MLS Preseason: 26 teams, 26 updates

Atlanta United

Atlanta United's opening game against Honduran club Motagua on Feb. 18 in the Concacaf Champions League has been moved from the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa to the Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula.

Motagua’s home stadium, the Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino, does not meet Concacaf requirements. The Estadio Olimpico, home venue for most key Honduran national team home games, will also be the venue for the Seattle Sounders' road game against Olimpia on Feb. 20. That game was also originally scheduled to be played in Tegucigalpa.

This week: Training at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Friday: Atlanta United will play the New York Red Bulls in Bradenton.

Chicago Fire

On Monday, the Fire acquired goalkeeper Connor Sparrow, whose played in the USL Championship with the Real Monarchs and Nashville SC.

The Fire's only returning keeper with MLS experience is 34-year-old German-American Kenneth Kronholm, who played 20 of the final 21 games of the 2019 season after arriving from Holstein Kiel. The other Fire keeper, Gabriel Slonina, is only 15.

USL Championship offseason signings (19):
Chicago Fire: Connor Sparrow (Nashville SC).
Inter Miami: John McCarthy (Tampa Bay Rowdies), Denso Ulysse (Tacoma Defiance), George Acosta (Austin Bold), Julian Kiesewetter (El Paso Locomotive).
LA Galaxy: Eric Lopez (LA Galaxy II).
LAFC: Danny Musovski (Reno 1868).
Minnesota United: James Musa (Phoenix Rising).
*Nashville SC: Ken Tribbett (Nashville SC), Taylor Washington (Nashville SC), Tah Brian Anunga (Charleston Battery), Derrick Jones (Nashville SC), Matt LaGrassa (Nashville SC), Alan Winn (Nashville SC).
NY Red Bulls:
Jared Stroud (NY Red Bulls II), Chris Lema (NY Red Bulls II).
Real Salt Lake: Maikel Chang (Real Monarchs), Alvin Jones (OKC Energy FC).
Sporting KC: Amadou Dia (Phoenix Rising).
*Two other players -- Cameron Lancaster and Daniel Rios -- signed MLS contracts with Nashville SC before the 2019 USL Championship.

This week: Training at the CIBC Fire Pitch. Travel to Tampa, Florida, for preseason camp on Saturday.

FC Cincinnati

Dutch newspaper Eindshoven Dagblad reported FC Cincinnati general manager Gerard Nijkamp has ended talks with Uruguayan Gaston Pereiro and his agent over a move from PSV.

It reported FC Cincinnati and PSV had an agreement on a transfer but FCC's salary offer of $5 million a year was not accepted by Pereiro before the Monday night deadline it set.

This week: Training at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona. Saturday: FC Cincinnati will finish the week with an intra-squad scrimmage.

Colorado Rapids

The Rapids filled in the two remaining pieces when they signed Danish attacking midfielder Younes Namli as a DP on a two-year loan from FK Krasnodar in Russia and French winger Nicolas Benezet, who was acquired from Guingamp after his option was not picked played up by Toronto FC despite starting for the Reds in MLS Cup 2019.

“I think this group could be really fun to watch," Rapids coach Robin Fraser told the Denver Post. "For the most part, they’re a really unselfish group who work hard for each other and at the end of the day, we’re able to create some really exciting moments last year. And then you add two more players of this quality in Namli and Benezet and you feel like it’s just going to not only make our attack better but make our attack even more diversified than it was last year.”

This week: Travel to Cal State Fullerton for preseason camp on Tuesday.

Columbus Crew

Milton Valenzuela, the 21-year-old Argentine, is back with the Crew after missing the entire 2019 season when he injured his knee in preseason. The Crew paid a transfer fee to complete his move from Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys after playing on loan in 2018.

This week: Training in Chula Vista, California.

FC Dallas

No MLS team enters the season with a deeper group of Homegrown players: 11 in all, including rookie signing Eddie Munjoma out of SMU.

Reggie Cannon, Paxton Pomykal and Jesus Ferreira are still in Bradenton with the national team, Paxton Pomykal returned to Frisco to continue his recovery from offseason hernia surgery, while Thomas Roberts and Dante Sealy just finished up U-20 national team camp.

FC Dallas Homegrowns:
Jesse Gonzalez (24)
Reggie Cannon (21)
Eddie Munjoma (21)
Paxton Pomykal (20)
Brandon Servania (20)
Edwin Cerrillo (19)
Jesus Ferreira (19)
Bryan Reynolds (18)
Thomas Roberts (18)
Ricardo Pepi (17)
Dante Sealy (16)

This week: Training at Advocare Field 1 at Toyota Soccer Complex.

D.C. United

Midfielders Junior Moreno and Ulises Segura obtained their green cards, freeing up two international roster spots on the D.C. United roster.

Seven United players have received green cards since they entered MLS: Frederic Brillant, Oniel Fisher, Joseph Mora, Emmanuel Boateng, Felipe, Moreno and Segura.

