Armchair Analyst: Five from Copa America who'd find a snug fit in MLS

You watched Copa America, and if you're reading this you probably watch MLS as well. And since those two things are true, there is also a third thing we know to be true: A number of players who featured in this summer's tournament would be pretty great additions to any number of MLS teams.

Note that I'm not going to include anyone from the US or Mexico national teams, since both squads are already so familiar to US fans.

So with that in mind, and the transfer window opening next week (Monday, July 4 to be 100% accurate), here, gentle reader, is your clickbait:


Arturo Mina, CB (Ecuador)

  • Current club: Independiente Del Valle (Ecuador)
  • MLS teams that could use him: New England, Montreal, Columbus, NYCFC, San Jose

Mina started all four games for Ecuador and played all 360 minutes in central defense. He wasn't spectacular, but he was pretty damn good and has the tools to become even better. Put him in a coherent system with a familiar cast around him, and he looks like the type who'd be an asset for any MLS team.

At 6-foot-2 and 190-ish pounds, he has prototypical size for a center back, and at 25 he's just entering the prime of his career. If you want one particular MLS player to compare him to, go with D.C. United's US international Steve Birnbaum

Edison Flores, LW (Peru)

  • Current club: Universitario (Peru)
  • MLS teams that could use him: Sporting KC, Seattle, Houston

Flores is just 22, but he's already well-traveled, bouncing between his current club in his home country and Villarreal's B team in Spain over the last few years. He never quite broke through into the perpetually competitive La Liga side, but that doesn't mean he lacks talent. Flores was damn good for the young Peruvian team that surprised everyone by getting out of the group, picking up an assist (vs. Haiti) and a goal (vs. Ecuador), both of which were crucial.

Goal-scoring from the wing is a must for any team that wants to play a 4-3-3, and Flores brings it. The problem is that a number of Eredivisie teams know this as well, so anyone in MLS that really wants him will have to move quickly and decisively.

The best MLS comparison for him is probably RBNY's Mike Grella.

Marlos Moreno, LW (Colombia)

  • Current club: Atletico Nacional (Colombia)
  • MLS teams that could use him: Sporting KC, Seattle, Houston, RBNY

This is the kid – he's just 19 – who kept Fabian Castillo off of the Colombian roster, and in his brief run (he played a total of 144 minutes) it was readily apparent as to why. Moreno has impressive close control and his movement in the attacking third is both A) lightning quick, and B) purposeful. Castillo at age 19 drifted out of games when Dallas were in possession; Moreno, at the same age, is much more of a factor.

He's probably not quite as explosive as Castillo in the open field, but who is? He'd still be among the league's elite wingers when on the run, and has huge potential down the road. He reminds me a ton of Ignacio Piatti.

*I wrote the above before realizing that Manchester City and Manchester United are in something of a bidding war for young Mr. Moreno. I think it's fair to assume he won't be coming to MLS.

Romulo Otero, AM (Venezuela)

  • Current club: Huachipato (Chile)
  • MLS teams that could use him: Columbus, Houston, Chicago, Seattle

Otero didn't play all that much (just 22 minutes) during the Copa, and when he did he was as notable for wasting free kicks as he was for literally anything else he did while on the pitch.

And this is why you don't just scout summer tournaments. Otero, a 23-year-old playmaker, has been excellent for Venezuela in World Cup qualifying thus far and was one of the top midfielders in the Chilean top flight this past season. Plus he's pretty universally regarded as one of the best deliverers of a set-piece in CONMEBOL. Twenty bad minutes this summer shouldn't change that.

The best news? As of Friday, he's out of contract. Chilean giants Colo Colo are expected to jump at him, but I'd love to see an MLS team move in first. Otero's best MLS comparison is probably Vancouver's Pedro Morales.

Harold Cummings, CB (Panama)

  • Current club: Alajuelense (Costa Rica) on loan from Arabe Unido (Panama)
  • MLS teams that could use him: Portland, Columbus, RSL

Cummings is slightly undersized (5-foot-11) for a center back, but I honestly don't care because the dude's an animal. He plays harder than anybody else on the field and has more than enough athleticism and strength to go toe-to-toe against much larger center forwards. In a lot of ways, he's basically a right-footed, Panamanian Carlos Bocanegra.

He just turned 24 so his best years are right in front of him, and given the amount of CONCACAF experience he has for both club and country, it's hard to imagine there'd be all that much of an adjustment period. Plus the fact that he's out of contract at the end of the year probably means that he's available for a reasonable price as of Monday morning.

Ganso, AM (Brazil)

  • Current club: Sao Paulo FC (Brazil)
  • MLS teams that could use him: Literally anyone

Five or six years ago, Ganso was supposed to be "the next big thing" in Brazilian soccer, along with Neymar. He's never quite hit those heights and has only been on the periphery of La Seleçao, and actually never even got off the bench at this summer's tournament.

So at this point, he probably is what he is: A very, very good playmaker for one of South America's biggest and best clubs (39 goals and 66 assists since making his debut in 2009), but not a worldwide superstar. Ganso is still just 26 and has been both durable (though he picked up a recent muscle strain) and reliable throughout his career, and while he's a bit of a throwback – dude doesn't like to run – MLS has been a fine home for the classic, Riquelme-style attacking midfielder of yore. There's a reason Mauro Diaz is a Best XI candidate, right?

Ganso is under contract for another year, and reportedly almost joined Orlando City SC last summer. Snagging him this summer would be the best move of the transfer window, no matter who he ends up with.

Whoever's gonna come for him, though, better come heavy. Europa League Champions Sevilla are reportedly very interested, and the SPFC board claim they've already rejected an €8 million bid.

That's a lot of cash. But from where I sit, getting a player of Ganso's quality at this point in his career would be worth it.

Series: 
Topics: