MLS The Daily Kickoff

By Anonymous (not verified), November 8, 2022
MLS Soccer
Good morning, y'all. Your pal Sam here. Let's soccer.



MLS Kickoff Story
We're back! Finally, we can sit back and enjoy the haunting silence of 28 empty stadiums and the unfulfilled dreams that echo through 27 of them. It's officially the offseason. The most wonderful time of the year.Ok, maybe it's not quite as fun as actually getting to "watch the actual sport be played," but that doesn't mean everyone has to be such a bummer around here. This is when we're most in our element here at The Daily Kickoff, the world's only soccer newsletter. Because these are the times when we get to bring back "Small-sided," a semi-daily breakdown of the overwhelming amount of news coming out each and every day until everything goes quiet for two weeks before the season starts.We'll do our best to parse through the meaning of the day's biggest news, and every now and then we'll take a break from Small-sided to hone in on one really big topic when it comes along. Or if we just get bored. Anyway, do you get it? "Small-sided," like when you play soccer with fewer than 11 players, but it also sounds like "small-sighted" which is basically a synonym for "short-sighted"?1. Neville is sticking around in Miami, should Pozuelo do the same?Phil Neville's contract felt like a surprisingly quiet subplot heading into the start of this offseason. Neville's initial deal signed back in 2021 only ran through the end of the 2022 season. Yet, rightfully, no one really seemed all that concerned. Inter Miami went ahead and wrapped up an extension that will keep Neville with the club a little while longer. It's certainly the right move for Miami and likely the right move for both parties.Even in Miami's most difficult moments, Neville's man management has been praised. This year, his locker room culture and tactics helped guide a completely reshaped team to a playoff appearance well ahead of schedule. With the Herons primed to take another step forward in 2023, hanging around for at least one more season could be a major boon for the team and, in turn, a boost for Neville's coaching prospects elsewhere. Now they just need to get their designated player spots right.One of their three (probable) open spots has already been filled. Leo Campana will likely register as a Young DP this season. That leaves two more spots for a team with practically unlimited resources in one of the world's most attractive cities for a professional athlete. It seems like Alejandro Pozuelo, now out of contract, might be set to take one of those spots if he returns to the team on a new deal. If you're Inter Miami, I think you should probably have some hesitation about offering him one of those spots. Not because Pozuelo performed poorly when he arrived, but because he's been trending slightly downward since his MVP season and because you're Inter Miami. I know past DPs haven't quite worked out and stability is important, but ambition matters too. It feels like there are more high-risk, high-reward moves in play.Then again, none of that matters if you can get Pozuelo back on a non-DP deal. If that happens, Neville and company might enter 2023 as a favorite in the East.2. Lletget is staying. Now what?Dallas are a fascinating offseason team. Largely because it feels like they don't really have to do anything, but also maybe they should really do something? They're hard to assess because they were remarkably consistent last season while also never really feeling like they had the firepower to compete for a trophy. Now, it kind of feels like they have most of their starting XI set depending on whether or not Jesús Ferreira leaves for an absurd amount of money this winter.It honestly might be as simple as getting rid of Franco Jara's DP deal and using that open spot to bolster your midfield and calling it a day. That plus continuity could be enough to push them over the top. With Sebastian Lletget staying around a while and the rest of a good team seemingly locked in, Dallas will at least be a favorite to return to the playoffs next year. But will they do enough to be a true contender?3. MLS has work to do before CCLLast year, I confidently predicted that MLS would break its CCL drought. Nailed that. This year, after looking at the first-round matchups for the five MLS teams in the competition, I'm not exactly betting the house on a repeat. Austin, Vancouver and Orlando are all teams with some serious flaws to work out before the first round begins. LAFC and Philadelphia are near-perfect, but a lot can change over the course of the offseason. As always, soccer is hard, but CCL is harder. Keep a close eye on those five teams as we move through the offseason and CCL approaches way quicker than expected.4. Maxime Crépeau, a heroWhen LAFC traded for Maxime Crépeau last offseason, I think everyone knew they were taking a major step forward at goalkeeper and that it just might be enough to win them a trophy or two. What no one knew is that he'd eventually end up *breaking his leg* for the cause. John McCarthy came in and earned MLS Cup MVP honors of course, but the statue they build for Crépeau in LA won't be big enough. I hope he gets well soon and he never has to pay for a meal in Southern California ever again.


  • Austin FC, Inter Miami update rosters for 2023: Austin declined contract options on five players, including first Expansion Draft selection Danny Hoesen and veteran midfielder Felipe Martins. The club added that they're in discussions with numerous players about potential returns, but didn't specify exactly who. As for Inter Miami, no agreement has been reached yet to bring back DP midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo, who is out of contract. Miami also officially exercised the option on striker Leonardo Campana, as first reported by Campana is expected to hit the roster as a Young DP next season after being a U22 Initiative player while on loan from Wolves. The club also picked up options on the likes of winger Ariel Lassiter, midfielder Bryce Duke and goalkeeper Drake Callender, who finished third in 2022 Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year voting. See the full list of moves here.
  • St. Louis CITY trade for Stroud from Austin FC: St. Louis CITY SC have acquired midfielder Jared Stroud from Austin FC in exchange for $100,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money. At the 2023 expansion side, Stroud reunites with head coach Bradley Carnell after they worked together at the New York Red Bulls.
  • Minnesota United acquire Dunbar in trade with LA Galaxy: Minnesota United FC have completed a trade with the LA Galaxy for forward Cameron Dunbar. The 20-year-old joins the Loons as a homegrown player in exchange for a third-round selection in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, as well as $75,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) if performance-based incentives are met.
  • FC Cincinnati make Jimenez youngest signing in club history: FC Cincinnati have signed midfielder Stiven Jimenez as a homegrown player. The 15-year-old is the youngest player in FCC history and joins through the 2025 MLS season with club options for 2026 and 2027. To sign Jimenez, Cincy could be sending up to $500,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) to D.C. United. The deal includes a guaranteed $50,000 in 2022 GAM, while the Black-and-Red could receive up to $200,000 in conditional GAM should Jimenez sign a second MLS contract with FC Cincinnati and an additional $300,000 GAM if certain performance-based incentives are met.
  • St. Louis CITY acquire MLS NEXT Pro star Jackson from Minnesota United: St. Louis CITY SC have acquired midfielder Aziel Jackson in a trade with Minnesota United FC for $150,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM). Minnesota could also get $75k in conditional GAM should certain performance metrics be met, and MNUFC receive 20% of the transfer fee if Jackson is sold outside of MLS. Jackson joins the 2023 expansion outfit after a standout season for Minnesota's MLS NEXT Pro side MNUFC2, where he was named to the league's Best XI during its inaugural campaign.



Good luck out there. Communicate through whatever means necessary.

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