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MLS summer transfer window round-up

By Tom Sweezy

Atlanta United FC

Transfers In: Saba Lobzhanidze, Tristan Muyumba, Xande Silva, Jamal Thiaré & Edwin Mosquera

Transfers Out: Luiz Araújo, Andrew Gutman, Franco Ibarra, Marcelino Moreno, Aiden McFadden & Erik Lopez

The Five Stripes are much improved heading into the second half of the 2023 season. Let’s start with their biggest loss, Andrew Gutman. I consider Gutman one of the best left backs within MLS, but the rise of Caleb Wiley has made him expendable for this Atlanta United squad, and moving him to Colorado makes a ton of sense. Next, the club moved on from Franco Ibarra loaning him to Toronto FC, officially sold Marcelino Moreno to the Brazilian Serie A, and upgraded with a Darlington Nagbe-esc midfielder in Tristan Muyumba.

Muyumba is a “defensive midfielder” that has the creative abilities of someone you don’t traditionally think of in that role. The backline has improved, the midfield has improved, but what about the attack? Well, Atlanta United cut loose one of the most underachieving Designated Players (DP) in MLS history Luiz Araujo and brought in FOUR attackers.

First, a new DP winger Saba Lobzhanidze from Hatayspor in Turkey. The Georgia international winger has won every trophy possible in Georgian soccer with 126 professional goals contributed to in his career. Outside of their new DP, Atlanta United also added a 26-year-old winger in Xande Silva who comes with a ton of Ligue 2 and Liga Portugal experience.

Another winger was brought into the squad, Edwin Mosquera returning to Atlanta United after his loan spell with Defensa Y Justicia ended. Finally, the club brought in a veteran backup striker option in Jamal Thiaré from Le Havre in Ligue 2. 60 professional goals and a Ligue 2 title are now the backup option to Giakoumakis for Atlanta United. I have to say, Atlanta United put together a summer transfer window that could put them close to the top of the Eastern Conference by the end of the 2023 regular season.

Austin FC

Transfers In: Brandan Craig, Matt Hedges, Memo Rodríguez

Transfers Out: Diego Fagundez, Moussa Djitté & Amro Tarek

I think for a majority of clubs within MLS I can argue that they got better after this summer transfer window, but the scale of how much better is the real question. I think Austin FC got better, but would I say these moves will bring them back to where they were last season? I don’t think so. Moussa Djitté and Amro Tarek aren’t losses at this point, Djitté already being out on loan and Tarek being out for the majority of the 2023 season due to injury.

But the loss of Diego Fagundez is big. Fagundez’s 2023 season has been a step back from 2022, but there is no doubt that I would call him a club legend in Austin’s short MLS life. Austin and head coach Josh Wolff decided to try and replace Fagundez with another MLS veteran Memo Rodríguez who never truly broke into the scene with the LA Galaxy. Maybe Rodríguez can find his groove again returning to the state of Texas. But the real improvement for Austin FC comes in the form of their center back additions.

With consistent injuries, Austin FC has had to rely upon a rotation of players at center back, including Alex Ring who is a midfielder by trade. Austin FC brought in the reinforcements via an MLS veteran and a youngster with high potential. Austin brought Matt Hedges back to Texas after a half-season stint in Toronto not working out well.

The 33-year-old Hedges brings a ton of experience to the club and will look to fill a much-needed leadership role in the squad. Along with Hedges comes U.S. youth international center back Brandan Craig who arrives on loan from the Philadelphia Union. Craig is coming off of a fantastic U20 World Cup with the U.S. and now needs some consistent club minutes. Austin FC got better, now let’s see if some new center back depth and maybe pushing Alex Ring back into the midfield can help this group return to 2022 glory.

Charlotte FC

Transfers In: Scott Arfield, Brecht Dejaegere & Jere Uronen

Transfers Out: Joseph Mora, Nuno Santos & Andre Shinyashiki

Well, talk about cutting the fat…Charlotte FC’s departures this summer window come in the form of two players who had some alleged off-the-field issues this season. I won’t dive too much into it, but do some searching and you’ll see what I am talking about. But with Nuno Santos and Andre Shinyashiki gone from the club, reinforcements to certain positions have come in. Charlotte also cut ties with veteran left back Joseph Mora as they looked to upgrade his position.

