MLS 2019: How the Western Conference has been reshaped

Four weeks into offseason activity, several Western Conference clubs have already rebuilt their teams through trades with other MLS clubs. Others are still a work in progress.

With less than two weeks to go before training camps open, here's how the offseason has gone for the 12 teams, presented in the order of their 2018 finish ...

Portland.
Offseason in a nutshell ... After cleaning up loose ends on the Timbers' roster following their run to MLS Cup, Timbers general manager Gavin Wilkinson said he was looking to add three or four players capable of challenging for starting jobs ... The only moves to date were to promote Venezuelan Renzo Zambrano and Costa Rican Marvin Loria from T2 ... Peruvian World Cup player Andy Polo's loan deal with Mexico's Morelia became a permanent transfer after he hit certain performance thresholds.

UPDATE: The Timbers and defender Liam Ridgewell have mutually agreed to part ways,

2019 Roster (22 players):
Goalkeepers (2):
Jeff Attinella, Kendall McIntosh.
Defenders (9): Julio Cascante, Marco Farfan, Modou Jadama, Larrys Mabiala, Cristhian Paredes (on loan from Club America/MEX), Bill Tuiloma, Zarek Valentin, Jorge Villafaña.
Midfielders (9): Dairon Asprilla, Sebastian Blanco, Diego Chara, David Guzman, Marvin Loria (Timbers 2), Paredes, Cristhian, Andy Polo, Diego Valeri, Eryk Williamson (on loan to Santa Clara/POR), Renzo Zambrano (Timbers 2).
Forwards (3):Jeremy Ebobisse, Foster Langsdorf, Lucas Melano.

Sporting KC.
Offseason in a nutshell ... Manager Peter Vermes moved quickly to get his roster in shape for 2019 because Sporting KC begins early, facing Mexico's Toluca in the first round of the Concacaf Champions League in February ... The Western Conference runners-up traded for Kelyn Rowe (New England) and Erik Hurtado (Vancouver), signed Rodney Wallace (NYCFC) as a free agent and acquired Hungarian defender Botond Barath from Honved ... Vermes has hinted that there will be at least one more signing, probably in mid-January or early February.

2019 Roster (26 players)
Goalkeepers (3): Eric Dick, Tim Melia, Adrian Zendejas.
Defenders (10): Botond Barath (Honved/HUN), Matt Besler, Andreu Fontas, Jaylin Lindsey, Jimmy Medranda, Ike Opara, Seth Sinovic, Graham Smith, Rodney Wallace (NYCFC), Graham Zusi.
Midfielders (7): Gianluca Busio, Yohan Croizet, Roger Espinoza, Felipe Gutierrez, Ilie, Wan Kuzain, Kelyn Rowe (New England).
Forwards (6): Gerso Fernandes, *Tyler Freeman (academy), Erik Hurtado (Vancouver), Krisztian Nemeth, Johnny Russell, Daniel Salloi.
*2019 Homegrown signing.

Photo: Kelyn Rowe


Seattle.
Offseason in a nutshell ... The last original (MLS) Sounder, Oswaldo Alonso, is gone. His departure and the retirement of Clint Dempsey leave Seattle with an open Designated Player spot ... At least two defenders on the current roster, Waylon Francis and Roman Torres, could be gone before preseason starts Jan. 22 ... The only acquisition to date is former Chicago Fire defender Jonathan Campbell, who knows Seattle, having played for the Sounders' under-23 in the old PDL.

2019 Roster (23 players):
Goalkeepers (2): Stefan Frei, Bryan Meredith.
Defenders (9): Jonathan Campbell (Chicago), Waylon Francis, Kim Kee-hee, Kelvin Leerdam, Chad Marshall, Jordan McCrary, Nouhou, Brad Smith, Roman Torres.
Midfielders (9): Handwalla Bwana, Jordy Delem, Nicolas Lodeiro, Victor Rodriguez, Alex Roldan, Cristian Roldan, Harry Shipp, Gustav Svensson, Henry Wingo.
Forwards (3): Will Bruin, Jordan Morris, Raul Ruidiaz.

