Armchair Analyst: At the top of the shopping list for each MLS team

NOTE: This column originally ran at the end of November, and obviously things have changed a bit since then. Over a month later, here are my updates.

There will be a full, 26-team roster breakdown coming early next week. Happy New Year, everybody! – M.D.


It's the most shopping-est time of the year. That includes MLS teams, who will, at the very least, be doing some window shopping ahead of the transfer window re-opening in February.

With that in mind, let's take a look at what all 26(!!!) sides should have at the top of their lists:

Atlanta United

I feel like the Five Stripes are entering into more of a "gift exchange" season rather than pure shopping, since it's entirely possible guys like Tito Villalba will be moved within the league and guys like Pity Martinez and Ezequiel Barco could be sold outright.

Whatever it is they end up doing, right now their No. 1 priority has to be filling that central midfield role vacated by Darlington Nagbe.

My Suggestion: Feyenoord's Leroy Fer, a countryman of head coach Frank de Boer. Fer's probably more attack-minded than the tempo-inclined Nagbe, but he's still in his prime (29) and on a contract that expires in the summer. Plus he'd give Atlanta a little more of the European flavor they seem to be craving.

Jan 1. update: It kinda seems like Emerson Hyndman is going to be Nagbe's replacement, given how much they're reportedly paying him. That's not a back-up's salary. It also kinda seems like Leandro Gonzalez Pirez is about to be sold to Xolos, and if that's the case center back shoots directly to the top of Atlanta's "must address" list.

Chicago Fire FC

A coach, a sporting director and a roster would are all welcome gifts at this point. Chicago's got a lot of work to do and not much time in which to do it.

But given their situation – moving back downtown to the giant Soldier Field – it's clear their biggest on-field need is a centerpiece player.

My Suggestion: This guy:

On a per-minute basis he's been productive for Sevilla, with three goals in about 475 minutes. But yeah, that's not really a ton of minutes.

The 31-year-old El Tri legend is under contract for two more years so he wouldn't come cheap, but Chicago need to make a splash. There's still no better way to do that in North America – short of signing Messi – than grabbing the Little Pea.

Jan. 1 update: They finally got themselves a sporting director and a head coach, so presumably they're ready to start building out a threadbare roster. Chicharito is still my suggestion.

FC Cincinnati

I actually like the fact that they're doing more of a soft reboot under Ron Jans than a full, hard reset. As we saw with Matias Almeyda last season in San Jose, the right coach can bring unexpected competence-to-excellence out of previously discarded players. Jans will get his chance to replicate that.

But even if you strain your eyes and crane your neck, you can't quite find any magic on this team. They need a playmaker.

My Suggestion: Arturo Gonzalez has been on the verge of breaking out for like the last four years in Monterrey, but as they keep spending, he keeps falling down the depth chart. That was compounded by last year's ACL tear. Given all that, he's now into the final six months of his contract and will certainly be playing elsewhere come summer.

Some MLS team should see if Rayados are willing to part with him this winter. Give the dude a fresh start and a chance to show that, yes, he can do the job running a team as the No. 10.

Jan. 1 update: Their next-door neighbors just dropped $7 million on a playmaker from the other team in Monterrey. Gonzalez wouldn't cost anywhere near that much, so my suggestion stands.

Columbus Crew SC

They went out and got Nagbe, adding him to an already-constructed group that was one of the better teams in the league over the final two-and-a-half months. They'll also be getting left back Milton Valenzuela back in 2020 after the young Argentine missed all of 2019 with an ACL injury. So they're already better than they were at the end of the season.

Caleb Porter also figured out how to squeeze more out of Pedro Santos – using him as a busy, two-way No. 10 – than Gregg Berhalter had managed. It really did work quite well.

But now they're a winger short.

My Suggestion: It doesn't seem like Nicolas Benezet is returning to Toronto FC after a productive loan spell in the second half of the season. The man had his moments:

Acquire his MLS rights from the Reds, then hit his buy-out number (he's into the last six months of his contract) and suddenly you've got a front three of Benezet – Gyasi ZardesLuis Diaz from left to right, with Santos and Nagbe underneath plus two of the best overlapping fullbacks in the league.