Charlotte had a ton of depth in their midfield, but too many games were being lost there, an upgrade was needed. Well, Charlotte upgraded that midfield by adding global veterans of the game Scott Arfield and Brecht Dejaegere. The 34-year-old Canadian international (Arfield) and 32-year-old Jupiler Pro League veteran (Dejaegere) pair with Ashley Westwood to complete Christian Lattanzio’s new-look midfield.

The club also decided to get a true left back as well after playing Nathan Byrne there for most of the 2023 season. The club signed Finnish international left back Jere Uronen from Stade Brest in Ligue 1. The former Jupiler Pro League champion now provides some defensive stability to the left side of the Charlotte FC backline. With some improved quality, there are some real chances that Charlotte FC has a much better second half of 2023 and push for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago Fire FC

Transfers In: Ousmane Doumbia

Transfers Out: N/A

Not much here for the Chicago Fire after an ugly half of their MLS season. They went back to the sister club well and added a DP on loan from FC Lugano in Switzerland. The addition comes in the form of Ousmane Doumbia who is a 31-year-old defensive midfielder with over 300 professional games under his belt.

Though Doumbia isn’t the sexiest of moves, it is nice to see the club use its sister club connection in Europe in 2023. The former Swiss League Champion joins winger Maren Haile-Selassie as a player on loan from FC Lugano to the Chicago Fire. The Fire got better, but barely.

FC Cincinnati

Transfers In: Aaron Boupendza, Bret Halsey, & Gerardo Valenzuela

Transfers Out: Brenner

MLS-leading FC Cincinnati stayed pretty even at the break, but that is not a bad thing! When you are the best club in MLS by 8 points, staying the course is all you need to do. Cincinnati did take a big blow by losing Brenner to Serie A club Udinese, but the young Brazilian was not happy here in MLS and wanted a move. I think the club did best by everyone and moved on from their young talent.

But, the club needed to replace a lot of goals and did so by bringing in Gabon international striker Aaron Boupendza from Al-Shabab FC. The former Turkish Super Lig Golden Boot winner is a perfect replacement for Brenner and a perfect new partner for USMNT striker Brandon Vazquez. Outside of Boupendza, Cincinnati brought in some wingback depth with Bret Halsey from their MLS Next Pro side and signed a Homegrown midfielder Gerardo Valenzuela.

Colorado Rapids

Transfers In: Andrew Gutman, Rafael Navarro, & Sidnei Tavares

Transfers Out: Bryan Acosta, Michael Barrios, Daniel Chacón & Anthony Markanich

I very much like what Robin Fraser and the Rapids did in this window. The Rapids are a club that is very rarely going to go out and splash big cash for foreign players to join their side. So then how do they stay competitive? Well, you look for value in other MLS rosters and see you “test out talent” before the long-term investment in them. That is what they did in this window.

As I stated earlier in my Atlanta United write-up, Andrew Gutman was turning into an “extra”, and the Rapids took advantage, especially with their hole at the left back position. The Rapids backline now looks very capable and strong with Gutman locking down that left back role. Outside of left back, what did the Rapids need? A true goal-scoring threat. They got their striker via a loan of Rafael Navarro from Palmeiras in Brazil.

The 23-year-old striker got his shot in Colorado after 29 goals scored between his time at Palmeiras and Botafogo in Brazil. The Rapids also took in a long-term loan signing in the case of central midfielder Sidnei Tavares. The 21-year-old Sideni Tavares has had an interesting path to first-team soccer, but the Rapids are hoping that he can find that within MLS.

The former Portuguese youth international made three first-team appearances for Leicester City in England as well as an additional 38 appearances for Porto B in the Portuguese second division. With some serious additions, the Rapids were also able to get rid of some extra midfield talent in Bryan Acosta (sending him to Portland), loaning Costa Rican international defender Daniel Chacón to his home nation, and sending left back Anthony Markanich to expansion side St. Louis City SC.

