With the MLS season hitting its stretch run, with 10 or fewer games left for every club. The push for the (expanded) Audi MLS Cup Playoffs is on. The Secondary Transfer Window is still open and teams are still tweaking their rosters accordingly.
Seattle have their eyes set on chasing the Supporters' Shield and defending their 2019 MLS Cup crown, while Miami are hoping to kick on over their remaining nine games and climb above the playoff line in their inaugural campaign.
Here's what it means for both Seattle and Miami.
For Seattle: Gettin' the band back together
With Brad Smith and Torres already back, quick, someone check in on what Kim Kee-Hee is up to!
Smith, Torres and Kee-hee were three of the Sounders' four starters across the backline in MLS Cup 2019 but all departed the club this winter, with Kelvin Leerdam the only returning member. In back-to-back weeks, Smith and Torres have returned. It's feelin' a lot like 2019 up in Seattle.
"I always like when a player wants to return for a second stint with the club," Sounders FC Vice President of Soccer & sporting director Chris Henderson said in a statement. "It says a lot about the team's relationship with our fans and the Seattle soccer community as whole."
The additions of Smith and Torres at this stage of the season come with an added bonus that they have already assimilated to the club. The Sounders core remains largely the same as last season, with a few additions like Joao Paulo and Yeimar Gomez Andrade. In the case of Torres, it doesn't hurt that he, Andrade and Xavier Arreaga are all natural Spanish speakers in the center of defense.
Torres adds another option for Brian Schmetzer in the center of defense, a group that sparked some questions earlier in the season but the Sounders are starting to peak at the right time once again. They've conceded two goals in their last four matches, while the pairing of Andrade and Arreaga have started together in three of the last four matches.
"Roman is a good, veteran player who we know well and believe will provide a nice compliment to the existing group," Sounders GM and president of soccer Garth Lagerwey said. "We look forward to welcoming him back to the club as we prepare for the final stretch of the 2020 season."
Oh, in case you were wondering: Kee-hee started nine of Ulsan Hyundai's 23 matches so far South Korea's top flight. They topped the regular season table and are now in the playoff stage of the season.
For Miami: Trimming a deep squad
Inter Miami's expansion squad, while currently lagging with the actual process of picking up points, is made up of a strong, talented and deep group. They've done well in building this inaugural roster, even if things haven't quite worked as planned on the pitch yet.
The club acquired solid MLS experience and talent that ended up being superfluous to the team with the likes Lee Nguyen and Torres. Both veterans fell out of the club's regular rotation thanks to other talented signings. The club have also traded Grant Lillard, waived Luis Argudo and loaned Christian Makoun.
Torres hadn't started a match since July 20.
The Athletic's Paul Tenorio and Sam Stejskal report the first-round pick the club received is top-19 protected, meaning they only receive the asset if the Sounders receive a pick between 20-26. If they fall below 20, the asset changes to a second-round selection in the 2022 SuperDraft. The draft order takes into account playoff finish, too.
If the Sounders make it to the Western Conference Championship, Miami will definitely get the pick. If they are eliminated in the Conference Semifinals, then it depends on the other finishers to determine that who slots where.