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Sporting Kansas City, Vermes reach contract extension through 2028

Sporting Kansas City and club legend Peter Vermes have agreed to a five-year contract extension through the 2028 MLS season. Vermes is the club's manager and sporting director; his previous contract was set to expire after the 2023 season. He is the longest-tenured MLS head coach by far, taking over SKC during the 2009 season. As he's on the precipice of his 15th season, Vermes is among the longest-tenured top-flight men's soccer head coaches in the world.

Austin FC give midfielder Fagúndez contract extension

Austin FC have signed midfielder Diego Fagúndez to a contract extension through the 2025 MLS season with an option for 2026. The 28-year-old joined Austin before their inaugural season in 2021, scored the first goal in club history and has featured in all but one game in Verde & Black history. Fagúndez initially joined MLS in 2010 as a 15-year-old homegrown player for the New England Revolution, spending his entire career there before switching clubs.

DC United winger Rodríguez suffers torn ACL

D.C. United winger Martín Rodríguez is expected to miss the 2023 MLS season after suffering a torn right ACL in preseason training camp. Rodríguez has been placed on the Season-Ending Injury List. The 28-year-old Chilean international attacker joined the Black-and-Red last summer from Turkish Süper Lig side Altay SK. He notched three assists in 14 games (10 starts) as D.C. United finished bottom of the table.

Apple and MLS announce eight additions to MLS Season Pass broadcast team

Apple and Major League Soccer have announced the addition of eight new broadcasters to its already formidable roster of MLS Season Pass on-air personalities. The team for the debut season of the unprecedented new subscription service now features a total of 92 announcers representing 22 different countries and nationalities – one of the largest lineups of on-air talent covering a major sports league. Take look at the additions here.

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The Supporters' Shield "Ifs"

With many thanks to ESPN’s Bill Connelly for the format, these are the Supporters’ Shield “Ifs”  for the top-seven teams in our preseason Power Rankings. Yeah, there will probably be a dark horse or two that comes into the mix at some point, but for now we’ll stick with this group. The premise is simple. The more “Ifs” you have, the less likely you are to get it done. If you have just one “If” you should be feeling good about things. For example…

One "If"

The Philadelphia Union will win the shield if…

  1. If CCL doesn’t derail everything

That’s it. That’s the only thing in their way right now. They have extreme continuity from a team that only lost out on the Shield last year due to win differential. They’ve added depth by trading for midfielder Andres Perea, forward Joaquin Torres and center back Damion Lowe. And there are probably like three or four more Aaronson kids ready to trot out onto the field at a moment’s notice.

The only thing on paper that might keep them from winning this thing is CCL. They could go deep into the competition – especially if they get past Atlas in the quarter-finals – and we’ve seen over and over again how MLS teams can struggle to recover in the regular season after a run.

Two "Ifs"

LAFC will win the shield if…

  1. CCL doesn’t derail everything

See above.

  1. The midfield isn’t too thin in the end

Even with Chicho Arango on the way out, they’re going to score goals. Denis Bouanga will make sure of that. And their back line should be outstanding after adding Aaron Long in free agency.

There are depth concerns in midfield though, especially with added CCL games. The bracket sets up to give LAFC a straight shot to the semifinals before seeing an MLS or Liga MX team, and the midfield sets up to be extremely good in the first string with a ton of questions after that. We don’t know how effective Timothy Tillman will be if called upon and Daniel Crisostomo has spent most of the last few years with the USL’s Las Vegas Lights. For now, that’s the midfield depth.

Seattle Sounders will win the shield if…

  1. If they can run out a starting XI with some consistency

Yeah, last year’s rash of injuries came in part due to their CCL run. But you also have to worry that this team’s core gets a little older and a little more beat up every year.

This year’s schedule is gentler though, and they have solid depth by MLS standards all over the field. It should be a little easier for Brian Schmetzer to know who’s going to be on the team sheet week-by-week this season.

