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HUGE MLS Transaction Round-Up — Embrace the Offseason

Sporting KC and all the other recent announcements around the league.

MLS: Sporting KC at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting Kansas City

  • Sporting announced their moves yesterday. Diego Rubio is back! In addition the team picked up the options for 2018 SuperDraft picks Eric Dick and Graham Smith. Plus they renewed Adrian Zendejas and are in negotiations with Khiry Shelton to return. On the negative side, they released Amer Didic, Kharlton Belmar, Colton Storm, Brad Evans and perhaps most surprisingly, Cristian Lobato. For full details, head to that story.
  • SKC’s B-Team the Swope Park Rangers also announced their moves which brings their roster down to a slim seven players.
  • Daniel Salloi also spoke with The Blue Testament, and though he’s under contract, rumors swirled he was interested in moving to the English Championship. While talking to TBT, he seemed to quell those rumors.

MLS Rumor and Transaction Round-Up

  • Bastian Schweinsteiger will return to the Chicago Fire in 2019.
  • No truth to rumors that Mario Balotelli is coming to the Philadelphia Union.
  • David Villa will not return to NYCFC and instead will rejoin former teammate Andres Iniesta in Japan.
  • United States National Team and FC Dallas fullback Reggie Cannon is being linked to multiple Liga MX teams. Another reporter is indicating this isn’t true. Oscar Pareja just left Dallas to coach Club Tijuana.
  • Evan Bush, Mike Kuhn’s favorite GK (j/k), signed a new three year deal with the Montreal Impact.
  • Nashville FC won’t join MLS officially until 2020 but they’ve signed their first player. Daniel Rios, who is from Chivas in Liga MX, but spent last year on loan with North Carolina FC, is a striker who scored 20 goals last year in the USL.
  • LAFC could be in for big changes. First, Benny Feilhaber is a “free agent.” The quotes are because of this nonsense rule that no longer impacts Roger Espinoza, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler, but could still negatively impact Benny and not allow him to get a fair shake. In other Los Angeles Football Club news, Lee Nguyen had his option picked up. Walker Zimmerman is out of contract but has been made an offer (earlier in the season it sure sounded like he was leaving). Marco Urena is out (which makes sense with Diomande and Christian Ramirez on the roster). LA picked up options on Tyler Miller, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Josh Perez and Shaft Brewer Jr. They declined options for Charlie Lyon, Quillan Roberts, Nico Czornomaz, Calum Mallace, James Murphy and Steeve Saint-Duc. Two more players, Jordan Harvey and Dejan Jakovic, are out of contract. And LAFC declined to purchase any of their loanees (Luis Lopez, Danilo Silva and Aaron Kovar).
  • Matt’s little brother Nick Besler will return to RSL in 2019. In addition Real Salt Lake picked up options on Jefferson Savarino, Corey Baird, Sebastian Saucedo, Andrew Putna and Danilo Acosta. Despite how young the team is, they may get younger as they declined 11 player options, including multiple veterans. They were defenders Tony Beltran, Demar Phillips, Shawn Barry and David Horst, midfielders Luke Mulholland, Sunny and Jose Hernandez, forwards Luis Silva and Ricky Lopez-Espin and goalkeeper Connor Sparrow.
  • The Philadelphia Union announced their roster moves. Out are highly rated first round pick Josh Yaro and also SuperDraft pick Fabian Herbers. Also out are Fabinho (who they are negotiating with on a new deal) and Jay Simpson, who was supposed to be their starting forward.
  • Due to the salary cap D.C. United couldn’t afford the $700K option to purchase Yamil Asad (that seems like a deal for that kid). Instead, the are negotiating a new loan/purchase agreement.
  • In other news out of Washington D.C., the team picked up options on superstar Luciano Acosta and also on defender Jalen Richardson. They will have significant turnover though as they declined options on Nick DeLeon, Vytautas “Vytas” Andriuskevicius, Ian Harkes, Jared Jeffrey, Bruno Miranda, Kofi Opare and former SKC Homegrown Kevin Ellis as well as former Swope Park Ranger Dane Kelly. Taylor Kemp has retired and three more players — Darren Mattocks, Oniel Fisher and Travis Worra — are out of contract. This leaves United with just 15 players on their roster.
  • The San Jose Earthquakes have a new coach but much of their roster is currently under contract. The biggest player out is Jahmir Hyka, who is known as the Albanian Messi. Also out are Yeferson Quintana, Chris Wehan, Danny Musovski and Mohamed Thiaw. Dominic Oduro is out of contract as well.
  • New York City FC declined contract options on Eloi Amagat, Kwame Awuah, Maxime Chanot, Tommy McNamara, Ebenezer Ofori, Andre Rawls and Rodney Wallace. Add to that the above Villa news and there is no one left from the first NYCFC roster just four seasons later [Editor: This originally said three seasons, crazy it’s been four years of them and Orlando City already]. They picked up a few options and will take the opportunity to purchase Valentin Castellanos who was with the team on loan. In Sporting KC news, former player Saad Abdul-Salaam is out of contract along with Yangel Herrera but the team has made them both offers.