Just three players on United's current roster count as international players: Yamil Asad, Edison Flores and Ola Kamara. (Kamara obtained a green card when he played for the LA Galaxy but forfeited it when he moved to Chinese club Shenzhen in 2019.)

This week: Training at The St. James in Springfield, Virginia. Travel to Clearwater, Florida, for preseason camp on Sunday.

Houston Dynamo

For teams like the Dynamo that did not make the 2019 playoffs, the offseason extended more than three months, which weighed in new head coach Tab Ramos' thinking as he started preseason.

His goal for the first week: manage the team's enthusiasm.

"Obviously, preseason, and particularly this preseason, has been very long," he said. "The players have been off for a long time, so I know they are excited about that. They are excited about starting with a new coach and starting a new season, so we have to sort of bottle all of that excitement the first couple of days to make sure that physically we are getting exactly what we need.”

This week: Training at Houston Sports Park. Saturday: The Dynamo will train at BBVA Stadium as part of Fan Fest.

Inter Miami

Inter Miami opened its first training camp on Monday with 22 players, including 25-year-old center back Nico Figal, who was called up for Argentina's friendlies against Chile and Mexico in September 2019.

Figal is one of the players -- six in all -- Inter Miami is looking to fill out its roster for its expansion season.

This week: Training at Barry University's Buccaneer Field.

LA Galaxy

On Monday, Romain Alessandrini confirmed in a post on Instagram he will not be returning to the Galaxy in 2020.

Alessandrini’s contract expired following the 2019 season, his third with the Galaxy. He had been in negotiations with the Galaxy to extend his contract, but not on a Designated Player contract.

The Frenchman had 13 goals and 12 assists in 2017 and 11 goals and nine assists in 2018 but finished the 2019 regular season with no goals and one assist after an early-season injury.

This week:
Training on Field #1 at Dignity Health Sports Park.

LAFC

Diego Rossi scored the lone goal for Uruguay in its 1-0 win over Paraguay to open the South American Olympic qualifying tournament.

Three other LAFC players played in Saturday's openers: Colombia's Eduard Atuesta started in the host country's 2-1 loss to Argentina. Ecuador's Jose Cifuentes and Uruguay's Francisco Ginella were subs.

This week: Training at the Performance Center on the campus of Cal State LA. Saturday: LAFC will face Penarol of Uruguay at Banc of California Stadium.

Minnesota United

The Loons completed their coaching staff with the hiring of Sean McAuley as assistant coach.

The Englishman spent six seasons with Portland (2012-17) and two with Orlando City (2018-19). The staff under head coach Adrian Heath also includes assistant coach Ian Fuller and goalkeeper coach Stuart Kerr.

"I know lots of people who have worked with him that say that for them, he’s the great link between the players and the coach," said Heath. "I tried to get him in Orlando, couldn’t do it, couldn’t get him to come with us when we originally came to Minnesota and now here we are again."

This week: Training at the National Sports Center in Blaine.

Montreal Impact

Thierry Henry never played in the knockout stage of the Concacaf Champions League in his five seasons with the New York Red Bulls, but he has made the Impact's round-of-16 series against Saprissa a priority.

“It is very important," he said when preseason camp opened. "This city knows it."

The Frenchman isn't looking to make excuses about the Impact being at less than full strength for his first outings as the head coach.

"We didn’t start yet," he said, "but you have to adapt to the situation, everyone knows how it is. You have to adapt to it, not look for excuses. We start with the Champions League, it’s very important. If you do well, it can also bring success in the league.”

This week: Training in Orlando, Florida.

Nashville SC

Preseason events are critical, Nashville SC CEO Ian Ayre has said, for the expansion club to drum up interest and sell season tickets ahead of its first MLS season.

Saturday's release of Nashville SC's gold home jersey was a hit with more than 2,000 people at the Wildhorse Saloon

This week: Training at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.



New England Revolution

The transfer of French defender Samba Camara to the Revs from Ligue 2's Le Havre was voided after his application for a P-1 Visa was denied.

Returning at center back are Antonio Delamea, Andrew Farrell, Michael Mancienne, while the University of Virginia's Henry Kessler, taken with the sixth pick in the 2020 SuperDraft, adds depth.

This week: Training at the Revolution Training Center.

NYCFC

Most MLS teams, even successful ones, are forced to make changes from one season to the next. That's not the case with NYCFC under Norwegian Ronny Deila, its new head coach.

“They've played together at least one year now, 90 percent of the players," he said in a media conference call on Friday. "That's a big asset in football. There's not many teams that can keep the consistency. So, for me, that's work with relations so everything goes quicker, so everybody knows exactly where they are in different situations, then opponents will have big, big problems. So, for me that’s a positive that they have done a lot of things before that is also into the style I want to play with them, with things getting quicker.”

This week: Training in Santa Barbara, California.

