Fanendo Adi - Portland Timbers - uses a chainsaw to cut a log
Photos courtesy of Craig Mitchelldyer/Portland Timbers

The top primary transfer window deadline-day player acquisitions

Major League Soccer's primary transfer window for 2019 closes on May 7, which means that any deal-making left to be done will soon be running up against the deadline.

To get you primed for what could go down, we decided to take a look back at some of the most influential moves made by MLS clubs as the clock ran down on the final day of the transfer window. To ensure a splashy finish, let's stroll back down memory lane for this list, taking these in reverse order from the present.

Adama Diomande & Lee Nguyen, LAFC, 2018

Adama Diomande (right) celebrates a goal | USA Today Sports Images

The expansion side were already looking pretty good before the start of deadline day, but were even better off after thanks to a late double swoop. Adama Diomande bagged nine goals in his first seven LAFC outings and finished the year with a dozen (or one of 104 minutes played).

Lee Nguyen solidified Bob Bradley's midfield, acting as the team's gutsy "the pass before the pass" guy and helping to cover for the loss of Mark-Anthony Kaye. Their first playoff chase went up in smoke quickly, though. Can they help finish the job this season?

Blerim Dzemaili, Montreal Impact, 2017

The Swiss midfielder wasn't around Stade Saputo for long (22 games to be exact), but he certainly made things exciting while he was. Dzemaili instantly became Montreal's engine to the final third, and added in a tidy seven goals and 10 helpers while in it. He spurred an 8W-4L-2D run that had the Impact in playoff contention until their horrible late swoon killed a roller-coaster season.

Fanendo Adi, Portland Timbers, 2014

Fanendo Adi celebrates a goal with Timber Joey's chainsaw | USA Today Sports Images

Portland narrowly beat the deadline buzzer with paperwork on a loan spell for the then-23-year-old target man from FC Copenhagen. The club waited only six weeks before taking up the buy option on Fanendo Adi (who's now with FC Cincinnati). All he did in return was score 56 league goals, temporarily becoming the team's all-time leading scorer along the way. Two of those strikes came during the Timbers' 2015 title run.

Aurelien Collin, Sporting Kansas City, 2011

It wasn't considered a blue-chip acquisition when Sporting KC plucked the French defender from Vitoria Setubal, but boy, did he pay big dividends.

Aurelien Collin was a Best XI selection and U.S. Open Cup champion in 2012, but saved his best for the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs. The center back went into beast mode, scoring three times in five games. In the title bout against Real Salt Lake, he buried both their late-regulation equalizer and the winning penalty kick to net MVP honors.

Jeff Parke, Seattle Sounders, 2010

Jeff Parke | Getty Images

The veteran defender had seen his New York Red Bulls tenure end in disgrace a couple of years earlier, so not much was expected of it when he signed with Seattle on deadline day. However, Parke was a steady constant in the Sounders back line for three seasons. Perhaps most notably, he went the full route in consecutive U.S. Open Cup final triumphs.

Juan Pablo Angel, New York Red Bulls, 2007

The dashing forward was an instant hit in New York after arriving from Aston Villa on deadline day.

Angel hit 19 times during his first MLS season to earn a Best XI nod, but their playoff run ended while he was sidelined with a head injury. The following season, he led the club to their first MLS Cup appearance. In all, the Colombian international struck 62 times in four season with the Big Apple bunch, and was their all-time leading scorer until Bradley Wright-Phillips came along.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Columbus Crew SC, 2007

This guy is the main reason Angel’s Red Bulls were unable to claim that 2008 MLS Cup final. And this move came with the biggest deadline-day fanfare since... well... we'll get to that in a moment.

The current LA Galaxy boss was once the maestro of thrills in Columbus, notching 38 goals, 49 assists and a case full of silver in four seasons there. Schelotto was a Best XI selection his first two seasons with the Crew, who he led to the league double in his second. The following year, they claimed a second straight Supporters’ Shield.

Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy, 2005

Landon Donovan lifts another MLS Cup | USA Today Sports Images

You may have heard of this guy. Heck, you may remember this move. After weeks of speculation, reports and rumors, the US men's national team star returned to MLS from a short, rough spell at Bayer Leverkusen. Only a couple of years removed from winning a pair of MLS Cups up the coast in San Jose, Donovan landed in his hometown, capturing everyone's attention.

The Galaxy had to deal two-time Golden Boot man Carlos Ruiz away to gain the top allocation spot, but we're fairly sure they never looked back. Donovan spent 10 seasons and change in Carson, piling up 137 goals, four MLS Cups, two Supporters’ Shields, a U.S. Open Cup, six Best XI citations – and one distinction as the global face of American soccer.


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