Now that the MLS Is Back Tournament has exited stage left, the league is ready to resume regular programming with the remainder of the 2020 season.
There are plenty of reasons to look forward to the return of MLS, including several impending club debuts. Some of the players set to make bows in new shirts are headline newcomers to the league (such as Wednesday's FC Dallas debutant Franco Jara), and some are players we're all quite familiar with who are coming back to MLS after sojourns abroad.
Right on cue, we're here to shine a spotlight on six more potentially exciting summer captures from around the league.
Atlanta United likely won't get the full benefits of their new winger until Josef Martinez returns. After all, Damm is a classic old school set-up winger. He's among the fastest players in the world, and is always eager to serve up a tempting cross once he gets free (which is often). Even before Martinez is back, the Mexico international should consistently unsettle opposing defenses, pulling attention away from playmakers Ezequiel Barco and Pity Martinez.
If Inter Miami were looking for some winning pedigree, they drew it in spades with Wednesday's pick-up of a reigning World Cup champion. Counting back through his stints with Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus, Matuidi has also ended seven of his last eight club seasons as a league title winner. He likely won't extend that string with the Herons this year, but the expansion should feel the impact of his presence. Matuidi is a world class mobile destroyer that will also support attack possession.
Leandro Gonzalez Pirez
Inter Miami dropped the first five games in club history, but one would think there are plenty of better days directly ahead with Matuidi and this 2019 All-Star on board. Gonzalez Pirez should help the Herons tighten things up at the back, but he's more than your standard defender. He can play centrally or wide left. He will add plenty of sandpaper to the defense, but is also skilled enough to drive play forward with his passing. It's another big addition for a club trying to find its feet in MLS.
The former Chicago right back has returned to MLS, joining New England on the heels of a frustrating 18-month stint with Scottish giants Rangers. Combining that tenure with his last Fire season (which was cut short by a knee injury), Polster has played just 13 games since the 2017 MLS postseason. Is he still the impactful player we remember from back then? Early signs point to Polster featuring in the No. 6 role, so there’s some confidence shown by head coach/sporting director Bruce Arena.
The Red Bulls just sealed a loan-plus-buy option deal for the Red Bull Salzburg forward, who’s spent recent seasons on loan at Austrian Bundesliga rival LASK. A fringe Ghana international, Tetteh is a defense stretcher who adds a needed speed dimension to RBNY's attack. He's also fairly comfortable in an area crowd, and is as likely to set up teammates as he is to finish plays himself.
Erick “Cubo” Torres
While nobody is going to confuse the former Houston Dynamo and Chivas USA striker with Josef Martinez, Atlanta United were desperate to replace the injured star with a capable front man. Having already scored 36 goals in 97 career MLS games, Torres should fit the bill. Perhaps even more important, his presence will allow the rest of the attack to slot back into their usual, more comfortable playmaking roles.