Real Salt Lake.
Offseason in a nutshell ... RSL reached the Western Conference semifinals with the youngest team in the playoffs. It's already made five more Homegrown signings for 2019, though none is expected to have the impact of 2018 MLS Rookie of the Year Corey Baird ... RSL secured 24-year-old Albert Rusnak (10 goals, 7 assists) to a new long-term contract and made him the highest-paid player in club history ... Brazilian Everton Luiz was brought in on loan with the expectation that he will start in central midfield.

2019 Roster (27 players):
Goalkeepers (4): Alex Horwath, *Paul Ochoa (academy), Andrew Putna, Nick Rimando.
Defenders (10): Tony Beltran, Nick Besler, Justen Glad, Adam Henley, Aaron Herrera, *Erik Holt (UCLA), Brooks Lennon, Nedum Onuoha, Marcelo Silva, Donny Toia (Orlando City).
Midfielders (6): *Luis Arriaga (academy), Kyle Beckerman, Damir Kreilach, Everton Luiz (SPAL/Italy, on loan), Pablo Ruiz, Albert Rusnak.
Forwards (7): Jordan Allen, Corey Baird, Joao Plata, Sebastian Saucedo, Jefferson Savarino, *Tate Schmitt (Univ. of Louisville), *Julian Vazquez (academy).
*2019 Homegrown signing.

LAFC.
Offseason in a nutshell ... LAFC set an MLS record for the most points by an expansion team in its first season so it would like to keep its core of players ... The question mark is on the backline, where center back Walker Zimmerman and left back Jordan Harvey were out of contract and center back Danilo Silva was on loan from Brazilian club Internacional. Harvey has been re-signed as an MLS free agent, and it looks like Zimmerman might return after first testing the waters abroad and Silva could be signed to a long-term deal ... The two moves to date have netted a pair of defenders: Egyptian Mohamed El-Munir from Orlando City in a trade for Joao Moutinho and Colombian Eddie Segura on a sic-month loan from Atletico Huila.

2019 Roster (17 players):
Goalkeeper (1): Tyler Miller
Defenders (5): Steven Beitashour, Tristan Blackmon, Mohamed El-Munir (Orlando City), Jordan Harvey, Eddie Segura (Atletico Huila/COL, on loan).
Midfielders (5): Eduard Atuesta, Andre Horta, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Lee Nguyen, Josh Perez.
Forwards (6): Latif Blessing, Shaft Brewer, Jr., Adama Diomande, Christian Ramirez, Diego Rossi, Carlos Vela.
Waiver Draft: FW Ricky Lopez-Espin (Real Salt Lake)

FC Dallas.
Offseason in a nutshell ... Head coach Oscar Pareja resigned to become head coach at Mexico's Tijuana and Luiz Muzzi left his position as head of soccer operations to take a similar role with Orlando City. FC Dallas promoted from within, naming academy director Luchi Gonzalez its new head coach, while assistant coach Marco Ferruzzi will likely get a front-office position ... FC Dallas hasn't been inactive, though. In its latest move, it paid a fee Spanish media have reported could exceed $3 million for 25-year-old Honduran midfielder  Bryan Acosta from Spanish club Tenerife as a Designated Player ... Goal.com reported that FC Dallas was set to sell 18-year-old Chris Richards to Bayern Munich.