Columbus Crew

Transfers In: Diego Rossi, Rudy Camacho, Yevhen Cheberko & Julian Gressel

Transfers Out: Lucas Zelarayán, Eloy Room, Miloš Degenek, & Keegan Hughes

The Columbus Crew sold the best player on their roster and got better? Well, maybe. I don’t love the sale of Armenian international Lucas Zelarayán to Saudi Arabian side Al-Fateh FC. The reports around the amount of money received for Zelarayán vary, but with what is being reported I believe the Crew were robbed a bit. The Crew has an MLS-leading 45 goals scored so far this season, Zelarayán has been a huge part of that with 10 goals and seven assists.

The Crew also moved on from two other larger names on their roster by waiving goalkeeper Eloy Room and transferring center back Miloš Degenek to Red Star Belgrade in Serbia. So why did I state the Crew got better in some arguments? First and foremost, Columbus added a former MLS Best XI and MLS Golden Boot-winning forward in winger Diego Rossi. The Crew acquired Rossi from Fenerbahçe in Turkey where he won the Turkish Cup and contributed to 30 goals in 90 games.

The Uruguay international winger knows MLS well, scoring 59 goals and recording 24 assists during his time with LAFC. The Crew also added another player covered in MLS glory, Julian Gressel. The USMNT international is a MLS Cup Champion, Open Cup Champion, 2x Canadian Championship winner, and Campeones Cup Champion all during his time between Atlanta United and the Vancouver Whitecaps.

With 229 MLS games under his belt, Gressel will be an amazing addition and a creative force, especially with Zelarayán leaving the club. Columbus also added some much-needed center back depth by acquiring veteran Rudy Camacho from CF Montreal and Ukraine international Yevgen Cheberko from NK Osijek.

D.C. United

Transfers In: Gabriel Pirani, Éric Davis, José Fajardo & Luis Zamudio

Transfers Out: Taxiarchis Fountas, Lewis O'Brien & Victor Pálsson

D.C. United are pushing for a playoff spot for sure after this window. The roster got better, but did it get into the playoffs level? I’m torn on it. If anything, D.C. has a low-end playoff spot for the 2023 season after all of these moves, but let’s go through it. First off, the club lost a great midfielder in Lewis O’Brien who I thought played very well for them during his 6-month loan stretch at the nation’s capital.

The club also moved on from Victor Pálsson, sending him back to Europe and the Belgian top division. There were no true like-for-like additions for the club’s two departures but there were additions at every level. First, the club returned in-house goalkeeper Luis Zamudio who was on loan for a few months with Pittsburgh in the USL Championship.

Then Rooney brought in two Panamanian international veterans in fullback Éric Davis and striker José Fajardo. Though Davis is most likely closer to a starting player than Fajardo, I expect both to get some quality minutes within this squad. Davis is coming off of a long career within the Slovakian top division while Fajardo is joining D.C. from the Panamanian top division. Davis should factor into the wingback roles under Rooney where we have seen consistent rotation between Pedro Santos, Ruan, Gaousso Samake, Jacob Greene, Andy Najar, Mohanad Jeahze, and a few others.

I do expect Fajardo to fight for striker minutes as well behind Christian Benteke. With Taxi Fountas' contract being terminated, Fajardo along with a few others should expect to get some minutes up top behind the former Belgian international striker. I do think D.C. got better, but the real test to see how things will fall will be the production of their new attacking midfielder, Gabriel Pirani.

The 21-year-old Brazilian joins D.C. on loan for the rest of the 2023 season from Brazilian side Santos FC. Pirani has the profile of others before him who have succeeded within MLS, and if he lives up to that, well then D.C. could have a fun attack to watch for the rest of this season.

FC Dallas

Transfers In: Asier Illarramendi, Eugene Ansah, Liam Fraser & Dante Sealy

Transfers Out: Justin Che & Edwin Cerrillo

If we want to talk about a club that improved, Dallas has to be in the conversation. They sold Justin Che to Bröndby IF, getting more cash for their youth development. Typical FC Dallas stuff there. But Dallas also are returning a youth product of their own in Dante Sealy who heads back to Frisco after a loan stint with PSV’s U21 side. Sealy is also joined by winger Eugene Ansah as an addition to that attacking line for Dallas.

