club snapshots - 2021 - primary image

EDITOR'S NOTE: It’s a busy time in MLS with the offseason in full swing and we’ve got you covered on all 27 teams as they continue preparations for 2021. Here you’ll find team-by-team breakdowns including their transfer dealings so far, what’s next, the latest rumors are and ever-evolving Week One projected XIs. This post is regularly updated.




Incomings and outgoings. Silly season never stops, nor does building for 2021.


Teams have been hard at work curating their squads, but there’s still plenty of time for clubs to make big changes so keep in mind it’s a work in progress.



For many teams please — and it cannot be stressed enough — don't place much stock into the projected XI at this very early stage.



Seattle Sounders


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: All quiet on the official front for Seattle lately.


Transfer window analysis (so far): The big move the Sounders made was agreeing to a contract extension with Nico Lodeiro as the maestro was entering the final year of his contract. With their core in place, they have some work to fill out the rest of the squad.


Biggest question/hole: It's never easy to keep championship teams together in a salary cap league, with all the performance-bonuses paid out amid the success and teams looking to sign your players. That's the case for Seattle, who have had their depth cut down a bit this offseason while GM Garth Lagerwey admitted they have little freedom to make big additions.


Joao Paulo's loan has ended, but the club are hopeful for a return there. They also need to re-sign or replace Gustav Svensson as well as a replacement for the out-of-contract Kelvin Leerdam at right back if he does depart.


Rumors have it: Seattle are reportedly close to getting Joao Paulo back and also have reportedly agreed to a new contract for Brian Schmetzer as expected, but nothing official on either front yet. Svensson has been linked with a move to China.


Projected XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Frei; A. Roldan, Andrade, Arreaga, Smith; Delem, C. Roldan; Hopeau, Lodeiro, Morris; Ruidiaz,



Atlanta United


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: Atlanta's MLS contract for Erik Lopez went into effect officially on New Year's Day. The Paraguayan attack was acquired last summer, but wasn't yet eligible to be added to the MLS roster. He did, however, make an appearance in the Concacaf Champions League in December.


Transfer window analysis (so far): The biggest news for Atlanta is sorted, with Gabriel Heinze appointed as head coach. The rising Argentine manager was a candidate many hoped to see with the club after Tata Martino stepped away two years ago, but he's here now. Next is sorting further additions that fit his style.


Biggest question/hole: Rather than focus on the roster, the biggest question is how quickly Atlanta can return to the ethos that guided their first few seasons: entertaining, aggressive, front-foot soccer? Having Josef Martinez back healthy after his ACL tear will help with that a lot, too.


Rumors have it: The club acquired Andrew Gutman's MLS rights in the Re-Entry Draft, but he's still a Celtic player. Keep an eye on that situation. Also: Atlanta are reported to be after one of South America's brightest prospects, 19-year-old central midfielder Moises Caicedo. 


Projected XI (4-3-3, right to left): Guzan; Escobar, Robinson, Meza, Bello; Remedi, Hyndman, Moreno; Damm, Martinez, Barco



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Austin FC


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: Austin's expansion march continues, signing Matt Besler and Diego Fagundez this week after adding center back Jhohan Romana last week. Semi-related: Please watch Besler's announcement video replicating a Matthew McConaughey commercial. It's tremendous.


Transfer window analysis (so far): Austin are still in the middle of building the inaugural roster and have added some very nice pieces from within the league. Alex Ring and Nick Lima will be stalwarts and leaders of the team, two consistent and proven products in MLS. They have only begun to dip into the international market with Rodney Redes, Cecilio Dominguez and Romana, so expect more on that front moving forward.


Biggest question/hole: TBD, still developing. They have some semblance of a starting XI already, but have plenty of space for more key players so that'll be in flux. The same goes for the projected XI below, of course, given they have just 17 players under contract.


Rumors have it: Austin are reportedly interested in signing another player from Club Guarani, this time midfielder Jose Florentín. The club have already signed two players from Guarani (Redes, Romana) and sent Dominguez there on loan.


Projected XI (4-3-3, right to left): Tarbell; Lima, Romana, Besler, Sweat; Ring, Segura, Fagundez; Redes, Hoesen, Dominguez



Chicago Fire FC


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: Chicago inked breakout rookie Mauricio Pineda to a contract extension, despite the Homegrown defender being under team control for another few seasons.