2019 Roster (27 players):
Goalkeepers (3): Jesse Gonzalez, Jimmy Maurer, Kyle Zobeck.
Defenders (8): Bressan (Gremio/BRA), Reggie Cannon, Matt Hedges, Moises Hernandez, Ryan Hollingshead, Marquinhos Pedroso, Chris Richards (on loan to Bayern Munich/GER), Reto Ziegler.
Midfielders (9): Bryan Acosta (Tenerife/ESP), Pablo Aranguiz, Michael Barrios, Carlos Gruezo, Jacori Hayes, Santiago Mosquera, Paxton Pomykal, Thomas Roberts, Brandon Servania.
Forwards (7): Francis Atuahene, Dominique Badji, Cristian Colman, Jesus Ferreira, Zdenek Ondrasek (Wisla Krakow/POL), Bryan Reynolds, Ema Twumasi.

LA Galaxy.
Offseason in a nutshell ... Known for its big-name player signings, the Galaxy orchestrated two moves off the field that could transform the club: Dennis te Kloese was brought in from the Mexican national team to serve as general manager, and Guillermo Barros Schelotto was hired from Boca Juniors to serve as head coach ... The re-signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to a Designated Player contract means that the Galaxy has to get rid of one of its other three DPs already under contract: Romain Alessandrini, Jonathan dos Santos or Giovani dos Santos ... te Kloese and Barros Schelotto have until March to get down to three DPs but by then any league of any significance will have shut down its winter transfer window.

2019 Roster (18 players):
Goalkeepers (2): David Bingham, Justin Vom Steeg.
Defenders (4): Jorgen Skjelvik, Tomas Hilliard-Arce, Hugo Arellano, Daniel Steres.
Midfielders (8): Romain Alessandrini, Jonathan dos Santos, Juninho (Tijuana/MEX), Perry Kitchen, Bradford Jamieson IV, Sebastian Lletget, Joao Pedro, Chris Pontius.
Forwards (4): Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ola Kamara, Giovani dos Santos, Efrain Alvarez.
Re-Entry: Matt Lampson (Minnesota United).

Photo: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA Galaxy)


Vancouver.
Offseason in a nutshell ... The signing of highly regarded Marc Dos Santos as head coach to replace Carl Robinson was quickly followed by a house-cleaning. Gone: Two-time Best XI defender Kendall Waston (traded to FC Cincinnati), Brek Shea (signed by Atlanta United as an MLS free agent) and Kei Kamara (taken by FC Cincinnati in the Expansion Draft, then traded to Colorado) ... On top of the salaries cleared off the books, the Waston trade and transfer of Alphonso Davies to Bayern Munich netted the 'Caps lots of money to work with for 2019 ... Maxime Crepeau and Zac MacMath, both acquired in trades, should challenge for the starting in job in goal with New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic also gone.

2019 Roster (18 players):
Goalkeeper (3): Maxime Crepeau (Montreal), Zac MacMath (Colorado), Sean Melvin.
Defenders (5): Marcel de Jong, Victor “PC” Giro (Orlando City), Doneil Henry, Brett Levis, Jake Nerwinski.
Midfielders (8): Michael Baldisimo, Simon Colyn, Felipe, Efrain Juarez, David Norman Jr., Yordy Reyna, Andy Rose (Motherwell/SCO), Russell Teibert.
Strikers (2): *Theo Bair (academy), Anthony Blondell.
*2019 Homegrown signing.

Houston.
Offseason in a nutshell ... The Dynamo's top priority was to strengthen itself at center back, and it picked up Slovenian national team defender Aljaz Struna from Italy's Palermo ... The acquisition of Argentine Matias Vera from San Lorenzo will give Houston greater depth in midfield, where it struggled after Juan David Cabezas was injured ... With the start of the Concacaf Champions League just six weeks away, it's hard to image Honduran winger Alberth Elis will be sold to a European club, as rumored, but if the price is right ...

