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MLS Offseason Wrap Up: Federico Higuain to join D.C. United as player-coach?

FC Cincinnati, meanwhile, aren’t the new kids anymore and they’re determined to make a splash this season.

New York Red Bulls v Columbus Crew: MLS Cup Eastern Conference Semifinal Leg 2
Federico Higuain #10 of Columbus Crew argues with referee about a call
(Black/Corbis via Getty)

The 25th Major League Soccer season officially kicks off tomorrow as Toronto FC will be in action on the West Coast, taking on the San Jose Earthquakes. While the Reds have been, quiet for the most part this offseason, those around the league are doing their part to catch up.

One last time, here’s your MLS Offseason Wrapup with the season just one day away!


The Busier Bunch

FC Cincinnati had a rocky start to their MLS bid. They finished in dead last with a 6-6-22 record. New season, new team, however. They’re no longer the new kids on the block and have added Ajax veteran Siem de Jong to their roster. The midfielder will wear number ten for the club this year.

Aside from signing de Jong, FC Cincinnati decided to commit to their SuperDraft selection, Rey Ortiz, who impressed the boss with his preseason performance and will stay with the club. He was selected 29th overall. Speaking of boss, in other news, their coach resigned last week after he admitted to using a racial slur. Though, his version of the story is apparently incorrect. Just what last year’s last-place team needed, further distractions off the field!

Yoann Damet will serve as interim coach as the team faces the New York Red Bulls on Sunday.

Atlanta United: Atlanta United have been competing in the Concacaf Champions League, where they recently advanced to the quarterfinals. Club América will be their next opponent as they look to add another trophy to their arsenal. Our rivals from the Dirty South have been a little preoccupied with the tournament and haven’t added anyone new to their bench since we last spoke. Atlanta United hit the pitch for their opening MLS match on Saturday against Nashville SC.

Chicago Fire: Chicago FC added another talented midfielder to their squad as Gaston Gimenez is MLS bound from Velez Sarsfield. The transfer fee is undisclosed, but he will be under contract with Chicago until 2021 with the option to extend for the 2022 season, becoming the third designated player that the Fire have signed this season.

Another midfielder was also brought into the Windy City. Serbian Luka Stojanovic was the leading goal scorer for his last club, FK Cukaricki, and he’ll look to pick up where he left off in North America.

But wait—there’s another international signing Chicago. Defender Boris Sekulic was recently signed to a three-year contract, occupying an international roster spot. The new Chicago Fire team open up their season against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday.

Columbus Crew: The Columbus Crew are another team that decided to commit to their first-round SuperDraft pick, as Miguel Berry, selected seventh overall, signed a first-team deal with Tim Bezbatchenko’s side. He scored 38 goals in his tenor at the University of San Diego, so there’s perhaps good reason that the Crew are excited about this rookie.

Another addition to their roster is former San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell. The Columbus Crew also decided to part ways with JJ Williams, waiving the second-year forward as the season inches closer. Their first match will be against New York City FC on Sunday.

D.C. United: One of the more peculiar stories of the MLS offseason, it seems as though Federico Higuain will be joining D.C. United as a player-coach, according to the Washington Post. The team is dealing with losing Paul Arriola to a torn ACL, so it would seem probable they are looking for extra help, especially because Arriola may be out the entire season with this injury.

D.C. United also settled contract talks with former Atlanta United midfielder Julian Gressel, who will be with the team until 2023 with the option to sign on for a fourth season. They’ll kick off their season against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.


The Quiet Crew

Inter Miami: It’s official, Rodolfo Pizarro has signed with Inter Miami, which I alluded to last week our wrapup.

David Beckham’s side also picked up Agustin Almendra, a 20 year old midfielder from Boca Juniors on loan. Other than that, roster-wise, not much has changed for the newbies, but they did officially name Luis Robles as the first captain in club history. The squad from South Beach will hit the MLS pitch for the very first time on Sunday against LAFC.

Philadelphia Union: The Philadelphia Union resigned their captain Alejandro Bedoya until 2021 with the option for 2022. He has been with the club since the 2016 season, playing in 55 of the last 58 Union games. With that signing taken care of, the Union are good to go against FC Dallas on Saturday.

Montreal Impact: Montreal Impact haven’t made many changes to their group, either. Thierry’s Henry’s side has been, however, making noise in the Concacaf Champions League where they advanced to the quarter-final.

One of the players that they brought in, English youngster Luis Binks from Tottenham, will be sidelined four to six weeks after the defender suffered a knee injury during their Champions League match. Our 401 Rivals will play their first MLS match on Saturday against the New England Revolution.

New England Revolution: Designated player Carles Gil will miss the opening match of the season against the Impact. He’s been dealing with a foot injury but has been training with the team which leads me to believe his absence won’t be felt for long. Aside from that, not much has changed for the Revolution.

New York City FC: NYCFC also advanced to the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Champions League. Their squad has stayed the same for the most part, aside from some reports that they’ve signed Nicolas Acevedo, though I couldn’t find any confirmation.

Game one for NYC FC is against Columbus Crew on Sunday.

New York Red Bulls: The New York Red Bulls decided to commit to their SuperDraft pick, as defender Patrick Seagrist was picked in the first round, tenth-overall. Again, they haven’t made many changes. They’ll take the pitch on Sunday against FC Cincinnati.

Orlando City: Dom Dwyer will miss opening day for Orlando City. He’s currently week-to-week with a lower-body injury. They face Real Salt Lake on Saturday for their season opener.