Daily Kickoff - 2.24.24
What you need to know

MLS is Back

You made it. The offseason is over. And there’s a nearly-full slate of games waiting for you today. Check out the full schedule here.

Miami sign Redondo from Argentinos Juniors

Inter Miami CF have acquired midfielder Federico Redondo from Argentine top-flight side Argentinos Juniors. The 21-year-old Argentine youth international is under contract through the 2027 MLS season with an option for 2028. He will occupy a U22 Initiative roster slot.

Cincinnati sign Orellano from Vasco da Gama

FC Cincinnati have acquired winger Luca Orellano on loan from Brazilian top-flight side Vasco da Gama. The 23-year-old Argentine's deal at the reigning Supporters' Shield winners lasts through the 2024 MLS season with a purchase option. Orellano will likely take over the role left vacant by wingback Alvaro Barreal’s expected departure.

Toronto sign Laryea from Nottingham Forest

Richie Laryea is back at Toronto FC, as the club have re-acquired the Canadian international fullback from Premier League side Nottingham Forest. This is Laryea's third stint with the Reds after starring there from 2019-21, earning a transfer to Nottingham. With minutes hard to come by, he previously spent the first half of the 2023 campaign on loan at Toronto.

Cincinnati defender Miazga's suspension reduced

Major League Soccer announced that FC Cincinnati center back Matt Miazga’s three-game suspension will be reduced by one game following a successful petition based on his continued commitment and compliance with a recommended treatment program overseen by MLS’ Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (SABH) Program. The 2023 MLS Defender of the Year served the first of his original three-game suspension against the Columbus Crew on Dec. 2, 2023.

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An assorted list of 29 reasons both general and specific to celebrate the return of MLS in its 29th season

We’re back. You’re welcome.

We’ve got a big slate of games today for the first time since Decision Day in October. And there are plenty of reasons to celebrate.

  1. We can all stop pretending we know what’s going to happen now. We’ve spent all offseason talking about this team being good and this conference being bad and this player taking this team to the next level. GUESS WHAT. We were lying. The whole time. We have no idea what’s going to happen. Remember that time St. Louis won the conference? It’s time to lower the facade and sit back with our mouths stuck open in shock at, like, D.C. United becoming 2019 LAFC or something.
  1. Some of the big boys finally got their stuff together. Or at least it seems like they have on paper. It’s just a little more fun when teams like Atlanta and the Galaxy have high expectations. Either they meet them and two excellent fanbases are extremely engaged and annoying, or they fail miserably and two excellent fanbases are extremely engaged and annoying in a different way while everyone gets to laugh.
  1. Jacob Shaffelburg’s hair.
  1. Every week you think “Well, we probably won’t see one of the greatest goals in the history of the sport” and then you do.
  1. That guy who’s way too close to the crowd mic. He’s back. He maybe even has a megaphone. You don’t really know all that much about him and he seems to travel to multiple MLS games each weekend, sometimes at the same time, but you do know a few things: He’s loud. He wants everyone else to be a little louder. And he is fully committed to expressing his support for his team through song despite having never been on key at any point in his life. You imagine his name to be Steven, for some reason.
  1. John Tolkin’s hair.
  1. José Martínez is fully prepared to get a red card. If it doesn’t happen this week, he’s fully prepared to try again next week. For you.
  1. We get our first look at a whole bunch of new, expensive faces this weekend. MLS teams have collectively spent the GDP of a small country to bring in new stars, and only like five of them will be any good. Maybe it’s Hugo Cuypers in Chicago? Petar Musa in Dallas? Gabriel Pec in LA? Emil Forsberg in New York? Pedro de la Vega in Seattle? Luis Muriel in Orlando? They all have the potential to make a major impact…or put their team’s roster-building behind schedule for at least the next year. No pressure.
  1. Pedro de la Vega’s hair.
  1. The East has the potential to be the single-greatest conference in MLS history. By my count, 10 teams have the potential to turn into genuine contenders for MLS Cup. Teams like CF Montréal and Chicago have a chance to take a step forward this year and push some of those other teams out of the way. That’s 12 teams who could turn into something special this season. Charlotte, D.C. United and Toronto will also be in the conference.
  1. A new challenger for the most inescapable commercial that eventually becomes an integral part of the matchday experience. Someone must dethrone “HOW WILL I KNOW?”
  1. The West may not have nearly as much strength at the top as the East, but they do have 14 separate teams who could end up in a home playoff spot. Yes, even Austin could get hot and play well enough to make this happen. There’s no reason to believe anything about the West right now. It’s an amorphous blob of teams only vaguely distinct from one another. There are no higher powers dictating where this goes. There is only random chance and proof that we control our own destiny and Paxton Pomykal.
  1. Inter Miami will either be one of the greatest teams of all time or they’ll find a way to come up trophyless. Either way, you’ll be entertained.
  1. A full season of Lionel Messi.
  1. Matt Doyle finishing last in the Extratime Golden Boot Draft.
  1. As good as the Crew were last year, teams tend to take a jump forward in their second season under a manager. Columbus are going to score some of the prettiest team goals we’ve ever seen and we’re going to see it week after week.
  1. An academy kid from Philadelphia or Dallas or both is going to turn into a star this season and even they don’t know it yet.
  1. Some team is going to finish seventh and post about how Major League Soccer soccer dot com never believed in them with a screenshot of a bunch of predictions that have them in ninth place.
  1. Every week is Rivalry Week if you try hard enough.
  1. Diego Luna’s whole deal.
  1. Giorgos Giakoumakis, Cucho Hernández and Dénis Bounga averaging about one goal per game in totally different ways.
  1. An aging star is going to come over to MLS and expect to walk the league and quickly realize that the level is a lot higher than they realized, even though people have been doing this exact thing for years now.
  1. Oh, look, a shot of the supporters’ section where a small yet growing group has suddenly taken off their shirts for some reason.
  1. Lol, do y’all remember that time Toronto tried to score from a pass directly off a penalty kick and they missed?
  1. Seattle have one of the best kits of all time. The Crew look great and also like Charlie Brown. We’ve already got a couple of iconic looks up and running.
  1. Kevin Egan is hosting MLS 360 now and he’s absolutely perfect for it.
  1. Luis Suárez is here to do Luis Suárez things while simultaneously looking like the oldest guy at this pickup game you joined at a public park.
  1. The Daily Kickoff being back to seven days a week until the season ends or they finally realize that mistakes were made in ever giving me a daily space to share my thoughts.
  1. Finally getting back to pretending you know why anything that’s happening on the field is actually happening instead of pretending to know how any of the roster rules work. We made it, y’all.
Other Things

Toronto sign defender Gomis: Toronto FC have signed French defender Nicksoen Gomis through the 2025 season with options for 2026-27. The 21-year-old joins from Sheffield United after trialing with Toronto through the 2024 preseason.

Galaxy sign SuperDraft pick Lepley: The LA Galaxy have signed MLS SuperDraft pick Tucker Lepley through the 2024 season with options from 2025-27. Selected in the third round (No. 62 overall) out of UCLA, the 22-year-old midfielder impressed during the recent preseason, notching an assist in five appearances (three starts) for Greg Vanney's side.

Galaxy sign forward Bibout from MLS NEXT Pro: The LA Galaxy have elevated forward Aaron Bibout from their MLS NEXT Pro side. The 18-year-old joins through the 2025 MLS season with options years for 2026-27 and will occupy an international roster spot.

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Good luck out there. Welcome back.