Don't sleep on the Crew.

Jan. 1 update: The Crew blew me away with their record-setting purchase of Tigres playmaker Lucas Zelarayan, who is potentially a Maxi Moralez-level No. 10 in this league. It means Santos will head back to the wing and so there's no need to go after Benezet.

It also means their roster is maybe the most complete in the league, and they go at least two-deep pretty much everywhere. Plus they have assets – maybe Artur? – they could use on intra-league trades if they want to get clever. 

Colorado Rapids

The Rapids have rebuilt and reinvented themselves over the past 18 months, moving from old, slow and imported to young, fast and largely domestic. It's been a pretty stunning about-face, and for the final two-thirds of 2019 they were one of the most fun teams in the league to watch – absolute murder on the break and even more devastating on set pieces.

I don't think teams are going to let them run and gun so much this season. They will face more static defenses, and when you're looking at that you need someone who can pull strings and break those defenses apart. You need a playmaker.

My Suggestion: GM Padraig Smith came on Extratime and mentioned he and Robin Fraser had just spent two weeks scouting in Argentina, and then were in Amsterdam to watch Ajax's youth training sessions. That's pretty, pretty promising.

I don't have a line on who, specifically, they were looking at, but I wouldn't be at all shocked if it was Talleres' American-Argentinean playmaker, Joel Sonora, who's currently on loan with Arsenal de Sarandi. Soñora got off to a very promising start to the season, but lost his place in the XI after a minor injury and is now being used as a bit player.

The 23-year-old would fit Colorado's recent "buy low and rehab distressed assets" ethos. And Sonora is at the stage of his career – like Jonathan Lewis a year ago – where he needs to be playing every week for a club that believes in him if he's going to make the most of his talent.

Jan. 1 update: Right now they only have three central midfielders listed on the roster, so it's safe to say that in addition to a No. 10 (if that actually happens), they have to go out there and get back-ups for Jack Price and Kellyn Acosta. Or maybe even something more than back-ups, maybe guys who can push them for the starting jobs.

Competition breeds success, right?

FC Dallas

Man, I really thought Santiago Mosquera was going to be it after he blew up last preseason. But it very much did not happen for the Colombian winger, and Dallas thus spent the season one goal-scorer short.

They tried to rectify that by acquiring Edwin Gyasi on loan in the summer, but he struggled to crack the XI, and then when he did he immediately got injured.

Mosquera's still there, but Gyasi's gone – along with his huge salary hit – as is center forward Cristian Colman. The Dallas braintrust have the cap space to go big on a guy who can put the ball into the net.

My Suggestion: From a selfish, #PlayYourKids perspective I want to see how Jesus Ferreira looks out there, as I think "goalscoring left winger" might be his long-term home:

From a "win now!" perspective, how about seeing if Monarcas Morelia are willing to part with Peruvian left winger/playmaker Edison Flores? He's under contract for two more years so he wouldn't come cheap, especially considering what he in Morelia's run to the Liguilla semifinals, but he's damn good and would give head coach Luchi Gonzalez someone to have a plate of Lomo Saltado with.

Jan. 1 update: It kind of went under-the-radar because it's not a sexy signing, but 30-year-old Brazilian d-mid Thiago Santos was a regular for Palmeiras, one of the best teams in Brazil over the past five years. I'm not sure if he's there to start over Bryan Acosta – who's probably more of a "run around everywhere and destroy everything" No. 8 – or to add depth. Either way, it's a signing I like.

At left wing they got themselves Fafa Picault, and at this point I think I'd be surprised if they added anymore in attack, though I do expect a few academy reinforcements coming in defense.

D.C. United

The Lucho Acosta-era ended unceremoniously. If you look at the remaining D.C. roster you could very easily talk yourself into an all-action pressing scheme with Paul Arriola moving to the No. 10 spot and becoming a Latif Blessing-esque destroyer. If they do that, they'd need to go out and get another goalscoring winger (turn out just about everybody needs one of those).

More likely is that Arriola stays on the wing and they replace Acosta with a true playmaker. Given that Wayne Rooney's gone as well, I expect United to aim for a bit of star-power as well as on-field functionality.

My Suggestion: David Silva would be the dream signing, right? He's out of contract in six months and is one of the best playmakers of his generation, but he's been more frequently linked with Inter Miami. The price points for Juan Mata and Mesut Ozil are too high, so I think they're out.

Would Adam Lallana move the needle? He's just 31 and is in the final six months of his contract. That one would shock me not at all (though I don't think they'd be able to get him until the summer).

Know who else is in the final six months of his contract, and who seems to love America (if you judge by his yearly vacations here)? Mario Gotze.

As with Lallana and Silva he's entering the final six months of his contract, so it'd be hard to get him before summer. And he's still just 27 years old, so it'd be a pretty, pretty huge surprise. But it wouldn't be a shock if he ended up in MLS this year.

Jan. 1 update: I met a D.C. United fan at the New Year's Eve party I went to. His rapid-fire questions, in order:

  1. Are they going to get a big-name signing to replace Rooney?
  2. Are they going to get a playmaker to replace Acosta?
  3. Are they going to make the playoffs?

If the answer to the first two questions are "no," then so's the answer to the third.

Houston Dynamo

The Dynamo actually have a fairly deep and diverse roster, and you can expect Tab Ramos to set his team up in a front-foot 4-3-3 intent on controlling the tempo of the game. Even if they sell Mauro Manotas this winter – and to be clear, I think they'll sell Mauro Manotas this winter – they don't have an obvious "they need to go out and buy a guy to upgrade" spot.

But if they sell Manotas and Alberth Elis, which is a distinct possibility for the third straight transfer window, then they probably need to out and get themselves another winger.

My Suggestion: Santiago Rodriguez wasn't anywhere near as good as his Uruguayan teammate Brian Rodriguez in 2019's U-20 World Cup, but he was still damn good, and is now tearing up the Uruguayan top flight. Santiago's much more of a central playmaker than a winger, but that's actually fine, since it would allow Darwin Quintero, Memo Rodriguez et al to play out wide full-time.

Jan. 1 update: In a lot of ways, this is the best signing they could've made:

It's not official yet, but nobody has a better line on Houston's moves than Davis, so you can expect it to be announced (as well as a new goalkeeper) soon.

Palomino's a dynamic (heh) and creative attacker, and should be good enough to push into the 18 by 2021. It's a signal of intent – the Dynamo are serious about building their academy and becoming a conveyor belt for local talent.

Inter Miami

Well, they need a coach pretty bad. Our friend Taylor Twellman says that former NYCFC boss Patrick Vieira is the front-runner, though as I'm writing this Vieira is currently still the head coach at Nice. It looks like Marcelo Gallardo was probably offered the job and passed, and Santiago Solari might've been as well.

Got to get that sorted.

And then at that point, they've got to get the rest of their roster sorted. Miami's filled out what looks like the bottom half of their roster with only a couple of guys under contract who I'd say are guaranteed starters. Work to do.

My Suggestion: Start with Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan is 32 and has six months left on his PSG deal, but if you've watched him play this year you know he's got gas left in the tank (it'll probably take some doing to get him this winter).

And this is Miami. In Miami, like in Los Angeles, you need at least one signing who makes headlines. Cavani, who's near 400 combined for club and country in his career, is it.

Jan. 1 update: They got their coach, and he's won a ton in Concacaf. Diego Alonso is legit.

They also have, according to general manager Paul McDonough in a recent interview, seven open international slots. Expect two of those to go to DPs, and the rest to be mostly TAM guys.

I still think one of them will go to a big-name veteran, but it's not going to be Cavani.

LA Galaxy

Zlatan left. They need someone to score those goals and grab those headlines.

