Ezequiel Barco - Atlanta United - photoshopped into Atlanta United jersey

This Week in MLS – February 5, 2018

  • Exciting crop of new, young players coming to MLS in 2018
  • South American star power to hit MLS this season
  • Ureña brace leads LAFC to preseason-opening draw vs. defending champs

Exciting crop of new, young players coming to MLS in 2018
Major League Soccer clubs have continued the trend of signing young players during the offseason, with a new crop of dynamic standouts set to join the league in 2018. Of the 73 newcomers to join MLS this offseason (players joining from MLS-affiliated USL clubs were not included), the average age is 24.72 years old, with that number dropping to 22.55 years old for the nine Designated Players signed in the offseason. Expansion Los Angeles Football Club made a splash with the signing of promising 19-year-old Uruguayan
Diego Rossi
as a Young Designated Player along with a pair of 2018 FIFA World Cup hopefuls in
Carlos Vela
(Mexico) and
Omar Gaber
2018 MLS International Player Signings

  • 73players from international professional leagues, NASL teams and non-MLS affiliated USL clubs joined MLS this offseason.
  • Those players hold an average age of 24.72 years old and originate from 32 different countries.
  • Of the 73 players signed, 40 (54.79%) have received at least one cap for their respective senior national team.
  • Nine Designated Players from outside MLS have been added this offseason with an average age of 22.55 years old.

* Transactions as of 2/5/2018
South American star power to hit MLS this season
As the influx of young talent emerges on MLS rosters, more primed South Americans than ever before will debut in MLS this season. In all,
23 players
who were either born in South America or represent a South American national team have signed to an MLS club this offseason, including 18 players under age 25. All seven of the league’s teenage newcomers during this Winter Transfer Window are also South American, including four Young Designated Players in LAFC’s
Diego Rossi
Orlando City SC’s
Josué Colmán
(Paraguay), Atlanta United’s
Ezequiel Barco
(Argentina) and Columbus Crew SC’s
Milton Valenzuela
Argentina and Venezuela join France with a league-leading six players transferring into the league as determined by birthplace, and the pedigree of this talent could mean more heroics on the horizon for 2018. The average age of the 23 South American standouts is
A complete list of South American offseason signings can be found
Ureña brace leads LAFC to preseason-opening draw vs. defending champs
In tracking Los Angeles Football Club’s many firsts of 2018, the side’s opening preseason match included a strong 2-2 draw against the defending MLS Cup winners Toronto FC on Friday in Los Angeles. Costa Rican international
Marco Ureña
netted a second-half brace to lead the way for LAFC, who are preparing for their first MLS campaign. TFC’s
Tsubasa Endoh
Sebastian Giovinco
each contributed a goal for the Reds who are coming off a record-setting 2017 campaign that included the league title, Supporters’ Shield and Canadian Championship.

In Arizona, the
Mobile Mini Sun Cup
kicked off this past Saturday, with 2017 MLS Cup runners-up Seattle Sounders FC edging Cascadia rivals the Portland Timbers 2-1 and Real Salt Lake posting a 3-1 victory against the LA Galaxy. The Mobile Mini Sun Cup resumes Wednesday when the San Jose Earthquakes face RSL in Tucson, Ariz.
New to the preseason fixtures this year is the
Pacific Rim Cup
in Honolulu, featuring two MLS clubs and two Japan Professional Football League teams. Vancouver Whitecaps FC takes on Iwaki FC on Thursday (10 p.m. ET) and Columbus Crew SC squares off against Sapporo on Friday (1 a.m. ET).