  1. If Joao Paulo looks like Joao Paulo

As much as the nagging injuries frustrated Seattle last year, the moment where missing the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs became a genuine possibility was when Joao Paulo tore his ACL in the CCL final. He’s been perhaps the single-best midfielder in the league since his arrival – not quite a load-bearing piece for this team, but something close to it. And if he struggles to play up to his standard in a tough first year back from injury, Seattle may have issues dictating games in the way they need to for a Shield run. If he looks like he hasn’t lost a step, they’re going to rack up points against a relatively weak Western Conference.

Three "Ifs"

FC Cincinnati (!) will win (!) the Shield (!!!) if…

  1. If they have an attacking trio all season

Please note that I didn’t say the same attacking trio. I think it might be likely we see Brenner move on this summer. If he does, Cincy’s contingency plan to replace him will be critical. If they get that DP signing right though, they shouldn’t miss too many beats. If he just doesn’t leave, the same way he hasn’t left over the last three windows despite us guessing he might leave, well, then, I guess there’s not a problem, is there?

  1. If they really have improved defensively

Last year started poorly, but they kind of settled down defensively once Obinna Nwobodo and Matt Miazga arrived. They’ll need to build on that this season, and new center back Yerson Mosquera plus new U22 midfielder Marco Angulo may have to play a key part in making that happen. Especially Mosquera.

  1. If CCL derails LAFC and Philly

I’m not sure they quite have the top-to-bottom XI to go blow to blow with Philly and LAFC over the course of an entire season. You can talk me into them doing it with a great but perhaps not all that dynamic Seattle team, but not Philly and LAFC. The good news is, Cincy may be able to get a solid head start on both of them as the two deal with and recover from CCL.

Four "Ifs"

New York Red Bulls will win the Shield if…

  1. If Dante Vanzeir is everything they’ve hoped for

It’s almost a big enough IF to count it as two. But for now we’ll just wait and see if their latest DP attacker can finally give them the kind of scoring threat they’ve been missing since Bradley Wright-Phillips.

  1. If losing Aaron Long stops hurting

You know how after a tough breakup you’re sad for a while and then one day you realize you haven’t thought about that person for a long time? The Red Bulls need that to happen quickly and to hope they sorted out their backline without any issues. It kind of seems like that might come down to whether Andres Reyes is healthy or not.

  1. If their stuff works over a full season


  1. The kids get the job done

They’re going to be asking a lot of guys like 20-year-old John Tolkin and 19-year-old Daniel Edelman this year. We know they can get it done when needed, but it’s tough to be at the consistent level needed to win a Shield over an entire season.

Orlando City will win the shield if…

  1. If Martin Ojeda is the guy

They’re going to need big production from their new DP winger. No time to wait around for a Year Two bump.

  1. If adding one piece to the attack is all they really needed

Seriously, Ojeda better ball. Because the rest of the front four is the same as last year, just with some additional depth. They were effective last year, but not Shield-level effective.

  1. If the new signings provide what they were hoping for

You aren’t going to hit on every signing. And with all the signings Orlando made this offseason, there’s no telling who’s going to make a serious impact or spend most of their moments on the bench. If a few of these guys can hit in a major way though, the Lions should have the depth and flexibility to handle all the situations that come up over the course of the season.

  1. If the back line calms any doubts

You’ve got two new starters at full back here and a center back unit that doesn’t have a ton of depth. Can they get it done for 34 games?

Austin FC will win the Shield if…

  1. If they

If they

  1. Do not

Do not

  1. Regress to

Regress to

  1. The mean

The mean.

Other Things

Orlando City sign striker McGuire: Orlando City SC have added striker Duncan McGuire after previously selecting him in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas. The 22-year-old, who was chosen No. 6 overall (first round) out of Creighton University, was a pre-signed senior before the SuperDraft. His deal with Orlando runs through the 2023 MLS season with options for 2024-26.

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Good luck out there. Give warm greetings.