What you need to know

San Diego FC acquire Lozano from PSV Eindhoven

San Diego FC have acquired Mexican star Hirving "Chucky" Lozano, completing a marquee signing before their 2025 MLS expansion season. Lozano becomes the club's first-ever Designated Player, arriving from Eredivisie powerhouse PSV Eindhoven for a reported $12 million. The winger, who formally joins San Diego on Jan. 1, is under contract through the 2028 MLS season with two option years. He will remain at PSV Eindhoven for the remainder of 2024.

Minnesota United sign attacker Shashoua

Minnesota United FC have signed former England youth international Samuel Shashoua. The 25-year-old attacking midfielder is under contract through 2024 with club options for 2025-26. He most recently played for Albacete in LaLiga 2, the second tier of Spanish professional soccer. Shashoua is eligible to join Minnesota when the MLS Secondary Transfer Window opens on July 18.

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The Daily Kickoff's All-Star Ballot

Yesterday, the league released an update on who’s leading the ballot for the 2024 MLS All-Star team. It reminded me of something important: I need to vote for the 2024 MLS All-Star team.

To be fair to me, things have been a bit chaotic down here in Atlanta the last couple of weeks. I have been distracted. But I figured it would be a nice relaxing exercise to sit down and vote for who I think deserves to start versus Liga MX on July 24.

It was not.

At least not when it came to the non-Messi/non-Chicho positions. It took some thinking and then some panicking until my anxiety let me hit “submit,” but here’s how my ballot shook out.

FW: Chicho Arango - Real Salt Lake

You can read more about how good Arango has been in our latest MVP Power Rankings, but the best way to sum it up is that he’s on pace to break Carlos Vela’s MLS record for goal contributions in a season and has either scored or assisted on 69% of RSL’s goals in a year where they’re a genuine Shield contender. So. Yeah, he’s on my ballot.

FW: Lionel Messi - Inter Miami

I think he might make the team.

FW: Denis Bouanga - LAFC

Bouanga has 10 goals and five assists on the season. You could almost consider that a down year for him based on what he did last season. But give it some time. He’s second in MLS in expected goals plus expected assists per 90 and underperforming in both categories. We’ve got a few games before the All-Star Game. He’s already deserving of a spot, but he might be entering the game with numbers that are starting to look a little more like last season.

You could totally argue for Luis Suárez and Christian Benteke here too and I wouldn’t hold it against you. For now, though, I’m willing to lean toward high-level production and underlying numbers. Which, I mean, it's a pretty good argument here for Tani Oluwaseyi if you’re feeling bold. Just saying. Sure seems like a coach known for developing young players like Wilfried Nancy would want a player averaging 1.59 goals and assists per 90 around. And, oh, look at that, he can pick 12 spots on this year's All-Star team.

(Do it, Wilfried)

Attacking Midfielder: Lucho Acosta - FC Cincinnati

I pointed this out in the MVP Power Rankings, but it’s worth pointing out again that Acosta may be having an even better season than last year’s MVP-winning campaign. He’s averaging a goal contribution per 90, and that’s without taking penalties. He’s carrying a Cincy roster that’s experienced a lot of turnover to another Shield-caliber season and he’s wholly deserving another All-Star start.

Attacking Midfielder: Riqui Puig - LA Galaxy/Robin Lod - Minnesota United

Name an attacking stat. Puig is probably in the 98th percentile in that category among midfielders.

Now, name a defensive stat. He’s probably in the 2nd percentile or worse. This man has been playing his entire time in MLS like he’s in the All-Star game. He’s built for this. And he’s also extremely productive for a revitalized Galaxy side. He makes their attack what it is.

If you’re not into Puig though, the other option here is Minnesota’s Robin Lod. Lod is fourth in MLS right now in goal contributions per 90 and has filled the void left by Bebelo Reynoso’s departure in a way no one could have imagined. He even plays a little more defense than Puig. And actually, now that I’m typing through all this, I’m possibly talking myself into Lod over Puig. Maybe if I ask nicely they’ll let me resubmit my vote? I told y’all I panicked, right?

Defensive midfielder: Gastón Brugman - LA Galaxy

There were a few quality options here. Sergio Busquets has been doing Busquets things for Inter Miami, Aidan Morris is an outright star for Columbus and Emeka Eneli has been remarkable for Real Salt Lake. But Brugman is an underrated piece of the puzzle for the Galaxy. He’s asked to do a ton of work defensively and it shows up on the stat sheet. He’s in the 94th percentile among midfielders in tackles per 90 and the 99th percentile in interceptions per 90. He’ll be used to playing in a team that’s as attack-minded as All-Star teams typically are.

Left back: Luca Orellano - FC Cincinnati

Ok, fine, he’s more of wingback, but I didn’t choose how the ballots work. But I know a couple of things here. First and foremost, Orellano has been awesome for FC Cincinnati in his first season and is only getting better as the year goes along. He’s replaced Alvaro Barreal and there hasn’t been much of a drop-off.

The other thing here is that Wilfried Nancy is the All-Star team’s head coach. You know who loves to play with wingbacks? I had to give him at least one to work with.

Center back: Miles Robinson - FC Cincinnati

Have we mentioned that Cincy’s defense is the best in the league? Robinson has stepped into their back three after signing as a free agent and looked, yet again, like one of the best defenders in the league. Center backs are difficult to assess accurately, but it feels safe to pick out one of the best defenders in MLS on the best defensive side in the league.

Of course, with that same logic, you could go with Matt Miazga here too. That’s cool. I’m not going to judge.

Center back: Justen Glad - Real Salt Lake

Joe Lowery talked me into this one. Glad’s numbers this year are great and he’s the anchor for a Supporters’ Shield-caliber defense.

Right back: Aaron Herrera - D.C. United

Herrera does everything well and he’s right at home in Troy Lesesne’s system. He’s in the 97th percentile among fullbacks in shot-creating actions, the 94th percentile in progressive passes and in the 73rd percentile or higher in tackles, interceptions, blocks, clearances and aerials won. He’s got a claim to the title of best all-around fullback in the league.

Goalkeeper: Matt Freese - New York City FC

I try not to overthink it on keepers. Freese has the best shot-stopping numbers in the league. Freese gets my vote. Easy. Done. At least a few of these weren’t stressful.

Other Things

Columbus Crew players make Champions Cup Best XI: Three Columbus Crew players have made the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup Best XI: goalkeeper Patrick Schulte, defender Yevhen Cheberko and winger Diego Rossi.

LAFC sign goalkeeper Hasal: LAFC have signed goalkeeper Thomas Hasal through 2025 with an option for 2026. Hasal, 24, was out of contract after spending 2019-23 as a Vancouver Whitecaps FC homegrown player. He posted six clean sheets in 34 appearances.

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Good luck out there. Be better than the best.