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Where does Charlotte FC stand in the Eastern Conference a month into the transfer window?

By Brian Maurer


Photo courtesy of CJ Hellner


Charlotte FC has yet to make any major signings this transfer window. So far they have promoted two Crown Legacy FC players to the first team and signed a veteran depth piece at goalkeeper. These signings are a far cry from what General Manager Zoran Krneta and Head Scout Thomas Schaling told media they were targeting this window. 


While The Crown has yet to make their moves several other teams in the Eastern Conference have made big signings looking to push themselves up the standings in 2024. Here is a look at the rosters of the teams who ranked 7-14 in the Eastern Conference in 2023 to get a sense of how their rosters have improved on paper with new signings, while Charlotte continues to stagnate.


7. Nashville SC

  • New signings: Tyler Boyd, Dru Yearwood, McKinze Gaines


Nashville SC has focused their offseason on upgrading their attack. They signed striker Sam Surridge last summer as a Designated Player (DP). This winter they traded for wingers Tyler Boyd and McKinze Gaines. Boyd is their big pick up this offseason as he cost them a decent chunk of GAM. Throw in additional midfield competition in Dru Yearwood and Nashville SC seems off to a decent start with providing Hany Mukhtar the supporting cast he needs.


They could still search for some depth pieces and an upgrade here or there, but with their three DPs set and signed, plus Yearwood being added as their lone U-22 Initiative, they are locked in with their big transfers and contracts. This roster looks good enough on paper to at least maintain their position, a rather safe prediction as they have yet to miss the playoffs since their expansion.


8. RBNY

  • New signings: Emil Forsberg, Noah Eile


RBNY has made two quality signings so far and opened up a DP slot to potentially sign a new center-forward. Emil Forsberg is a quality veteran DP added to the team’s attacking midfield. If Lewis Morgan returns fit and healthy that looks like a potentially dangerous attacking duo in MLS. It will all come down to who the strikers are that they are playing behind. Noah Eile provides additional competition as a center-back in a backline group that on paper looks capable of maintaining one of the better defenses in the Eastern Conference. 


The Red Bulls look improved with the new signings already on the roster. If they add a DP nine who fits well into their new head coach’s system they could have a quality attack to compliment their defensive unit. This would likely put them in a spot to compete higher up the standings. Health and depth do look like a potential issue with this squad. A John Tolkin sale would also alter things.


10. CF Montréal

  • New signings: Matías Cóccaro, Dominik Yankov, Joaquín Sosa, Ruan, Raheem Edwards, Sebastian Breza


CF Montréal has worked to fill several of the gaping holes in their roster. They struggled defensively last year, especially on the road, and lost 17 games in total. So far they have added multiple pieces to their defense (Sosa, Ruan, Edwards, and Breza) and a couple of transfers to their attack (Cóccaro and Yankov). Edwards and Ruan are both MLS veterans and should provide more depth to the both wingback positions. Sosa should be involved as one of the center-backs while on loan.


Cóccaro and Yankov are interesting signings for the attack. Both are reportedly $2 million transfer fees and should be immediate starters playing with Kwadwo Opoku, who was signed to an extension. It will be interesting to see how Bryce Duke fits into this system with the new attacking additions.


Montréal looks to have addressed several of the issues plaguing their team last season. They also signed a new head coach who looks like a better fit than Hernán Losada. It will be a waiting game to see how long it takes for all the new additions to fit together. With a new coach and system, this likely won’t happen overnight, but they have added some interesting new pieces, and they were only a stoppage-time goal away from the play-in game. There doesn’t need to be too much of a point bump for this squad to climb into the playoff picture.


11. NYCFC

  • New signings: Hannes Wolf, Andrés Perea


NYCFC has made two signings so far. Wolf should provide quality minutes in the attack and Perea will at the least be a depth piece competing for minutes in the midfield. NYCFC always seems to have major transfer rumors swirling around them so they are likely not done yet. Several more pieces are needed to improve this squad, especially if Talles Magno were to be sold, but it’s difficult to count out NYCFC making those deals being a part of City Football Group.


12. DC United

  • New signings: Aaron Herrera, Jared Stroud, Lucas Bartlett


DC United looks like they are in full rebuild mode and have started to accrue some depth pieces and MLS-experienced contributors to help strengthen the foundational pieces already in place. It’s hard to predict how much of an improvement they will have as there are likely a bunch of roster moves still to be made, but they do also have a couple of quality DPs in Christian Benteke and Mateusz Klich. 


13. Chicago Fire

  • New signings: Andrew Gutman, Tobias Salquist, Allan Arigoni

Chicago has spent their resources rebuilding their defensive unit so far. Gutman should be a welcome addition on both ends of the pitch. If they get the Kellyn Acosta signing over the line their core group and defense will look much improved on paper. The question continues to be whether they can get the right DP striker to come in and connect with the talented young attacking midfielder Brian Gutierrez playing underneath. The Fire lacks some serious depth but if they can get their attacking signings right (big if) they could be on a track towards climbing a bit in the standings.


There are still several questions surrounding this team and while many of the defensive pieces look like improvements it will be a wait-and-see situation to know if their moves are enough. They likely could face one of the same issues they had last year which was an inability to score enough goals.


14. Inter Miami

  • New signings: Luis Suárez, Julian Gressel, Nicolás Freire


Inter Miami’s roster on paper looks outrageous right now. The Suárez signing increases their roster to four former Barcelona players. The Gressel move is also a big-time move and should set the attack up with his signature right foot from both the midfield and the wing. Freire looks like a locked-in starter at center-back as well. 


Miami has improved its roster with three new starting-level upgrades to a roster that was wildly improved last summer. If the legs can hold up for this team (the preseason tour is already taking a toll) then they should see a big-time boost in the standings in 2024.


Where this leaves Charlotte


Several of the teams near Charlotte FC in the standings have made upgrades to their rosters. Several others also already have open DP spots that they can fill if the right transfer gets made. Charlotte currently has not made any major additions to their roster and they have also yet to move any DPs off the books to open the space necessary to make upgrades.


With a limited amount of roster flexibility as of now, and the amount of teams in the Eastern Conference making big upgrade signings, it looks like newly hired Dean Smith has his work cut out for him to start the 2024 campaign. There is still plenty of time for transfers to come in, but the nerves will start to creep in amongst the fans the longer preseason goes without any news.


The next day or two will be especially telling since many European transfer windows are closing which would limit the options Charlotte has to cut ties with current DPs (by the looks of it Kamil Jóźwiak is most likely) to allow more room for high-caliber signings.


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