My Suggestion: Here is the single most-viewed video in the history of the official MLS Youtube channel:

Bring Mario Balotelli back to the scene of his greatest triumph.

Jan. 1 update: Signing Sacha Kljestan and Aleksandar Katai was smart. Getting veteran CB Carlos Zambrano would be even smarter, though the addition of Argentine outside back Emiliano Insua should help.

But... yeah, this is the Galaxy. So we're all waiting for the big-name, glitzy signing. You know it's coming.

LAFC

The Black & Gold need to fill out their central midfield depth a little bit better than last year – too many late-season muscle injuries – and need to add fullback depth as well.

But what they really need to do is figure out how to better leverage that third DP slot. Last year, after buying out Andre Horta, they invested in Brian Rodriguez (who they will, I'm guessing, double their money on at some point). Rodriguez is a prodigious talent, but in terms of a win-now add, he was redundant, because Diego Rossi was already in that spot. And then when Adama Diomande entered the SABH program, LAFC were left without a true center forward for the stretch run.

If/when they sell Rossi this winter, I really think they should go out and get a DP No. 9. And since this is LA, I think they need to go BIG.

My Suggestion: Gabigol would cost $40 million. He is worth it.

At some point, some MLS team is going to go out and break the bank like that. And while it feels like Gabigol is beyond any team in this league's reach, three years ago you'd have said the same about Ezequiel Barco. Two years ago you'd have said it about Pity Martinez, and at the start of last season you'd have said it about Cristian Pavon, Brian Rodriguez or Diego Palacios.

Again: At some point, somebody in MLS is going to do this. Why not LAFC, and why not now?

Jan. 1 update: They did yet more excellent work when they snagged Uruguayan youth international midfielder Francisco Ginella, who will presumably back-up and then replace Eduard Atuesta after the latter is eventually sold.

But I'm still waiting for what feels like the inevitable Rossi sale, and then the filling of that DP slot with a big-name center forward. Could it please, please be Gabigol?

One more time: At some point, somebody in MLS is going to do this. Why not LAFC, and why not now?

Minnesota United FC

The Loons cleaned up in free agency last year and in the SuperDraft each of the past two seasons. That kind of under-the-radar talent acquisition means you can survive some less-than-stellar overseas signings.

They obviously need to find some attacking depth and a way to bring Vito Mannone back, but the Loons are a lot like Houston in that you can't point to one spot and say "this is where they should spend big."

Provided, that is, they can develop Thomas Chacon as a meaningful attacking piece.

My Suggestion: They're justifiably high on Mason Toye, and the kid will get the chance to win the starting job. But there's no guarantee he takes that chance, right? And after two years it's pretty clear Angelo Rodriguez doesn't add enough for a team with real playoff aspirations.

I think they need to go out there and get a veteran center forward who can soak up some minutes and keep them afloat when Toye hits a slump – and maybe even push the kid for the job. Camilo Sanvezzo is out there and get-able, and is of an age where he'd be expected to win the starting job this year, but at the same time not stunt Toye's development into the far future. Same for Pachuca's Franco Jara.

Jan. 1 update: Still feel the same way as I did at the end of November, though I wouldn't hate it at all if Toye went into the season as the starting No. 9 and proved he was worthy of keeping the job.

Montreal Impact

Thierry Henry was all over the shop as a manager at Monaco – in 20 games he tried about 15 different formations. It wasn't entirely his fault as Monaco's roster was a mis-matched mess, which should make Montreal feel pretty similar. I have no idea, for example, how you fit Bojan into a front line with Ignacio Piatti and Lassi Lappalainen and make it functional, but apparently that's the plan.

But the real need for Montreal, now and seemingly always, is central defense.

My Suggestion: There are very few center backs in the world whose signing would make a real splash...

Yeah, he's old – he'll be 36 in September – but he's a legend and he's still got it.

Montreal need a foundational center back so, so badly.

Jan. 1 update: No change here. They need a CB, plain and simple.

