The MLS summer transfer window officially closed earlier this week but not before teams made a few late moves. Some teams were able to go out and acquire players that should make them stronger, while others have lost players that played large roles in their squads. Time will tell who the real winners and losers are from the 2016 summer transfer period, but let’s take a look at what some of the moves look like on paper.
Philadelphia Union: Earnie Stewart’s influence is completely changing the way the Union operates and is perceived around the league. In preseason he showed his aggressiveness in the draft by getting his hand on three of the top six picks, and he continued his aggressive approach in the summer. The acquisition of Alejandro Bedoya is the biggest move in Philadelphia’s short history and made the most headlines of any in MLS during the transfer period. He should fill the vacant role of Vincent Nogueira nicely and a midfield of Edu, Barnetta, and Bedoya will be one of the strongest in all of MLS. The Union wasn’t done there though. Just before the deadline they announced a trade that sent, fan favorite, Sebastian Le Toux to the Colorado Rapids. The addition of Bedoya left Le Toux on the outside looking in due to the abundance of talented wingers/midfielders that Philly now has. A tough one for the fans to swallow but from a business perspective, it makes a lot of sense. They then turned around and used the money from the Le Toux trade to pick up former US National Team forward Charlie Davies from New England. CJ Sapong and Fabian Herbers were the only true strikers the Union had on their roster prior to Davies. Don’t expect Davies to take Sapong’s spot but a great move by Philly to add depth in a position that needed it.
Seattle Sounders: The Sounders made a big splash by finally completing the signing of Uruguayan playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro from Boca Juniors. Up to this point, Seattle has probably been the most disappointing team during the 2016 MLS season. Lodeiro is the perfect style of player to come in and add life and energy to the organization. He made his debut over the weekend against the LA Galaxy and absolutely bossed the game. Lodeiro was the best player on the pitch and immediately was the man the Sounders looked to play through. Seattle was a completely different team with him on the pitch and was unfortunate not to walk away with all three points. Alvaro Fernandez was also brought in during the transfer period, coming back to the Sounders for his second stint with the club. His move was hidden in the shadow of Lodeiro but he will certainly bring a lot of depth to the squad. With the way their team is now constructed, fans shouldn’t expect him to be an everyday starter but he will see a lot of the field. There is no doubt the Sounders are a better team now than they were before the summer transfer window. It might not be enough for the club to make a late push towards the playoffs, but they made the moves that will give them a shot.
FC Dallas: It should be no surprise that Dallas tops this list. Their prized possession, Fabian Castillo, left the club for Turkey in what will go down as one of the ugliest transfer sagas in MLS history. For weeks nobody had any idea what was going on. Was he staying? Was he leaving? In the end he was sent on loan to Turkey for an initial fee of $3 million with a later option to buy. How much more can the option to buy really cost though? Even if you’re generous and say $2 million more to make the deal a total of $5 million, that is cheap for a player of Castillo’s quality and age. If a European club would’ve come in and offered something like $12 million, then FC Dallas would be getting some value for their star to use elsewhere. However, just a few million for a young stud like Castillo leaves Dallas worse off than they were heading into the transfer period.
Sporting KC: Peter Vermes did nothing to either strengthen or weaken his squad during the summer transfer period. That normally doesn’t land you on the loser list, but when you have several of your key guys out injured, not adding talent is a problem. Zusi, Besler, Nagamura, Davis, Mapp, and Coelho are all currently out while Jacob Peterson has also struggled with injuries. To put this into context, Vermes wasn’t even sure he was going to have 18 players to roster last weekend. It is crazy to associate this Sporting Kansas City side with being thin considering they might be the deepest roster in the league, but that is what mass injuries will do to you. With how tight the west is, going on a bad run for just a few games could put you in a tough position. Kansas City’s season depends on how they perform over the next few weeks while they wait for their team to get healthy. Adding a couple of affordable role players could have made this time a bit less stressful for Vermes. He certainly took a gamble, we will see if it pays off.