Franco Escobar - celebrating goal - 2019
USA Today Sports Images

MLS contract options: Who's staying and who's going entering 2021 offseason

As the 2020 season draws to a close with MLS Cup on Dec. 12, all 26 clubs will be revealing their decisions on player contract options in advance of a busy offseason during which they'll be retooling for next year's campaign.

Latest updates up top, then a club-by-club snapshot below featuring all roster decisions. Players who are staying, those who are going and others who have received new contract offers from their club:

Tuesday, Nov. 24: Atlanta decline most options including Carleton, but keep Escobar

After a hugely disappointing 2020 season, Atlanta United declined eight of the 12 contract options they faced. Perhaps the biggest name is former wunderkind Andrew Carleton.

Carleton was a standout with various US youth national teams with evident talent, but some off the field issues and inconsistency marred his time with Atlanta. He spent 2020 on loan in the USL Championship where he was among the league's best midfielders. He'll be available to other MLS clubs in MLS End-of-Year Waivers. 

MLS veterans Erick "Cubo" Torres and Edgar Castillo depart as well, while Jeff Larentowicz's contract expired. Technical director Carlos Bocanegra confirmed Larentowicz will not return to the club in 2021. 

Atlanta picked up the 2021 contract options on Franco Escobar, George Bello, Jon Gallagher and Mo Adams. The returning players plus two signed for 2021 (Erik Lopez and Efrain Morales) brings the club to 23 rostered players. That's plenty of room for further key additions. 

Thursday, Nov. 12: Fire retain 27 players after missing the playoffs

It may seem odd for a team that just finished 11th in the Eastern Conference to bring back 27 players, but it shouldn't be a surprise for the Fire.

Chicago acquired 17 players over the course of 2020, all but one of which arrived in the winter. Most deals were multi-year, plus the club have a vision they're hoping to see out under sporting director Georg Heitz and first-year head coach Raphael Wicky. They also have a number of young Homegrowns (of seven total) that inflate the roster numbers. 

The Fire moved on from CJ Sapong, serving as the biggest name to leave. Sapong, who will turn 32 this winter, is an MLS veteran and regular goalscorer but fell out of favor under Wicky. He made just four starts this season, scoring twice, as the club often played with DP Robert Beric as the lone forward.

Sapong has 71 goals in 276 career MLS games. He'll figure to have options around the league as clubs look for a rotational forward for 2021.  


ATLAtlanta United

GK (2): Brad Guzan, Alec Kann
DEF (8): George Bello, George Campbell, Franco Escobar, Brooks Lennon, Fernando Meza, Efrain Morales, Miles Robinson, Anton Walkes.
MID (10): Mo Adams, Ezequiel Barco, Jürgen Damm, Jon Gallagher, Emerson Hyndman, Marcelino Moreno, Jake Mulraney, Eric Remedi, Matheus Rossetto, Tyler Wolff.
FWD (3): Adam Jahn, Erik Lopez, Josef Martinez

UNDER CONTRACT (17): Ezequiel Barco, George Campbell, Jürgen Damm, Brad Guzan, Emerson Hyndman, Adam Jahn, Alec Kann, Brooks Lennon, Josef Martinez, Fernando Meza, Marcelino Moreno, Jake Mulraney, Eric Remedi, Miles Robinson, Matheus Rossetto, Anton Walkes, Tyler Wolff
OUT OF CONTRACT (1): Jeff Larentowicz
CONTRACT OPTIONS EXERCISED (4): Mo Adams, George Bello, Franco Escobar, Jon Gallagher
CONTRACT OPTIONS NOT EXERCISED (8): Andrew Carleton, Edgar Castillo, Manuel Castro, Lagos Kunga, Brendan Moore, Erick “Cubo” Torres, J.J. Williams, Laurence Wyke
OFFSEASON ACQUISITIONS (2): Erik Lopez, Efrain Morales

CHIChicago Fire FC

GK (4): Chris Brady, Kenneth Kronholm, Bobby Shuttleworth, Gabriel Slonina
DEF (11): Jonathan Bornstein, Francisco Calvo, Jhon Espinoza, Johan Kappelhof, Miguel Navarro, Wyatt Omsberg, Mauricio Pineda, Andre Reynolds II, Boris Sekulić, Nicholas Slonina, Carlos Terán 
MID (11): Ignacio Aliseda, Javier Casas Jr., Przemysław Frankowski, Gastón Giménez, Brian Gutiérrez, Fabian Herbers, Alex Monis, Álvaro Medrán, Djordje Mihailović, Allan Rodríguez, Luka Stojanović
FWD (3): Robert Berić, Elliot Collier, Chinonso Offor

UNDER CONTRACT (23): Ignacio Aliseda, Robert Berić, Jonathan Bornstein, Chris Brady, Francisco Calvo, Javier Casas Jr., Przemysław Frankowski, Gastón Giménez, Brian Gutiérrez, Fabian Herbers, Johan Kappelhof, Kenneth Kronholm, Álvaro Medrán, Alex Monis, Miguel Navarro, Mauricio Pineda, Andre Reynolds II, Allan Rodríguez, Boris Sekulić, Bobby Shuttleworth, Gabriel Slonina, Luka Stojanović, Carlos Terán.
OUT OF CONTRACT (2): Micheal Azira, CJ Sapong
CONTRACT OPTIONS EXERCISED (4): Elliot Collier, Djordje Mihailović, Wyatt Omsberg, Nicholas Slonina
CONTRACT OPTIONS NOT EXERCISED (2): Jeremiah Gutjahr, Connor Sparrow
OFFSEASON ACQUISITIONS (2): Jhon Espinoza, Chinonso Offor


CINFC Cincinnati

GK (2): Ben Lundt, Beckham Sunderland
DEF (4): Saad Abdul-Salaam, Zico Bailey, Tom Pettersson, Maiken van der Werff
MID (6): Frankie Amaya, Alvaro Barreal, Allan Cruz, Yuya Kubo, Haris Medunjanin, Kamohelo Mokotjo
FWD (3): Franko Kovacevic, Jurgen Locadia, Brandon Vazquez

UNDER CONTRACT (12): Saad Abdul-Salaam, Frankie Amaya, Alvaro Barreal, Allan Cruz, Franko Kovacevic, Yuya Kubo, Jurgen Locadia, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Tom Pettersson, Beckham Sunderland, Maikel van der Werff, Brandon Vazquez
OUT OF CONTRACT (4): Andrew Gutman, Nick Hagglund, Spencer Richey, Przemyslaw Tyton
CONTRACT OPTIONS EXERCISED (3): Zico Bailey, Ben Lundt, Haris Medunjanin
CONTRACT OPTIONS NOT EXERCISED (12): Rashawn Dally, Siem de Jong, Mathieu Deplagne, Greg Garza, Joseph-Claude Gyau, Bobby Edwards, Tommy McCabe, Jimmy McLaughlin, Hassan Ndam, Rey Ortiz, Caleb Stanko, Kendall Waston
CURRENTLY NEGOTIATING (4): Andrew Gutman, Joseph-Claude Gyau, Nick Hagglund, Caleb Stanko, Przemyslaw Tyton

Transfer Tracker Status: