focus in upcoming transfer windows. 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - NYC

New York City FC: C

NYCFC, like a few other teams, did all their damage in the summer. They don't have any obvious holes and have depth essentially all over the pitch. The Cityzens brought in Gary Mackay-Steven on a free deal, added Eric Miller from Minnesota and saw no departures.

Ho-hum summer in the city.

The thing with Mackay-Steven is, though, the club already had a handful of strong wingers. DP Jesus Medina has already had a hellacious time getting on the pitch this season and hasn't started an MLS game since the beginning of April. Given the club's now-preferred (and successful) 5-2-3, Maxi Moralez has often played on the wing, taking a valuable place away from their stable of wide players.

Between Alexandru Mitrita, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Medina, sometimes Moralez and sometimes Taty Castellanos, it's tough to see where Mackay-Steven fits in. It's tough to see where Medina goes from here, too. His value has dropped and it's not going to improve without consistent playing time and form.

Having too many good players, I suppose, isn't a bad problem to have, but it's still a thing to worry about nonetheless. It'll be another interesting winter for NYCFC. 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - NY

New York Red Bulls: C-

This is usually Doyle's space, but with his mind in Cabo already, I'll carry the torch for him on this take: The Red Bulls would benefit immensely from a goalscoring, above-average DP winger. Sure, most teams would too, but particularly this Red Bulls side. 

They did go out and get a winger in Josh Sims, on loan from Southampton — added to the team as a Young DP — and time will tell if he's truly a meaningful upgrade on their current crop of wingers. If he's not, then the Red Bulls' summer window will have been a failed one. 

Still, it's not unfair to be dubious of a 22-year-old winger with zero senior goals in 47 appearances. 

They also hung onto Aaron Long in a saga that flirted with getting nasty. West Ham made what the player's camp considered to be a very fair offer, but the Red Bulls opted not to sell. 

It's definitely not the last we'll be hearing on this front. learned the club rejected a bid from a French club as well. Their transfer window doesn't close for another few weeks. 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - ORL

Orlando City SC: B

Orlando's summer hinges on new DP Mauricio Pereyra. If he's legit, then the summer was a success. It might even mean making the playoffs for the first time in club history.

Time will tell. The 29-year-old Uruguayan attacking midfielder went to Russia in 2013 to play for FK Krasnodar and racked up 201 appearances with 29 goals and 33 assists. How well — and how quickly — that translates to MLS will render the summer a success or failure. 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - PHI

Philadelphia Union: B

Sticking with the theme of "what were they supposed to do?" — what were the Union supposed to do this summer?

The club wanted to add another forward, so they signed Andrew Wooten. They already extended Jamiro Monteiro's loan through the end of the season. What else they need is already on the team, essentially Marco Fabian's health and form. They're a very good team without the Mexico international — they can be great with him. 

Wooten raises the team's ceiling, too, but with Kacper Przybylko's emergence as well as being able to call on Fafa Picault and Sergio Santos for the other striker spot, their ceiling won't crumble if Wooten takes a minute to settle in. 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - POR

Portland Timbers: B

After signing Brian Fernandez just before the Primary Transfer Window closed, what else was there to do for Portland?

Returning largely the same team that made MLS Cup final last year and added a crown jewel, club-record striker Brian Fernandez, the Timbers didn't have any glaring holes. They even got valuable contributions from a handful of players from their USL affiliate T2.

Their only summer move was parting ways with Lucas Melano and turning Tomas Conechny's loan to a permanent transfer. They didn't need to do anything else. What they need is further continuity between the first team and continue to pick up points on their (expected) way to the playoffs. 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - RSL

Real Salt Lake: C+

RSL, like Portland, didn't have a ton to do. They're a bit lower the Portland because their current roster isn't as good.

The team isn't considerably better than the beginning of the window, but buying low on Kelyn Rowe was a good move. Jefferson Savarino is still on the squad and the hope is his value will only grow with continued impressive performances moving forward.

