The main MLS transfer window closes on Tuesday. Here’s the latest I’m hearing from around the league…

LA Galaxy, Puig agree on new deal

LA Galaxy and star midfielder Riqui Puig have agreed to terms on a new contract, sources briefed on the situation say Athletics. Puig’s previous deal was set to expire after the 2025 season.

Puig, 24, is the best player for the West-leading Galaxy. He joined from Barcelona during the 2022 season and has been among the best players in MLS ever since. He has made 54 appearances for the Galaxy so far.

This season, Puig has two goals and two assists, but his underlying numbers don’t tell the whole story. Adding in his secondary assists — which MLS officially counts — Puig is tied for fourth in the league in that category.

Puig also leads the league in touches by a wide margin – his total of 998 is well ahead of second-placed Sergio Busquets’ 794 touches. According to FBRef, Puig is in the 99th percentile among MLS midfielders this season in passes attempted, progressive passes and progressive carries; He is in the 97th percentile in shot-making action.

Cincinnati finalizes deal for U-22 forward

FC Cincinnati is finalizing a deal to sign Venezuelan forward Kevin Kelsy on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk, sources briefed on the deal confirm.. The loan lasts until the end of the season.

Kelsy will be added to the roster through the U-22 initiative. Daniel Nohra first reported the deal.

According to AthleticsCincy will pay a $700,000 loan fee for the highly-rated 19-year-old Venezuelan international forward and retain a buyout option, according to his sources. They expect the deal to be fully completed on Monday.

Although he did not get consistent playing time in Ukraine, Kelsy was consistently productive when on the court. He had seven goals and two assists in about 750 league minutes over the last two years. He also scored in the Champions League this year against FC Porto, his only start in the competition.

In the form of a target man who makes intelligent runs off the ball, Kelsy gives coach Pat Noonan a more physical option at center forward. Given that Kelsy is only 19 years old and joining in the middle of the season, expectations for Kelsy to make an immediate impact should be tempered.

Despite Shakhtar’s initial reluctance to negotiate, the clubs have been locked in talks over Kelsy for the better part of a month, sources say. Shakhtar didn’t want to lose the player, despite the fact that he was buried far down their depth chart, while Kelsy was set to head to Cincy in search of regular minutes.

Maneuvering the commercial market

The MLS trade market is heating up ahead of the deadline. The name that comes up the most is Seattle Sounders defender Xavier Arreaga, who could be the first domino for further moves.

The New England Revolution are one of three clubs chasing Arreaga ahead of the deadline, sources say. New England quarterback Dave Romney, who has fallen out of favor with coach Caleb Porter, has been made available but no deal with another club is imminent.

After New England, there is a team in the Western Conference and another in the East in talks for Arreaga, sources say. Seattle isn’t facing a heavy workload for Arreaga as they value his professionalism after falling out of favor over the past year.

Elsewhere, the Houston Dynamo have officially acquired winger McKinze Gaines from Nashville SC and Real Salt Lake have acquired Phillip Quinton from the Columbus Crew, the first two deals of the window to be made official.

FC Dallas is interested in adding another center back, sources say.

In general, sources around the league have described the trade market as slow and not really moving in the direction of active negotiations.

New England signing Aljaz Ivacic

The New England Revolution are signing goaltender Aljaz Ivacic, according to sources briefed on the deal.. They add that, in a related move, the club has waived goalkeeper Jacob Jackson.

Ivacic, 30, was released by the Portland Timbers after making 56 applications with the club. He won the Timbers fans’ player of the year 2022. He is expected to challenge Henrich Ravas for the main role.

Jackson, 23, was a standout for the Revs’ second team over the past two seasons and made three MLS appearances.

Charlotte FC will not add U-22 winger

Charlotte FC had been in talks with Portuguese club Portimonense for Cape Verde international striker Hélio Varela, but that deal is currently dead, sources briefed on the situation say. Athletics.

The club have plenty of roster flexibility for the summer, when they plan to add an enterprising DP, U-22 player, as well as splash the cash on another key signing.

Charlotte signed Israeli international winger Liel Abada in a club record deal last month.

San Jose target Championship midfielder

The San Jose Earthquakes have targeted Millwall attacking midfielder Zian Flemming with their DP spot open but are yet to make a bid, sources briefed on the situation say..

Flemming, 25, has seven goals and five assists in 44 league appearances for the club this season. Millwall have won three games in a row to climb out of the relegation battle with two games to play.

The Quakes have had several targets for this open DP spot, most notably Carlos Vela, but have yet to reach a deal on the line. On the field, San Jose has struggled mightily, with eight losses in its first nine games, placing it at the bottom of the league.

Popular players to see who are on the market

With the window closing and teams already eyeing the summer, some familiar names are being discussed around MLS, sources say.

One player to watch this summer is US youth international winger Griffin Yow.

Three MLS clubs are considering a move for Yow, a former DC United owner who currently plays for Westerlo in Belgium.

Yow, 21, is likely to leave Westerlo this summer after one new season, either back in MLS or elsewhere in Europe. He has seven goals and six assists, which put him in the mix to potentially be selected for the Olympic team this summer.

Some other familiar names include center back Danny Wilson, who was a long-time member of the Colorado Rapids, as well as English-American dual-nationality winger Alex Mighten.

Wilson, 32, returned to Scotland this winter. Mighten, 21, is on loan at Port Vale from Nottingham Forest.

Two USL Championship players head to Europe

Two young talents from North Carolina FC are headed to Europe, sources briefed on the deals say.

Westerlo is finalizing a deal to sign forward Julian Placias. The 18-year-old joined North Carolina from LA Galaxy’s academy this winter. He helped lead the Galaxy to win the MLS Next Cup, scoring a tournament-best six goals.

Center back Adrian Pelayo is going on trial with Feyenoord. The 17-year-old is a product of the Portland Timbers academy and signed with North Carolina this winter as well. He represented Mexico at the U-17 World Cup last year. He is also eligible for the United States.

(Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

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