Kickoff 12.9.22
What you need to know

Colorado Rapids acquire Cabral from LA Galaxy

The LA Galaxy have traded forward Kevin Cabral to the Colorado Rapids. To land the French attacker, Colorado sent $600,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money (GAM) and $400,000 in 2024 GAM to LA. Additionally, the Galaxy would receive a percentage of any transfer fee if Cabral is sold to a club outside of MLS. Cabral will occupy a DP spot in Colorado; the move opens a DP spot in LA. The Galaxy will cover around half of Cabral's contract over the next three seasons.

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.

The Offseason Entertainment Tiers (So Far)

Gonna level with y’all. Feels a bit like this offseason has been stuck in first gear for a second. That’s due in part to a couple of things. One, a very large soccer event is happening elsewhere. Two, the 2022 MLS season ended earlier than normal due to the very large soccer event and that means more time waiting around for most leagues’ winter transfer window to open. 

A few teams have graciously offered up some news for the sake of our entertainment. We should thank them for their service. We should also probably take a moment to catch up on everything that’s happened so far before things get too chaotic.

So here, in reverse order, are the tiers of offseason entertainment (so far).

Tier Somebody Do Something

Austin FC, Chicago Fire FC, FC Dallas, Inter Miami CF, LAFC, Minnesota United FC, New England Revolution, New York City FC, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC

There have been some homegrown signings, players released, players whose options were exercised and other moves. Congrats or sorry that happened to everyone involved.

Tier Welcome To The Party

St. Louis City SC

They made a bunch of international signings last summer, had an Expansion Draft last month and completed some trades/free-agent moves. Still a lot of work to do for the newbies!

Tier Yeah That Was A Move

Philadelphia Union

They grabbed Andres Perea from Orlando to enhance their midfield options. They’re going to play 50-something games this season, so seems like a predictably smart move from a team we’d expect nothing less from at this point.

D.C. United

D.C. have been active in the free-agent market, picking up goalkeeper Tyler Miller and left back/winger Pedro Santos. They also traded for center back Derrick Williams from the LA Galaxy and signed defender Mohanad Jeahze from Sweden’s Hammarby IF on a TAM deal. All of these moves seem like upgrades, but it still feels like this roster has a long way to go. At the very least, they’ve upgraded at goalkeeper.

FC Cincinnati

Ecuador international midfielder Marco Angulo, from Independiente del Valle, is reportedly Cincy’s newest U22 Initiative player. Could be good. Could be bad. Seems good, though. Who really knows in this life of ours?

Houston Dynamo FC

Nothing earth-shattering here, but we’ve got to mention how Houston brought Ben Olsen back into MLS as their new head coach. It’s going to be… well, fascinating probably isn’t the right word. But it will be something to keep an eye on.

In the meantime, they’ve moved Fafa Picault (to Nashville) and Tim Parker (to St. Louis) along via trades and brought in Artur from Columbus. Those are all definitely some MLS moves.

Nashville SC

They picked up Fafa Picault (from Houston) and Jacob Shaffelburg (from Toronto) in trades. Definitely some MLS moves that make sense and are definitely some MLS moves.

New York Red Bulls

I really like the Cory Burke signing! His underlying numbers in Philly were excellent, he understands how to function in a high-pressing system and he wasn’t going to break through into the starting XI with the Union. He’ll get his chance in New York and it seems like it might go really well.

Orlando City SC

Andres Perea is gone, Junior Urso is gone, Tesho Akindele is gone and Joao Moutinho is gone, while both Luca Petrasso (from Toronto) and Felipe Martins (free agency) are in. All of these not-quite-super-notable moves make it feel like Orlando City are moving toward something bigger. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them a tier or two higher by the end of the offseason.

