The 2017 MLS offseason is well underway, with the MLS SuperDraft set to commence next Friday ahead of preseason training across the league. With an open January transfer window and two new expansion teams coming into the league, you can bet there will be plenty of transfer talk in the coming days.
Here are 10 players who could be traded ahead of the 2017 season:
At 31 years of age, Brad Knighton is one of four goalkeepers currently listed on the New England Revolution‘s roster and is a firm second choice to starter Bobby Shuttleworth. With youngsters Matt Turner and Cody Cropper coming up the ranks, Knighton might find a better chance elsewhere in the league.
Possible destination: Minnesota United – the club has yet to sign a goalkeeper, after all.
FC Dallas‘ versatile wide option Ryan Hollingshead is facing something of an identity issue at the club, as he has been used as a right and left full-back, as well as a left-sided midfielder. Now, with newcomers Anibal Chala, Roland Lamah, and Jose Salvatierra, there’s no space left for him to start.
Possible destination: New England Revolution – thin in its defensive ranks, Jay Heaps might want to bulk up the Revs with a versatile option.
Normally, we’d be operating under the assumption that Cristian Higuita is a guaranteed starter for Orlando City, but with the club picking up Will Johnson in an already-full midfield and Antonio Nocerino finding his place, Higuita’s future isn’t quite as certain. Higuita would certainly be a valuable trade piece.
Possible destination: New York City FC – the team lacks defensive midfield depth and could use a starting option like Higuita when Andrea Pirlo retires.
Seb Hines is another Orlando player who is likely set to see significantly less playing time in 2017 as the arrival of Victor “PC” Giro has brought the Lions’ centre-back ranks to six – that’s one too many, and as Hines is on $ 150,000 compared to David Mateos‘ $ 420,000, he’ll likely be easier to move, too.
Possible destination: New England Revolution, Red Bulls – both teams are in need of central defenders, the former much more than the latter.
The LA Galaxy need help in multiple positions this season, and might need to concede that its full-back ranks are a little too boisterous with Ashley Cole and his hefty salary in the mix. Robbie Rogers has been moved to right-back to accommodate Cole, leaving league veteran A.J. DeLaGarza out of the XI.
Possible destination: Seattle Sounders – after capturing the MLS Cup, the club is currently without an option at right full-back.
D.C. United has kept the majority of its roster together during the break and the club now finds itself with one too many options in attack; the acquisition of Jose Guillermo Ortiz pushes Chris Rolfe further down the depth chart and he could still bring in another kind of asset instead of simply sitting on the bench.
The Colorado Rapids have a number of positions needing to be filled ahead of the start of the 2017 campaign, as depth remains an issue with the club. It leaves Marlon Hairston in a bit of a tricky position as a jack of all trades, master of none; his versatility could be traded for a piece that fits the puzzle.
Possible destination: Seattle Sounders – Since Hairston can play as both a right full-back and a right winger, he can play backup to Jordan Morris, too.
The Vancouver Whitecaps are spoiled for choice across the park at this time but the question for the team is whether those pieces are of sufficient quality to succeed in MLS; with Sam Adekugbe coming up the ranks, left full-back might be one of those spots that is due for a change, to Jordan Harvey‘s expense.
Possible destination: Atlanta United – the expansion outfit has addressed right full-back and center-back but hasn’t signed a left-sided defender just yet.
Toronto FC now plays in a 3-5-2 formation, leaving Jay Chapman well down the pecking order despite putting in a number of commendable performances during the 2016 campaign. At 23, he is at the age where he can begin making a difference as a starter, but can he find that chance in his hometown?
Possible destination: Montreal Impact – these two rivals have made trades in the past and Montreal currently has just three midfielders on its roster, none of whom play in Chapman’s position. He might just find his chance in blue.
Like Knighton, Josh Saunders is one of four goalkeepers in his team’s ranks, with New York City FC picking up Sean Johnson from the Chicago Fire to presumably start in between the sticks in 2017. At 35 years old, Saunders is probably nearing the end of his career but being fourth choice isn’t fun.
Possible destination: Oddly enough, the Chicago Fire could use Saunders’ services, as the team currently employs just one ‘keeper in Matt Lampson.