  • In other NYCFC news, they are being linked to Kevin Quevedo, who is an attacker out of Peru.
  • Kellyn Acosta, Deklan Wynne, Dillon Serna and Niki Jackson will all return to the Colorado Rapids in 2019 since their options were picked up. Colorado have declined options for Kip Colvey, Mike da Fonte, Giles Barnes, Sam Hamilton, Enzo Martinez, Ricardo Perez, Caleb Calvert and Jack McBean. Edgar Castillo, Andrew Dykstra and Yannick Boli are out of contract. Castillo though is negotiating a potential transfer from CF Monterrey in Mexico.
  • Orlando City picked up options on Will Johnson, Chris Mueller, Carlos Ascues, Adam Grinwis, Cristian Higuita, Victor “PC” Gir, Mason Stajduhar, and former SKC man Uri Rosell. Earl Edwards Jr. is out of contract and the team declined options on Joe Bendik, Richie Laryea, Tony Rocha, Chris Schuler, Jonathan Spector, Scott Sutter, Donny Toia and Jose Villarreal.
  • The New England Revolution added their 5th Homegrown signing, Nicolas Firmino.
  • The Houston Dynamo picked up options on AJ DeLaGarza, Romell Quioto, Juan David Cabezas, Boniek Garcia and Joe Willis. Arturo Alvarez, DaMarcus Beasley, Philippe Senderos and Andrew Wenger are out of contract and Wenger has announced his retirement. The Dynamo have declined options on Conor Donovan, Leonardo, Adolfo Machado, Dylan Remick, Jared Watts and Mac Steeves. Luis Gil, who was on loan from Queretaro in Mexico will return there after the end of the year.
  • Toronto FC made a series of moves as well. They mutually agreed to terminate the deal of Ager Aketxe, who was supposed to be an impactful signing last year. They also declined options for veterans Clint Irwin and Tosaint Ricketts. Jason Hernandez and Jordan Hamilton are out of contract as well. Despite the lost players, they picked up options on Caleb Patterson-Sewell, Ashtone Morgan, Drew Moor, Nick Hagglund, Julian Dunn, Jay Chapman, Ryan Telfer and Aidan Daniels.
  • The Chicago Fire are bringing back Brandt Bronico, Diego Campos, Stefan Cleveland, Jorge Corrales, Raheem Edwards, Elliot Collier and Nico Hasler. They declined options for Jonathan Campbell, Drew Conner, Michael de Leeuw, Daniel Johnson, Patrick McLain, Yura Movsisyan and Luis Solignac. Johan Kappelhof and Matt Polster are out of contract as well. The team just has 16 players coming back next year with Schweinsteiger having re-signed.
  • With the news that Columbus Crew keeper Zack Steffen is heading to Manchester City, the club picked up the option on former SKC goalkeeper Jon Kempin. They also will bring back Ben Lundgaard, Alex Crognale, Connor Maloney, Gaston Sauro, Josh Williams, Luis Argudo and Niko Hansen. Additionally they re-signed Lalas Abubakar to a new contract and are negotiating with Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina on Milton Valenzuela who was on loan. The Crew declined options on Logan Ketterer, Ricardo Clark (though he’s in negotiations), Mike Grella, Cristian Martinez and Adam Jahn.
  • The Vancouver Whitecaps hired former SPR head coach Marc Dos Santos and he’s making big changes. Doneil Henry, Nicolas Mezquida, Yordy Reyna, Sean Melvin, Brett Levis, David Norman Jr. and Erik Hurtado all had their options picked up. The Caps declined to pick up Stefan Marinovic, Spencer Richey, Jose Aja, Roberto Dominguez, Aaron Maund, Marvin Emnes, Aly Ghazal, Brek Shea, and Myer Bevan. Former SKC man Kei Kamara is out of contract and in a similar situation as Benny where he can’t get a raise elsewhere in the league despite being a free agent. Brian Rowe, Sean Franklin and Cristian Techera are also out of contract. Jordon Mutch’s loan ended and he should return to Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
  • Minnesota United FC also made a bunch of moves. Matt Lampson, Alex Kapp, March Burch, Jérôme Thiesson, Bertrand Owundi Eko’o, Ibson, Fernando Bob, Collen Warner and Frantz Pangop all had their options declined. Alexi Gómez and Maximiano were on loan but those deals have expired. Eric Miller is out of contract but negotiating a new deal. The extended Bobby Shuttleworth, Michael Boxall, Rasmus Schuller, Collin Martin, Carter Manley and Wyatt Ombserg. Brent Kallman also signed a new contract through 2020.
  • FC Dallas announced their moves too, extending options on Jacori Hayes, Ryan Hollingshead, Victor Ulloa and Kyle Zobeck. Tesho Akindele is out of contract but the team is negotiating a new deal. They declined several options, most notably Roland Lamah. In addition Maynor Figueroa, Abel Aguilar, Jordan Cano, Kris Reaves and Adonijah Reid all had their options declined.
  • Last and maybe least, are the LA Galaxy. They picked up options for Sebastian Lletget, Daniel Steres, Bradford Jamieson IV and Justin Vom Steeg. They declined the option of English legend Ashley Cole as well as Michael Ciani and Baggio Husidic. Chris Pontius, Dave Romney, and Emmanuel Boateng are out of contract but negotiating new deals.

If you haven’t already, add the 2019 MLS Transactions page to your favorites. It won’t tell you players that re-sign, but it’ll keep track of all players released and of course all new players added to all the Major League Soccer teams around the league.

Additionally, other moves have been announced on this very site in the past few weeks.