Transfer window analysis (so far): The last two offseason have been polar opposites. In 2020, the club had a rebrand, then hired a new front office and coaching staff before making a huge number of additions, many of whom arrived long after preseason started. This year? They retained most of that squad and have already made three signings, plus traded Djordje Mihailovic to Montreal.


That was not so much an "analysis" as it is recapping events, so I'll leave you with this vague line: Let's see what the end product is in year two under head coach Raphael Wicky.


Biggest question/hole: Can Ignacio Aliseda pick up the creative slack left behind by Mihailovic? Chicago's other two DPs (Robert Beric and Gaston Gimenez) have been strong contributors as was expected for the in-prime players, though Aliseda took a bit longer to settle in. The youngster has talent and will get plenty of chances in 2021.


Projected XI (4-3-3, right to left): Kronholm; Espinoza, Pineda, Calvo, Bornstein; Gimenez, Medran, Herbers; Frankowski, Beric, Aliseda



FC Cincinnati


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: Cincinnati made a big move last week, acquiring fullback Ronald Matarrita from NYCFC in exchange for $500,000 GAM (with another $100,000 GAM in performance-based incentives). They also signed Ben Mines after selecting him in the Waiver Draft.


Transfer window analysis (so far): The deal for Matarrita checks one big box off the to-do list this winter, getting a written-in-pen starter at left back for the foreseeable future after Andrew Gutman departed. He wasn't cheap, but he's been one of the league's best attacking fullbacks for a few seasons and is an in-prime Costa Rican international. Those players aren't cheap.


Biggest question/hole: Cincy are in need of a few key players this offseason, though perhaps none more pressing than a creative presence in the midfield. GM Gerard Nijkamp told media the club are "looking for a high-profile DP, a decision-maker" when asked about signing a DP No. 10. They have the roster flexibility to open at least one DP spot. Beyond that, they have a big decision to make on DP striker Jurgen Locadia's future, as his loan expires in the summer.


Rumors have it: Brazilian youth international forward Lincoln might be on the way. Cincy are reportedly in negotiations with Flamengo about a loan with option-to-buy deal for the 20-year-old. He's a forward who can play on either wing. Elsewhere, DeAndre Yedlin is reported to have a "serious offer" from an Eastern Conference team and some fans are pointing to Cincy as a possibility.


Projected XI (4-3-3, right to left): Tyton; Gyau, van der Werff, Petterson, Matarrita; Mokotjo, Medunjanin, Amaya; Barreal, Locadia, Kubo



Colorado Rapids


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: Nothing new lately for the Rapids, though former midfield stalwart and head coach Pablo Mastroeni is now the assistant coach at rival Real Salt Lake, adding a little more spice to that Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry.


Transfer window analysis (so far): Colorado inked Auston Trusty, Lalas Abubakar and Jonathan Lewis to new contracts this winter. All three players were acquired via intra-league trades when they weren't getting a ton of playing time at their respective clubs. All three are part of the Rapids' core.


Biggest question/hole: The Rapids have a strong base and room to add another difference-maker or two. What positions will they be targeting? They believe in Andre Shinyashiki and Diego Rubio at center forward, but they are the only two natural strikers on the roster. Cole Bassett's future is another storyline to watch. The rising US youth international has plenty of suitors in Europe.


Rumors have it: No smoke around the Rapids just yet, though they announced a month ago in their end-of-season update they're in negotiations with Club Leon over a deal for goalkeeper William Yarbrough.


Projected XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Irwin; Rosenberry, Abubakar, Trusty, Vines; Price, Acosta; Lewis, Namli, Shinyashiki; Rubio



Columbus Crew SC


Updated: Fri., Jan. 8 @ 3:30 p.m. ET

Here's the latest: Over the holidays, the Crew signed legendary MLS forward Bradley Wright-Phillips. This week they re-signed veteran left back Waylon Francis, giving them an assured option behind Milton Valenzuela, and splashed cash for free agent winger Kevin Molino, who was coming off his best MLS season with Minnesota United.


They also swapped depth goalkeepers around, signing Eric Dick and trading Jon Kempin to D.C. United.


Transfer window analysis (so far): The MLS Cup champions are returning their core and didn’t have a ton of work to do, though made a big move to sign Molino. The winger slots into their best XI opposite Pedro Santos, another outlet for goal contributions in an already strong attack. This comes after adding BWP as Gyasi Zardes’ backup/insurance, which was a fine move in its own right. The 35-year-old passed the eye test with LAFC and filled up the box score: He had eight goals and six assists in 1,085 MLS minutes. He’s got something left in the tank.