Nashville SC

They have the No. 1 allocation order slot. Fabian Castillo is entering the final six months of his contract with Queretaro, who are a selling club, and who will want to keep their core group together. Castillo is not a part of their core group.

This one's easy.

My Suggestion: 

Castillo's a sure thing. If you're an expansion club without a huge budget and you have the opportunity to grab a sure thing, you do it.

Jan. 1 update: The above is still where I'm at. If you can get a 10g/8a winger who's in his prime and knows the league, you should do it. 

New England Revolution

It looks like the Revs are bringing back almost their entire backline, and they've brought back just about the entirety of their attack as well. I'm sure they'll use some of that depth – looking at you, Diego Fagundez – to make moves within the league and try to address pressing needs at various spots.

But there are two areas I'm looking at with New England: center forward and defensive midfield. Teal Bunbury wasn't able to be a match-winner as the team's center forward (after a very good 2018 of doing mostly that), and Bruce Arena didn't trust Luis Caicedo in the biggest moment of the season.

My Suggestion: New England made two big spends last year on Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou, and both were unambiguous successes. Are they ready to go for a third?

If so, I'm sure it would be another Arena-type signing: A plug-and-play veteran who doesn't need much coaching. Would Olivier Giroud fit in Foxborough?

If they're aiming smaller, how about Nakhi Well, who damn near put Mexico to the sword earlier this month? Or if they want to go back to South America, Godoy Cruz striker Santiago Garcia makes sense.

Jan. 1 update: The Revs didn't do the plug-and-play veteran with that third DP slot. Instead they went after young(ish) Polish No. 9 Adam Buksa with that third DP slot. I am intrigued.

They've made a couple of other additions as well, though I still feel like there's another fairly big one coming. I'm not sure where, though.

New York City FC

The Cityzens are as deep and flexible as any team in the league. They don't have a clear need – provided they can get Keaton Parks back and slot him into central midfield again.

My Suggestion: Keaton Parks is good.

Jan. 1 update: Parks is linked with a return to NYCFC, which would raise the group's midfield a level or two. Of course, they could probably use a coach at some point, too.

Orlando City SC

Another year, another offseason of change for the Lions. As of this writing we're not sure who the head coach is going to be – my guess is Oscar Pareja, and if I were a betting man I'd lay actual money on it – and we don't know what the approach is going to be and we don't know who's going to be sticking around from this past disappointing season.

The big issue is that they've got three DPs (Nani, Mauricio Pereyra and Dom Dwyer), and while in theory they fit together, on the field last year... they did not. Whoever the coach is has to figure out how to fix that.

EDIT: It turns out that Pereyra counted as a DP in 2019, but will be a TAM hit in 2020, which means OCSC have a bit more cap flexibility. Thanks to mike. for the catch.

My Suggestion: It's an open secret that they're trying to move Dwyer, and while there's little interest at the moment, I do think they'll eventually find a taker for him.

And at that point, they should go out and get fringe Colombian international striker Miguel Borja. He's had a rough go of it at Palmeiras, but the talent is there and the on-field fit makes a ton of sense. He's got two more years on his contract so he wouldn't exactly be cheap, but given his current struggles he wouldn't exactly be expensive, either.

Jan. 1 update: They've already made a bunch of moves, signing a pair of Homegrowns and bringing in two center backs and a d-mid from South America on loan. It all looks promising (Orlando City fans have heard that before).

Still no resolution on Dwyer, or any hints that a resolution is actually in the works.

Philadelphia Union

I'm going to assume they find a way to bring Jamiro Monteiro back. Beyond anything else, that's their No. 1 priority.

With that out of the way: They have to figure out how to replace Haris Medunjanin. Ernst Tanner said he's got a list of d-mids, all under 28 years old, and given his hit rate over the past year-and-a-half, I'm going to trust that he knows what he's doing.

But it needs to be said: Medunjanin was awesome last year. He was the best in the league at getting his team to their spots in the right rhythm, and the Union will miss that badly if Tanner doesn't get this signing right.

