Andre Horta - LAFC - Presser

Transfer Transformation: 3 teams take on new look after secondary window

A panoply of movement during MLS' Secondary Transfer Window will shake up the playoff race in both conferences, but three teams in particular will take on new looks on the fly. What to expect for LAFC, Portland and Montreal?

LAFC

Major additions: Andre Horta (Benfica), Danilo Silva (Internacional), Christian Ramirez (Minnesota), Josh Perez (Fiorentina) 

Major departures: None

It's possible that three of the four players that LAFC brought in during the secondary transfer window will be regular members of Bob Bradley's first-choice XI this season.

Horta was signed as a Designated Player to be an integral part of the team but he's still acclimating himself to the league. Without injured midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye, Eduard Atuesta may be ahead of Horta in the queue for midfield minutes to balance the team with his defensive ability. But Horta will have every chance to earn minutes. In the team's first game without Kaye against the Red Bulls, Bradley opted to start a midfield trio of Carlos Vela, Lee Nguyen and Benny Feilhaber, showing he's clearly unafraid of overloading on attacking quality.

Silva ostensibly was added for depth, but a few good performances across one of the leakiest defenses in the league could see him nail down a regular place in the team, not to mention his ability to play defensive midfielder. Despite having last featured in MLS when the Red Bulls were still the MetroStars, the veteran shouldn't take too long to integrate to the team.

Ramirez and Perez are the wildcards. The latter was a highly rated member of various U.S. youth national teams and has spent the last three years in Italy, but faces an uphill fight for minutes in 2018 due to the quality in front of him. The former was strongly rumored to leave Minnesota United this window, though Sporting KC and Colorado Rapids were logical favorites to land him.

Instead, LAFC swooped in and added Ramirez to an attack that already boasts Vela, Diego Rossi, Adama Diomande and Marco Urena. Diomande picked up a hamstring injury last weekend ÔÇô perhaps increasing the urgency for Bradley & Co. to land another striker. Or LAFC just figured the player was too good to pass up on. LAFC's attack, as it has been all season, surely is one to keep an eye on.

Portland Timbers

Major additions: Tomas Conechny (San Lorenzo), Jorge Villafa├▒a (Santos Laguna), Lucas Melano (Estudiantes)

Major departures: Vytas (D.C. United), Fanendo Adi (FC Cincinnati)

On a 15-match unbeaten run, Portland went from strength-to-strength during the Secondary Transfer Window. Since neither key departures made much of an impact in 2018, neither Villafa├▒a nor Conechny will be tasked with replacing an excess of outgoing production. Vytas started 19 games in 2017 but played a grand total of 21 minutes this season. Adi, a Timbers mainstay for four seasons, had made just one league start since May before being acquired by FC Cincinnati

Villafa├▒a, a member of Portland's 2015 MLS Cup-winning team, will expect to be in the team every week. This leaves Zarek Valentin, who has started Portland's last 19 games, as an overqualified backup. Conechny, meanwhile, won't be much expected to make an immediate impact. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder is likely to be given time to acclimate to the league, plus dislodging the attacking trio of Samuel Armenteros, Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco ÔÇô as well as the returning Lucas Melano ÔÇô is an arduous task.

Montreal Impact

Major additions: Bacary Sagna (Benevento), Michael Azira (Colorado), Quincy Amarikwa (San Jose)

Major departures: Dominic Oduro (San Jose), Raheem Edwards (Chicago)

Essentially, Montreal added a starter and swapped one pair of depth players for another pair.

Sagna improves the team from day one. They'll need it, too, as the Impact are precariously clinging to one of the last two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference by two points, ahead of Philadelphia with Toronto and D.C. threatening to ascend with late surges. Remi Garde has stabilized the defense by playing more rigidly and Sagna will further add quality and vast Premier League experience to the defensive ranks.

Oduro played just 35 minutes for the Impact this season and Edwards had fallen out of favor before being traded. Azira, 30, had played 2,500+ minutes for Colorado in each of the last two seasons but had a dramatically lessened role this year, while Amarikwa found himself in a similar situation in San Jose as Oduro did in Montreal. 

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