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

NOTE: All reports were updated on January 2

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.

Regardless, 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

Things are good in Toronto, though they're pretty obviously bummed to have lost youngster Raheem Edwards – a crucial part of their Supporters' Shield and Canadian Championship triumphs. I'm still unclear as to why he was left available in the expansion draft but ...

New York City FC

So yeah, Jesus Medina was very much on his way and has already been announced as NYCFC's third DP, which means no Yaya. Here ya go, Cityzens ...

Chicago Fire

While the core is going to stay intact, there have been some notable departures as well. Juninho, Joao Meira and John Goossens clear out a ton of room, so expect at least one high-profile signing ...

Atlanta United FC

Feel free to keep holding your breath until February 1, ATLiens. Especially since the Barco saga has become something in the neighborhood of farcical over the last few weeks. Either way they've got most of their offseason work done already.

Columbus Crew SC

Out goes Manneh, to Pachuca. He's one of a glut of young MLSers to have left this winter on a free transfer (Ambroise Oyongo, Erik Palmer-Brown and Joevin Jones also headed elsewhere), which is no bueno for a league trying to establish itself on the global market ...

Portland Timbers

The December egress has reversed, starting with the arrival of Costa Rican center back Julio Cascante. He should give a much-needed infusion of youth, and also, he’s a killer in the air ...

Seattle Sounders

... I'm actually a touch worried about the locker room. Garth Lagerwey did the right thing in leaving Ozzie Alonso unprotected for the expansion draft, but ...

Vancouver Whitecaps

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

New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls are shipping their captain to Florida (at the time I'm writing this it's not official, but I bet it will be by the time you're reading this), and it's a pretty big deal. Kljestan's three-year assist total (51) is the second-best three-year haul of any playmaker in league history ...

Houston Dynamo

...the midfield is fine, and should actually be a strength if they commit to using the ball more. Too many of Houston's attacks last season devolved into 1-v-1s instead of real combo play around the box ...

Sporting KC

The best addition so far has been a burning hatred of IFK Goteborg.

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

How will they resolve the Yura situation? He understandably wants to play, and understandably wants as much of his not-inconsiderable contract as is possible ...

New England Revolution

There are lots of other good prospects being linked to the Revs via the rumor mill, which is fine and good and as it should be for a team that has a load of cap space and a need to crawl back above the playoff line. Something would be wrong if the Revs didn't have those rumors trickling in ...

Philadelphia Union

Union fans have been waiting, waiting, waiting for that skull-crusher of a signing, and ... well, it's not here yet ...

Montreal Impact

A more pressing concern is the status of Dzemaili, who played at a Best XI clip (or thereabouts) over his 2000 minutes last season. It doesn't look... eh, it doesn't look great ...

Orlando City SC

Let me ask you this: Would you be particularly confident about an attack, in 2018, where the primary goal getters are Kljestan, Dom Dwyer and an as-yet-undetermined winger? ...

Minnesota United FC

They'll have another high draft pick, and Adrian Heath usually does good work with those. There are things to be excited about ...

Colorado Rapids

Get to know French attacker Aldo Kalulu, maybe? There are rumors out of France that the Lyon youngster (he's 21) could be/will be headed to Commerce City on loan for 2018 ...

D.C. United

...they quietly added Venezuelan national team defensive midfielder Junior Moreno on Tuesday. Moreno, who's 24 and just broke into la Vinotinto's set-up, was regarded as one of the best d-mids in his home country's league last year ...

LA Galaxy

...the Galaxy first and foremost need to solidify their defense this offseason. If this team achieves actual stability at the back then their cadre of talented midfielders should have a better platform to launch attacks from (in theory, anyway) ...

LAFC

Regardless, it's clear that one spot on the roster has been neglected thus far: midfield. Whether it's a 4-3-3 or a 3-5-2 or a 4-4-2, LAFC have basically nobody in the engine room or as a playmaker ...

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