the-daily-kickoff
What you need to know

Orlando City loan McGuire to Blackburn Rovers

Orlando City SC have loaned US international striker Duncan McGuire to English Championship (second division) side Blackburn Rovers. McGuire, a first-round pick (No. 6 overall) in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, is on loan for six months with a purchase option. The 22-year-old is coming off a breakout rookie season, tallying 15g/3a in 37 matches across all competitions after turning pro out of Creighton University.

FC Dallas sign Musa from Benfica for club-record fee

FC Dallas have acquired striker Petar Musa from Portuguese powerhouse side Benfica. The 25-year-old Croatian international reportedly signed for a club-record $9.7 million fee that could rise to $13 million with add-ons. That surpasses the reported near-$7 million fee FC Dallas used in February 2022 to land attacker Alan Velasco from Independiente in his native Argentina.

LAFC sign Venezuelan forward Martínez

LAFC have signed Venezuelan international winger David Martínez from Monagas SC. The rising talent, who turns 18 next week, is under contract through the 2027 MLS season with an option for 2028. He occupies a U22 Initiative roster slot.

Charlotte FC loan Swiderski to Hellas Verona

Charlotte FC have loaned star forward Karol Swiderski to Italian Serie A side Hellas Verona, the club announced Thursday. The deal is through June 30 and has a purchase option. This move opens a Designated Player spot as Charlotte begin life under head coach Dean Smith.

Charlotte FC transfer Józwiak to Granada

Charlotte FC have transferred winger Kamil Józwiak to LaLiga side Granada. The move, combined with Thursday's loan of fellow Polish international Karol Swiderski to Serie A side Hellas Verona, leaves Charlotte with two open Designated Player spots.

Seattle Sounders sign forward Musovski

Seattle Sounders FC have signed free-agent forward Danny Musovski. The 28-year-old American is under contract through the 2025 MLS season with an option for 2026. He projects as giving Seattle No. 9 depth alongside Jordan Morris and Raúl Ruidíaz.

Colorado Rapids sign Diack on loan from Nantes

The Colorado Rapids have acquired defensive midfielder Lamine Diack on a six-month loan (through July 2024) from Ligue 1 side Nantes with a purchase option. Diack, 23, is a former Senegal youth international and should help provide balance to Colorado’s midfield alongside Connor Ronan and Cole Bassett.

Philadelphia Union re-sign Bedoya

The Philadelphia Union have re-signed midfielder Alejandro Bedoya through the 2024 MLS season. In addition to his on-field role, the club's captain will take on a new role as player development and front office specialist. Previously, the 36-year-old former US international was an out-of-contract free agent.

Sign up for The Daily Kickoff in your inbox! The Daily Kickoff is more than an article – it can be delivered to your email account as well.

Small-sided: Everything all at once

Dear. God. We couldn’t have spaced this out, y’all? Seems like every big move we’d been waiting for over the last month went down over the last two days. Let’s talk it out as best we can without turning this into a 5,000-word newsletter.

Dallas break the bank

I didn’t know they had it in them. Did you? Shelling out a reported $9.7 million transfer fee (that can rise to $13 million!) is decidedly un-Dallas. Not that they’ve been seriously lacking in ambition or anything, it’s just not the path they’ve typically taken to find success. They’ve put together a handful of solid teams over the last few years on the back of an excellent academy and intra-league signings. Sprinkle in a couple of big signings like DP forward Alan Velasco and midfielder Asier Illarramendi, and that’s a totally acceptable way to live your life as an MLS team. 

But the space between the floor and the ceiling in Dallas has started to feel a little cramped. They were remarkably unremarkable last year. A fine team, playing fine soccer, getting fine results. They needed a jolt, though. Enter 25-year-old DP striker Petar Musa. 

As always, we don’t know exactly how a player will translate to MLS. This is a massive swing from Dallas though. Not every player that has arrived for a record-level fee has come good, but when they have hit, they’ve been stars. Dallas needed another star in attack last season. They really needed another star in attack this season after losing Velasco to an ACL tear during last year’s Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

If Musa can live up to his billing – Matt Doyle has already compared him to 2023 Newcomer of the Year Giorgos Giakoumakis – then Dallas could easily have one of the best starting XIs in the Western Conference. They typically do anyway. But this one could have the ability to dominate games in a way we’re not used to seeing.

LAFC (finally) hit the gas

We’d been waiting. LAFC have spent so much time going back to go forward this offseason that you started to wonder if they were just going back. Now they’re starting to make moves. 

In addition to yesterday’s signing of U22 winger David Martínez from Monagas SC, LAFC added 20-year-old forward Tomás Ángel on Wednesday. Those perhaps aren’t going to be season-defining signings, but at least the roster is starting to look a little more fleshed out. And at least the rumors of the season-defining signings we’ve come to expect from this club are starting to swirl.

Eduard Atuesta and Divock Origi have been heavily linked with LAFC in recent days. Nothing is done there, but bringing Atuesta back home would be an A+, no-questions-asked kind of move. Origi… Divock Origi changed my life when, in the spring of 2019, he scored two of the most famous goals in Liverpool FC history as Jurgen Klopp’s Reds won their sixth European title in club history. (But that won’t stop me from being highly skeptical of the kind of performances he’ll put in for LAFC; please, no one tell him I said that… I want him to like me.) 

If both those signings come through in addition to Martínez and Ángel, the picture will start to look a little clearer. There will still be genuine question marks here, though. Martínez and Ángel are both very young and can’t be counted on to immediately make major impacts. There are still gaps elsewhere in the depth chart. LAFC’s reshaping seems a long way from over.

Orlando need a little more

Duncan McGuire had a long day on Wednesday. The brief version of the story seems to be that his originally-planned move from Orlando City to Blackburn Rovers fell apart while McGuire was on the plane to England. The anxiety I feel just thinking about him getting cell reception back upon landing, only to have the biggest moment of his life get flipped on its head… my stomach hurts and I need to go do some box breathing for a bit. 

Anyway, the good news for McGuire is the transfer eventually got re-formatted and worked out, and he didn’t have to hop back on a flight to Florida. The bad news for Orlando is they’re without their high-value striker and will likely have to take a risk on a young player to replace him. The Lions have an open Young DP spot that they could use to fill McGuire’s vacancy, but that does mean they won’t be spending big on a No. 10. 

We’ve talked before about Nico Lodeiro being an improvement over former No. 10 Mauricio Pereyra, but not the kind of improvement that will put the Lions on top of the league. Now they’ve lost McGuire and it almost feels like they’ve taken a step backward this offseason. They’re going to have to hit on the Young DP they bring in (whenever they bring him in) and hope Lodeiro or DP Martín Ojeda have the juice to change games in the center of the pitch. We’ll see.

Charlotte clean house

It took a moment, but this had been coming. Charlotte jettisoned DPs Karol Swiderski and Kamil Jozwiak over a few hours yesterday and, suddenly, there are two key signings to make for a team that isn’t afraid to spend big money. A No. 10 and a winger seem to be in the cards for The Crown. 

The bottom line here is they needed to move on from both players. Swiderski played well but didn’t seem to fit into the overall structure of the team, especially once DP No. 9 Enzo Copetti arrived. Jozwiak… look, it was time to move on. Now, Charlotte can build an attack more suited to Copetti’s strengths. I’m not sure that will be enough for them to take a major leap forward this year, but it won’t hurt.

CF Montréal want back in

Montréal have kind of quietly had a big few days here. 

They brought in TAM No. 10 Dominik Yankov from Ludogorets and then went ahead and added TAM striker Matías Cóccaro for good measure. Several reports indicate they’re signing iconic MLS striker Josef Martínez as well.

We don’t know exactly what this team is going to look like under new manager Laurent Courtois, but Montréal are at least working to give him a roster with some punch. It seems like they didn’t take too kindly to missing out on the playoffs last year.

Tiki-taka

Seattle have brought in forward Danny Musovski in a smart deal that gives them depth at a value in a position where they need depth at value. You just can’t count on Raúl Ruidíaz to be Raúl Ruidíaz these days. Musovski has been effective at every stop along his MLS path, and that’s all Seattle will need him to be. 

The Rapids patched up another hole in their roster yesterday by adding defensive midfielder Lamine Diack. They’ve basically addressed every need they could have been reasonably expected to address this offseason now, plus a little extra. 

The Union got it right and brought back Alejandro Bedoya. It would have been far, far too weird to see him anywhere else.

Other Things

Sporting Kansas City sign midfielder Rodríguez: Sporting Kansas City have added midfield depth, announcing Thursday they have signed free agent Memo Rodríguez through the 2024 MLS season with an option for 2025. Rodríguez, 28, arrives after splitting last season between Austin FC and the LA Galaxy. He's most known, however, for his stint as a Houston Dynamo FC homegrown player – providing the bedrock for 17g/15a in 145 league matches.

DC United acquire McVey from Inter Miami: D.C. United have acquired defender Christopher McVey from Inter Miami CF in exchange for a 2024 international roster spot and up to $100,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM). McVey, 26, is D.C.'s fourth backline signing of the offseason after they acquired Aaron Herrera (from CF Montréal), Lucas Bartlett (from St. Louis CITY SC) and Garrison Tubbs (from Atlanta United) in trades.

Inter Miami drop preseason test vs. Al Nassr: Inter Miami CF ended the Saudi Arabian portion of their 2024 preseason tour Thursday with a 6-0 loss to Al Nassr at Kingdom Arena.

The Reading Rainbow
Full Time

Good luck out there. Start strong.