The 2019 summer transfer window in MLS officially opened on Tuesday, July 9. Who will the biggest summer acquisition be this year?
Wayne Rooney caught the headlines last year, while it's been Nico Lodeiro, Jermaine Jones, Robbie Keane and even Guillermo Barros Schelotto in years past. Christian Ramirez, Justin Meram and Fanendo Adi swapped teams last year via trade, too.
Bottom line: There's moves to make this summer. Which contenders will accentuate their championship bona fides; which team will grab a piece that will become a mainstay for years?
Updated on July 12, 2019
Roster flexibility: Atlanta are maxed out on DPs, but have a senior roster spot as well as an international slot available.
Rumors have it: Not much on the Atlanta front since Frank de Boer branded the reports linking Pity Martinez with a move away from the club as "ridiculous."
Summer movement: Nothing yet from Chicago at the beginning of the window.
Biggest question / hole: Inconsistencies have led to their standing below the playoff line at the moment, though they could definitely use a fullback or two.
Roster flexibility: Maxed out on DPs, it doesn't look like they'll be swinging for the fences this summer. However, GM Nelson Rodriguez told media that he hasn't ruled out adding one and figuring something out. They are without an international roster slot, though.
Rumors have it: The Athletic reported that there might be a fire sale in Chicago should results stay mediocre.
Summer movement: Cincy signed Dutch center back Maikel van der Werff and inked Kendall Waston to a contract extension as the first acts by general manager Gerard Nijkamp. They are still without a full-time head coach.
Biggest question / hole: To put it politely, there have been a few issues leading Cincy to the bottom of the Eastern Conference, though goalscoring chief among them. Adding to their core for the future should be a priority.
Roster flexibility: They reportedly spent most of their TAM in the Primary Transfer Window, though have two international slots and room for one more DP.
Rumors have it: FC Cincy are reportedly interested in American winger Joe Gyau, so keep an eye on that space.
Summer movement: No moves yet for the Rapids, who are still without a full-time head coach. Interim Conor Casey has done a great job in the interim.
Biggest question / hole: The Rapids could still use a defensive-minded No. 6 as well as more pace on the wing and another center back, EVP & GM Padraig Smith told MLSsoccer.com.
Roster flexibility: The Rapids have a DP slot open as well as some senior roster spots and will have even greater flexibility heading into next season.
Rumors have it: Homegrown midfielder Cole Bassett is reportedly a subject of interest from the Bundesliga.
Summer movement: The Crew have, by far, been the busiest team ahead of the window opening, signing young DP Luis Diaz, Curacao goalkeeper Eloy Room and adding depth up top by acquiring Romario Williams from Atlanta and Jordan Hamilton from Toronto.
Biggest question / hole: On a landslide of a losing streak, fueled by injuries and international call-ups, the Crew could use help in multiple spots across the field. Tim Bezbatchenko and Caleb Porter didn’t make many moves over the winter, so it looks like they’re using the summer to make major changes to the team.
Roster flexibility: Their early work in the Secondary Transfer Window limits some of their flexibility, with Diaz taking up their final DP slot and Room their last international spot for the time being. They’ll get back four international spots that they’ve traded ahead of the 2020 season.
Rumors have it: The rumor mill can't keep up with the actual news the Crew are making.
Summer movement: All quiet in the district to start the transfer window.
Biggest question / hole: D.C. are still awaiting last year's form between Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta, the latter of whom is out of contract at the end of the season. That's the biggest cloud looming over the club this summer.
Roster flexibility: They have one DP slot open as well as some senior roster spots.
Rumors have it: Nothing of note on the rumors front.
Summer movement: Dallas acquired Ghanian winger Edwin Gyasi before selling Carlos Gruezo for a club-record fee.
Roster flexibility: FCD have all three DP slots filled, though should be able to buy one down if the opportunity to bring in a DP presents itself. They also have an international roster slot open as well as a senior roster spot.
Rumors have it: Dallas are reportedly among the clubs interested in signing Chilean U-20 star Marcelo Allende.
Summer movement: The Dynamo inked Chilean defender Jose Bizama on Thursday, their first signing of the summer.
Biggest question / hole: The biggest questions surrounding the Dynamo revolve around their stars Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis. Both have reported suitors from abroad, how big of a bid would it take to convince the club to sell? If so, which targets are lined up to replace all that talent?
