What you need to know

Austin, RSL, Atlanta announce end-of-year moves

Austin declined the contract option of nine players, including U22 Initiative winger Rodney Redes and veteran attackers like Will Bruin, Memo Rodríguez and Maxi Urruti. 

Real Salt Lake have declined Damir Kreilach’s 2024 contract option, but the club legend’s MLS career could continue. RSL remain in discussions with their longtime captain about his future with the club. 

Atlanta United’s Miles Robinson and Matheus Rossetto are out of contract. Discussions are ongoing with Robinson and winger Xande Silva to return next season. 

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Small-sided: Who's in? Who's out?

In the midst of all the playoff-ness of everything, we haven’t been able to really stop and take stock of the end-of-season moves happening. We took a look at a few major front-office changes the other day, but there have been plenty of roster decisions in the last few weeks that are worth looking over, too. So. Yeah. We’re gonna do that.

Major changes on the way in LA

The LA Galaxy aren’t that far away. 2023 hit a bump and immediately sent them careening off a cliff, but, still, it’s not like this roster is a total disaster. Any team with Riqui Puig will, at the very least, find a way to create chances at a decent clip. Now, if Puig sticks around for 2024, they have room at the top of the roster to give him a little help. Maybe a lot of help. 

Chicharito and Douglas Costa are officially out of contract. LA officially have two DP spots available and plenty of money to spend. At least they should, it’s not like they were shelling out cash during their transfer ban this summer. 

On top of that, they’ve reworked some of their front office infrastructure. Former LAFC assistant general manager Will Kuntz is now in charge of salary cap management, club development, immigration process, executing player and personnel contract and technical administration for the Galaxy. He can be an effective guiding hand for head coach & sporting director Greg Vanney and technical director Jovan Kirovski as they reshape the team. Kuntz obviously has experience setting up a high-level team in LA and, in theory, those practices should translate to the Galaxy. Especially now that they’ve had a moment to set up a scouting department. Remember, they, uh, kind of didn’t have one for a while there. Like… until Vanney arrived. 

They should have plenty of room to work this offseason.

A big decision for Vancouver

The Whitecaps are in ongoing discussions with a number of players, but all eyes are on fullback Richie Laryea, who arrived midseason after his loan from Nottingham Forest to Toronto FC expired. Forest loaned him back out to Vancouver, where Laryea continued to be one of the most dynamic and effective fullbacks in MLS. That loan expires in December.

There are reports the Whitecaps want to keep Laryea long term - who wouldn’t? - but the price might be steep. We might be talking about a DP spot. Laryea is fantastic, but conventional MLS roster-building wisdom doesn’t typically suggest using one of your three unlimited spending spots on fullback. Then again, so much of Vancouver’s XI is already set that locking down Laryea feels like a luxury move that makes some sense. There are a handful of moving parts here, but this is a move to keep an eye on for a team that seems primed to compete at the top of the West next year.

Atlanta United are set to reload

“Rebuild” didn’t quite feel right. They ended the year as a good team with a few great pieces and few readily apparent flaws. The feeling around Atlanta has always been that 2023 would be a year to (and I quote) “take some pain.” Bad contracts were weighing this team down. They still found a way to clear the way for an outstanding summer window, though. And now, in Garth Lagerwey’s second year in charge, they seem set to have a major offseason.

That’s in part due to a desire to reshape the team for the better and in part due to necessity. The team is still technically in discussions with Miles Robinson, but they aren’t going to offer a DP deal and Robinson seems likely to head to Europe. Matheus Rossetto is officially out of contract and leaves an open starting spot in midfield. Juanjo Purata’s loan has come to an end and Atlanta need to add another center back in his place. They’re still deliberating on winger Xande Silva. They’ll likely be working to move on from multiple U22 players as well.

And none of that even touches on the fact there’s significant interest abroad in Thiago Almada. It wouldn’t be surprising if the right offer came this offseason. At that point, Atlanta could theoretically buy down Saba Lobjanidze off a DP deal and have two DP spots to work with. Things are going to be busy in Atlanta. Again. But this time it doesn’t feel like a madcap scramble to save face. It feels like everything is going according to plan. If they can match the quality of their summer window with even more quantity, this will be a monster of a team in 2024.

And other folks...
  • Josef Martínez is out of contract. Will someone take a flyer on him as a super sub? Will he even want to keep playing? Will any of that happen in MLS? There are a lot of unknowns there. 
  • Damir Kreilach is out of contract, too. Like Josef, injuries have changed the calculus here on signing a great player. RSL are in discussions with Kreilach, but maybe another team will swoop in? 
  • Former Manchester City assistant Rodolfo Borrell’s first window in charge of Austin’s roster is on the way and there should be plenty of room to work. Austin have just 20 contracted players after announcing their roster moves yesterday. I’d expect a lot of movement as Borrell attempts to reshape the team in his first year in charge.
  • Former NYCFC players Alfredo Moralez and Matías Pellegrini had their options declined. It seems like both could potentially have interested suitors across the league.
Other Things

Jamaica vs. Canada match postponed to November 18:  Due to severe weather near Independence Park in Kingston, Jamaica, the Concacaf Nations League quarterfinal match between Jamaica and Canada has been postponed to Saturday, Nov. 18 at 10:30 am ET. Viewers can stream the game on OneSoccer in Canada and Paramount+ in the US.

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