Tier This Move Has My Attention

Charlotte FC

It’s not official yet, but it seems like Charlotte’s third DP will be Enzo Copetti, a forward from Racing Club in Argentina. It’s a move that’s intriguing for a few reasons. One being that the internet seems to be divided on what position this dude actually plays. However, I’ll defer to Tom “Enzo Scoopetti” Bogert on this one and believe him when he says that “Copetti is an out-and-out No. 9.” Seems like Copetti will be up top and Karol Swiderski will be dropping back to a No. 10-ish role behind him.

As far as I can tell, the sample size on Swiderski in that role seems… small. Which makes the move for Copetti as a DP seem bold. Especially considering that Copetti is coming off an MCL injury and a career-best season. We’ll see how it goes, Charlotte.

Colorado Rapids, LA Galaxy

I paired them together because it’s the same move that has my attention. The Rapids made a relatively low-risk decision by bringing in winger Kevin Cabral for cheap, while LA have cleared a DP spot by sending one of their biggest underperformers to Colorado.

If Cabral can shake the yips and start to finish in front of goal, the Rapids have a productive player. If the Galaxy can take that empty DP spot and turn it into a winger whose price tag and production align, then they can take a step forward next season. They’ll need to find that winger quickly, though. Sanctions in 2023 will make it tough next summer window.

Columbus Crew

Wilfried. Nancy.

We wrote about their new manager in detail earlier this week, but I’ll once again point out this is a really big deal for the Crew and for the Eastern Conference as a whole. If Nancy is as successful in Columbus as it seems like he could be, I wouldn’t expect him to be around MLS too much longer.

Portland Timbers

Hello to club-record signing Evander. The Brazilian No. 10 is the biggest signing of the offseason so far and could be an absolute star in Portland.

Tier Well These Are Some Developments

Atlanta United

Atlanta very likely made the biggest move of the entire offseason and maybe the most consequential move of the next five years in MLS. I’m not sure you can overstate how much of a sea change Atlanta bringing Garth Lagerwey from Seattle might be (he’s their new president and CEO).

On top of that, they’ve completed one of the best free-agent deals of the offseason by landing winger Derrick Etienne Jr. It still feels like there’s a long way to go before this roster is truly set (and Josef Martinez’s future still looms large), but I wouldn’t expect too many major moves soon. At least not until Lagerwey is settled in.

CF Montréal

I’d like to personally thank CF Montréal for providing the bulk of my newsletter content over the last month or so. The exodus of talent from one of 2022’s best teams has been fascinating and kind of a bummer and then back around to totally fascinating again. CF Montréal need a new manager, a new Djordje Mihailovic, a new Victor Wanyama, a new Ismaël Koné and a new Alistair Johnston. They’ll certainly have plenty of windfall from their transfers to bring in some folks. But that’s a ton of talent to replace.

Nancy especially is a major blow. He’s extremely well-regarded around the league and has a major impact on a team. I have no idea where CF Montréal will go from here, but it will be intriguing to watch. Or depressing. Or maybe they go all-in and take the opportunity to invest in/refresh the roster in a way that signals they’re prepared to compete in the long term?

Other Things

San Jose Earthquakes sign midfielder Judson to new contract

The San Jose Earthquakes have re-signed midfielder Judson through the 2023 MLS season with an option for 2024. The 29-year-old Brazilian was out of contract after the 2022 campaign.

Minnesota United sign defender Valentin in free agency

Minnesota United FC have signed free-agent defender Zarek Valentin to a one-year deal with a club option for 2024. Valentin joins MNUFC after playing three years for Houston Dynamo FC, where he started 50 matches and tallied four assists.

Austin FC bring back defender Jimenez

Austin FC have signed defender Hector Jimenez to a new contract through the 2023 MLS season with an option for 2024. Jimenez was a free agent after the Verde & Black declined his contract option. Jimenez first signed with Austin before their expansion season in 2021, tallying a goal and five assists across 39 appearances.

The Reading Rainbow
Full Time

Good luck out there. I have so many questions. How did any of this happen? Is the simulation we’re living in just spitting out random outcomes at this point? And what did Walker Zimmerman think of “Shipoopi”?