MLS: The Daily Kickoff

By Anonymous (not verified), November 15, 2022
MLS Soccer
Good morning, y'all. Your pal Sam here. Let's soccer.


  • Tinnerholm departs NYCFC to join Sweden's Malmö FF: Long time New York City FC defender Anton Tinnerholm is moving on after five seasons in the Big Apple. The 31-year-old former Swedish international will complete his MLS stint once his current contract with the Cityzens expires, in order to return to former club Malmö FF in his native country.
  • Eight teams announce end-of-year roster decisions: Most MLS clubs have officially announced their end-of-year roster moves after eight teams unveiled their decisions yesterday. San Jose, Minnesota United, Vancouver, LA, D.C. United, Atlanta United, FC Dallas and Orlando City each announced their final decisions on player options and more. To see the full list of moves head here.


MLS Kickoff Story
Welcome back to small-sided, the section where we take a quick look at what's happening around the league. Do you get it? Small-sided like the tiny version of soccer but it sounds like "small-sighted" which is pretty close to the more commonly used "short-sighted"? Anyway, that's not what's most important today. What's most important today is that we got final decisions on end-of-year moves for eight teams. And some of those moves deserve a little more attention.1. Orlando have work to doThe Lions might have had the most notable day of any club yesterday. They might have had the most notable end-of-year decisions of anyone in the league. Tesho Akindele, Joao Moutinho, Alexandre Pato, Mauricio Pereyra, Benji Michel and Pedro Gallese are all out. At least for now. Oh, and they also said goodbye to Junior Urso last week.That is a shocking amount of core players exiting a playoff team that won the US Open Cup this season. They could be heading into CCL with what feels like a brand new team. I mean, quick math and we're talking about nearly 11,000 minutes gone from the 2022 season, and that's just the outfield players.Tom "Country Bear Scoopboree' Bogert says that sources have indicated the Lions are still in discussions with Gallese and Pereyra in particular. They could be back and that would at least keep Orlando from having to find a new creative force in attack and a new goalkeeper capable of making Save of the Year-caliber stops. But these things are never a given. And even if they do return, Orlando will be tasked with finding a new left-back and new attacking depth while deciding if Wilder Cartagena, Andres Perea and Cesar Araujo will be enough in midfield following Urso's departure.There's a lot of work to do here. However, the flip side of this is that other teams around the league are begging for the kind of roster flexibility Orlando could have. For a team that got decent results without ever really playing the kind of soccer that captures the imagination, a refresh could be a blessing. At the very least, the Lions have become one of the offseason's most interesting teams in an instant.2. Atlanta hold tight to RossettoHey, speaking of teams that were looking for flexibility, it seemed like Atlanta were maybe the team in the league that could use some increased freedom in their roster-building strategy. There are multiple players on the roster as of now that you could reasonably suggest using a one-time buyout on. For a team that simply hasn't lived up to standards over the last three seasons, you'd think a refresh in key areas might go a long way.Which is why it's been so surprising to see Atlanta double down on continuity the last few days. They signed fullback Brooks Lennon to a new contract last week and yesterday announced that they had picked up an option on midfielder Matheus Rossetto. Lennon has been productive, even if there are arguments to make about his value relative to what his new contract might price out at. Rossetto has one goal contribution in the nearly 4,000 minutes he's played since arriving in 2020 and outright lost his starting job to Amar Sejdic in 2022. Sejdic made $85.5k in 2022 while Rossetto made $550k.On paper, it's objectively difficult to argue in favor of keeping that kind of cap hit relative to his production. And it seems especially odd considering that Atlanta could have simply not picked up the option on Rossetto and opened up cap room as well as a spot in perhaps Atlanta's most critical position of need. It may pay off in the end. And big changes could eventually be coming in ways we don't see yet. But for now, Atlanta's offseason is off to a start that keeps things far closer to the status quo than most expected. Especially for a team that has struggled like they have over the last three seasons.3. Vancouver make a little roomIt's pretty straightforward for Vancouver. They declined their option on club-record signing and DP forward Lucas Cavallini and now they have a chance for a massive offseason. For a club that came close to putting together an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs run this year and has generally felt like they've made moves that at least attempt to address clear needs, the ability to bring in a few big players could pay off in a big way.Cavallini's departure obviously opens a DP spot, and defensive midfielder Andres Cubas is on a max TAM deal. That gives the 'Caps a chance to add two new DPs this offseason. If they show enough ambition to make those moves, it wouldn't be surprising to see them take a big leap forward in 2023. They always felt like a team just a few steps removed from competing with the best of the West. But moves for defensive midfielder Andres Cubas and wingback Julian Gressel felt like steps in the right direction last season.I'm just saying, don't set your expectations too, too high. I've been burned by expecting teams to invest in DP spots before (isn't that right, Colorado?). But just keep an eye on Vancouver over the next couple of months. It feels like things could be trending in a positive direction for 2023.


  • Portland sign forward Mora to contract extension: The Portland Timbers have signed forward Felipe Mora to a contract extension through 2025 with a club option in 2026. The 29-year-old Chilean international was limited to one goal across seven substitute appearances during the 2022 season, then underwent season-ending knee surgery in early August.
  • Houston star Herrera makes Mexico roster: Houston Dynamo FC's star midfielder, Hector Herrera, made Mexico's 26-man roster. The 32-year-old, already carrying 101 caps, was crucial during El Tri's Round of 16 trips at Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018. He often wears the captain's armband for his country and has scored 10 international goals.
  • LAFC trio, Sounders' Arreaga make Ecuador roster: Three players from LAFC's MLS Cup 2022-winning side and one from Seattle Sounders FC's Concacaf Champions League 2022-winning team are heading to the FIFA 2022 World Cup. Ecuador's 26-man roster, announced Monday by manager Gustavo Alfaro, includes the LAFC trio of midfielder José Cifuentes, midfielder Sebastian Méndez and left back Diego Palacios. The Sounders' representative is center back Xavier Arreaga.