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MLS Offseason Wrap Up: Chicharito joins the Galaxy as TFC’s rivals improve

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Mexico’s all-time goal scorer takes on MLS next

MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy-Javier Chicharito Hernandez Press Conference Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

I know, I know, LA Galaxy news doesn’t really affect us as Toronto FC fans. However, this is the biggest news story in Major League Soccer right now, so we have to touch on it.

Mexico’s all-time leading goal scorer has joined the Galaxy. Will he produce offense the Galaxy will be lacking with the loss of Zlatan Ibrahimovic? I guess we’ll see. We just hope he doesn’t think this is a retirement league... The Galaxy play Toronto FC in a friendly on February 15 and in the regular season at BMO Field on April 18.

Now, back to the teams within Toronto’s conference. What have our rivals been up to?


Atlanta United: Atlanta United has parted ways with one of their key players. Julian Gressel has joined D.C. United. He led the team in assists last season, and fans in the Dirty South are fairly upset with this deal, despite the acquisition of around $1.1 million in allocation money. A Toronto side-note to this trade—WTR confirmed on Jan. 10 that the Reds had talks about bringing the midfielder to Toronto.

Atlanta United also parted ways with several of their long-time players. They did however sign Jake Mulraney, Edgar Castillo, and a service dog in training, Spike.

Chicago Fire: Last time we talked, I mentioned how Chicago Fire canned their manager. They have since brought on a new assistant coach as David Zdrilic will join the bench for the upcoming season.

In addition to a new coach, they’re bringing some new players to the pitch as well. Goalkeeper Connor Sparrow, designated player Robert Beric, and former academy player Mauricio Pineda have joined the club. Defender Marcelo has decided to leave the club, joining the likes of Nemanja Nikolic, Aleksander Katai, Nicolas Gaitan, and Dax McCarty who will alll no longer wear the new Chicago crest this season.

FC Cincinnati: FC Cincinnati has done some signing. So far, they’ve brought on forwards Yuya Kubo, Brandon Vazquez, midfielder Haris Medunjanin, defenders Zico Bailey, Tom Pettersson, Saad Abdul-Salaam, and goalkeeper Bobby Edwards. They’ve placed Fanendo Adi and Jimmy Hague on waivers, removing the two players from their active roster. Hague, a young GK, never played a game with the team after being selected in the 2019 Super Draft with the 30th-overall selection.

Columbus Crew SC: The Columbus Crew, led by former Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko, have signed their former head coach’s son to a homegrown contract deal. Gregg Berhalter, now coach of the US Men’s National Team, will see his son, Sebastian Berhalter, play with his old club. They also signed Aidan Morris to a homegrown contract. They have also brought on midfielder Lucas Zelarayan from Tigres UANL. He scored 23 goals with the club. The overall in Columbus continues for Bez and co., we’ll see if they can make strides this season.

D.C. United: As mentioned before, D.C. was the winner in the Julian Gressel sweepstakes, bringing in the midfielder for up to $1.1 million in allocation money. They still need to bring in another Designated Player, but it looks like the team from Washington is revamping their Rooney-less side.

D.C. United made their 14th homegrown player signing in their history this week. Forward Kevin Paredes was lucky number 14. They also made a big signing, completing a deal for midfielder Edison Flores. There are several strange transfer rumors surrounding this team as well. I hope I can give you some updates on those soon.

Inter Miami CF: Inter Miami officially has a head coach! Diego Alonso will be the first coach in the club’s history.

They’ve also been linked to about every other big name reportedly set to leave Europe. We can conclude here that they have several more signings to make.

Montreal Impact: The Montreal Impact have acquired young Canadian Ballou Tabla back in a permanent transfer from FC Barcelona. The Homegrown winger spent his time with Barcelona B after moving to the Catalan side permanently just one year ago. He struggled to find playing time after a promising first season on loan in Spain, appearing in just two matches in 2018-19 before returning back to the Impact, again on loan, to close out last season.

And then this morning (shortly after initially publishing this article), the Impact brought back their 2019 MVP Orji Okwonkwo on loan with an option to buy.

The first-ever Canadian Premier signing was also made by the Impact as Joel Waterman will be joining the squad from Calgary FC. They’ve also acquired some allocation money providing reason to believe more moves are on the horizon (which they may have spent on Okwonkwo—who made $200,000 USD last season—but not much else to report on yet from our Montreal rivals.

New England Revolution: Well, bad news for the New England Revolution. Defender Samba Camara was set to join the club from France, but his visa was denied. According to sources, their roster is “set” after the SuperDraft. We will see if there is more from them as we inch towards preseason.

New York City FC: NYC FC has re-signed Ismael Tajouri to a multi-year deal. He scored 19 goals in 52 matches with the club; with most of last year’s team returning to the Big Apple, not too much to report on just yet.

How about their neighbours in New Jersey?

New York Red Bulls: Winger Josh Sims will re-join the New York Red Bulls on loan from Southhampton this season. He has been added to the roster as a Young Designated Player. John Tolkin has been signed to a Homegrown contract. Another team with plenty of rumors swirling around—including ties to Sam Cosgrove.

Orlando City: The other Florida team, Orlando City, has signed midfielder Junior Urso from a transfer with Corinthians. The 30-year-old scored five goals with his former club across competitions. Peruvian national team goalkeeper Pedro Gallese has also signed a deal with the club.

Philadelphia Union: During the first preseason practice, the Philadelphia Union announced the signing of defensive midfielder Matej Oravec, while Jamiro Monteiro has also joined the club via a small fee of $2 million USD. Just pocket change! A team like Phili is always a dark horse.

That’s all for now, friends. As preseason looms, I’m sure we’ll see some more moves.