Biggest question/hole: There really aren't any! Backup forward would have been the answer, but BWP has arrived, same with another wing option to join Luis Diaz/Pedro Santos/Derrick Etienne with the Molino signing. Perhaps its depth behind the fullbacks. The reigning champs are well-stocked all across the pitch with young players like Aidan Morris, Aboubacar Keita and others pushing the starters. Run it back for 2021.


Rumors have it: All quiet on the rumor mill.


Projected XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Room; Afful, Mensah, Wormgoor, Valenzuela; Artur, Nagbe; Molino, Zelarayan, Santos; Zardes



FC Dallas


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: The Bryan Reynolds saga continues to unfold, with Juventus and Club Brugge looking like the front-runners for his lucrative transfer.


Transfer window analysis (so far): Reynolds' future has gotten all of the attention, but, Dallas have quietly done great business already this winter. They got a return for Brazilian youth international GK Phelipe as well as defender Bressan while adding a few key pieces in winger Jader Obrian and center back Jose Antonio Martinez.


Obrian, in particular, seems interesting. He comes from the same league as Andres Ricaurte and is a goal scoring winger, with 13 goals in 22 games last season. In my best Matt Doyle voice: Dallas needed a goal-scoring winger.


Biggest question/hole: If and when Reynolds does leave, they'll need a long-term solution at right back. Some whispers that Ema Twumasi will be that guy, and Dallas also have Eddie Munjoma, but they'll need to sort that. Paxton Pomykal's health once again is a big question as well.


Rumors have it: All focus has been on Reynolds. Dallas also have sent six players to go train with Bayern Munich for their annual offseason trip to Bavaria.


Projected XI (4-3-3, right to left): Maurer; Hollingshead, Hedges, Martinez, Nelson; Santos, Tessmann, Ricaurte; Barrios, Jara, Obrian



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D.C. United


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: United hoped to announce a new head coach by the end of December, but the search is still ongoing. Perhaps there'll be a resolution soon. This week, though, they agreed to a deal with Adrien Perez after selecting him in the Re-Entry Draft.


Transfer window analysis (so far): It all starts and ends with the coaching search at the moment. Former RBNY head coach Chris Armas, Sounders assistant Gonzalo Pineda and World Cup-winning former USWNT boss Jill Ellis have been a few (of many) names seriously linked to the job.


Biggest question/hole: Once that new coach is appointed, we'll know a lot more about specifics, though just based on the roster numbers, they'll need some defensive additions. Still, D.C. have some strong talent on this roster, headlined by Edison Flores, Paul Arriola and Julian Gressel. They also have a few really talented Homegrowns with Moses Nyeman, Kevin Paredes and Griffin Yow playing themselves into the rotation last year.


Rumors have it: The Mesut Ozil reports are back! The latest suggests Ozil and D.C. are in negotiations, though the club are still searching for their next head coach.


Projected XI (4-3-3, right to left): Hamid; Canouse, Brillant, Birnbaum, Mora; Moreno, Gressel, Flores; Arriola, Kamara, Asad



Houston Dynamo FC


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: Joe Corona is officially a member of the Dynamo. It was a wild offseason for Corona, which began as an LA Galaxy player then pinballed by being selected in two separate drafts, in which Austin FC held his MLS rights for a hot minute, before agreeing to a deal with Houston.


Transfer window analysis (so far): This winter was finally the time for Mauro Manotas' run in Houston to come to an end. The Colombian forward had long been rumored with a move abroad after becoming a club-favorite. The Dynamo got a decent return for him and have a number of attacking options already acquired in preparation for life without Manotas and Alberth Elis, with the latest coming via a trade to acquire Fafa Picault.


Biggest question/hole: Tab Ramos' Dynamo did fine in creating chances and scoring goals, though struggled defensively. A number of changes are underway with departures on that side of the squad. Expect the focus on defensive additions.


Rumors have it: Rumor mill is quiet around Houston as the offseason chugs along.


Projected XI (4-3-3, right to left): Maric; Lundkvist, Struna, Fuenmayor, Valentin; Vera, Corona, Rodriguez; Quintero, Ramirez, Lassiter



LAFC


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: Just before Christmas, LAFC were on the precipice of history with a 1-0 lead over Tigres in the Concacaf Champions League final. They ended up falling 2-1, starting their offseason in earnest.


