MLS Transfer deadline day is fast approaching, new roster rules are coming and a star player is missing again. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s start answering your questions.

The deadline for the transfer window for the transfer window

“Will any team make a big move before the end of the window? Also any rumbling or movement around the fire?” -Victor S.

“Do you think that Houston Dynamo will he sign a DP or some attacking player?” – Charles T.

“Tom please, you are Austin FC are you going to do anything important this season?” -Andrew

The main MLS transfer window is still open, in case you forgot. It closes on Tuesday, but I don’t expect much movement in these last few days.

Typically, these winter windows follow a pattern:

  • A ton of moves in December leading up to the preseason opener in early January
  • Another big push to attract players before opening day in late February
  • A bit of a lull in March after the first two weeks of the season, with deals winding down
  • Then, perhaps, a bit of a flurry in the last two weeks of the window as teams get desperate and injuries happen

I don’t see storms brewing on the transfer front for a few reasons. First, there aren’t many teams that have both desperation and urgency. They are two different things. San Jose is probably desperate for their slow start to turn around, but does that translate into an urgency for new signings to fix it? I’m not so sure.

A team to watch is Charlotte FC, who is working on adding a winger through the U-22 initiative, sources briefed on the situation tell The Athletic. However, Charlotte can keep this ammo for the summer, along with their open DP spot.

Another team is the Houston Dynamo. The club has been working on several deals in recent weeks. One is said to be ending – Jefferson Valverde, a 24-year-old defensive midfielder from LDU Quito, as reported by Michael Rosero – and the rest remains to be seen.

The latter would be a new striker for their open U-22 initiative spot, but that search remains up in the air. It could very easily start in the summer if no progress is made soon.

San Jose remains in the market for the No. 10 PD and is off to a terrible start, but we’ll see if anything happens before next week. The city of St could use another option in attack, but my expectation is that we won’t see that until the summer.

The second reason not to expect too many big moves is that summer will have a lot more flexibility, thanks to the new rule changes on the road.

new rules, as reported in great detail by Paul Tenorio of The Athletic last week, are set to take effect once the secondary transfer window opens on July 18. This brings us to our next question…

Which team will do more with the rule changes?

“Which club will improve the most with the roster rule changes coming this summer?” – Rusty M.

A quick summary of the new rules approved by the MLS board of governors last week, pending MLSPA approval:

  • Teams can now have three senior DPs and three U-22 initiative spots; OR two senior DPs, four U-22 initiative spots and $2 million in general money (GAM)
  • Two contract purchases per season (one each)
  • Teams can convert up to $3 million from a player sale to GAM

In general, the teams with the highest discretionary spending will benefit the most – the teams that invest the most in transfer fees, DP wages and acquisitions. This is a boring answer, and one you’ve probably come up with on your own, but it’s true. Atlanta United, Chicago Fire, Inter Miami, Toronto FC, LA Galaxy AND FC Cincinnati come to mind. Charlotte can enter that group with a rich summer. Portland to a slightly lesser extent. NYCFC for new players.

There is a big drop off from Atlanta and Chicago in the other group. It’s hard to overstate the appetite to spend at these two clubs, for the better (Thiago Almada, Hugo Cuypers) or worse (Ezequiel Barco, Jairo Torres). Both these clubs would have taken full advantage of the new buyout rule in recent years. The good news is that they’re not afraid to spend, but the bad news is that using buyouts means that not only did the signing in question not work out, it’s so bad that they couldn’t be unloaded in a trade or transfer.

In the short term (like this summer)? Atlanta, with the combination of money to spend plus Garth Lagerwey at the helm of the organization. Have they lost a signing since he arrived last winter?

Atlanta can now either bring in another U-22 initiative signing or add a top DP to an already loaded squad. The club assume they will need to replace Almada at some point in the near future and will be ready to do so this summer if a big offer comes in from Europe for their star, but now they could bring in a new DP high without having to wait for Almada to leave, if they wish.

Chicago is also in this boat, but their recent record hasn’t been as strong as Atlanta’s. However, the opportunity to add another high DP is huge for this group, which is crying out for a new chance maker as xherdan Shaqiri continues to disappoint. In the winter, their only option was to add a new DP. Now they can add a top DP, spending $12 million on Cuypers, or invest in a pair of U-22 initiative signings.