My Suggestion: Guillermo Celis has kind of fallen off the face of the earth after what looked like a break-out 2016 with the Colombian national team. He didn't make it at Benfica, and has kind of kicked around on various loans over the past three years – including his current one at Colon de Santa Fe.

I don't think he'd cost much, and he has the profile of the type of player the Union would take a chance on.

Jan. 1 update: They didn't get Celis. Instead they landed Venezuelan d-mid Jose Andres Martinez, widely regarded as the best d-mid in the Venezuelan league.

That means everyone should be focused on getting Monteiro back.

Portland Timbers

At this time last year the Timbers needed a goalscoring winger. They had one, but they played him at center forward, and now he's gone.

They still need a goal-scoring winger.

My Suggestion: It's time to re-unite the brothers! Go get Yimmi Chara.

The truth is Chara's probably not high-scoring enough to suit Portland's needs, but it's hard to figure what their budget will be after what happened with Brian Fernandez. There are also rumors they're leaning in the direction of getting another center forward anyway, and pushing Jeremy Ebobisse out to the wing once again.

Either way, they'll be busy this winter. 

Jan. 1 update: They got him, and he'll be a good fit.

New York Red Bulls

  • If RBNY have what seems to be their current budget: Trade up to the No. 1 spot in the allocation order and grab Fabian Castillo
  • If RBNY have something approaching NYCFC's budget: Go out and grab Edison Flores.
  • If RBNY have a significant budget increase: Go out and get Copa Libertadores MVP Bruno Henrique. 

My Suggestion: Is Erling Haaland out of the question? My god, man, what a monster this dude is:

Ok yeah, they're probably going to have to find someone else in attack. Maybe it could be as simple as grabbing Jean-Kevin Augustin on loan from the mother ship in Leipzig for the year. The young Frenchman needs a career reboot, which he's currently not getting on loan at Monaco.

Jan. 1 update: No changes on any of the above since November. Oh, and Haaland is now with Dortmund.

Real Salt Lake

It doesn't look like RSL are going to do much shopping this winter, and the biggest reason for that is they don't really have to as since-departed GM Craig Waibel did a very nice job of stacking this roster with above-average players both by building internally and making some good overseas signings.

But what they don't have – at least not yet – is a clear "I'm gonna be the best player on the field and win this game for us single-handed" type of guy.

My Suggestion: Konstantinos Mitroglou has been that type of player at various points in his career, though not lately after unfortunate loans to Galatasaray and then to PSV. The 31-year-old vet, who's officially under contract with Marseille, is looking at the final six months of his contract, and my guess is he'd be very available in this winter's window.

Jan. 1 update: Grabbing Zac MacMath for a little bit of xAM was good business, but they still need a high-end match-winner in attack.

San Jose Earthquakes

Over the final two months of the season, the only player on San Jose who could put the ball in the damn net was 36-year-old Chris Wondolowski. They need to fix that by either adding a goalscoring playmaker or a goalscoring winger. And truth be told, they need to get younger at center forward and ease Wondo into a super-sub role.

That's where reports say they'll start.

My Suggestion: I think the Alan Pulido stuff is true. And he's very, very good:

This would be an immense signing for the Quakes, for both on- and off-the-field reasons.

Jan. 1 update: It turns out the Pulido stuff was true... but for a different team. He's Sporting KC's record signing.

Cristian Espinoza became San Jose's record signing when they exercised the purchase option on his loan deal last month, and it's very good that they have him in the fold permanently now. But it's not enough. The Quakes missed the playoffs last year and need an infusion of talent in at least one spot in the attack.

Seattle Sounders

They have an MLS Cup that they've been parading around town, and that means they have a CCL run to prepare for. The Sounders have good depth, which they've shown repeatedly over the past couple of years, and obviously their No. 1 priority needs to be bringing most of that back (as well as replacing key cogs like Roman Torres and Victor Rodriguez, both of whom look like they're gone for good).

