The MLS Primary Transfer Window always slows as different seasonal milestones are hit, from preseason to opening day to the turn to April. But it accelerates on deadline day, and Wednesday's final day of the 2022 window was no different.
It’s natural. In a perfect world, every team would finish their offseason maneuvering and have a full roster by preseason. The world is far from perfect, so signings cascade through early May.
The Primary Transfer Window also comes with the safety net of knowing the Secondary Transfer Window opens in just two months (July 7).
Here's a look at some of the most impactful deadline moves made on Wednesday.
He’s back. And he’s officially the first DP signing for new ownership.
The deal is $2 million plus $500,000 in incentives, per a source, with Atletico retaining a 20% sell-on clause. It’s very similar to the initial deal RSL transferred him to Brazil for. RSL also had to trade $475,000 in General Allocation Money to climb the Allocation Order to complete the move.
Savarino was a livewire in MLS with 21 goals and 21 assists in 82 appearances with the club. He went to one of Brazil’s top clubs and was immediately impactful with 21 goals and 21 assists (more career symmetry!) in Brazil, including extensive experience in the Copa Libertadores.
RSL are extremely excited about his return. Last year's leading scorer Damir Kreilach helped push for the move, which has been in the works for months. Manager Pablo Matroeni has heard plenty of good things from staff who remain and the club expect a player who is more consistent and mature, on and off the field.
General manager Elliot Fall noted as much in a press release.
“During his time in Brazil over the last couple years, Jefferson has matured as a player and as a person,” Fall said. “We expect him to provide even more danger as a playmaking and finishing option for RSL and look forward to him combining with so many pieces on the roster.”
RSL also added defender Chris Kablan on loan from Waasland-Beveren in the Belgian second tier. The club is also owned by RSL owner David Blitzer, helping facilitate the move.
Kablan arrives to add depth and competition at left back, a much-needed boost of depth. This all comes after re-signing winger Anderson Julio from Liga MX's San Luis, on a permanent deal this time for just $250,000 per sources.
Salt Lake ended the window with a flurry. Expect more in the summer, but reinforcements are here for Mastroeni.
Another MLS homecoming, winger Chris Mueller is back after a five-month sojourn in Scotland with Hibernian, which did not go to plan. So much so that Hibs were content to let him go on a free transfer to Chicago Fire FC.
The move wasn’t entirely free. Chicago had to send $500,000 in GAM to Orlando City SC for his rights, plus a first-round 2023 MLS SuperDraft pick, discovery rights to an unnamed player and another $150,000 GAM in performance-based incentives.
More to the point, though, Mueller is an MLS-proven winger and adds a much-needed dynamic to Chicago’s attack: a vertical option on the wing who can add goals. He had 21 goals and 24 assists in Orlando, including a breakout 2020 season with 10g/7a in just under 1,500 minutes.
In theory, Mueller’s verticality should open space underneath for Xherdan Shaqiri to operate and pull defenders away from Jairo Torres, whom head coach Ezra Hendrickson lauded for his 1-on-1 ability. That feels like a talented, cohesive attack rather than just a collection of attacking talent. That's a key distinction.
Chicago have scored a league-low six goals and are third-worst in expected goals. This week, Torres ($6-million fee from Atlas) and Mueller arrive.
Chicago also invested a lot in these wingers, plus winter additions of Shaqiri ($7.5 million fee + big contract), Jhon Duran (up to $2.5-million fee) and Kacper Przybylko ($1.15 million GAM) to completely remake this attack.
The pieces are there; no excuses now.
- LA receive: Chase Gasper
- MIN receive: Up to $750,000 GAM
The LA Galaxy acquired defender Chase Gasper from Minnesota United FC, as first reported by MLSsoccer.com, for $450,000 in GAM plus another $300,000 in performance-based incentives.
The 26-year-old Gasper made 63 appearances for Minnesota after being selected in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. Before the season, Minnesota acquired Kemar Lawrence, and he's enjoyed a solid start to his time with the club while leaving Gasper as the second choice at left back.
The defender was recently reinstated from the league's Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (“SABH”) Program, where he spent time in Southern California. Gasper also went to UCLA and the familiar environment is somewhere he wanted to be.
“Chase sees this as a new beginning and a great opportunity,” Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath said. “While these decisions are never easy, we all want to first and foremost, support Chase the person – not just Chase the soccer player. I hope he’s really, really successful and I wish him well and thank him for everything he’s done for us.”
Transaction: Signing (loan)
The 21-year-old Vassilev made 21 appearances on loan in the second half of last season and Miami were hopeful all offseason to get him back to South Florida. He most recently has played with Aston Villa's U-23 side, scoring twice and assisting another goal in five Premier League 2 fixtures. The Bulgarian-American joined Villa at the youth level in 2018.
The versatile attacker is able to play on either wing or underneath the forward, giving manager Phil Neville further options.
Martins, 29, was a free agent after spending 2019-21 with Sporting Kansas City, where he made 55 appearances.
- ORL receive: Jake Mulraney
- ATL receive: Up to $275,000 in GAM
Atlanta receive up to $275,000 GAM for Mulraney, who originally joined the club from Hearts in Scotland. He has 47 career MLS appearances (22 starts) with three goals and four assists.
The move frees up further flexibility for Atlanta in the summer, who have a U22 Initiative slot open.