Daily KO - vazquez replacement
What you need to know

FC Cincinnati transfer USMNT striker Vazquez to CF Monterrey

Brandon Vazquez is heading to Liga MX. FC Cincinnati announced Wednesday they have transferred the US men's national team striker to CF Monterrey. The 25-year-old reportedly departs for a $7.5 million fee that contains $1 million in add-ons, plus a sell-on clause.

Lesesne named DC United head coach

D.C. United have appointed Troy Lesesne as their next head coach. He's inked a three-year deal through the 2026 MLS season. Lesesne, who led the New York Red Bulls during part of the 2023 MLS season, succeeds Wayne Rooney as the Black-and-Red's manager. He also previously coached USL Championship side New Mexico United.

Torres reaches new deal with Orlando City

Facundo Torres is locked down in Orlando City SC colors, as the club announced Wednesday the Uruguayan star has signed a new deal. Torres' contract extension lasts through the 2026 MLS season with an option for 2027. He will remain a Designated Player.

Colorado Rapids acquire Löffelsend from Real Salt Lake

The Colorado Rapids have acquired midfielder/defender Jasper Löffelsend from Rocky Mountain Cup rival Real Salt Lake. In exchange for the 26-year-old, Colorado have sent RSL a 2024 international roster spot, a second-round pick in the 2025 SuperDraft and $100,000 in conditional General Allocation Money (GAM).

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Small-sided: Life without Vazquez, a new manager in D.C. and more

Brandon Vazquez is gone to Monterrey, Troy Lesesne is in at D.C. United and Colorado keep trending in the right direction. Let’s talk it out.

What will 2024 look like for FC Cincinnati?

In the span of seven years, Brandon Vazquez has gone from a backup in Atlanta, to an unprotected expansion draft pick who immediately got traded from Nashville to FC Cincinnati, to a seldom-used spot starter for the worst team in MLS history, to an 18-goal season, to a Supporters’ Shield winner and, now, to a multi-million dollar signing with one of the continent’s most successful teams.

The 25-year-old is on his way to CF Monterrey and FC Cincinnati are worse for it. At least for now. They could surprise us. But let’s be real. It’s hard to see them improving on the kind of value Vazquez has provided over the last two seasons. In roughly 5,100 minutes, Vazquez scored 26 goals and delivered 12 assists while reportedly costing about $500k in 2022 and a little over $1 million in 2023. That kind of production from non-DP strikers is rare. When accounting for his goal contributions and his transfer fee to Monterrey, Cinciy’s return on investment is unheard of.

Cincy got far more than their money’s worth by taking a chance on Vazquez. Everything about this has been a success. However, it’s fair to wonder where this leaves them for 2024. They accomplished goal number one this offseason when they replaced center back Yerson Mosquera with something close to a like-for-like replacement in Miles Robinson. Now they need to do the same with Vazquez.

To be fair to Cincy, they won the Shield with Vazquez taking a step back production-wise in 2023. We’re technically only talking about replacing eight goals and four assists. To be fair to Vazquez, a change in Cincy’s game model and some bad luck when it comes to finishing restricted his numbers compared to 2022. No matter what, it’s going to be difficult to find a player who can match his ability within the same price range.

It feels key they find some way to replace him in the aggregate, though. It’s tough to come back from a Shield-winning season and put it all together again the next season. It’s tough to put a team on your back like Lucho Acosta did and be fully prepared to do it again the next year. It’s tough to add an extra competition like Concacaf Champions Cup into the mix and survive the busy schedule. These are constants in MLS.

That means a whole lot of eyes are going to be on DP forward Aaron Boupendza in 2024. Boupendza arrived midway through 2023 for a reported fee of around $7 million and put up solid numbers. He scored five times in 609 regular season minutes and added a goal and an assist in 235 playoff minutes. That’s a goal contribution nearly every 120 minutes. Those aren’t otherworldly numbers, but they’re good numbers for a player getting used to a new team and a new league. Cincy will be leaning on him to take a step forward in his first full season.

Next to him, you have to wonder if Cincy have a contingency plan for replacing Vazquez or if they’ve already executed it by bringing in Corey Baird. That move’s technically not official yet, but every reporter who knows anything about FC Cincinnati has suggested a deal with Baird is close to being wrapped. The free agent actually outpaced Vazquez last season, scoring eight goals and six assists on an upstart Houston team. It could be as simple as plugging in Baird without worrying about a huge cap hit, letting Boupendza and Lucho cook and calling it a day for Cincy. In the end, that might be more than enough to keep them among the league’s biggest point earners this season.

What will D.C. United look like under Troy Lesesne?

I’ll keep this quick: I dunno. But I’m always fascinated by former Red Bulls managers who head elsewhere. Are they going to keep the same tenants of Energy Drink Soccer or were they just executing the orders of the highly caffeinated executives above them? It wouldn’t be surprising if we saw something Red Bulls-adjacent (like Hernan Losada’s game model), but not full Red Bulls in D.C. We won’t know until we know. However, as always, none of it will really matter if the roster isn’t good enough to compete with the best teams in the league. As of now, we don’t have proof of concept that it is. There’s still plenty of work to do for the Black & Red.


• Facundo Torres and Orlando reached a deal to extend his contract through 2027. I’m not convinced the 23-year-old star will be around that long without European teams swooping in, but it’s just good business on Orlando’s part to ensure a long-term future in case those deals never actually manifest. The deal keeps Torres happy while he’s here, lets Orlando be a little pickier about what deals they consider for him and provides a safety net without changing anything about their current cap situation. There’s nothing but positives here.

• Colorado continued their maybe incredibly good, but at the very least intriguing offseason by trading for RSL midfielder Jasper Löffelsend. Löffelsend is a solid piece and should add some depth to a midfield group that needed it. The Rapids could still probably use a starting-caliber No. 6, but this is another move in the right direction. There have been a lot of those lately.

Other Things

FC Dallas sign center back Gonzalez: Omar Gonzalez has signed with FC Dallas through the 2024 MLS season with an option for 2025. The former US men's national team center back is a Dallas native. Now 35, Gonzalez entered free agency with 17 goals and 12 assists in 276 league matches.

Portland Timbers re-sign defender Miller: The Portland Timbers have re-signed defender Eric Miller through the 2025 MLS season. Miller, 30, previously had his contract option declined after Portland's 2023 campaign. He will likely offer fullback depth.

Inter Miami sign homegrown defender Boatwright: Inter Miami CF have signed defender Israel Boatwright through the 2026 MLS season with options for 2027-28, making him the ninth homegrown player in club history. Boatwright, 18, primarily plays right back. He was previously a key part of Inter Miami II, their MLS NEXT Pro affiliate.

Inter Miami sign homegrown defender Hall: Inter Miami CF have made Tyler Hall their eighth-ever homegrown player, announcing the US youth international defender has signed through the 2027 MLS season with an option for 2028. Hall joins Inter Miami's first team after scoring twice in 29 games (24 starts) for MLS NEXT Pro affiliate Inter Miami CF II across the past two seasons. In 2023, the center back also earned MLS NEXT All-Star honors.

Colorado Rapids sign homegrown goalkeeper Beaudry: The Colorado Rapids have signed homegrown goalkeeper Adam Beaudry through the 2027 MLS season with an additional two option years (2028-29). Beaudry was a key player for the US at the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup and has played extensively for Rapids 2 in MLS NEXT Pro.

Austin FC sign homegrown forward Burton: Austin FC have signed US youth international forward Micah Burton as a homegrown player. The 17-year-old's deal runs through the 2027 MLS season with an option year for 2028. He is their second-ever homegrown player, following midfielder Owen Wolff.

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