Cole Bassett - Colorado Rapids - isolated
USA Today Sports

Wiebe: Five questions, including who's winning the offseason (so far)

I don't care if Monday's blue
Tuesday's gray and Wednesday too
Thursday I don't care about you
It's Friday, I'm in love

Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart
Oh, Thursday doesn't even start
It's Friday I'm in love

- The Cure

Friday is here. And with it come my five questions from the week that was in Major League Soccer. Enjoy your weekend, folks.

Who is winning the offseason so far?

The winter window has been slow, but fret not. As the 2018 Transaction page tells us, the momentum generally builds all the way through opening day, even if the big splashes usually come in the summer.

Still, someone’s got to be winning, right? That someone in my book, for the time being, is the Colorado Rapids, with honorable mentions going to Minnesota United and FC Dallas and incompletes for Atlanta United, the LA Galaxy and Sporting KC.

Why? Because Rapids general manager Padraig Smith has been busy filling the holes everybody gaped at last year as the Rapids scuffled to third bottom in the Supporters’ Shield standings. Right now, activity with a purpose is more than most clubs can boast.

Goalscoring? Here comes Kei Kamara and Diego Rubio via trade. Are they perfect fits? Probably not, but you can’t search for perfection when you scored a league-low 36 goals in 2018. One of the two (or both) is going to get double digits. Gotta have that as you wait out the final year of Shkelzen Gashi’s DP deal.

What about right back? Keegan Rosenberry’s got decade-plus MLS starter written all over him, and the trade price is mitigated by the $175,000 in allocation Colorado landed from Houston for Marlon Hairston. Other than forward, fullback was the Rapids’ biggest hole. Left back still is, by the way.

Yeah, but what about a No. 10? Nicolas Mezquida isn’t the answer, but he’s not bad in spurts. That’s where Benny Feilhaber comes into play. Benny played every single regular-season match for Bob Bradley in 2018 (32 starts). I don’t expect 2015 Benny (10 goals, 15 assists) to show up at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, but he’s got plenty to offer, either box-to-box or at the point of the diamond if needed.

Are there any young players ready to make an impact? Colorado sure hope so. They know Andre Shinyashiki well. He played down the road at Denver, spent time with the Rapids PDL team and trained a bit with the first team. There’s a possibility (key word) that he could be a Julian Gressel-type. Homegrown Cole Bassett is ready to push for a spot in the midfield, too.

I still have questions about center back, but let’s not get greedy just yet. There’s still plenty of offseason to go.

Did FC Cincinnati dodge a bullet?

Is the Matias Fernandez-to-FC Cincinnati deal dead?

Maybe. Here’s the Stesk-bomb. Talks broke down with the Chilean and the No. 10 most of us assumed was headed to the expansion side won’t be coming to MLS.

Then again, maybe not. As I was reading between the lines, parsing what Sam wrote and asking around, I got the distinct feeling that the deal was dead … for the time being, but perhaps not forever.

FC Cincinnati need a No. 10. Everybody wants a No. 10 with the sort of pedigree Matigol boasts. The Chilean national team. Villarreal. Sporting Lisbon. Fiorentina. Liga MX with Necaxa. And for a couple weeks there, it looked like Cincy were going to get their man. 

But just because the negotiations hit an impasse now, doesn’t mean they can’t figure it out as the window progresses. All indications are that Jeff Berding, Luke Sassano and Alan Koch rate and want Fernandez, and sometimes these things just need a little more time. More time to crunch the numbers, more time to negotiate and more time for the player to mull his options.

I’ll wait and see on this one.

Either way, no need to rush into anything, for either party. Better to make good decisions than impulsive ones. If the Fernandez deal comes back to life, great. If another player that fits the bill is available this winter, go for it. If not, pick up some complimentary attacking pieces, get your defensive shape right and get a list of targets ready for the summer.

Who is Marc Dos Santos?

Montreal à Portugal à Mozambique à South Africa à Portugal à Montreal à Brazil à Ottawa à Kansas City à San Francisco à Los Angeles à Vancouver à ???

All by the age of 41. Marc Dos Santos isn’t afraid to move, and he’s not afraid of a challenge, whether that be in Brazil with Palmeiras, bouncing around NASL and USL or in Vancouver with a Whitecaps squad that’s decidedly incomplete (for the time being).

As those of us who knew about him but didn’t know him are finding out, Dos Santos might just be the most interesting man in MLS. ExtraTime Radio (subscribe already) had the opportunity to sit down with Dos Santos to better the man himself and the project he’s embarking on with the ‘Caps.

“We know exactly where we are going,” Dos Santos told ETR. “You guys are not seeing. You’re in the living room smelling something. You don’t know what’s baking. We know. We know because we are cooking it. We know exactly what type of players we want for different positions.”

So what’s cooking? What players are those? When will they be announced? And why didn’t last year’s squad fit Dos Santos’ vision? You’ll have to listen to the full interview to find out.

It’s just 10 minutes, plus Thursday’s show also includes chats with Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer on the DNA of a rivalry and Orlando City’s James O’Connor on a miserable 2018.

What’s the coolest thing I saw on MLS Twitter this week?

I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for Tinder. Without it, I never would have met my fiancée. Without it, I wouldn’t have a young son.

Online dating is awkward enough, but online dating live on national television? Hard pass.

Minnesota United midfielder Collin Martin, who came out publicly as a gay man last summer, is a brave guy. We knew that already. Here he is playing Live Tinder on Thursday night on the "Late Late Show with James Corden."

Clearly Zlatan’s not the only MLSer who can get laughs on the late-night circuit.

Why all the uproar about Zulily, the Sounders’ new jersey sponsor?

I just Googled them, so it’s already working for Zulily. They’re paying Seattle a whole lot of money, so it’s already working for the Sounders.

Isn’t that the point of these sorts of arrangements? Let’s find something else to complain about next week.

Series: 
Topics: 

Stay connected: Sign up for The Daily Kickoff, your daily dose of North American soccer news, analysis, and commentary direct to your inbox.