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Blue Links: SKC, Tons of MLS Trades and Transactions, Expansion Draft, Kaw Valley FC

Lots of MLS players are finding new homes. Orlando City and Vancouver are cleaning out their rosters.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Sporting Kansas City Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

All the MLS and Sporting Kansas City stories you need to feel caught up since yesterday.

Kansas City

  • Love it or hate it the Audi Player Index is here to stay. For the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs both Matt Besler and Johnny Russell made the list. Some were critical of Russell for not showing up on the boxscore more but the index shows he was contributing. What is interesting is usually this list is forward heavy but just one, Josef Martinez, made the list (they have Russell as a wide midfielder which is essentially right).
  • In potentially more prestigious honors, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi were named to the Opta 2018 MLS Best XI for the entire season.
  • Roger Espinoza and other MLS players like Diego Valeri, weighed in on MLS being a safe haven from the violence of soccer in South and Central America. (LA Times)
  • He doesn’t officially join SKC until January 1st but Tyle Freeman is currently nominated for 2018 United States Young Male Player of the Year. A winner should be announced very soon. Past winners include Josh Sargent (2017), Christian Pulisic (2016), Michael Bradley (2007), Benny Feilhaber (2005) and Landon Donovan (2000).
  • The SKC Academy were in action over the weekend with good performances from both the U-14s and U-15s in separate competitions to end their seasons.
  • Despite a relatively healthy season, Sporting KC players missed a combined 126 games this year due to injuries. Lots of backups and roleplayers were hurt, so it wasn’t as bad as it seemed.
  • Kaw Valley FC (USL League Two) posted a quick look back at their 2018 inaugural season.

Around the World League

The MLS offseason really picked up steam yesterday, primarily because of the Expansion Draft for FC Cincinnati and all the moves that club made both during and around the draft.

  • Cincy made five picks, of which Sporting KC were excluded from. They added Darren Mattocks, Kei Kamara (for a hot minute), Roland Lamah, Eric Alexander and Hassan Ndam. They have an interesting mix of young prospects (Ndam) and veterans to build around.
  • Kamara was immediately flipped to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for an International Roster spot. It’s being reported, as has been the case in the past, Kamara was part of the locker room problems with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
  • Speaking of the Caps, former Swope Park Rangers coach Marc Dos Santos also traded center back Kendall Waston to Cincinnati in exchange for $450,000 in General Allocation Money, $300,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and that international roster spot their just acquired. They also get a percentage of the fee if he’s sold again and another $75,000 in GAM based on performance.
  • FC Cincinnati made another move trading for left back Greg Garza from Atlanta United. For this move they traded away $200,000 in GAM and $250,000 in TAM.
  • In a final move, also with the Whitecaps, Cincinnati traded for goalkeeper Spencer Richey in exchange for a 2020 third round SuperDraft pick. So they basically gave up nothing for a goalkeeper who started 14 games while on loan with the team last season.
  • Orlando City made a few trades as well. First, they traded for the first overall selection from the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, Joao Moutinho. They sent Mohamed El-Munir back to Los Angeles Football Club. While the defenders swap roles, Moutinho is a Generation Adidas Player so he won’t count against the salary cap for the cap troubled Lions.
  • The second Orlando trade was a bit weaker with a borderline useless fourth round draft pick in 2019 coming from the New York Red Bulls in exchange for defender Amro Tarek. Orlando had picked up Amro’s option but apparently he would have been owed a raise and a transfer fee to his Egyptian club, Wadi Degla, which now the Red Bulls will cover.
  • Orlando City also traded for Tesho Akindele from Dallas. They sent $100,000 in TAM in 2019 and $50,000 in GAM in 2020 back to Dallas.
  • In more trade news, FC Dallas dealt starting striker Maxi Urruti to the Montreal Impact in exchange for a 2019 1st Round Pick (#10 overall) and $75,000 in TAM. On the surface it feels like a steal but Urruti was set to get big raises over the next two years from $780K in 2018 to $1.2 million in 2019 and $1.4 million in 2020. Dallas suddenly have basically no forwards.
  • FC Dallas are also rumored to be trading Victor Ulloa to Cincinnati and are tied to Honduran midfielder Bryan Acosta.
  • Dallas also are reportedly sending 19-year-old center back Chris Richards to Bayern Munich for $1.25 million.
  • The Whitecaps didn’t just send players away. They made a trade with the Seattle Sounders for midfielder Andy Rose in exchange for $50,000 in GAM.
  • The Whitecaps executed three more trades as well. First they sent $50,000 in TAM and a third round pick in the 2020 SuperDraft to the Montreal Impact for Maxime Crepeau. Then they sent 2019 third round pick to Orlando City for Victor “PC” Giro. They also got their potential starting goalkeeper in a trade with Colorado for Zac MacMath. In exchange they sent Nicolas Mezquida back to the Rapids. MacMath is a lifelong backup who’s shown flashes when he’s given the opportunity to do so.
  • Caleb Porter is being heavily linked to the LA Galaxy job.
  • The San Jose Earthquakes are starting their rebuild after hiring yet another new coach. The first major player they’ve been linked to is Judson, out of Brazil.
  • The Portland Timbers announced their roster moves. The biggest is that Samuel Armenteros, the striker who made Fanendo Adi expendable, will not have his loan purchased. They are all in on fourth overall pick Jeremy Ebobisse at striker now. He had his option picked up. They also picked up options on Kendall McIntosh, Modou Jadama, Bill Tuiloma and Foster Langsdorf. Andy Polo’s loan is now permanent and Cristian Paredes will remain on loan. Portland declined options on Victor Arboleda, Tomas Conechny, Andres Flores and former Sporting KC man Lawrence Olum. Steve Clark, Jake Gleeson, Roy Miller and Jack Barmby are all out of contract but the team confirmed they are speaking with Conechny, Flores and Clark about new deals.
  • Not wanting to be left out of the trading game, the Chicago Fire sent their 2019 second round pick to the Philadelphia Union in exchange for Fabian Herbers. He was picked sixth overall in 2016. Again, the draft is really falling off.
  • In “not everyone got traded” news, Jordan Morris, who missed 2018 with an ACL tear, apparently signed a “massive” new deal to remain in Seattle. The deal is “up to five years” meaning there are likely option years. If he sticks around for all five years, the average will be north of $1 million per year. As much as I dislike Seattle, I’m glad they are paying their Homegrown players to stick around.
  • Tim Parker re-signed with the Red Bulls for a three year deal. The trade value of Ike Opara just keeps climbing. He will get a raise to be paid in the neighborhood of $700,000-$800,000 per season.
  • Former SKC draftee Tony Rocha got traded from Orlando City (who, like the Whitecaps, are clearing out their roster) to New York City FC.