Reyna's role shifts at Austin FC, Wolff takes on interim duties
Claudio Reyna has resigned as Austin FC’s sporting director, the Western Conference club announced Thursday, adding he’ll transition into a technical advisor role before the club’s third MLS season. In addition to continuing as head coach, Josh Wolff will serve as Austin FC’s chief soccer officer on an interim basis. Sean Rubio, who was Austin FC’s director of player personnel since August 2020, has been promoted to interim sporting director as part of the restructuring.
Philadelphia Union acquire Torres from CF Montréal
The Philadelphia Union have acquired Argentine attacking midfielder Joaquín Torres in a trade with CF Montréal. The 25-year-old joins Philly in exchange for up to $800,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM). The funds break down as $250k in 2023 GAM, $250k in 2024 GAM and up to $300k in conditional GAM based on Torres’ performance.
Orlando City sign U22 Initiative forward Enrique from Argentina
Orlando City SC continued their offseason signing spree Thursday, acquiring forward Ramiro Enrique from Argentine Primera División side Banfield. The 21-year-old's deal lasts through 2025 with club options for 2026-27. He becomes the Lions' third U22 Initiative signing, alongside Uruguayan midfielder César Araújo and Argentine compatriot/winger Gastón González, who's recovered from an ACL tear suffered in April 2022, just before joining the club from Unión de Santa Fe.
US Soccer’s McBride, Stewart move on as coaching search continues
Leadership of the US men’s national team is in overhaul mode, as U.S. Soccer announced Thursday that Earnie Stewart is leaving his role as sporting director and returning to the Netherlands to join Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven. Additionally, the federation confirmed USMNT general manager Brian McBride has moved on from the program after holding the role for three years. He informed U.S. Soccer of the decision before the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
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You might have noticed the Union have been building up some depth through trades lately. Yesterday they grabbed attacking midfielder Joaquín Torres from CF Montréal. The day before that they picked up center back Damion Lowe from Inter Miami, and a whole bunch of days before that they swapped some GAM for Orlando midfielder Andrés Perea.
First thing’s first: I like all of those moves. They’re depth moves for players that have some level of proven success in MLS but not so much success that the Union had to completely break the bank. Like we talked about at length yesterday, they seem prepared to weather whatever issues come about due to a deep CCL run – if they’re so blessed by the Concacaf gods at large to have one.
But I’d also like to point out how intrigued I am overall by the move for Torres. He’s an imperfect player who tends to jump off the screen when he’s on the field – diminutive, explosive and generally just trying to make things happen. It feels like Union fans will immediately come to love him as an off-the-bench attacking threat. I’m not sure it quite makes up for losing Cory Burke this offseason, but it’s something close to that.
Does that mean it’s one of the best trades of the offseason? Maybe. But I think I’d probably start to bother some folks if I cranked out another 1,000 words about how great the Union are at all this. So let’s take a look around the league at some of the (other) best trades of the offseason so far and what they might mean for their team going forward.
Yeah, we’re starting off by cheating, but what are you gonna do about it? You’re already reading it, and my editors didn’t cut this.*
[*NOTE TO EDITORS: PLEASE DO NO CUT].
Anyway, everyone thought Williamson would be sent elsewhere at the end of last season. Williamson and Gio Savarase had a semi-public falling out of some kind, and it just seemed like it might be time for Williamson to head elsewhere. And then we never heard anything about it. Not even a rumor.
Maybe Portland’s asking price was too high. Or maybe everyone talked it out, and the relationship between Williamson and the team is good to go. Or maybe both. Either way, we know how good he can be. If all is well, it feels like a big win on Portland’s part to keep him around.
It’s also a sign of a trend so far this offseason. Mainly the trend where nothing all that big seems to be happening. After trades went down for record levels of GAM, it’s all been a little quiet. That’s not just trades though; free agents, major transfers, all of it has felt muted to an extent. I don’t really know why. And we probably won’t until a million major events happen during the summer window and we realize that everyone else realized you only have to be good in MLS for like half a season.
For me, this is by far the best move of the offseason so far. I genuinely do not understand how Montréal did it. Or why RSL let them do it. CFM just grabbed a top-ten fullback in the league for $500k in GAM, an international spot and a SuperDraft pick. That’s a meager return for an excellent player who’s just 25-years-old. Seriously, how did this happen?
In theory, this could be phenomenal. Blessing wanted out of LAFC, and, if he’s at his best, he can shine in New England’s midfield. He might fix some of the Revs' biggest problems, and New England were smart to find a way to bring him in. Now we’ll have to see if a change of scenery gets him back to somewhere near his 2019 level.
The Revs picked up a remarkably solid center back for not all that much. It’s another move I’m not sure I get from the trading team’s perspective, but I guess Nashville really trust the folks behind Romney to perform at the same level as the guy who started all but five games in their club’s MLS history?
To be able to unload a bad DP contract within the league is the stuff MLS GMs dream about. Colorado delivered the Galaxy an escape route and sent $1 million in GAM to LA in the process. I’m pretty sure this is the only trade so far this offseason to eclipse the $1 million in GAM mark, and I’m sure the Galaxy are just thrilled about that.
It could work though! If Cabral can just regress to the mean on his expected goals numbers, he'll be an effective MLS player. I’m not sure that means he’ll be a DP-caliber player, but there’s absolutely a world where he comes good in Colorado. It’s not a world I’m willing to put money on or anything, but I won’t be 100% surprised if we’re living in it later this year.
We’ve reached the “Fafà Picault to Nashville” part of the “Best Trades” column, which should be another indication of just how low key a lot of this offseason has been. But I really do like the move. He can stretch the field, and he might thrive in transition moments for the Coyotes. For just up to $250k in GAM, that’s a solid deal. The kind of deal you may look back on at the end of the season and realize that it made the difference between a playoff spot or two.
MLS GMs, it is the Friday before the European window closes. We are less than a month away from the start of the regular season. I am begging you to do something. Even if that something is incredibly ill-advised. Someone trade a potential MVP candidate for a 2026 SuperDraft pick. Please. Let’s shake this up a bit. If not for me, for the people.
- Here’s how to watch and stream the USMNT versus Colombia, plus a preview of the upcoming international friendly.
- MLS was home to Concacaf’s biggest spenders in 2022.
- The Philadelphia Union are mining the MLS trade market for big 2023 plans.
Good luck out there. Have a plan for every situation.