Roster flexibility: The Dynamo have room to maneuver this window, with a few international and senior spots open. If Manotas or Elis goes, that flexibility opens up even greater.
Rumors have it: Manotas is reportedly a target for Cruz Azul, which is definitely one to watch. Nothing yet on Elis.
Summer movement: LAFC sold DP Andre Horta back to Portugal, retaining 50% of any future transfers. They also allowed the loan for Niko Hamalainen to expire and sent the defender back to QPR after a half-season in L.A.
Biggest question / hole: How do you improve a team on pace to have the best single-season in MLS history?
Roster flexibility: LAFC have a DP slot open after the Horta sale. Will they use it this month?
Rumors have it: Surprisingly, given the nature of the club and opening, there hasn’t been much noise linking players to LAFC.
Summer movement: The Galaxy have yet to make a move as the 2019 Secondary Transfer Window is in its first days.
Biggest question / hole: Favio Alvarez has helped improve the attack's creativity and they're sorted in central midfield and central defense. An upgrade at left back wouldn't hurt, for sure.
Roster flexibility: L.A. will have to get creative to make grand improvements to the squad, with little flexibility in both international and senior roster spots.
Rumors have it: The Galaxy have been rumored for Argentine star Cristian Pavon for some time, though any potential deal will be replete with hurdles to keep the club at three DPs.
Summer movement: Nothing in for the Loons yet, though they did loan Romario Ibarra to Pachuca since the Primary Transfer Window closed.
Biggest question / hole: Minnesota plugged their defense with a number of acquisitions last offseason, but could use a left back after Francisco Calvo was traded. GM Manny Lagos told MLSsoccer.com as much last month.
Roster flexibility: The Loons are in a good spot, with a number of senior and international roster spots open.
Rumors have it: Minnesota have been linked with Finnish midfielder Robin Lod, who would require TAM money and slot in on the left wing.
Summer movement: All quiet for l'Impact so far.
Biggest question / hole: Montreal have a balanced squad that will be difficult to beat, though they will go as high as Ignacio Piatti takes them. Outside of that, perhaps another midfielder?
Roster flexibility: They have room for a DP, and one international slot they recently acquired from Colorado (they have 10 international players on the books thus far).
Rumors have it: Despite reports linking him with a move back to Argentina, Impact president Kevin Gilmore provided a strong denial that Piatti would be going anywhere. He added that Piatti has a club option for 2020, which will be picked up.
Summer movement: The Revs made the biggest splash of the transfer window so far, acquiring forward Gustavo Bou for a club-record fee, believed to be $6-7 million.
Biggest question / hole: If Bou improves the team's goalscoring outlook, then the Revs suddenly become a darkhorse candidate to make the playoffs. Biggest question is the chemistry between him and Carles Gil.
Roster flexibility: The Revs still have an open DP slot, as well as another international spot....
Rumors have it: Bou was the big reported move for New England, nothing new has popped up yet.
Summer movement: NYCFC signed Scottish winger Gary Mackay-Steven just before the window opened.
Biggest question / hole: With one of the best teams in the league, things are coming together for Dome Torrent at NYCFC. Their attack is stacked and they have depth all over the field. No glaring needs. Only question: What happens to DP Jesus Medina with yet another option in attack?
Roster flexibility: The club still have a few international and senior roster spots available.
Rumors have it: NYCFC were reportedly interested in Malmo midfielder Anders Christiansen, though the last update on that front came in mid-June.
Summer movement: The Red Bulls have yet to make a move this summer.
Biggest question / hole: A solid team, the Red Bulls don't have many needs. The future of Kaku is one to keep an eye on after the winter, and both Bobby Warshaw and Matt Doyle think RBNY need a match-winning winger to take them to another level.
Roster flexibility: Theoretically, the Red Bulls could make a big splash this offseason. They have an empty DP slot as well as an international berth available alongside a few senior roster spots.
Rumors have it: The Red Bulls were loosely rumored with Romanian winger Ionut Vina, though there doesn't appear to be much in that.
Summer movement: Orlando acquired Brazilian winger Robinho from Columbus, sending $50,000 in TAM and performance-based considerations. They also loaned Josue Colman to Paraguayan club Cerro Porteño for the next year and a half, the club that Orlando bought the young DP from.
Biggest question / hole: Unfortunately for the Lions, Dom Dwyer hasn't had his best season, leaving points on the table. They've vastly improved in defense since last year and could continue that trend.