Transfer window analysis (so far): LAFC moved on from Wright-Phillips this winter, as well as a handful of other players, before acquiring Marco Farfan in a trade with the Portland Timbers. The US youth international fullback will add depth and competition at left back.


Biggest question/hole: The attack is still stacked, so much so that even without Carlos Vela for most of the season and some rotation at center forward, they were a force. The big question is getting Jesus David Murillo back. The Colombian center back transitioned seamlessly to his few months in MLS and formed a strong partnership with Eddie Segura. He played with LAFC in the resumption of the CCL, which is a good sign, while a source tells MLSsoccer.com Murillo is "in the plans" for 2021.


They also could use another right back, particularly a starter depending on where they see Tristan Blackmon's long-term position.


Rumors have it: LAFC are reportedly interested in South Korean right back Kim Moon-hwan. Also: I'm sure by the time I'm done typing this sentence there'll be another team reportedly interested in Rossi, Rodriguez, Atuesta or Blessing, so, keep refreshing Twitter for those.


Projected XI (4-3-3, right to left): Vermeer; Blackmon, Traore, Segura, Palacios; Atuesta, Kaye, Blessing; Vela, Musovski, Rossi



LA Galaxy


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: The first big decision of the offseason is out of the way: The Galaxy have named Greg Vanney head coach.


Transfer window analysis (so far): Prior to appointing Vanney, the Galaxy have cleared as much cap/roster flexibility they realistically could. They have only 13 (!) players under contract for 2021, though one would expect a number of players currently out of contract from last year's team to return. Let's see how they utilize the flexibility.


Biggest question/hole: Will Cristian Pavon be returning in 2021? That's the big focus. Pavon was among the league's most talented players, but returned to Boca Juniors after his loan ended with no permanent agreement sorted yet. If not, it's hugely important they use that DP spot effectively.


In general, though, it's finally fixing a leaky defense that has plagued the club for more than a few seasons. (Please don't take the projected XI seriously because, again, they have THIRTEEN PLAYERS under contract at the moment.)


Rumors have it: The Galaxy are reportedly negotiating with the Portland Timbers over adding left back Jorge Villafana, but all eyes are on the near-daily Pavon updates.


Projected XI (4-3-3, right to left): Lopez; Araujo, DePuy, Steres, Insua; dos Santos, Kljestan, Lletget; Alvarez, Chicharito, Dunbar



Inter Miami CF


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: After a false start and weeks of uncertainty, it's now official: Diego Alonso is no longer the manager of Inter Miami. More on that below.


Transfer window analysis (so far): It's been much more about outgoings than incomings for Miami so far, moving on from the likes of Wil Trapp, Andres Reyes, Luis Robles and many others from their disappointing expansion campaign. The club did re-sign Brek Shea, who worked his way back from a long-term injury to be the club's second-leading scorer in 2020. They also traded for Red Bulls' 2020 SuperDraft first round selection Patrick Seagrist, who adds another body at left back after Ben Sweat left.


Biggest question/hole: Alonso and the club were in limbo after he believed he was fired though then still had the gig for a few weeks more. Their coaching search begins now, much later in the offseason than teams typically begin these projects. The first coaching search took a while, with a ton of names linked and reported offers declined. The race is on to hire a manager before preseason.


Also, with sporting director Paul McDonough gone in the front office, who's running the show? Reportedly, David Beckham is looking to take a more active role.


Rumors have it: The rumors follow this team everywhere. Here's a pro tip: Don't get worked up about it until it becomes official or someone you trust the most reports it. If not, you'll spend all day in a cycle of reading false rumors.


Projected XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): McCarthy; Nealis, Figal, Gonzalez Pirez, Shea; Ulloa, Matuidi; Morgan, Pizarro, Pellegrini; Higuain



Minnesota United FC


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11:54 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: Minnesota officially signed midfielder Wil Trapp, who spent 2020 with Inter Miami after the first seven seasons of his career with Columbus.


Transfer window analysis (so far): Not much to discuss for Minnesota outside of Trapp, who should be a useful addition at the base of midfield alongside Jan Gregus or Hassani Dotson (or both, when they want a more defensive midfield trio). Meanwhile, Molino announced his goodbye to Minnesota, and was promptly scooped up by Crew SC. He had nine goals and four assists in 19 regular season appearances and another four goals in the playoffs.


