Laurent Ciman celebrates victory-PHI-MTL-8.12.17

Less than one full week through the MLS trade window and subequent opening of free agency, we’ve already seen a flurry of activity including blockbuster trades, intriguing foreign signings, and the return of established veterans.


Here’s a look at the 10 biggest moves across the league so far in what is shaping up to be a memorable MLS winter.


10. In Toronto, Moor is More

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Toronto FC wasted no time in shoring up their team’s often overshadowed defense, securing a return for the soon-to-be-34-year-old Drew Moor at the center of their back line. Moor made 24 starts for a unit that conceded a league-low 37 league goals in 2017.


9. Younger with Jorgen


With Jelle Van Damme departing in August and Ashley Cole out of contract, the Galaxy had immediate offseason needs in defense. They appear to have filled one of them with Norwegian left back Jorgen Skjelvik, a 26-year-old who has Europa League and UEFA World Cup Qualifying experience.


8. Tinnerholm’s New Home


The Galaxy weren’t the only ones mining Scandinavia for a defender. New York City inked Swedish international Anton Tinnerholm from Swedish giants Malmo, after making sure Ronald Matarrita would be returning to the back line earlier this month. Tinnerholm, 26, has Champions League experience, and will be in Sweden’s January national team camp.


7. Putting the D in D.C.


Although D.C.'s bigger struggles were on the offensive end in 2017, the departure of Bobby Boswell and Bill Hamid, and repeated health concerns for Steve Birnbaum left their defense as a big need this offseason. They addressed that in part by trading for New York City's Frederic Brillant and re-signing goalkeeper Steve Clark. D.C. also added striking depth in securing Darren Mattocks from Portland.


6. Impact Launch “New Project”

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There was considerable uproar over the Montreal Impact’s decision to send club hero Laurent Ciman to LAFC. But in Raheem Edwards and Jukka Raitala, Montreal acquired some needed defensive depth in return and also got younger. Make no mistake, though, coach Remi Garde has certainly brought some added scrutiny upon himself well before opening weekend.


5. More Travels for Kamara


Kei Kamara is on the move again, this time to a Vancouver Whitecaps side that had been rumored to have interest in the forward a season ago. Kamara is now two seasons removed from his 22-goal league campaign in 2015. But he's still scored 12 goals in each of the last two seasons and, at age 33, still believes he's capable of recapturing that form of his best Columbus Crew SC days.


4. The First of Three for SKC?


Sporting Kansas City made the first of what is rumored to be three offseason Designated Player signings with French midfielder Yohan Croizet. The 25-year-old who has spent the last three seasons in Belgium is not quite the big name some might have envisioned. But Peter Vermes and company have a track record of unearthing pretty good European talents, such as Ilie Sanchez and Krisztian Nemeth.


3. Catracho Connection Continues


After turning around their fortunes in 2017, the Houston Dynamo made sure that the Honduran contingent will be in place in 2018. Houston finalized a permanent transfer for 21-year-old Alberth Elis after a promising MLS debut season, and made sure versatile veteran Boniek Garcia would continue to provide leadership and flexibility. Houston also added Salvadoran winger Arturo Alvarez from Chicago.


2. LAFC Blend Youth, Experience

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John Thorrington and Bob Bradley flipped two of their Expansion Draft picks to acquire veteran center back Laurent Ciman. They signed exciting Uruguayan teen Diego Rossi and traded for American defensive prospect Walker Zimmerman. And in expansion picks Tyler Miller, Marco Urena and Latif Blessing, they have a potential starter in goal, an experienced forward with tinternational pedigree, and a young striker with considerable potential.


1. Five Stripes' Feeding Frenzy


While Atlanta's potential record-breaking move for Darlington Nagbe deservedly drew headlines, that’s only one piece of a flurry of business this week. Technical director Carlos Bocanegra also secured the rights to young South Americans Franco Escobar and Jose Hernandez, ensured returns of Greg Garza and Jeff Larentowicz, and added depth at goalkeeper with Mitch Hildebrandt.