2019 Roster (23 players):
Goalkeepers (4): Tyler Deric, Michael Nelson, Chris Seitz, Joe Willis.
Defenders (8): DaMarcus Beasley, A.J. DeLaGarza, Chris Duvall (Montreal), Alejandro Fuenmayor, Kevin Garcia, Adam Lundkvist, *Erik McCue (academy), Aljaz Struna (Palermo/ITA).
Midfielders (7): Eric Bird, Juan David Cabezas, Darwin Ceren, Boniek Garcia, Tomas Martinez, Memo Rodriguez, Matias Vera (San Lorenzo/ARG).
Forwards (4): Alberth Elis, Mauro Manotas, Ronaldo Pena, Romell Quioto.
*2019 Homegrown signing.
Re-Entry Draft: Tommy McNamara (NYCFC),

Minnesota United.
Offseason in a nutshell ... The Loons' big need is help in central midfield, and they appear to have found it in the form of Slovakian Jan Gregus and Alonso, who should sign after spending 10 seasons at Seattle ... They still have lots of work to fill out their roster after not retaining 13 players from the 2018 team ... Another significant move Minnesota United has made that could help in Year 3 is sign an affiliate deal with new USL League one team Forward Madison that will allow it to give young players some playing time.

2019 Roster (17 players):

Goalkeeper (1): Bobby Shuttleworth.
Defenders (5): Michael Boxall, Francisco Calvo, Brent Kallman, Carter Manley, Wyatt Omsberg.
Midfielders (7): Ethan Finlay, Jan Gregus (FC Copenhagen/DEN), Miguel Ibarra, Romario Ibarra, Collin Martin, Kevin Molino, Rasmus Schuller.
Forwards (4): Abu Danladi, Darwin Quintero, Mason Toye, Angelo Rodriguez.

Photo: Oswaldo Alonso (right)


Colorado.
Offseason in a nutshell ... Head coach Anthony Hudson's first season in MLS was a rough one as few of the players brought in were up to the level needed to compete in the league ... The Rapids have looked around the league for help and acquired up to four potential starters from other teams ... The key moves were trading for Kei Kamara (Vancouver) and Diego Rubio (Sporting KC), who scored 24 goals and added 13 assists between them in the 2018 regular season and playoffs.

2019 Roster (23 players):
Goalkeepers (3): Tim Howard, Clint Irwin (Toronto FC), Andre Rawls (NYCFC).
Defenders (8): Kortne Ford, Marlon Hairston, Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia), Axel Sjoberg, Tommy Smith, Sam Vines, Danny Wilson, Deklan Wynne.
Midfielders (8): Kellyn Acosta, Cole Bassett, Nana Boateng, Johan Blomberg, Nicolas Mezquida (Vancouver), Sam Nicholson, Jack Price, Dillon Serna.
Forwards (4): Shkelzen Gashi, Niki Jackson, Kei Kamara (Vancouver via FC Cincinnati), Diego Rubio (Sporting KC).

San Jose.
Offseason in a nutshell ... The Quakes are serious about getting off the mat after one of the worst seasons an MLS team has ever had. They hired former Guadalajara head coach Matias Almeyda to oversee the rebuilding effort ... They still have a lot of work to overhaul the roster -- 27 players under contract -- to Almeyda's liking ... Of the moves made so far, the signing of Peruvian teenager Marcos Lopez is the most exciting. He helped Sporting Cristal win the Peruvian league title and is already a senior international.

2019 Roster (27 players):
Goalkeepers (3): Matt Bersano, JT Marcinkowski, Andrew Tarbell.
Defenders (12): Francois Affolter, Jacob Akanyirige, Harold Cummings, Judson (Tombense/BRA on loan), Guram Kashia, Nick Lima, Marcos Lopez (Sporting Cristal/PER), Paul Marie, Jimmy Ockford, Kevin Partida, Joel Qwiberg, Shea Salinas.
Midfielders (9): Eric Calvillo, Magnus Eriksson, Luis Felipe, Gilbert Fuentes, Anibal Godoy, Florian Jungwirth, Tommy Thompson, Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili, Jackson Yueill.
Forwards (3): Cristian Espinoza (Villarreal/ESP, on loan), Danny Hoesen, Chris Wondolowski.

mls
Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications