The MLS transfer window opens on July 9. You’ve probably noticed the uptick in rumors and general scuttlebutt. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
The Wayne Rooneys of the world may steal the spotlight, but there are going to be some eyebrow-raising moves within the league as well. I’m talking trades, a market that’s started to heat up thanks to the introduction of TAM and GAM as a makeweight. Here’s a sampling of what went down last summer, in case your memory fails you:
- Christian Ramirez from Minnesota United to LAFC
- Kellyn Acosta from FC Dallas to Colorado Rapids
- Fanendo Adi from Portland Timbers to FC Cincinnati
- Justin Meram from Orlando City to Columbus Crew SC
- Krisztian Nemeth from New England Revolution to Sporting Kansas City
Whether it’s a reclamation project, salary dump, roster hole in need of filling or fire sale/reset from a club in the basement, best believe someone’s going to be packing up and moving this summer.
So who might be on the block? I’ve done my best to dream up some fun and realistic scenarios, in that order, to get your imagination flowing.
Emphasis on “dream up” and “fun.” I’ll leave most of the reporting to the crack news breakers out there.
OK, I could see it …
Patrick Mullins | USA Today Sports Images
Patrick Mullins from Columbus Crew SC to Seattle Sounders
Last July, D.C. shipped Mullins to the Crew for $150,000 in TAM. He’s barely played this season: two starts in eight appearances and no goals in 183 minutes. Will Bruin is out for the year. If Garth Lagerwey is good with Justin Dhillon as forward depth behind Raul Ruidiaz, this is out. If he’s looking for someone with MLS experience to eat some minutes, it could work.
Raheem Edwards from Chicago Fire to Vancouver Whitecaps
If the ‘Caps can’t get the Ali Adnan deal over the line, they could do worse than kicking the tires on a 23-year-old Canadian left back/winger who has shown flashes of his talent with Toronto FC and Chicago. He’s played just 244 minutes for the Fire this year after costing them $400,000 in TAM last summer. It’d be nice for John Herdman to see Edwards, Doneil Henry and Derek Cornelius in the same backline.
Joao Plata from Real Salt Lake to New York Red Bulls
According to The Athletic, RSL are open to trading Plata, who’s barely played this season for Mike Petke. Given the Ecuadorian’s 96 combined goals and assists in 201 appearances, there ought to be some interested parties. Why the Red Bulls? Because Matt Doyle suggested it in our soccer group chat. Maybe it was a joke. Maybe the environment and expectations at Red Bull would suit Plata. Maybe he could revive his career. Danny Royer on one wing with Plata on the other (Kemar Lawrence overlapping and covering) could work.
In the realm of possibility …
Aleksandar Katai | USA Today Sports Images
Minnesota United are under pressure to make the playoffs. Per The Athletic's Sam Stejskal and Paul Tenorio, the Loons are looking for help on the wing and Chicago could be willing to part with Katai, whose contract is expiring and wouldn’t hamper the cap situation past this season. How about an attack with Angelo Rodriguez leading the line and Katai, Darwin Quintero and one of Ethan Finlay or Miguel Ibarra behind him? It could be downright maddening! For Loons supporters and opposing defenses …
Lee Nguyen from LAFC to Montreal Impact
You know your squad is legit when you’re top of the Supporters’ Shield standings and Nguyen is a “nice to have” piece. LAFC are gonna have to pay to keep Latif Blessing if he keeps this up, even if he’s now locked in for 2020. They’ve got an open DP spot. Maybe they’d use it on another central midfielder. That’d make Nguyen expendable, and Montreal could use some more ideas in the attacking third with a playoff spot firmly within reach.
Nouhou Tolo from Seattle Sounders to Minnesota United
Yeah, the rumblings from The Athletic link the Cameroonian to Europe should the Brad Smith deal get done, but what if those loan feelers fall through? Minnesota need a left back, and Tolo has 36 MLS starts for one of the league’s best teams and a ton of natural ability at the age of 22. His best years are still to come! Plus, Manny Lagos and Adrian Heath don’t seem to mind adventurous fullbacks. I’ll take Nouhou on one flank and Romain Metanire on the other!
Never gonna happen (but fun to think about) …
Dax McCarty | USA Today Sports Images
Dax McCarty from Chicago Fire to Seattle Sounders
The Athletic says the Sounders are looking for midfield reinforcement. They also say Chicago may be willing to sell, sell, sell. Lemme do the math here: Dax McCarty + Cristian Roldan + Nico Lodeiro = Arguably MLS’s best midfield. Dax hasn’t missed a minute for the Fire this year. He’s got a house (and a new baby) in Chicago, but a real shot at MLS Cup would be tempting. He’d probably cost too much for Seattle, but he could be bought down by TAM, so that DP spot could remain open for another impact signing.
Bradley Wright-Phillips from New York Red Bulls to Sporting Kansas City
Pick your jaw up off the floor. Sporting would much rather have Aaron Long or Tim Parker, but they need more from the No. 9 position (imagine that!) and BWP would fit the Sporting ethos. It’d be shocking. Wright-Phillips would likely be furious given what’s he done for the club. But the Red Bulls have a history of trading their talismans…
Dom Dwyer from Orlando City to Sporting Kansas City
The Red Bulls would NEVER trade BWP, you say. Well, Orlando would probably trade Dwyer for the right price. Would Peter Vermes pay that price given he was the one who cashed in on Dom and sent him to Central Florida in the first place? NEVER! But a Dom/Nemeth platoon to revive Kansas City’s season sure is fun to think about.
Hit me with your fantasy trades in the comments! Enjoy the holiday weekend. And by “enjoy,” I mean stay safe. And by “stay safe,” I mean don’t be an idiot with fireworks. Use common sense, people.