TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Trade
- MIA receive: Kamal Miller, $1.3 million GAM
- MTL receive: Bryce Duke, Ariel Lassiter
Montréal, known for mining the MLS trade market, have brought in midfielder Bryce Duke and Costa Rican international forward Ariel Lassiter from the Herons. Heading Miami’s way from CFM is Canadian international defender Kamal Miller and $1.3 million in General Allocation Money (GAM). The selling club retains a sell-on percentage for each player involved in the trade.
The highlight of the trade may be Miller, who represented Canada at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and was an MLS All-Star last year. The 25-year-old could start at center back for Miami alongside Ukranian international Sergii Kryvtsov, an offseason arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk. Miller is in his fifth MLS season, so far notching 3g/6a across 88 games (81 starts) with Montréal and Orlando City SC.
“Kamal is a standout defender who’s just entering his prime,” Chris Henderson, Miami’s chief soccer officer and sporting director, said in a release. “He’s improved every year of his career and become one of the league’s best players at his position. He has also excelled on the international stage, including at the biggest stage in the World Cup.
“Additionally, this trade gives us the flexibility to continue making exciting moves in the near future and further strengthen our squad.”
Duke (22) and Lassiter (28) should give Montréal options in the attacking phase after they’ve scored just three goals in their first six games under new head coach Hernan Losada. Duke has 1g/11a in 61 games (25 starts) across time with LAFC and Inter Miami, while Lassiter has 8g/6a across 97 games (34 starts) with LA Galaxy, Houston Dynamo FC and Inter Miami.
"We’re very happy with the arrival of these two players," Olivier Renard, Montréal’s VP and chief sporting officer, said in a release. “We had been discussing with Miami for a while regarding Bryce. He is an intelligent player on the pitch, with good technique and passing quality. He is a modern player who will bring creativity.
“Ariel is a versatile, left-footed player, with good speed and goal-scoring ability. He can also play as a striker and will help us offensively.”
How players fit
Miller gives Miami their second new starting-level center back acquired during the Primary Transfer Window (ends April 24); Kryvtsov joined in late January after leaving UEFA Champions League regular Shakhtar Donetsk. Both players' arrivals in South Florida follow Miami trading center back Damion Lowe to the Philadelphia Union earlier this winter, creating roster turnover in front of goalkeeper Drake Callender.
In addition to Miller, Miami get a key influx of GAM to potentially use while exploring additions. They’ve been linked to high-profile moves for former FC Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets this summer, and extra funds could help fit those potential deals (or any, for that matter) under the salary cap.
Duke and Lassiter should help Montréal’s new-look offense come together, as they’re both coming off career years with Miami – 1g/7a for the former and 4g/5a for the latter. Duke was a spot-starter in Miami, while Lassiter has solely come off the bench thus far in 2023.
But Montréal have now lost six key players from their 2022 side that finished second in the East under now-Columbus Crew head coach Wilfried Nancy. Attacking midfielder Djordje Mihailovic (to AZ Alkmaar), central midfielder Ismaël Koné (to Watford FC) and defender Alistair Johnston (to Scotland’s Celtic FC) were all transferred to European clubs, while forwards Joaquín Torres (to Philadelphia) and Kei Kamara (to Chicago Fire FC) were traded to other MLS clubs. The sixth player, of course, is Miller.
Miami (No. 6 seed) and Montréal (No. 2 seed) were both in the East’s Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs field, but they’ve struggled thus far in 2023.
Miami are 12th in the East with a 2W-5L-0D record after opening with two straight home wins, also hurting from captain Gregore’s long-term foot injury in midfield. Montréal are 15th with a 1W-5L-0D record as they adjust to life under Losada while losing significant pieces across the pitch.
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