Ansah is a 28-year-old winger who has won a ton in his career with trophies in his cabinet from his time in Belgium and Israel. The Ghanaian-born attacker has scored over 50 goals in his career and now looks to bring that to Dallas’s core of Paul Arriola, Alan Velasco, Jadier Obrian, and company.

Lastly, FC Dallas brought in some leadership to their squad. The club signed UEFA Champions League winner, Club World Cup winner, UEFA Super Cup Champion, 2x Copa del Rey Champion, and Segunda Division Champion Asier Illarramendi as a free agent.

The former Spanish international midfielder has played in 343 games between Real Madrid and Real Sociedad in his career. Illarramendi replaces Homegrown defensive midfielder Edwin Cerrillo that the club transferred to the LA Galaxy this window. For an additional boost in the midfield, Dallas was able to bring back to MLS the Canadian international, Liam Fraser. Fraser has been playing his soccer as of late in the Belgium 2nd division. Though the moves didn’t come in bunches for Dallas, an improvement at the defensive midfield spot and added reinforcements in the attack make Dallas look like a tough playoff team once again in 2023.

Houston Dynamo FC

Transfers In: Nelson Quiñónes & Sebastian Kowalczyk

Transfers Out: Sebastián Ferreira, Juan Castilla & Djevencio van der Kust

Houston has been much improved in 2023 under Ben Olsen. Olsen is cleaning house a bit from the old regime, this window loaning out Sebastián Ferreira to Vasco da Gama as well as selling Juan Castilla to Deportivo Cali. The club also had the loan deal for Djevencio van der Kust end as the club began to have too many left back options.

The club improved their attacking depth with a new backup attacking midfielder option to Amine Bassi in former Polish youth international Sebastian Kowalczyk. Kowalczyk also becomes an option out wide as he can play out on the wings for Olsen’s side. But also adding to the winger options, Houston used their purchase option on Nelson Quiñónes who they previously had on loan. The 20-year-old Quiñónes has 2 goals and 3 assists across all competitions so far this season. Houston continues to improve under their new leadership but will need to continue down this path to truly compete with the top of MLS.

Sporting Kansas City

Transfers In: Felipe Gutiérrez

Transfers Out: N/A

Sporting Kansas City and Peter Vermes didn’t do much this summer window. Did they get better? Sure. Did they get much better? Not even close. But good for Sporting Kansas City for signing Felipe Gutiérrez back for another few months.

Los Angeles FC

Transfers In: Mario González, Cristian Olivera, Filip Krastev, Eddie Segura, Mamadou Fall & Bajung Darboe

Transfers Out: Kwadwo Opoku & José Cifuentes

LAFC has reloaded for another MLS Cup run out of the Western Conference. The club had two major losses in winger Kwadwo Opoku who they transferred to CF Montreal as well as selling star midfielder José Cifuentes to Rangers in the Scottish Premier League. How did LAFC improve and set themselves up for another MLS Cup run?

Well to start, they went out and brought back center backs Eddie Segura from free agency as well as Mamadou Fall after his loan ended in Spain. Segura and Fall are major reinforcements to the backline adding to the center backs on the roster of Aaron Long, Denil Maldonado, and Georgio Chiellini. Outside of the defensive signings, LAFC brought in a new central midfielder Filip Krastev as a midfield depth piece behind Timothy Tillman, Kellyn Acosta, and Ilie Sanchez.

Finally, LAFC got their much-needed true striker. The reigning MLS Cup champions signed striker Mario González from Braga in the Portuguese top division. The 27-year-old is coming off of a 15 goals season on loan in Belgium last season. Adding to the attack, LAFC signed U22 Initiative winger Cristian Olivera from La Liga side UD Almería. The former Uruguay youth international had a very good career playing within Uruguay but was only able to make 4 appearances for UD Almería. LAFC even with some big losses is ready to take on the rest of MLS and look to be the first team in a while to win back-to-back MLS Cups.

Los Angeles Galaxy

Transfers In: Maya Yoshida, Diego Fagundez, Edwin Cerrillo, Michael Barrios, Tony Alfaro & Billy Sharp

Transfers Out: Séga Coulibaly & Memo Rodríguez

Let’s jump to the other side of Los Angeles, to the Galaxy. The Galaxy waived center back Séga Coulibaly after some long-term injuries as well as traded away winger Memo Rodríguez to Austin FC. To replace those two and deal with long-term injuries facing them in 2023, the Galaxy added a ton more talent. At center back, Greg Vanney brought in long-time Japanese international center back Maya Yoshida as a free agent.