They'll take care of that, but here's something else to consider: They've got the ability to open up a DP slot by buying down Xavier Arreaga's contract with TAM. I think they'll do that.

My Suggestion: Is it finally Derlis Gonzalez time? Seattle almost had him two-and-a-half years ago, but Dynamo Kiev asked for waaaay too much at the last minute. Since then, the winger's value has plummeted while he's spent most of his time on a not-very-productive loan to Santos. But the man can still do some stuff:

Now he's in the final six months of that loan, and while he's damaged goods, he's also a 25-year-old full Paraguayan international who could probably be had relatively cheap. And he fits a lot of what the Sounders need, provided they're capable of coaxing him back toward productivity.

And we know they like him – they bid millions for him after scouting the hell out of him a few years back. I bet they finally get their man (though maybe they'll just wait for his contract to run out and get him for free in the summer).

Jan. 1 update: It looks like Carlos Zambrano is headed either to the Galaxy or the Sounders, and he'd be a great fit at either place. And yes, rebuilding that backline is much more urgent than adding a third DP attacker.

That said, it's really, really fun to consider what the Sounders might be able to do in the CCL if they go out and go big on a third DP attacker.

Sporting Kansas City

Will the years-long search for a high-end No. 9 come to a satisfying conclusion this window? They will apparently have the funds to go out and get themselves a sure thing, so hopefully the answer is yes.

I'll say this again here: Sporting's attack was actually very good last year. They created a ton of chances, but their finishing from both the center forward and left wing slots was just brutal.

My Suggestion: I've been trying to tweet Lucas Cavallini-to-Sporting into existence for more than a year now, as the big Canadian international seems like he'd be a perfect fit at Children's Mercy Park. He's under contract for two more years so he wouldn't come cheap, but given Puebla's finances my guess is they'd be happy to play ball and find the right price point for both clubs.

Cavallini was very interested in an move to MLS this past summer, for what it's worth.

Jan. 1 update: I tweeted Lucas Cavallini to Vancouver into existence! Sporting got Pulido instead, and brought back Khiry Shelton. I'm happy for both fanbases.

Toronto FC

Toronto was the team Cavallini was most interested in, as a matter of fact. And now Balotelli has been linked there, too.

If Jozy Altidore is still around – which I'm pretty sure he will be – then I don't think Toronto need to go after another starting-caliber center forward. If Jozy's gone (there are still rumors of interest in him from teams in China), then any high-level center forward makes sense as a replacement.

But I'm going to operate here under the assumption that Jozy's staying, and that means they'll use their open DP slot on a goal-scoring left-winger.

My Suggestion: If it was Nicolas Benezet, we'd know about it by now. It's not going to be him.

Know who it should've been? Lucas Janson. He was very good in the second half of 2018 on loan in Toronto, but they didn't exercise their purchase option, and then the dude went back to Tigre and doubled his value. He's now on contract with Velez Sarsfield for three more years.

So, I doubt it will be him. But Janson was good and productive, and they already have a data point that says he fits in very, very well.

Jan. 1 update: I'm beginning to wonder if TFC will do the Sounders thing – just sit on that unused DP slot until the summer window. Given they don't have a CCL title to play for, and they're loaded with productive and versatile veterans, it makes a pretty good amount of sense to keep the powder dry and avoid paying the winter premium.

Maybe, if given a chance, Erickson Gallardo will make splurging on a DP winger unnecessary.

Vancouver Whitecaps

Nobody did more offseason shopping last year than the 'Caps, who still need so, so so much help virtually all over the field. They just have to make sure the guys they get are better fits than what they mostly ended up with last year.

My Suggestion: There are reports Yordy Reyna's countryman Alejandro Hohberg is on his way to some MLS club... why not the 'Caps? It would certainly make for a worthwhile start.

Jan. 1 update: As I wrote above, I'm thrilled for the 'Caps fanbase, as spending big on a player like Cavallini is huge.

They still need to add a lot more pieces, though.

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