New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls traveled to Florida to open the first of two preseason camps with 21 of 24 players on the current MLS roster.

Aaron Long has been in Bradenton but training with the U.S. national team. Cristian Casseres Jr. is with Venezuela's U-23 for South America Olympic qualifying. Jamaican defender Kemar Lawrence was given time off to attend to a family situation before joining the team in Florida next Monday.

This week: Training at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Friday: The New York Red Bulls will face Atlanta United in Bradenton.

Orlando City

The Lions became the latest MLS team to build its own training center when it opened a 20-acre facility at Heritage Park in Osceola County.

Orlando City SC Training Ground includes four fields, three natural grass and one artificial, plus a locker room, weight and fitness room and a meal room. New coach Oscar Pareja has a room where he review and present tactics to his players. It will also be the home to Orlando City B and the Orlando City Development Academy for training.

This week: Training at the Orlando City SC Training Ground.



Philadelphia Union

After securing the permanent transfer of Jamiro Monteiro and acquiring Venezuelan Jose Martinez, Ernst Tanner, the Union's sporting director, has made a third move in midfield, acquiring 21-year-old Slovakian Matej Oravec.

Another no-name signing, like Monteiro and left back Kai Wagner whom the Union hit big on in 2019.

"He is a mobile, aggressive midfielder who can distribute effectively to start our transitions,” said Tanner. “He helps us continue our plan to build a roster that can execute our unique style of play and compete at the top of the Eastern Conference.”

This week: Training at 76ers Fieldhouse.

Portland Timbers

Timbers midfielder Cristhian Paredes started for Paraguay in its 1-0 loss to Uruguay in their opening game at the South America Olympic qualifying tournament.

Andres Flores was an unused sub for El Salvador in its 1-0 loss to Iceland in a friendly played Sunday in Carson, California.

This week: Training at Timbers Training Center,

Real Salt Lake

Kyle Beckerman will return to RSL for his 14th season and 21st season in MLS after signing a new contract.

The MLS career leader in MLS regular-season games played (488), games started (456) and minutes played (40,772) among field players was an MLS free agent. In 2019, Beckerman started 25 matches and notched five assists – the most since 2013.

“Over the last 13 seasons, Utah has been home for me,” he said, "and I’m proud of Real Salt Lake’s role on and off the field in building the soccer community here."

This week: Training at the Zions Bank Training Center.

San Jose Earthquakes


This week: Training in San Jose. Travel to Cancun, Mexico for preseason camp on Sunday.

Seattle Sounders

The Sounders have 21 players under contract for the 2020 season, but they have brought an additional 12 players from the Tacoma Defiance, their USL Championship team, into preseason camp.

Sam Rogers, who is in his fourth season with the second team, has a shot at making the Sounders at center back, where they are currently thin. The 20-year-old defender played for the USA when it won the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship, but his development has been slowed by injuries,

This week: Training at Cal State Long Beach. Wednesday: Closed-door scrimmage against Uruguay's Penarol.

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting KC brought in three Sporting KC II and three Sporting KC Academy players and two unsigned draft picks along with 26 players signed to MLS contracts.

They include Sporting KC II keeper John Pulskamp, who started for the U.S. U-20s in their 2-2 tie with Mexico on Saturday.

This week: Training at Casino Arizona Field in Scottsdale, Arizona. Saturday: Sporting KC will play a team of Phoenix Rising trialists.

Toronto FC

Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley will have surgery on Tuesday to repair an ankle injury sustained during MLS Cup 2019 against the Seattle Sounders. TFC general manager Ali Curtis said the ankle injury was "very severe and complicated" and the surgery came as a the last resort.

"He stayed in Toronto for a tremendous part of the offseason and we really tried to work with him on his rehab as much as possible to try to get him to a point where he's returning to play full strength," Curtis said. "Ankles are finicky. Sometimes they tend to take long to recover.  You’ve got to be careful with those types of injuries and surgery is the last resort, typically, in terms of what you want to do."

Curtis said Toronto FC is confident Bradley, who signed a new contract, will be able to return to play.

"It will take probably approximately four months," he added. "Now, that could be shorter or could be lengthier, depending upon how we manage that process. Of course, we would love for him to be ready to go today, but that's not going to happen."

This week: Training at BMO Training Ground. Travel to Orlando, Florida, for preseason training on Thursday.

Vancouver Whitecaps

The Whitecaps continued to rebuild their attack with the signing of Colombian winger Cristian Dajome, who won the 2019 Copa Sudamericana while on loan with Ecuadoran club Independiente del Valle from Bogota FC.

“Cristian is an explosive winger, who can play on either side, and can be very dangerous in the final third,” said Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos. “His work ethic and commitment to his team stood out in last year’s Sudamericana and when we had the opportunity to acquire him, it was a sure thing in our minds."

This week: Training at WFC National Soccer Development Centre. Travel to UC San Diego for preseason training on Friday.

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