Biggest question/hole: Currently it's center forward, with just one forward on the roster (Foster Langsdorf, hence why he's currently in the projected XI below). They hope they can sort a return for Luis Amarilla, but are planning on bringing in another striker in addition to the Paraguayan if they get him back. They can buy down Gregus' cap hit to open one DP spot and plan to loan out Thomas Chacon, which would open another. Emanuel Reynoso has been a huge success since joining. Can they strike gold again with another DP of his ilk?


Rumors have it: There haven't been much, but stay tuned to Amarilla's situation as well as whether or not Ozzie Alonso will be back.


Projected XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): St. Clair; Metanire, Opara, Dibassy, Gasper; Trapp, Gregus; Finlay, Reynoso, Lod; Langsdorf



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Montreal Impact


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: Nothing since the blockbuster acquisition of Mihailovic from Chicago Fire FC, who is currently with the US U-23 national team for their January camp.


Transfer window analysis (so far): Montreal's trade for Mihailovic represents their biggest move thus far, acquiring another MLS-experienced youngster for a significant bag of GAM. The club definitely needed more chance creation in attack, particularly after Saphir Taider left. Plus, Mihailovic can play as a No. 10 or an inverted winger, giving Thierry Henry tactical flexibility.


L'Impact have also signed a handful of Homegrowns. Will any break into the rotation this year?


Biggest question/hole: What formation and style does Henry want to play? That's the first question that needs sorting. He started preseason last year in a back four, hoping to play on the front foot, but ended up scrapping that for a back five which was most effective on the counter. Was it solely due to personnel and maximizing the group he largely inherited? We'll see.


As for the players at his disposal, Montreal currently have only one DP spot occupied (Victor Wanyama). Two more DPs could really raise the level of the squad. Central defense will need an addition or two, as well.


Rumors have it: Not much in the transfer market, though the club did confirm an "identity change" for 2021.


Projected XI (3-4-2-1, right to left): Diop; Camacho, Waterman, Binks; Brault-Guillard, Wanyama, Piette, Mustafa; Mihailovic, Quioto; Toye



Nashville SC


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: Not much of yet for Nashville's offseason. A handful of players towards the bottom of the depth chart were out of contract, but the majority of the squad that ended 2020 returns.


Transfer window analysis (so far): Nothing yet, which speaks to how well their inaugural season went, though a handful of late summer signings were acquired with 2021 in mind as Jhonder Cadiz and Handwalla Bwana head to their first full season with the club.


Biggest question/hole: Scoring more goals has become a trope for a year with this team, though they didn't have a ton of trouble scoring down the stretch. Also, neither Cadiz nor Bwana made a regular season start after arriving so they have more to add to the attack (as well as reportedly another key acquisition). They could use some fullback depth, though.


Rumors have it: Nashville are making a "special announcement" on Thursday afternoon, which most assume is welcoming Uruguayan youth international attacker Rodrigo Pineiro. His soon-to-be-former club Danubio has already announced his departure. 


Projected XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Willis; Johnston, Zimmerman, Romney, Lovitz; McCarty, Godoy; Muyl, Mukhtar, Leal; Cadiz



New England Revolution


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 5:30 p.m. ET

Here's the latest: The Revs inked A.J. DeLaGarza to a contract, reuniting the former Galaxy defender with Bruce Arena, while former Galaxy, D.C. United and Crew midfielder Ema Boateng also signed with New England.


Transfer window analysis (so far): New England needed an addition in midfield and got it early this transfer window in 24-year-old former Barcelona center mid Wilfried Kaptoum. That group will be boosted by Luis Caicedo returning to fitness as well, in addition to Matt Polster, who joined midseason, and Tommy McNamara re-signing too, that part of the depth chart appears set.


Biggest question/hole: The Revs seemingly have their first choice center back pairing set in Henry Kessler and Andrew Farrell, but after contract decisions, they are light in depth. Colin Verfurth is the only other natural center back on the squad. With Cristian Penilla departing, there's room for another left winger to add to an already strong attack as well.


Rumors have it: Alexander Buttner has been strongly linked with a move away from New England after a disappointing first season. The club adding left back Christian Mafla would make that seem like a likely departure.


Projected XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Turner; Bye, Farrell, Kessler, Mafla; Polster, Kaptoum; Gil, Bou, Bunbury; Buksa



New York City FC


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: In their second big outgoing trade of the winter, NYCFC sent Ronald Matarrita to FC Cincinnati for $500,000 GAM (with incentives potentially for another $100,000). Joe Scally's transfer to Borussia Monchengladbach became official on January 1 as well.