The 34-year-old has played at some large clubs globally such as Southampton, Schalke, Sampadoria, VVV Venlo, & Nagoya Grampus. Coming in along with Yoshida at center back is MLS veteran Tony Alfaro coming over from NYCFC. To add some talent on the wing, the Galaxy brought in two more MLS veterans in the form of Diego Fagundez from Austin FC as well as Michael Barrios from the Colorado Rapids.

Vanney and the Galaxy see Fagundez and Barrios as upgrades or major depth pieces on the wing joining Tyler Boyd and Douglas Costa. Another move to try and overcome a long-term injury was bringing in Edwin Cerrillo from FC Dallas. The Galaxy lost stud defensive midfielder Gaston Brugman for a few months and there was a glaring hole to fill. The Galaxy moved quickly and were able to grab an inter-MLS commodity in Cerrillo who has shown some flashes of being a capable midfielder in this league. Another unfortunate injury the Galaxy has been dealing with in 2023 has been the loss of Javier Hernandez. With the former Mexican international striker on the shelf, the club seemingly got a 6-month fill-in replacement in the longtime English Championship striker Billy Sharp. I like seeing the Galaxy go out and try to overcome the issues that they are facing in 2023, but is it enough to compete for a trophy? I’m not sold on that front.

Inter Miami CF

Transfers In: Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Facundo Farías, Diego Gómez, & Tomás Avilés

Transfers Out: Rodolfo Pizarro & Nick Marsman

I mean without a doubt the best summer transfer window goes to Inter Miami CF. Inter Miami went out and signed the greatest soccer player to ever grace a field, Lionel Messi. This move, outside of being fantastic off the field, ups the level of Inter Miami CF out of the basement of MLS. Along with Messi, Miami went out and signed legendary defensive midfielder Sergio Busquets and legendary left back Jordi Alba.

Bringing in three of the greatest players ever at their respective positions makes Miami the highlight of Major League Soccer right away. Outside of those three, Inter Miami signed three U22 Initiative players; attacking midfielder Facundo Farías, central midfielder Diego Gómez, and center back Tomás Avilés. With this whole new crop of talent coming into Inter Miami, some losses had to come. There is only one major loss, Rodolfo Pizarro who they waived. Miami got amazingly better this summer, let’s just hope that the deficit isn’t too big for them to overcome for a playoff run.

Minnesota United FC

Transfers In: Teemu Pukki, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Ethan Bristow, Emmanuel Iwe & Ján Gregus

Transfers Out: Luis Amarilla & Kemar Lawrence

If Inter Miami and LAFC didn’t have their summer windows, I’d argue that Minnesota United had one of the best in MLS. The Loons sold DP striker Luis Amarilla to Mazatlán FC in Liga MX and replaced him with a new DP striker in Teemu Pukki. The 33-year-old Pukki comes over after a long tenure with English club Norwich City.

The Finnish international has over 200 career goals scored and now looks to be the striker that Adrian Heath has been looking for since taking over at Minnesota. Outside of adding Pukki to the attack, Minnesota added former MLS Cup Champion winger Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Homegrown winger Emmanuel Iwe. The attack has improved after this summer window, and there is no doubt that I feel Minnesota will be heavily involved in the top of the Western Conference playoff picture because of this.

With long-term injuries to Kervin Arriaga and Robin Lod, Minnesota brought back Ján Gregus from Nashville SC to eat up some minutes. Finally, Adrian Heath added some left back depth from his home country in Ethan Bristow who last played in the English League Two. The need for Bristow has increased as the club and Kemar Lawrence mutually terminated the Jamaican international’s contract. Minnesota United is going to be competitive and a lot of that falls on the shoulders of Teemu Pukki.

