Welcome to the MLS Rundown, in its new slot here on a Tuesday and you’ll also hear from us on Thursdays now the season has begun. Rundown is like your garnish on the side of a steak, cooked well-done thank you, news and rumours alongside the games taking place.
WHITECAPS WONDERKID ALPHONSO DAVIES
Feel-good story of the opening MLS weekend has to be Alphonso Davies, the Vancouver Whitecaps winger wearing number 67 on his back from Buduburam, a refugee camp in the Gomoa East District of Ghana. Not only did he serve up the cross that Kei Kamara hit home in the 63rd minute against Canadian rivals Montreal Impact but he contributed his first MLS goal just seven minutes later.
The performance, including completing six of his eight dribbles on the night (no MLS player completed more than seven in one game last season), would have earned him Budweiser Man of The Match honours but unfortunately he is not eligible.
For another two years.
One of the big transfer stories out of the weekend has been the trade between Vancouver Whitecaps and New York Red Bulls, the ‘Caps acquiring midfielder Felipe and Targeted Allocation Money for centre back Tim Parker. The deal had been rumoured for a few weeks with Rundown featuring the story as far back as February 22nd. Red Bulls will send $500,000 in allocation money to Vancouver – $225,000 in 2018 and $275,000 in 2019 – as part of the deal, along with an international roster spot in 2018.
Vancouver have been busy on the trade front as they received $150,000 in TAM from Chicago in exchange for Tony Tchani earlier in the week in a move that cleared the way for Felipe to join the roster.
The big injury news comes from Atlanta United, where Ezequiel Barco has suffered a right quad strain and his debut will be delayed for four to six weeks.
Up in Montreal, French centre-back Zakaria Diallo will have surgery because of an achilles tendon injury suffered in training and will be out for five to six months.
Vancouver Whitecaps have made a notable addition to their squad, completing the acquisition of English midfielder Jordon Mutch. The attacking central midfielder, 26, arrives from English Premier League side Crystal Palace on a 12-month loan deal.
“Jordon is a top midfielder who has played at the highest level,” said Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson in a club statement. “He’s played against the Chelseas, Arsenals, and Manchester Uniteds and now he wants to prove himself again in a new environment. He likes to get forward, he’s full of energy, and he’s in the prime of his career. We’re delighted to have him here.”
15-year-old midfielder Efrain Alvarez has signed for LA Galaxy, becoming the seventh-youngest signing in league history. He led the Galaxy U-17/18s to the USSDA Championships at StubHub Center in July, scoring in the team’s quarterfinal, semifinal and championship matches. He was also a star at the 2017 Generation Adidas Cup, collecting three goals and two assists in five matches.
Orlando City SC have signed defender Chris Schuler as a free agent on a two-year contract with a club option. The 30-year-old joins after a preseason trial with the Lions. Schuler spent the past eight seasons with Real Salt Lake, making 96 MLS regular season appearances and 11 MLS Cup Playoffs appearances in that span.
Los Angeles FC have filled out their squad with the signings of 25-year-old ‘keeper Charlie Lyon and 20-year-old midfielder James Murphy.
LA Galaxy have signed goalkeeper Justin Vom Steeg after the 20-year-old played one season with their USL club, LA Galaxy II. Vom Steeg will join David Bingham and Brian Sylvestre as goalkeepers in the Galaxy’s 2018 squad.
Columbus Crew SC have signed of two of their 2018 SuperDraft selections, adding goalkeeper Ben Lundgaard and midfielder Luis Argudo to the club’s first-team squad.
Portland Timbers have waived defender Chance Myers, citing a need to make space on their roster and salary budget for “projected additions.” The No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, Myers, now 30, is a 10-year MLS veteran who spent his entire professional career with Sporting Kansas City before joining the Timbers via free agency a year ago.
Seattle Sounders have waived midfielder Zach Mathers. The 23-year-old was the club’s second-round selection (35th overall) in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. The Duke product played one season for Sounders FC 2 before signing with the first team prior to last season. Despite not making an MLS appearance, Mathers has 14 goals and eight assists in 24 appearances for Sounders 2 across two seasons.
Minnesota United FC have waived winger Simon Dawkins. The Loons picked Dawkins up via waivers earlier this month after his Designated Player contract was bought out by San Jose on February 16th. The other 22 MLS clubs can now claim Dawkins via waivers. Any team that claims him must offer Dawkins a contract within three days of being awarded his rights.
Real Salt Lake have waived striker Yura Movsisyan. The Designated Player fell out of favour with the club last year, losing his starting role and expressing his unhappiness with Mike Petke over a lack of playing time with the head coach in the summer. He hasn’t been with RSL at any point this preseason and has been training individually near his home in Southern California.
MLS veteran and former US national team forward Charlie Davies has officially announced his retirement. Davies, 31-years-old, made his professional debut with Swedish club Hammarby after playing collegiately at Boston College, Davies played in Sweden and for then-Ligue 1 club Sochaux in France between 2007-12.
A breakout star at the 2009 Confederations Cup for the US national team, where he helped lead his country to the final of that tournament, Davies’ career nearly ended following a car accident in October 2009 that killed another passenger and almost took his life, too.
Davies played for three MLS teams in his career: D.C. United (2011), the New England Revolution (2013-16) and Philadelphia Union (2016-17). In all, he scored 25 goals and 10 assists in 101 MLS regular season appearances, and four goals in seven MLS Cup Playoffs appearances, all of those goals coming during the Revs’ 2014 run to the MLS Cup final.
Thank you for reading the MLS Rundown, a twice-weekly column focused on news, rumours and transfers. If you would like to connect with the writer, please do so on twitter @CT_MLS