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - SJ

San Jose Earthquakes: B+

The Quakes didn't have much room to maneuver this summer, so they had to get their additions right. Adding Carlos Fierro and Andres Rios, two players who enjoyed success under Matias Almeyda, is a pretty efficient way to add to the roster. Then, they managed to get $650,000 GAM from Nashville for Anibal Godoy, who will stay at the club for the rest of the season.

That deal brought was the cherry on top for Almeyda's side. That GAM, alongside some deals coming off the books, will come in handy after the season to give Almeyda more recruitments. He took a team that finished bottom of the league last year, made minor personnel changes, and now whipped that squad into a team tied for second in the Western Conference.

What will Almeyda be able to do when it's his squad?

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - SEA

Seattle Sounders: B+

The Sounders beat the buzzer with two signings, adding Emanuel Cecchini on loan from Spanish side Malaga CF with the help of Targeted Allocation Money, and also bringing MLS veteran Luis Silva after a stint with FC Honka of the Finnish first division.

Already one of the league's top teams, the Sounders are gearing up to hold down that No. 2 spot out West, thus home-field advantage until the conference final if they meet LAFC. 

Some wondered why the Sounders hadn't made any moves this summer, given their roster flexibility. Instead of adding one DP-level player, the Sounders opted for a pair of players.

The moves aren't done, either. They still need an international slot. Let Sam Stejskal explain that minutia for you: 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - SKC

Sporting KC: C

Will the winter be a transitional window for SKC? The summer saw just Portuguese defender Luis Martins enter and Kelyn Rowe depart, as the team hope to make the unlikely climb to the playoff line. 

They close the window five points and two teams adrift of the all-important seventh place. SKC opted to stay focused on 2019 while preserving whatever flexibility they had for 2020. 

It's a defensible stance. After all, this is the same team that looked like one of the league's best teams while hammering Toluca on the road in Concacaf Champions League play. It's been all downhill since then. They still need an above-average No. 9 (heard that one before for this team?) and it might be time to get younger. 

Would things be any different if they found a solution to hold onto Ike Opara this winter? 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - TOR

Toronto FC: B+

Toronto almost-desperately needed a defensive addition as well as a winger. 

So, the club went out and signed Omar Gonzalez then added not one but two TAM-level wingers in Nicolas Benezet and Erickson Gallardo. Their first-choice starting XI is among the strongest in MLS, should either Benezet or Gallardo hit the ground running and as long as Jozy Altidore and Alejandro Pozuelo are healthy and available.

Just like last season, it appears they're set to overcome a bit of a swoon to make the playoffs. As last season taught them, though, nothing is guaranteed and, sometimes, talent doesn't always win out in the end. Still work to do on the playing field, but the front office did what they could to set the team for success. 

Bogert: Grading all 24 teams for the Secondary Transfer Window - VAN

Vancouver Whitecaps FC: C+

Keeping Ali Adnan on a permanent basis was the biggest move the Caps made this summer. It's an important one, but now his standing on the roster is more commensurate with his ability and responsibility, meaning he's no longer a huge value like he was when on loan. That's fine, obviously necessary and is a worthy DP. 

Vancouver still desperately need attacking juice. Young DP Joaquin Ardaiz has been a bust so far and DP Fredy Montero hasn't lived up to the tag. The parade of wingers have largely disappointed, culminating in the club mutually parting ways with Lucas Venuto, allowing a player who they spent a transfer fee on in the winter walk for free. 

They immediately used that money to bring in Honduras international Michaell Chirinos on loan as their revolving door of wingers produces a new face. Will he fare better than those in the past? 

This season was always going to be a transitional one at BC Place. Tangible progress would be felt by assembling a core group of players that fit Marc Dos Santos' ethos. Maxime CrepeauDoneil HenryErik Godoy, Adnan and Inbeom Hwang are who MDS can build around. As you see, there aren't any pure attackers in that group.

Between now and 2020's season opener, finding key attackers is the goal. Will Chirinos fit the bill?