Armchair Analyst: Roster build status for all 23 MLS teams ahead of 2018

NOTE: All reports were updated on January 24

DEC. 23: The initial burst post-MLS Cup action that marks the beginning of the MLS silly season has, with the second stage of the Re-Entry Draft in the books, concluded. It was less eventful than in years past (only five players were taken across both Re-Entry Drafts, the Waiver Draft wasn't all that eventful, and Free Agency hasn't had a "wow!" move just yet), which is probably down to two things:

  1. Teams are getting better at identifying and holding onto their own roster cogs
  2. There's lots of TAM coming, and nobody's eager to make a move before said TAM arrives.

The influx of that TAM changes the value of trades both past and future. For example, Dax McCarty for $400k last year was groundbreaking, but in hindsight – with the coming influx – it looks like a bit of a robbery on Chicago's part. The Dom Dwyer move still seems like an overpay on Orlando City's part, but much, much less of one now than it was six months ago. Because of that, it feels like front offices around the league (Atlanta and Portland being the notable exceptions) have been a little bit hesitant to go all-in on intra-league moves.

That hesitance is how you have the start of a silly season that's not been very silly at all.

JAN 24. UPDATE: Well, the silly season's been pretty damn silly now! MLS teams are out there signing any South American teenager with a pulse, US U-20 Homegrown midfielders are getting swapped on the regular, Lee Nguyen's holding out and Sigi Schmid's building up.

Teams are now well into the throes of roster reconstruction ahead of the 2018 season. Let's take a look at where that leaves each of the 23 teams, going in order of the 2017 Supporters' Shield standings (and LAFC at the bottom).

Toronto FC

So the one gap that's appeared for what was the deepest team in league history? It's at right back/wingback, because Steven Beitashour's gone and so is Oyvind Alseth ...

New York City FC

The Jack Harrison move looms large, but make no mistake about it: This is the exact kind of sale MLS teams should be making ...

Chicago Fire

The Fire went out and got two of my favorite players in the draft, but now – after trading David Accam – they need to go out and hammer the international transfer market with a mallet ...

Atlanta United FC

If you think this team is anything lower than third-best in MLS you're out of your mind. Atlanta United invented high expectations in Year 2 ...

Columbus Crew SC

So what does it say about Gregg Berhalter and his high-octane attacking system if Gyasi Zardes rediscovers his scoring touch? It should be noted that both Kei and Ola Kamara had their best years under 3G  ...

Portland Timbers

And now, suddenly, the Timbers are filled with young, exciting, domestic players at literally every line on the field. It's a pretty abrupt about-face for this franchise ...

Seattle Sounders

Anything yet? Hello is this thing on? There's a well-established tradition of Lagerwey keeping the powder dry until midseason, but the Sounders can't afford to punt half a year again ...

Vancouver Whitecaps

More churn than you'd expect from a top-three team in the conference, for sure ...

New York Red Bulls

It seems pretty clear that RBNYII is going to be stacked, thanks to their recent Homegrown signings and draft picks. Now about those Argentine imports ...

Houston Dynamo

Adios, Cubo. Torres's exit is the first and most important domino to fall, even if the rest don't come until the summer window ...

Sporting KC

Even if they don't add another piece this team should be fine, but damn are they crying out for another piece. Perhaps this year they'll finally land that big-time goalscoring No. 9 ...

San Jose Earthquakes

And that leads us to elephant in the room: It feels like there's not a natural starting spot for Wondo next year. Wondo can really only play at a high level as a second forward. He's too slow to be a winger, and he's not really a lead-the-line type of No. 9 ...

FC Dallas

By the way, when they shipped Zimmerman out they got the No. 1 spot in the allocation order from LAFC in return. My hunch is you don't trade for that without knowing exactly who you're using it on. Here's the list, and here are the two names that jump out ...

Real Salt Lake

Making a move for a player like Jesus Dueñas is the type of thing you do only if you feel like you're on the verge of competing for titles ...

New England Revolution

What's the best-case scenario of getting into a stand-off with your best player? If you're going to be a Moneyball team, that means you win at the margins and maximize every asset ...

Philadelphia Union

The Accam trade was brilliant. Proven, in-their-prime goal-scoring wingers are even more rare than true No. 10s in MLS ...

Montreal Impact

With Dzemaili out and Tabla off to Barca B, the attack has a lower ceiling than it would've been hoped by anyone following the team ...

Orlando City SC

This finally feels like a Jason Kreis team. They're loaded with guys who can pass the hell out of the ball, and now if they can find someone to defend a little bit they'll be in good shape ...

Minnesota United FC

Ok, so they're taking the road less traveled. It's clear they're not going to spend big on a DP, which means they have to crush the draft. And they did ...

Colorado Rapids

While everyone else is zigging toward Latin America for their signings, Colorado are zagging toward Europe ...

D.C. United

They just amassed about $700,000 in xAM for a draft pick they didn't want, a player who didn't want them, and a redundant player's rights. Expect a big attacking move soon ...

LA Galaxy

Sorry folks, but the Galaxy have won the offseason by relentlessly addressing the team's biggest needs – and somehow holding onto the No. 2 pick in the draft in the process ...

LAFC

Do we start the clock on #ChicharitoWatch? There are few players in the world worth holding your roster build for, and he's one of them because of what he means both on and off the field ...

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