By DAN KARELL
From Clint Dempsey’s move to the Seattle Sounders to Gabriel Torres’ last-minute move to the Colorado Rapids, the Major League Soccer summer transfer window saw plenty of movement in both directions.
Nearly every team was involved in signing or trading for a player between July 9 and August 8, with D.C. United, Chivas USA, and Toronto FC acquiring four players each, the highest totals in the league.
Along with Dempsey, a number of American’s playing abroad returned home, including Carlos Bocanegra, Charlie Davies, Clarence Goodson, Conor Doyle, and Jared Jeffrey, the latter two making their MLS debut’s this summer with D.C. United. And while Americans begin to stream back, plenty more South American talent has flowed into the tributaries of North America, such as Mauro Diaz and Hernan Bernardello of Argentina and Juan Luis Anongono of Ecuador.
Here’s a closer look at each MLS team’s transfer work this summer:
Acquired: F Juan Luis Anangonó (Argentinos Juniors), D Shaun Francis (Charlotte Eagles), M Egidio Arevalo (Loan from Palermo/Pending)
Departed: M Alvaro Fernandez (loan to Nacional of Uruguay)
Outlook: The Fire struck gold with the acquisition of Mike Magee from the LA Galaxy for the rights to Robbie Rogers, and they’ll be hoping they’ve hit the jackpot again with the double designated player signings during the summer transfer window. Juan Luis Anangono made his debut for the club on August 10, starting and played 76 minutes, while Arevalo is waiting to be officially introduced, pending an open international roster spot and designated player spot. Anangono has been capped just once for the Ecuadorian national team but Arevalo is a regular for Uruguay, and featured at the Confederations Cup this summer. Alvaro Fernandez was already on-loan in Qatar, but he ended that loan in favor of a new one back in his home nation of Uruguay.
Acquired: D Carlos Bocanegra (free), F Caleb Calvert (homegrown player), F Erick Torres (Chivas) Jaime Frias (Chivas)
Departed: Walter Vilchez (released)
Outlook: At one point early in the season, Chivas USA were atop the Western Conference. Since late March however, the club has won just one game and sit in the conference basement. The club management is certainly hoping that Carlos Bocanegra can help shore up a very shaky defense, and that Erick “Cubo” Torres can add a spark up front, which has already been seen in some early performances. Unfortunately for Bocanegra, he has already had to serve a red card suspension after just three games with Chivas.
Acquired: F Vicente Sanchez (Nacional of Uruguay), F Gabriel Torres (San Francisco FC).
Departed: F Kevin Harbottle (released)
Outlook: Outside of Real Salt Lake, there hasn’t been a much bigger surprise this season than the Colorado Rapids. A team beset by injuries at the start of the season has a nearly healthy squad more than halfway through, and now has a couple of legitimate strikers to lead the team through the Western Conference playoffs. Gabriel Torres had a terrific 2012 Gold Cup tournament, and Sanchez should provide a veteran presence up front for a player like Deshorn Brown to learn from.
Outlook: Despite Eddie Gaven and Glauber both suffering season-ending knee injuries, the Columbus Crew front office decided against bringing in any new players, instead sticking with some of the young players signed in the offseason like Wil Trapp and Chad Barson to fill in. Trapp has started five straight games and Barson has started nine of 11 games played this season.
Acquired: M Jared Jeffrey (free), F Conor Doyle (loan from Derby County), F Luis Silva (trade with Toronto FC), M Collin Martin (homegrown player)
Departed: D/M Alain Rochat (BSC Young Boys), D Brandon McDonald (trade with RSL)
Outlook: D.C. United’s summer transfer movement seems to point towards a team that understands that this season hasn’t turned out as planned, and they are too far out to turn things around. Instead of going for any big money signings, the U.S. capital club went after young American talent, bringing in Jared Jeffrey (23) from Mainz on a free transfer, Conor Doyle (21), and Luis Silva (24) from TFC, and signing Collin Martin (18) to a professional contract after one season at Wake Forest. D.C. United also let Alain Rochat leave to return to his home in Switzerland, and traded Brandon McDonald after a disappointing season.
Acquired: F Erick (free), M Mauro Diaz (River Plate)
Departed: GK Richard Sanchez (loan to Fort Lauderdale Strikers)
Outlook: With a roster that’s already one of the best in the Western Conference, FC Dallas wasn’t in dire straights to make any kind of big moves. However, the signing of Mauro Diaz, a former River Plate starter and member of Argentina’s youth national teams should help add more to an attack that already features David Ferreira, Fabian Castillo, and Blas Perez. Erick, a defensive midfielder by trade, should provide depth but it seems that he is still a ways away in terms of fitness. Sanchez was not going to see the field this season barring an injury, which made his loan opportunity available.
Acquired: M Alexander Lopez (Olimpia)
Outlook: The Houston Dynamo have struggled to score this season, and they’ll hope that Alexander Lopez’s signing as a young DP can help spark the attack. Giles Barnes and Will Bruin have failed to live up to expectations, but midfielder Oscar Boniek Garcia has spoken highly of his countryman and believes that he can make a difference.
Acquired: M Laurent Courtois (free), GK Jaime Penedo (free)
Departed: D Bryan Gaul (loan to Fort Lauderdale Strikers), M Kenney Walker (loan to Fort Lauderdale Strikers)
Outlook: Bruce Arena isn’t one to mince words, and has had plenty of criticism on goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini in his first season in MLS. For this, the LA Galaxy have acquired Panamanian national team goalkeeper Jaime Penedo to either take over for Cudicini or at least provide some more competition. Picking up Laurent Courtois from rivals Chivas USA after he was released is just another slap in the face to the club who shares a home with the Galaxy at the StubHub Center. Bryan Gaul and Kenney Walker both will gain experience playing regularly in NASL.
Acquired: M Hernan Bernardello (free), D Adrian Lopez (free), M Paolo DelPiccolo (MLS Draft)
Departed: M Callum Mallace (loan to Minnesota United), M Sinisa Ubiparipovic (loan to Minnesota United)
Outlook: The Montreal Impact have been sliding down the Eastern Conference table recently as age apparently begins to catch up with the team. With two games in hand over the top three teams in the conference at the moment, as well as CONCACAF Champions League games this fall, the Impact have brought in some more depth and talent to shore up the roster with a lot of games coming up in the next three months. Hernan Bernardello, a designated player, is a big coup for them, while Adrian Lopez and Paolo DelPiccolo could see time in the midweek Champions League games. Callum Mallace and Sinisa Ubiparipovic were outside of manager Marco Schallibaum’s plans so better for the club that they can open up two roster spots, which have been taken by Bernardello and Lopez.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
Acquired: F Charlie Davies (loan from Randers FC)
Departed: M Kalifa Cisse (released)
Outlook: With forward Juan Agudelo signing a pre-contract agreement to move to Stoke City in January, the New England Revolution completed a great piece of business just ahead of the end of the transfer window, signing Charlie Davies on-loan from Randers FC in Denmark. The deal is win-win for the club, combining two U.S. Men’s National Team pool players together and bringing Davies back to an area where he attended college (Boston College) and began his rise to fame. Cisse’s contract, an albatross on the roster considering his lack of regular playing time, was terminated to create room for Davies. If Davies is successful, the Revolution can sign him in January when Davies leaves.
NEW YORK RED BULLS
Acquired: D Ibrahim Sekagya (free), F Bradley Wright-Phillips (free), D/M David Carney (free)
Departed: D Digão (released)
Outlook: The New York Red Bulls were one of the busier teams in the summer transfer, acquiring three foreigners to add to their already internationally-packed squad. Ibrahim Sekagya joined the team this summer from Red Bull Salzburg, and has provided depth in central defense, though he was counted on as a defensive midfielder against the Columbus Crew last week and failed to impress. Both Bradley Wright-Phillips and David Carney have yet to receive their P-1 Visas but will be asked to provide something different along the wings. Wright-Phillips has game-changing speed, while Carney is a highly experienced Australian international who has struggled to overcome injury problems recently. The open roster places of Juninho and Digao have been filled by Wright-Phillips and Carney.
Acquired: GK Oka Nikolov (free), D Fabinho (free), M Gilberto (free)
Outlook: The Philadelphia Union front office chose not to make any marquee signings, instead bringing in solid role players to help the squad as the season heads towards its close. Oka Nikolov joins after 19 seasons with Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany and despite his age (39-years-old) he’s expected to push Zac MacMath in goal for playing time. Fabinho has already stepped into a wing back position, making his first start on August 10 against D.C. United. Gilberto has been touted by Union head coach John Hackworth as one for the future.
Acquired: D Alvas Powell (loan from Portmore United)
Departed: M Michael Nanchoff (loan to Jönköpings Södra)
Outlook: Having dealt with numerous season-ending injuries to defenders this season, the Portland Timbers used the summer transfer window to bring in one of the brightest stars in CONCACAF, 19-year-old defender Alvas Powell of Jamaica. Already a regular for the Jamaican national team, the Timbers acquired him on loan with an option to buy in the winter. The loan for Michael Nanchoff was to give him some more playing time, as the packed Timbers midfield hasn’t been kind to many of the reserves this season.