Transfer window analysis (so far): NYCFC are stockpiling assets, though lost two written-in-pen starters in the process. They sent captain Alex Ring to Austin FC for up to $1.25 million GAM before the Matarrita trade. With one of the best scouting networks in MLS (and in the world, CFG is well-respected and wide-ranging), it's an exciting time for the club. They are set in central midfield even without Ring, with a starting trio of James Sands, Keaton Parks and Maxi Moralez already among the top groups in MLS. They also...


Biggest question/hole: ... have two open DP spots in addition to the vast reserve of GAM. It's a huge offseason for sporting director David Lee and head coach Ronny Deila, as the pair truly get to remake the squad in their vision. They have talent all over the pitch. Where will they invest to hopefully push the team to their first trophy and how do they lessen their reliance on Moralez, who turns 34 in February?


Rumors have it: City Football Group signed hugely talented Uruguayan youth international Santiago Rodriguez and reports say he's coming to NYCFC on loan.


Projected XI (4-3-3, right to left): Johnson; Tinnerholm, Callens, Chanot, Thorarinsson; Sands, Parks, Moralez; Tajouri-Shradi, Heber, Castellanos



New York Red Bulls


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: Before the holidays, the Red Bulls traded last year's first round SuperDraft selection Patrick Seagrist to Inter Miami.


Transfer window analysis (so far): Not much to analyze so far. The Red Bulls appointed Gerhard Struber as head coach in the fall, he made his MLS coaching debut in the team's playoff loss to the Columbus Crew. They also sent Mathias Jorgensen on loan to Danish club AGF, who hold a purchase option for the young forward.


Biggest question/hole: With Struber, the Red Bulls are streamlining their high-pressing ethos. His Barnsley team was near tops in the English Championship for defensive actions up the field and would expect more of the same in New York. They have plenty of flexibility, both by way of roster designations and salary cap, for a number of key additions. Should be a fun winter.


Rumors have it: All quiet on the ingoings, but Kaku has been linked with a move away from the Red Bulls once again, most notably to Club Tijuana.


Projected XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Meara; Duncan, Parker, Long, Pendant; Davis, Casseres Jr.; Clark, Kaku, Royer; White



Orlando City SC


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: Orlando did a number of deals early this offseason and haven't been active of late after losing Kamal Miller in the Expansion Draft.


Transfer window analysis (so far): The Lions took a giant step forward in 2020 as one of the East's best clubs, so it was imperative a number of key players on loan returned on permanent deals for 2021 which the club have already wrapped up: All four — Antonio Carlos, Alexander Alvarado, Andres Perea and Rodrigo Schlegel — saw their purchase options picked up. It's already been a successful offseason and there's plenty more to come.


Biggest question/hole: Orlando don't have many obvious holes, with a number of strong attackers behind Daryl Dike's emergence, but Dom Dwyer's departure did open up a DP spot. Will the club use that on another attacker?


Rumors have it: Dike is reportedly garnering interest from Club Brugge while Orlando have been linked with Benfica winger Franco Cervi.


Projected XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Gallese; Ruan, Antonio Carlos, Jansson, Moutinho; Rosell, Junior Urso; Mueller, Pereyra, Nani; Dike



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Philadelphia Union


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: The Union have transferred Homegrown center back Mark McKenzie to KRC Genk. It's a lucrative deal (which you can find the details here, as reported by MLSsoccer.com) and not surprising given the interest in McKenzie over the last year. Also: Five Homegrown contracts previously agreed for 2021 have now officially started with the new year.


Transfer window analysis (so far): After winning the club's first-ever trophy, Brenden Aaronson (officially) departed and McKenzie wasn't far behind. The two were sold for significant fees, it's tremendous and historic business for the club. They're doing fantastic in that regard, but they have to replace those rising stars (with some combination of internal and external options). They have to keep doing this over and over to take their reputation to another level.


Biggest question/hole: Which Homegrown signings are ready to make contributions immediately and which ones are more for the future? It won't be easy replacing Aaronson, McKenzie and possibly Kai Wagner, three nailed-on starters and well above-average players at their positions for the better part of two seasons. It'd be realistic to expect at least one center back to arrive, an attacking midfielder and a forward to be brought in this winter.


Rumors have it: Reports broke early in the offseason Wagner is a target for a number of European clubs, while the player himself made it clear he's ready to return to Europe at some point in the near future. Will it be this offseason?


