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What you need to know

CF Montréal name Courtois head coach

Laurent Courtois is CF Montréal's newest head coach. Courtois previously led Columbus Crew's MLS NEXT Pro team, helping them win an inaugural league title in 2022 and also make the championship match in 2023. Beforehand, he worked extensively in Columbus' academy.

Colorado Rapids sign USMNT midfielder Mihailovic from AZ Alkmaar

The Colorado Rapids have acquired US men's national team midfielder Djordje Mihailovic from Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar. Mihailovic, who previously played in MLS for Chicago Fire FC and CF Montréal (from 2017-22), will be a Designated Player for Colorado. He's under contract through 2027 and a club option for 2028.

Legendary MLS midfielder Alonso announces retirement

An MLS all-time great has called it a career. Ozzie Alonso announced his retirement Monday via social media. The 38-year-old spent the last two seasons at Atlanta United after originally making his name as a Seattle Sounders FC stalwart from 2009-18, then spending 2019-21 with Minnesota United FC.

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A Rapid reshaping, a Montréal makeover and more

A couple of big moves yesterday. More on the way today. Let’s talk it out.

Colorado are at least interesting again

We talked about it a bit last week. The Rapids were bad last year. But they weren’t that bad. They weren’t 27 points bad. I mean they technically were, but the underlying numbers had them as the least lucky team in MLS. They were closer to below average than anything. In the West, plenty of below-average teams had a shot at the playoffs.

A few breaks go their way last year and maybe Robin Fraser is still around and maybe they sneak into a Wild Card spot. Instead, Fraser is out, Chris Armas is in and the team has become one of 2024’s most intriguing sides. It feels like the club has gotten the green light to really push for a playoff spot in the West again. They’ll never earn my forgiveness for the post-2021 offseason, but they’re certainly making progress. At the very least, they’re interesting again.

In addition to Armas, the Rapids made waves the last two weeks by signing goalkeeper Zack Steffen and making a club-record move for Djordje Mihailovic. Armas has certainly been well-traveled in his coaching career and the same could go for Steffen as a goalkeeper. The Rapids have a tendency to take folks who need a refresh and put them in a position to boost themselves. It would be a heckuva story if both found success here.

Mihailovic is a bit different from the typical Colorado trope, though. In some ways, he does fit the mold. His time with AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands didn’t go as planned. Now he’s looking for a fresh start. But Mihailovic isn’t someone running out of options. By all accounts, AZ Alkmaar struggled to properly utilize Mihailovic. He’s a talented piece who didn’t fit the puzzle. He’s 25. Colorado beat out a few teams here.

There’s a long way to go before we can declare Colorado a good team again. And we don’t know how Mihailovic will fit into this group. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction. The team is better and the organization is spending money they’ve typically seemed reluctant to spend. If they can continue to add some key pieces—a No. 6 to pair with Connor Ronan seems like a need more than a want – they could be part of the conversation again in the West.

CF Montréal… run it back?

It’s not hindsight to say Montréal hiring Hernan Losada made little to no sense. Nearly everyone said that at the time. Not just because of how Losada exited D.C. United, but because Losada’s game model is about as far from Wilfried Nancy’s as you could get. Unless Montréal were planning a total roster overhaul, it didn’t seem likely to work. They weren’t. It didn’t. Losada is no longer in charge.

Now, Montréal are in the hands of Nancy’s former Columbus assistant Laurent Courtois. Courtois won an MLS NEXT Pro title in 2022 and made the championship match in 2023. He spent plenty of time in Columbus before Nancy, but it appears the coaches were aligned with their game models. Montréal basically did that thing where your friend suddenly decides to inexplicably become a fedora guy for like a week. Now they’ve gotten it out of their system, realized it looked pretty goofy and are going to try and get back to normal. We’ll see if it works. It feels like there’s work to do with this roster before it all even begins to resemble what we saw in 2022.

Good luck to…

MLS legend Ozzie Alonso on whatever’s next. He’s a great guy with a great story and I wish him well. I know the folks in Seattle, Minnesota and Atlanta do, too.

Other Things

St. Louis CITY sign Danish left back Dyhr: St. Louis CITY SC have acquired another defender in the winter transfer market, announcing Monday left back Nikolas Dyhr has joined from Danish Superliga leaders Midtjylland. Dyhr, a 22-year-old former Danish youth international, is under contract through the 2026 MLS season with an option for 2027. He follows St. Louis' previous offseason deal for right back Tomas Totland from Swedish Allsvenskan side BK Häcken.

Colorado Rapids transfer Alves to Cuiabá: The Colorado Rapids have transferred midfielder Max Alves to Brazilian top-flight side Cuiabá. In January 2022, he originally joined Colorado from Flamengo as a U22 Initiative player. The 22-year-old departs with one goal and one assist in 38 games (16 starts).

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Good luck out there. Find somewhere that makes you happy.