What you need to know

Nottingham Forest reportedly make offer for FC Cincinnati striker Brenner

English Premier League side Nottingham Forest have submitted an offer to sign FC Cincinnati star forward Brenner, sources tell MLSsoccer.com. Forest’s initial offer was a loan with a purchase clause that would trigger pending performance-based incentives. Cincinnati countered. Talks between the two clubs remain ongoing. Brenner trained by himself on Monday after a discussion with Cincy's coaching staff, who gave him the green light to do so. Brenner hopes to push a move through while the coaches thought it’d be best not to have him in the group as a distraction. Brenner didn’t train on Sunday as talks heated up as well.

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The East is a whole entire mess

I started thinking about preseason predictions yesterday. Really trying to start early this year so I can avoid ending up on any end of season social media graphics. You get out what you put it in, ya know?

Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion every single prediction about the East is likely going to be wrong. Other than Philadelphia finishing in first place, that seems pretty locked in unless the weight of CCL drags them down a little too far. But the rest of it? You could randomly generate spots 2-15 and make a reasonable argument for almost every choice.

Let me illustrate that right quick. Let’s assume nearly every team in the East has a shot at second place. Now let’s envision a world in which things align for them to be near the Union at the end of the season. Here’s what those worlds look like for each team (in no particular order of course).

“FC Cincinnati ended Decision Day in second place after taking yet another massive step forward under second-year head coach Pat Noonan. Despite rumors, they kept their attacking trio of Lucho Acosta, Brenner and Brandon Vazquez together. And a much improved spine, led by DP midfielder Obinna Nwobodo, and a greatly improved back line did more than enough to let the attack carry the team to its best season ever.”

“Although Bob Bradley’s first season didn’t go as planned, year two for Toronto FC went as well as anyone could have expected. They stayed injury free, and a revamped defense helmed by Matt Hedges and Sean Johnson fixed any and all concerns from a rough 2022. With the defense and midfield sorted, they simply needed to sit back and let Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi lead the way.”


“Wilfried Nancy did what everyone expected him to. He took over a solid Columbus Crew roster and turned it into one of the most effective teams in the league. Nancy, along with a breakout season from Cucho Hernandez, made all the difference.”

Nashville SC had another extremely Nashville SC season where a stellar defensive effort and Hany Mukhtar kept them on the right side of nearly every result. What else would you expect?”

It wasn’t always a given Orlando City’s many offseason moves would lead to success. But they hit on all the players they needed to hit on. In particular, new DP Martin Ojeda was a revelation as Orlando’s attack looked revitalized from the jump in 2023.”


“Well, well, well. Look at that. The Red Bulls finally found a striker and everything clicked into place. Once [Insert Striker] started finding the net, everyone saw this outcome coming.”

“That felt familiar, huh? A New England team led by Carles Gil and the best goalkeeper in the league cruised to point after point. Gil did enough in attack to make up for a few pieces that didn’t quite click at first, and Djordje Petrovic put in the kind of world class performance that made the rest really not matter all that much. Seriously, he was that good.”

Austin and Charlotte FC have a lot in common these days. In Charlotte’s second season, they rode the success of an MVP candidate from a DP in their second year and a distinct tactical identity (and bit of xG overperformance) on their way to a second place finish. Karol Swiderski became an out and out star.”


“Atlanta United finished second in the East after an outstanding offseason that saw them clear cap space then fill it with standouts like Derrick Etienne Jr., Striker to be named later, no. 8 to be named later and the much beloved center back to be named later. In addition to new signings, a resurgent year from Luiz Araujo put him into the MVP discussion while Thiago Almada cemented himself as one of the league’s best-ever young talents.”

Despite some worries about a quiet offseason, NYCFC finally jumped into action with a few big signings. Those big signings made up for a handful of key losses and one of the league’s most successful clubs found themselves near the top of the league once again.”

“Hernan Losada’s tactics may have been the best fit for CF Montréal all along. Despite a hard shift tactically, a well constructed roster with new additions like Aaron Herrera thrived under Losada and CFM finished second in the conference for the second straight season.”


“Lionel Messi is really good at soccer and Inter Miami are really thankful for that.”

Now, how many of those felt truly implausible? None? Maybe the Atlanta one? I’m genuinely asking because I have no idea where to project anyone. We might be on track for the kind of season where second place and 12th place are separated by six points for most of the year. I just need you to be prepared for that. Especially if you’re an MLS social media manager. Please find some mercy in your heart, I didn’t mean it personally, I promise.

Other Things

Colorado Rapids sign Australian international left back Gersbach: The Colorado Rapids have brought left back Alex Gersbach to MLS, announcing Monday they’ve acquired the Australian international from Ligue 2 side Grenoble Foot 38. The 25-year-old defender has signed through the 2025 MLS season with a club option for 2026. Gersbach arrives from France’s second tier and fills a key roster need after Colorado declined the transfer option on left back Lucas Esteves, who had been on loan from Brazilian top-flight club Palmeiras.

Atlanta United's Neto captures 2023 eMLS League Series 1 title: Atlanta United’s Paulo Neto is the 2023 eMLS League Series 1 presented by Coca-Cola Zero Sugar champion after defeating Minnesota United FC’s Lamps in dominating fashion in the finals by a score of 9-1. Paulo earned his position in the Final by emerging from the 12 club-single elimination bracket. This came after battling through the Online Qualifiers on Jan. 24-25 and then traveling to New York City for the In-Person Group Stage, which was the first in-person League Series event in almost three years.

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Good luck out there. Put your own spin on things.