CF Montreal

Transfers In: Kwadwo Opoku & Fernando Álvarez

Transfers Out: Rudy Camacho

CF Montréal continues its youth movement. The club sent away one of their oldest players and a league veteran Rudy Camacho to the Columbus Crew. To replace the veteran leader at center back, Montréal decided to sign a 19-year-old center back from Pachuca in Liga MX. The teenage center back was born in New York City and has represented both Mexico and Colombia at the youth levels.

The major signing this window comes in the form of forward Kwadwo Opoku from LAFC. Opoku has proven himself to be a clear starting forward within MLS during his time for LAFC. Now, the youngster heads to Montréal to pair up with other young additions in recent transfer windows like Bryce Duke and George Campbell. Montréal continues to operate as they have in recent seasons. They are putting themselves in a prime position to sell a few league stars in a few years.

Nashville SC

Transfers In: Sam Surridge, Laurence Wyke & Adem Sipić

Transfers Out: Ján Gregus & Tyler Freeman

I mean look I have to start with it. Nashville finally did it… they spent some money and got Hany Mukhtar a DP striker to play with. Well, they did do that at one point… but we don’t talk about the Aké Loba failure. Mukhtar now gets to play with 25-year-old striker Sam Surridge who Nashville brought in from Nottingham Forest in the English Premier League.

Surridge has scored at the highest levels in England, last season in the Premier League once but before that scoring in bunches in the English Championship. He seems like a perfect pairing for Hany and signing for the club. Outside of Surridge, the club didn’t do a ton. The club got Laurence Wyke back after his loan in the USL Championship ended, signed a Homegrown striker in Adem Sipić, and moved Ján Gregus back to Minnesota United. Nashville has a solid roster and the one missing piece always seemed like a DP striker, now we just have to wait and see if Surridge can be the man.

New England Revolution

Transfers In: Tomás Chancalay, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Ian Harkes, Ryan Spaulding & Peyton Miller

Transfers Out: Latif Blessing & Jozy Altidore

Things are a bit hectic right now for the Revolution with the future of head coach Bruce Arena in potential flux. But on the field, the Revolution is loading up for a run at the top of the Eastern Conference. If there was any club that I felt competed with FC Cincinnati during the first half of the 2023 season, it was New England.

With winger Dylan Borrero out for the rest of 2023, the Revs brought on Tomás Chancalay on loan for the rest of 2023. Outside of bringing in a starting caliber winger, the Revs upgraded in the midfield by adding Mark-Anthony Kaye and Ian Harkes to replace the now Toronto FC midfielder Latif Blessing. Along with Ryan Spaulding returning from his few-month loan from the USL Championship and signing a Homegrown midfielder in Peyton Miller, the Revolution are ready to compete.

Pairing these new signings with a core of Carles Gil, Gustavo Bou, Matt Polster, DeJuan Jones, Brandon Bye, and company… the Revolution is one of the few teams I can confidently say is primed to win MLS Cup.

New York City FC

Transfers In: Mounsef Bakrar, Birk Risa, Andrés Perea, Julián Fernández, Alonso Martínez, Drew Baiera & Maxi Moralez

Transfers Out: Taty Castellanos, Gabriel Pereira, & Tony Alfaro

If we are talking about clubs who have made major changes this window, NYCFC has to be close to the top of that list. The Cityzens officially sold striker Taty Castellanos to Lazio in the Serie A for roughly $15m. The club also lost a key attacking player in Gabriel Pereira who was sold to the Stars League in Qatar for a reported $10m fee.

These two major sales have NYCFC in a decent financial situation after this window but the club did spend some cash as well. First, the club brought in a much-needed true striker Mounsef Bakrar on a U22 Initiative deal from the Croatian top division. Adding to the attack are Julián Fernández and Alonso Martínez who come in to replace the now gone Pereira. The 19-year-old Fernández joins on a reported $5m deal from Vélez Sarsfield. The young talent is a current Argentine youth international and has racked up 60 games in his young career for Vélez Sarsfield.

Martínez is a 24-year-old Costa Rican international who arrives from fellow City Football Group club Lommel S.K. These three players should hopefully give NYCFC a more dangerous attacking heading into the second half of the 2023 MLS season.