Cincinnati could benefit as well. The club had to loan out Marco Angulo just to open up an Under-22 initiative spot, but they can now sign three Under-22 players to bolster their depth and quality, flexing their discretionary spending. They are in the market for an offensive boost.

Lastly, Inter Miami can now add another top DP if they want, but I’m interested to see how they approach the summer. They could do that – and I’m sure Tata Martino would push in that direction – but only keeping the top two DPs to add a fourth U-22 initiative plus $2 million in sweet allocation money and sweet? This might be a better long-term play.

You remember, Gregor AND Kamal Miller were moved before opening day due to salary cap constraints. Another $2 million GAM probably won’t hurt that annual roster dance as long as Lionel Messi and friends are around.


“What should MNUFC do with Reynoso? Massive questions for a new office trying to create a new vision from this team.” -Sam M.

One more time, Minnesota United STAR Emanuel Reynoso has gone AWOL.

The attacking midfielder was due to attend a green card meeting on March 25 in Argentina but skipped it. He remains in South America. Last year, Reynoso showed up four months late(!) for the 2023 season and missed nearly half of Minnesota’s MLS games.

Reynoso was quickly integrated back into the team upon his return and eventually looked like the same game-changing striker he has been since signing for the club in 2020, but the bridges seem to be burning this time around.

This latest absence comes after he received a clean slate from a new regime in CSO Khaled El-Ahmad and coach Eric Ramsay, who both joined this year.

“All our focus is on the players and the staff that are here,” El-Ahmad said.

Ramsay echoed that sentiment when asked again this week: “I want to focus on this group and these players and staff that are here.”

Reynoso was suspended without pay last season until he returned. The club can void the contract due to the breach, opening up a DP spot and saving the money committed to their highest-paid player, but the club also spent a $5 million transfer fee to bring him here in the first place .

That’s why there was such a strong argument that after he rehabilitated his image a bit with half a season of normal play last year, the club could have sought an off-season transfer in the off-season. It’s highly unlikely that Minnesota will have recouped their $5 million investment, but it’s certainly more than they can look at right now.

Reynoso is one of the most talented and happiest players in the league when he plays. He has been responsible for taking Minnesota to new heights, including coming very close to winning the MLS Cup in 2020, losing in the Western Conference final to Seattle after blowing a 2-0 lead.

Reynoso can no longer be relied upon. Minnesota is moving in a new direction, full steam ahead.

Dreaming of a GM job?

“If you were to take over as GM of any team, which team do you think you could do the most with?” – Flordecke

Obvious answers include LA Galaxy/LAFC (money, glamor and natural appeal Los Angeles), Atlanta United (money, fan base), Inter Miami (Messi and friends, South Beach), NYCFC (City Football Group support, though not a ton of individual freedom for changes) just to name a few, but give me any pick at this very moment and I’d take San Diego FC.

How cool would it be to build a list completely from scratch? Nothing to rebuild, nothing to download. Just a clean slate. You have SoCal living as a strong recruiting tool and being right on the Mexican border as a bonus draw to bring in Mexican stars.

That’s why Carlos Avina Ibarolla is ready to leave AS Monaco will take over as sporting director. That is why Lutz Pfannenstiel was in love with St. Louis (and rejected proposals from abroad since he got there). It was a dream situation for Mike Jacobs in Nashville and Zoran Krneta in Charlotte. That’s why John Thorrington has been at LAFC since day one.

The most successful expansion clubs have come with a clear playing philosophy that informed every decision, from the coach to the first DP to minimum reserve contracts.

It is the ultimate test of talent identification and deal making.

The goose is loose

“Besides Zlatan, who is your favorite Swedish MLS player of all time?” – MLS Sweden

What an incredibly specific question, but hell yeah, let’s run with it.

The answer is Gustav Svensson.

Here are two of my favorite Svensson quotes:

  • “I’ve got to get all the horses—and pretty much cover wherever they’re not, but, I mean I’ve been doing that all my life.” (via
  • “I’m not afraid of things in general. I will fight anyone who wants to fight me.” (via Seattle Times)

He was integral to their success Seattle Sounders teams he had during his tenure with the club.

(Photo: Jeremy Olson/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

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