REAL SALT LAKE
Acquired: D Brandon McDonald (trade with D.C. United), F Benji Lopez (homegrown player)
Departed: Enzo Martinez (loan to Carolina RailHawks)
Outlook: Like the Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake has suffered a number of serious injury blows to their defensive line, and bringing in a veteran MLS player such as Brandon McDonald became a priority during the month of July. Chris Schuler and Carlos Salcedo are making their way back to fitness, but RSL will be without Kwame Watson-Siriboe for the season. In addition, like Salcedo this spring, the signing of Benji Lopez could turn into something big for RSL, especially with Lopez getting to learn from Alvaro Saborio. Enzo Martinez was returned to the Carolina RailHawks after a successful spring season.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Acquired: D Clarence Goodson (Free), D Jordan Stewart (free), M Jaime Alas (loan from Rosenborg)
Outlook: They’ve shown flashes of what made them last season’s Supporters Shield winners, but the San Jose Earthquakes were in need of improvements this summer due to poor form this season. With Mark Watson as an interim head coach, the club made a big move to bring in Clarence Goodson to partner with Victory Bernardez, strengthinging their defensive line. The Earthquakes also brought in some depth with veteran English defender Jordan Stewart, as well as young midfielder Jaime Alas of El Salvador, who wasn’t seeing the field in Norway with Rosenborg, the same club as USMNT talent Mix Diskerud.
Acquired: F Clint Dempsey (Tottenham), GK Andrew Weber (loan from Phoenix FC)
Departed: M Mario Martinez (loan from Real España finished), F Fredy Montero (loaned to Sporting CP), F Sammy Ochoa (waived)
Outlook: The Seattle Sounders were arguably the biggest winners in the MLS summer transfer window, bringing in the best USMNT player playing abroad at the time. Clint Dempsey’s return to MLS was marked by a first-half substitute appearance last Saturday in a 2-1 victory in Toronto, and when he makes his home debut later this month against the Portland Timbers, 67,000 are expected to see him play, and likely start. Weber joined the team after injuries to all three goalkeepers on the roster. The team will miss Mario Martinez, a talented young Honduran player, while Sammy Ochoa was surplus to requirements and Fredy Montero, finished with his loan in Colombia, decided to pursue a career in Europe with Sporting Lisbon in Portugal.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Acquired: M Jimmy Medranda (loan from Deportivo Pereira), D Brendan Ruiz (Figueirense), D Erik Palmer-Brown (homegrown player)
Departed: D Kevin Ellis (loan to Orlando City SC)
Outlook: It looked as if Sporting Kansas City, currently competing for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, were on the verge of signing Honduras international Jorge Claros. However, unable to close the deal out, the club decided on bringing in three players for the future. The club signed 19-year-old Jimmy Medranda on loan from Deportivo Pereira in Colombia, 20-year-old American Brendan Ruiz from Figueirense’s U-20 side in Brazil, and Erik Palmer-Brown from the Sporting KC academy. Meanwhile, Sporting KC has continued its relationship with Orlando City SC in the USL, loaning Kevin Ellis and at times C.J. Sapong to the club this summer after recalling Dom Dwyer from a successful spell.
Acquired: D Mark Bloom (loan from Atlanta Silverbacks), M Alvaro Rey (Xerez), D Jonas Elmer (FC Winterthur), M Manny Aparicio (homegrown player)
Departed: M Luis Silva (traded to D.C. United), D Danny Califf (retired), Darren O’Dea (Metalist Kharkiv)
Outlook: The Toronto FC lineup has been in a state of flux all season long, and the summer proved no different. The club has waived eight players since the season started, and had to dump their captain, Darren O’Dea, due to a large contract that the club couldn’t afford to keep. Add to that the fact that they were reportedly close to signing Diego Forlan and the play of Luis Silva since his move to D.C. United and it hasn’t been the best summer of moves for the club. However, time will tell whether Alvaro Rey, Jonas Elmer, and Mark Bloom can contribute immediately to the struggling club. Rey in particular has looked bright in his first few games. Califf’s retirement hurts but he was certainly frustrated with Ryan Nelsen’s plan as head coach of TFC.
Acquired: GK David Ousted (Randers)
Departed: F Caleb Clark (loan to FC Augsburg), F Corey Hertzog (loaned to FC Edmonton)
Outlook: The Vancouver Whitecaps have been one of the hottest teams since June, and a big part of that had been the play of goalkeeper Brad Knighton, who started the season on the bench. However, the club signed another goalkeeper to compete against him, and in David Ousted’s first start of the season last Saturday, the Dane was terrific in the Whitecaps’ 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes. If he can continue to perform, the current second-place team in the Western Conference can make a run in the MLS playoffs.
What did you think of the MLS Summer Transfer Window? Which team’s moves stood out to you? What teams do you feel had the best summer? What moves were the most surprising to you?
Share your thoughts below.