Five Liga MX players MLS teams should target in the summer transfer window

A couple of weeks ago, we offered up some Europe-based suggestions for MLS shoppers plotting a move in the summer market. This time, the browsing has traveled south of the border to Liga MX.

Since the freebie bin is obviously smaller, this list will include a couple of pricier options. As Mexico is much closer to home, a few very familiar names headline this scouting report.

Like always, those with prior MLS connections (be it employment or transfer talk) are wearing an asterisk.

No. 5: Kekuta Manneh*

Why him?

Things have not gone swimmingly for the US national team pool winger at Pachuca, to say the least. He was mostly relegated to Copa MX duty, making just one brief cameo in league play. Pachuca are looking to offload him, so he could go cheap, or even free. Manneh is still just 23, you can't teach speed and that pace can test anybody when he's in tune.

Who should be on the phone?

Everybody knows Columbus Crew SC boss Gregg Berhalter is desperate for scoring support for Gyasi Zardes from the flank. Columbus offered him a contract before he left for Pachuca and they retain his MLS rights. Yep, that about covers it.

No. 4: Julian Quinones

Why him?

The 21-year old shined while on loan to relegated Lobos, bagging 16 goals in 24 Liga MX contests. Nevertheless, Tigres seem ready to put the Colombia Under-20 striker up for sale upon his June return. Quinones will probably carry a $2-3 million price tag, which could certainly rise during an MLS stay. He's a jack-rabbit who doesn't need much space to score and, despite being just 5-foot-9 or so, darts in at the right angle to bury crosses with the best of them.    

Who should be on the phone?

I'm pretty sure I heard something about the Seattle Sounders planning to splash some cash for a Designated Player goal-getter. Quinones also brings the defense-stretching pace the Sounders have been missing due to Jordan Morris' injury. They are last in goals scored and have netted only one from a restart. Besides, they sure do like crosses and know how to host a Colombian forward.

No. 3: Keisuke Honda*

Why him?

Yeah, he's the oldest guy on our ranking at 31. No matter. He still races past defenders up the gut, he can still run the right channel outside the box to cross, still finishes like a fox and still stands as a dead ball master. Honda, a familiar MLS target, is out of contract after enjoying a fantastic Clausura campaign (seven goals and seven assists) with a middling team.

Who should be on the phone?

Of course, the Chicago Fire would love to sign a young DP playmaker. They should not look past Honda, who has plenty of gas left in him. His brand of ground advancement and big play ability would invigorate a Fire attack is already killing it on set pieces, but stands near the league bottom in run-of-play production.

No. 2: Omar Gonzalez*

Gonzalez salutes the crowd with Pachuca at the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup | USA Today Images

Why him?

It's understandable that some will have written Gonzo off after he was benched at Pachuca in the wake of the Trinidad & Tobago nightmare. The thing is, the former LA Galaxy man fought his way back from the doghouse to reclaim a starting spot and marshaled the Tuzos' stingiest unbeaten streak of the Clausura (three goals conceded during a 2-0-2 season-ending run). Gonzalez knows how to succeed in MLS and bring a measure of calmness to a defense in disarray.

Who should be on the phone?

We're looking at you, Galaxy. The StubHub crew have one of the leakiest back lines in the West... and that's saying something. The word going round Mexico says Pachuca are willing to let Gonzalez leave to make an MLS move. As G.O.B. Bluth might put it, why not back from whence he came?

No. 1: Lucas Cavallini

Why him?

The Canada international is an all-purpose striker entering his prime. Cavallini can get behind the defense and he can operate in the area. He can wiggle past you on the dribble and muscle up to score in the air. With his Puebla loan ending, the 25-year-old is set to return to Uruguayan side Penarol.

Who should be on the phone?

Montreal wants a money forward, has an open DP slot and, gosh, they'd love to stick it to their rivals by signing a Toronto boy. Cavallini will probably run a few million bucks, but just imagine the reign of terror he could create with Saphir Taider and Nacho Piatti. I'm thinking he could approximate Jozy Altidore's BMO production for years to come.

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