What you need to know

Leagues Cup 2023 Groups announced:

The 15 groups are now set for the reimagined and expanded Leagues Cup that begins in July, the official Concacaf competition where all 47 clubs – 18 from LIGA MX and 29 from MLS – will play in a World Cup-style tournament that qualifies three clubs for the 2024 Concacaf Champions League. The inaugural edition of Leagues Cup will take place from July 21 to August 19, pausing league competition. All matches will air on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app, while select games are on TelevisaUnivision, FOX Sports, TSN and RDS.

Inter Miami complete permanent transfer of Campana from Wolves

inter Miami CF have exercised their permanent transfer option of forward Leonardo Campana from English Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers. The 22-year-old Ecuador international is under contract through the 2025 MLS season with a club option for 2026. He’ll occupy a Young Designated slot on the Herons’ roster.

San Jose Earthquakes sign Brazilian goalkeeper Daniel from Internacional

The San Jose Earthquakes have acquired goalkeeper Daniel from Brazilian Serie A club Internacional. The 28-year-old Brazilian’s deal runs through the 2024 MLS season with an option for 2025. His transfer was completed using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). Daniel, who posted 37 shutouts in 83 matches for Internacional (74 goals against), should add competition for San Jose’s starting goalkeeper job alongside homegrown JT Marcinkowski. The former US youth international has been San Jose’s starter across the last two-plus seasons.

Allocation Order and Process is no longer in effect

Major League Soccer’s Board of Governors this week approved an update to the MLS Roster Rules and Regulations involving the elimination of the Allocation Ranking List. Effective immediately, any players previously on the Allocation Ranking List will be assigned through the MLS Discovery Process. In lieu of holding the first position in the 2023 Allocation Ranking Order, St. Louis CITY SC have been provided the opportunity to retain the right of first refusal over one player of their choosing who was on the Allocation Ranking List at the time of its dissolution.

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We finally know the Leagues Cup groups. San Jose have a new goalkeeper. Inter Miami have a long-term young DP (for now). And the Allocation Order has allocated whatever it was ordering for the very last time. Let’s talk it out.

The most exciting Leagues Cup groups

The Leagues Cup keeps taking little steps toward becoming tangible. We still don’t know exactly how things will work out and how MLS will matchup top to bottom, but we at least have an increasing understanding of what an entire month of MLS v. Liga MX is going to look like now that we know the 15 groups of three that will make up the group stage portion of the competition. So let’s take a quick look ahead and sort out the great groups from the good groups. You should be excited for every group. Just be excited for some groups a little more.

West 2: Monterrey, Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders

Something primal kicked in when I saw RSL and Seattle paired together. I’ve still got a lingering sense of bloodlust from the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs game that saw RSL go to Seattle and pull out a win without taking a shot. It might be my favorite game of all time. It’s not exactly a playoff set-up here, but we do get to see RSL go up against Seattle with stakes on the line again. That’s one of life’s little joys. Because if there’s anything RSL are good at, it’s messing stuff up for bigger clubs. So, yeah, Monterrey are in trouble here too.

Central 1: Club America, Columbus Crew, St. Louis CITY SC

Wilfried Nancy and his new team plus a literally new team chasing down the biggest club on the continent. This is the most scrappy underdog MLS grouping of all the scrappy underdog MLS groups.

South 3: Cruz Azul, Inter Miami CF, Atlanta United

Someone decided to do a bit and put Josef Martinez and Atlanta in the same group. To be fair, it’s a really good bit.

East 3: NYCFC, Atlas, Toronto FC

A Campeones Cup rematch plus Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi thrown in? This should be outstanding. You know, as soon as NYCFC find enough players to field an actual starting XI. Could be any day now, right? Annnnyyyy day now.

A TAM goalkeeper is hard to find

San Jose signed Daniel, a goalkeeper from Brazilian Serie A club Internacional, on a TAM deal this weekend. That is a… unique choice. I can count on one hand the number of goalkeepers in MLS taking up a TAM spot right now. Last year we’re talking Andre Blake, Eloy Room and maybe a few other guys who were at least kind of close to crossing that threshold. You have to be outstanding to merit a TAM deal as an MLS 'keeper.

So, yeah, we’re talking about a relatively significant roster building risk here for San Jose. Especially considering the fact their usual starter, JT Marcinkowski, already made $300k last season and had solid shot-stopping numbers in 2021 even if 2022 left a lot to be desired. That’s at least $912.5k of budget charge in a league where you only get $4.9 million in cap space. A third of that $912.5k charge is for a 'keeper you know can be good and two thirds is now for a keeper you’re guessing can be.

It’s a risk. And if Daniel puts in an Andre Blake kind of year, it will totally be worth it. Andre Blakes are hard to find though.

Ad astra per aspera

Godspeed to the Allocation Order. My only regret is I never really learned exactly what you did or how you functioned. I’d bet I’m in like the 90th percentile or higher in understanding MLS roster rules and yet there you were, a total blindspot. I cherished that. I hope you did too. Perhaps our paths will cross again one day. But until then, I’ll just hold in my heart how funny it was that time Cincy traded the top spot to the team who was second in the order like three times in one year and got like $400k worth of GAM plus the player they eventually wanted to sign by being at the top of the allocation order. That made me laugh. Even if it also made my head hurt a bit.

Other Things

Sporting Kansas City waive midfielder Rosell: Uri Rosell's second stint with Sporting Kansas City is officially over, after the club announced Friday they've waived the veteran defensive midfielder. The 30-year-old Spaniard, who signed a two-year contract as a free agent ahead of the 2022 campaign, notched one assist in 18 appearances (13 starts) last season. He previously played for SKC between 2012-14, contributing 2g/2a over 43 regular-season games and helping the club win MLS Cup in 2013.

FC Cincinnati sign goalkeeper Walters to homegrown contract: FC Cincinnati have signed homegrown goalkeeper Paul Walters through the 2026 MLS season with an option for 2027. The 18-year-old becomes FCC's sixth academy player to sign a first-team deal and the third this offseason, following midfielders Stiven Jimenez and Malik Pinto.

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Good luck out there. Make yourself at home.