Projected XI (4-4-2 tight diamond, right to left): Blake; Gaddis, Elliott, Glesnes, Wagner; Martinez; Bedoya, Monteiro; Fontana; Przybylko, Santos



Portland Timbers


Updated: Fri., Jan. 8 @ 3:30 p.m. ET

Here's the latest: Nothing official yet but sources tell MLSsoccer.com Portland are finalizing a permanent deal with Pumas UNAM for Felipe Mora


Transfer window analysis (so far): The Timbers got a number of deals done early this window to help the constant salary cap gymnastics to buy down deals. They generated GAM by trading Farfan (to LAFC), Julio Cascante (to Austin) and an international slot (to NYCFC). So far they've signed Argentine Claudio Bravo, a player they believe to be comparable to the top left backs in the league.


If and when the deal for Mora becomes official, that'll be a nice piece of business to keep a key contributor. Mora was on loan in 2020, notching seven goals and two assists in 1,204 minutes. With Jaroslaw Niezgoda out until around midseason, Portland will be well covered up top with Mora and Jeremy Ebobisse. 


Biggest question/hole: With the future of Larrys Mabiala in limbo, the club will need further additions on the backline even after adding Bravo. In attack, despite injuries to DPs Sebastian Blanco and Niezgoda, they are well covered for the beginning of the season as the pair rehab, but they'll have to hope Blanco (turning 33 in March) is the same player post-ACL tear and Valeri (turning 35 in May) continues to produce at the level he's accustomed.


Rumors have it: Portland are reportedly in discussions with the LA Galaxy over potentially trading Jorge Villafana while Jeremy Ebobisse and Eryk Williamson are said to have European suitors.


Projected XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Clark; Bonilla, Tuiloma, Zuparic, Bravo; D. Chara, Williamson; Y. Chara, Valeri, Blanco; Ebobisse



Real Salt Lake


Updated: Fri., Jan. 8 @ 3:30 p.m. ET

Here's the latest: RSL added another forward in former US international Rubio Rubin, who had been with the San Diego Loyal over the last few months of 2020. Also: Despite some whispers linking him with a move away, RSL inked center back Justen Glad to a contract extension while re-signing starting GK Andrew Putna.


Transfer window analysis (so far): With Real Salt Lake searching for new ownership, the front office are in a difficult spot when it comes to day-to-day decisions for next season. Glad was the first official piece of news for a few weeks as the team hope to return to the playoffs in 2021, while Rubin is a low-risk flier on a 24-year-old former US international. Head coach Freddy Juarez will continue to search for the right combination of attacking pieces. 


Biggest question/hole: The attack has plenty of players, but who will step up alongside Albert Rusnak as key difference makers? What will the offseason budget look like? There's so much uncertainty around the team at the moment.


Rumors have it: All quiet since Rubin and Putna were announced.


Projected XI (4-3-3, right to left): Putna; Herrera, Glad, Silva, Toia; Everton Luiz, Kreilach; Ramirez, Rusnak, Baird; Rubin



San Jose Earthquakes


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: After originally intending to retire after 2020, the goal king is back. Chris Wondolowski officially signed a one-year contract with his beloved Quakes, returning for another ride.


Transfer window analysis (so far): Wondo returning is a feel-good story for most in MLS, it's always great to see legends stick around when they're clearly still able. He led the team in goals again last year! They also traded Homegrown right back Lima to Austin FC for $500,000 GAM, opening a need at fullback as the versatile Lima spent plenty of time at both right and left back.


Biggest question/hole: With Vako and Magnus Eriksson gone, the Quakes need another option at No. 10 and have the flexibility to do so with only Cristian Espinoza occupying a DP spot. There haven't been a ton of changes to the squad Matias Almeyda started with two seasons ago, is year three the chance for a full squad in Almeyda's influence?


Rumors have it: As happens twice a year seemingly, the Matias Almeyda to Liga MX rumors returned in December but have been squashed: Almeyda is staying in San Jose.


Projected XI (4-4-2, right to left): Marcinkowski; Thompson, Jungwirth, Alanis, Lopez; Espinoza, Judson, Yueill, Fierro; Wondolowski, Rios



Seattle Sounders


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: All quiet on the official front for Seattle lately.


Transfer window analysis (so far): The big move the Sounders made was agreeing to a contract extension with Nico Lodeiro as the maestro was entering the final year of his contract. With their core in place, they have some work to fill out the rest of the squad.