The club also bolstered its midfield by bringing back club legend Maxi Moralez who was a free agent as well as adding USMNT midfielder Andrés Perea on loan from the Philadelphia Union for the rest of the season. Moralez re-joins NYCFC after a stint at Racing Club down in Argentina. Moralez won an MLS Cup and a Campeones Cup with NYCFC during his 6 season stint in New York. In 194 career games with NYCFC, Moralez scored 35 goals and had 78 assists, being a key piece to the long-term success. I fully expect Moralez to bring leadership and stability back to the club. The other addition in Perea should be a useful bench option behind Keaton Parks and James Sands.

The backline also received an added boost with left-footed center back Birk Risa arriving at the club. Since the departure of Alexander Callens, the club has needed a left-footed center back on the roster. NYCFC should have gotten better this window, but I am not sold that results will come under this current season.

New York Red Bulls

Transfers In: Juan José Mina & Jorge Cabezas Hurtado

Transfers Out: Cristian Cásseres Jr.

The New York Red Bulls had a very traditional New York Red Bulls transfer window. A few seasons ago the Red Bulls brought in a young and talented Cristian Cásseres Jr. Now in this window, New York was able to sell Cásseres Jr. in a multi-million dollar deal to France’s Ligue 1. Now, the Red Bulls are going to attempt to do that again with their two young signings of right-back Juan José Mina and striker Jorge Cabezas Hurtado.

Mina is a 19-year-old Colombian youth international who is the younger brother of English Premier League veteran Yerry Mina. Jorge Cabezas Hurtado is another 19-year-old Colombian that is going to arrive on loan from the English Premier League and Watford FC. These two moves are two for the future as the Red Bulls youth train continues to churn on.

Orlando City SC

Transfers In: Júnior Urso, Iván Angulo, Javier Otero

Transfers Out: N/A

Orlando City made some moves to lock a solid roster down for a second-half season run. Pareja and company were able to extend the loan of winger Iván Angulo for the remainder of 2023. Angulo has been a great player for the Lions as he has scored 3 goals and added another 5 assists. Outside of Angulo, Orlando City brought back a familiar face in Júnior Urso who the club sold back to Brazil during the winter.

Urso returns to the club where he made 100 appearances and won a U.S. Open Cup title. With Angulo bolstering the attack, Urso bolstering the midfield, and one for the future signing of goalkeeper Javier Otero, Orlando City look to be in a decent spot to remain competitive.

Philadelphia Union

Transfers In: Olwethu Makhanya & Tai Baribo

Transfers Out: Brandan Craig & Andrés Perea

Jim Curtin knows how to work a transfer window. Honestly, there are not many cases in MLS of coaches and front offices that can seemingly handle a window perfectly most times. The Union had themselves some log jams in minutes for center back and within the midfield. But the club doesn’t want to lose Brandan Craig and Andrés Perea in the long term, so what do they do? They loan them both inside of MLS to continue to get top minutes and develop.

The club then goes out and signs another youth center back, this time from South Africa that I can see getting a deep run in MLS Next Pro for the Union 2. The Union also know that most likely they will be losing Julian Carranza after the 2023 season, so they grab another potentially great MLS striker in Tai Baribo. The 25-year-old Israel international has 60 goals scored in his career between the Israeli and Austrian top divisions. With a plethora of talent at all levels, the Union looks primed again to make a run at silverware this season.

Portland Timbers

Transfers In: Antony, Miguel Araujo & Bryan Acosta

Transfers Out: Pablo Bonilla

The Timbers have had their struggles in 2023. Season-long injuries to Eryk Williamson and David Ayala have forced some major changes for the club this year. To help bolster that midfield, Savarese brought in MLS veteran Bryan Acosta from the Rapids. Acosta has proven he can be a spot starter in MLS, but someone the Timbers want to see getting minutes off the bench. The club was also able to bolster the backline that we’ve seen get a bit older in recent years.

The Timbers signed Peruvian international center back Miguel Araujo from FC Emmen where he found a ton of success. He now comes to MLS where I can see him being a starting center back pairing with Zac McGraw in the present and future. Outside of some midfield depth and a potentially new center back, the Timbers added another young talented winger to their roster.

21-year-old winger Antony joins the Timbers from the Portuguese top division where he had 8 goals and 3 assists. Antony joins Santiago Moreno as a future pote