TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Trade
The MLS offseason is officially in full swing, and there's no better marker for that than Tuesday's MLS Expansion Draft, which kicked off plenty of action around the league following the selections made by Nashville SC and Inter Miami — the league's two newest franchises set to debut in 2020.
While a few of the faces selected Tuesday figure to be on the 2020 roster for the expansion sides, there was also some wheeling and dealing that saw some known faces from around the league changing teams. Here's a recap of all five trades that took place following Tuesday's draft as Nashville and Miami continue to build their rosters ahead of their inaugural MLS campaigns:
Joe Willis to Nashville, Zarek Valentin to Houston
Nashville landed a proven MLS starting goalkeeper in Joe Willis, who will head to the expansion side from the Houston Dynamo after making 90 appearances for Houston since 2015. To gain his services Nashville will be sending over Tuesday expansion draftee Zarek Valentin, who has been a mainstay in the Portland Timbers backline since 2016, racking up 107 appearances in the Rose City. He’ll now head to Houston, there was a need for a reliable option at left back following the retirement of the legendary DaMarcus Beasley. In addition to Valentin, the Dynamo will also receive $75,000 of 2021 Targeted Allocation Money if Willis meets certain performance-based incentives.
Nashville trade Brandon Vazquez to FC Cincinnati for $150K TAM
Brandon Vazquez was a popular pick to get selected in mock drafts, and it turns out for good reason. The 21-year-old is talented, starring for Atlanta United in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play, but found first-team minutes hard to come by on an Atlanta team stacked with proven veterans. He’ll now head to an FC Cincinnati squad that badly needs all the goalscorers they can get, while Nashville pull a hefty chunk of change they can allocate toward the rest of their roster. In addition to the initial TAM outlay, Nashville will also receive $50,000 of General Allocation Money if Vazquez meets certain performance-based incentives.
Adrian Zendejas to Nashville for $50K GAM, $125K TAM
Young goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas has been with Sporting Kansas City since 2017 but has just one first-team appearance to his name, stuck behind starter Tim Melia. He's gotten most of his pro action to date with the club’s USL affiliate, Swope Park Rangers. He’s now off to Nashville, where he could find himself competing with Willis for the starting role. In addition to the Allocation Money package, Sporting KC will also receive a 2020 international roster spot.
Update: Nashville-based reporter Ben Wright reports that in addition to sending Zendejas to Nashville, part of the deal was an agreement that Sporting would leave eventual NSC selection Jimmy Medranda unprotected in the Expansion Draft:
More context on #NashvilleSC trading $50k GAM, $125k TAM and an int'l spot to Sporting KC for Adrián Zendejas:— Ben Wright (@benwright) November 20, 2019
NSC had an agreement with SKC to leave Medranda unprotected. It looks like a large amount to trade for Zendejas, but in reality the xAM was for both players.
Daniel Lovitz to Nashville for $50K GAM, $50K TAM
Nashville get a proven MLS contributor — not to mention a USMNT left back – in Daniel Lovitz, who has made 84 appearances for the Montreal Impact since 2017 after making 41 for Toronto FC from 2014-16. He’s also worked his way into the picture with the US with 12 senior caps to his name, all in 2019. In addition to the Allocation Money, Montreal will also receive a 2020 international roster spot.
Inter Miami acquire Cincinnati's No. 3 SuperDraft pick for $150K GAM
No players involved in this one, but that’s a hefty sum of GAM for Cincinnati, which made heavy use of the MLS SuperDraft ahead of their expansion season last year but will be relinquishing their No. 3 overall selection this year. Miami will now have the No. 1 and No. 3 picks in the SuperDraft as they look to stock up on some young talent.