Biggest question/hole: It's never easy to keep championship teams together in a salary cap league, with all the performance-bonuses paid out amid the success and teams looking to sign your players. That's the case for Seattle, who have had their depth cut down a bit this offseason while GM Garth Lagerwey admitted they have little freedom to make big additions.


Joao Paulo's loan has ended, but the club are hopeful for a return there. They also need to re-sign or replace Gustav Svensson as well as a replacement for the out-of-contract Kelvin Leerdam at right back if he does depart.


Rumors have it: Seattle are reportedly close to getting Joao Paulo back and also have reportedly agreed to a new contract for Brian Schmetzer as expected, but nothing official on either front yet. Svensson has been linked with a move to China.


Projected XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Frei; A. Roldan, Andrade, Arreaga, Smith; Delem, C. Roldan; Hopeau, Lodeiro, Morris; Ruidiaz,



Sporting KC


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 12:08 p.m.. ET

Here's the latest: After adding him in the Re-Entry Draft, Sporting KC have officially signed GK Kendall McIntosh and re-signed midfield stalwart Roger Espinoza.


Transfer window analysis (so far): SKC's big (only) addition this winter at this stage is French midfielder Remi Walter, a 25-year-old who can play in defensive central midfield or a more box-to-box role. He has extensive experience in the French top flight, though was a free agent.


Club legend Matt Besler departed after his contract expired, while the future of Felipe Gutierrez, Gerso Fernandez and others are up in the air.


Biggest question/hole: How can the club replace Besler's presence in the locker room and on the back line? They conceded three goals in each of their two playoff games. There's also what with the future of Gianluca Busio. The US youth international has plenty of suitors abroad, while SKC rejected a bid from Fiorentina last winter. Will the right offer and opportunity come along?


Rumors have it: SKC have reportedly made an offer for Molde center back Stian Gregersen.


Projected XI (4-3-3, right to left): Melia; Lindsey, Puncec, Smith, Martins; Ilie, Busio, Kinda; Russell, Pulido, Shelton



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Toronto FC


Updated: Thurs., Jan. 7 @ 11 a.m. ET

Here's the latest: Toronto are still working through their coaching search, as MLSsoccer.com reported Chris Armas was among the candidates interviewed.


Transfer window analysis (so far): All Toronto have announced were contract decisions, which included declining Pablo Piatti's option to open a DP spot. Ali Curtis and Bill Manning have expressed the possibility Piatti returns on a non-DP deal, which would be the best of both worlds for TFC if they can swing it. Either way, opening another DP spot is big for the ambitious club.


Biggest question/hole: Toronto returned the vast majority of their core from last year, sans Piatti. Curtis and Manning said the DP spot is likely earmarked for another key player in attack so expect a big addition in that area of the field. They currently have six defenders under contract and zero natural left backs, so that's another to watch.


Rumors have it: Not much on the DP search and only a few bits on the coaching search. In addition to Armas, reports linked Laurent Blanc and Patrick Vieira to the gig, though Blanc has already accepted another job.


Projected XI (4-2-3-1, right to left): Westberg; Laryea, Gonzalez, Mavinga, Auro; Bradley, Delgado; Akinola, Pozuelo, Osorio; Altidore



Vancouver Whitecaps FC


Updated: Fri., Jan. 8 @ 3 p.m. ET

Here's the latest: The Whitecaps are closing in on signing Colombian youth international winger Deiber Caicedo, sources told MLSsoccer.com. The deal isn't quite done, but the rising winger would be an exciting addition to the club. 


Transfer window analysis (so far): Vancouver retained a number of players from the 2020 squad after an offseason of rebuilding. The club were looking for greater continuity and believed with natural progression, and a few key additions, 2021 would be a better year. As such, all they've done thus far is trade to-be backup GK Evan Bush to Columbus Crew SC.


Biggest question/hole: Stop me where you've read this one before: DP No. 10. Vancouver have been consistent with this desire essentially since the day Inbeom Hwang was transferred to Rubin Kazan. They have been consistent with this message in a handful of press conferences since. Rest assured a DP No. 10 will arrive.


Rumors have it: Vancouver are reported to be interested in Benfica attacking midfielder Chiquinho, a player who excelled in Portugal with Moreirense FC before earning a move to Benfica. In all likelihood, he'd be a DP No. 10. 


Projected XI (4-3-3, right to left): Crepeau; Nerwinski, Godoy, Veselinovic, Adnan; Baldisimo, Bikel, Owusu; Dajome, Cavallini, Bair

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