Roster flexibility: With Colman gone, the club now have another DP slot open as well as another international slot.
Rumors have it: No whispers around Orlando just yet with the transfer window open.
Summer movement: The Union acquired striker Andrew Wooten ahead of the transfer window opening. Also: The club signed head coach Jim Curtin to a contract extension on Wednesday.
Biggest question / hole: Philly have a strong, balanced squad, especially after the addition of Wooten. The injury history of Marco Fabian is a concern, but with the emergence of Brenden Aaronson, they have cover in that area.
Roster flexibility: The Union have an open DP spot, though no international roster slots available. According to reports, the Union are looking to open one up by ending the loan of goalkeeper Carlos Miguel Coronel.
Rumors have it: Not too much smoke surrounding the Union, though sporting director Ernst Tanner told MLSsoccer.com in June that the club will “very probably” make another addition.
Summer movement: Nothing in or out for Portland at the beginning of the Secondary Transfer Window.
Biggest question / hole: After the signing of Brian Fernandez, it appeared the Timbers found the last piece of the puzzle. GM Gavin Wilkinson forecasted that they'll "look to bring in at least one player" in this window, though.
Roster flexibility: Portland have a couple of roster spots open as well as a pair of international spots to play with this summer.
Summer movement: No player movement in either direction for RSL so far.
Biggest question / hole: RSL have struggled with inconsistencies in 2019, which is par for the course for any young team. An heir to Nick Rimando's throne will need to be identified at some point before next season while another fullback would be welcomed in Sandy.
Roster flexibility: RSL have room to add senior players and could buy down Sam Johnson's DP deal with TAM to open another slot on that front.
Rumors have it: Joao Plata was heavily rumored to be on his way to Liga MX, though the deal reportedly fell through at the last minute. Keep an eye on him this summer.
Summer movement: The Quakes announced the addition of Mexican winger Carlos Fierro from Cruz Azul just ahead of the window opening.
Biggest question / hole: Matias Almeyda has worked wonders with largely the same roster that finished bottom of MLS in 2018. The biggest question mark is allowing time for Almeyda to identify more players to add and improve his team.
Roster flexibility: San Jose don't have many senior roster spots available and are restricted a bit under the salary cap, but will have more flexibility in the winter.
Rumors have it: The Quakes are reportedly interested in Andres Rios, another one of Almeyda's former players.
Roster flexibility: The Sounders are out of international roster spots, though have a few senior spots open. They can also buy down Xavier Arreaga to free up a DP spot.
Rumors have it: Not too many rumors surrounding the Sounders at the moment.
Summer movement: Nothing yet from SKC at the start of the window.
Biggest question / hole: Injuries derailed SKC’s season, but many are back or close to it. At full strength, the lack of a reliable goalscoring center forward remains.
Roster flexibility: In an interview with the Kansas City Star’s Sam McDowell, SKC’s Brian Bliss admitted it might be tough to do too much this summer given how it might limit them in the winter.
Rumors have it: In the same article, it’s revealed the club are in negotiations with 27-year-old Portuguese left back Luis Martins.
Summer movement: TFC have gotten some key business done, adding USMNT center back Omar Gonzalez and Venezuelan winger Erickson Gallardo. They also acquired Patrick Mullins from Columbus for Jordan Hamilton.
Biggest question / hole: Hopefully for TFC, they solved their defensive issues and added dimension to their attack. Other than that, a back-up for Jozy Altidore hasn’t emerged. The club took to playing Alejandro Pozuelo as a false nine when Altidore was at the Gold Cup.
Roster flexibility: They reportedly still have some TAM leftover for another addition as well as two international roster spots. Will they use it this summer?
Rumors have it: No new names in reports by way of incomings, but, earlier this month it was reported that Altidore is subject of a $10 million bid from China.
Summer movement: The Whitecaps turned Ali Adnan's loan into a permanent signing at the beginning of the month, a coup for the Cascadian club.
Biggest question / hole: Goalscoring. Vancouver simply haven't gotten enough production from DP strikers Fredy Montero and Joaquin Ardaiz. It's something head coach Marc Dos Santos has spoken of often this season.
Roster flexibility: With Adnan becoming a Designated Player, it remains to be seen what the DP outlook looks like in Vancouver. They do, however, have a senior roster spot as well as an international slot.
Rumors have it: Not a ton of rumors around the Caps just yet, with most of the media focused on the Adnan saga before that was completed.