With the MLS primary transfer window set to close this week, we saw a few big trades and a major acquisition. It was reported that Toronto FC was in negotiations with United States men’s national team defender, Omar Gonzalez. Toronto FC acquired the top spot in the MLS allocation ranking earlier to bring in Gonzalez, but according to the latest reports, Liga MX will not be selling Gonzalez to Toronto. Minnesota United was one of the busier clubs, making two moves. First, they moved $325,000 in targeted allocation money to the LA Galaxy in exchange for $225,000 in general allocation money, but that wasn’t the last deal made by the Loons. The Chicago Fire acquired Loons captain Francisco Calvo in exchange for $400,000 in allocation money. With performance clauses included, the total could rise another $125,000.
The Galaxy acquired more allocation money when they scored another $300,000 in TAM from the Columbus Crew. The move only cost the Galaxy $225,00 in GAM. The $625,000 in TAM acquired by the Galaxy put them in a good spot to make a big splash before the transfer window closes.
In another one of many moves, FC Dallas sent defender Marquinhos Pedroso to D.C. United after he was claimed off waivers in exchange for United’s 2020 first-round draft pick. The biggest move and trade were made by the Portland Timbers. Portland dealt Costa Rican midfielder David Guzman to the Columbus Crew in exchange for an international roster spot. Portland then went out and acquired Brian Fernandez from Liga MX side, Necaxa. Fernandez, who will be a designated player for the Timbers, arrives as a club record signing.
On the field, no team had a better time than the Philadelphia Union. The Union jumped to the top of the Eastern Conference after wins over the bottom two clubs in the east. The Union dispatched FC Cincinnati midweek before throttling the New England Revolution, 6-1, to cap off a six-point week.
D.C. United held serve when it knocked off a struggling Columbus Crew team that has lost five straight. While things in Ohio’s capital aren’t going too well, things out west in Colorado are going much worse. The Rapids are winless on the season and have already fired their coach. Anthony Hudson was relieved of his duties midweek, with Conor Casey taking over. However, even with a new coach, it was a same result for the Rapids, as they fell 3-2 to Vancouver at home.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic added his ninth goal of the season in defeat as the LA Galaxy fell to the New York Red Bulls, 3-2, at Red Bull Arena. The win gave the Red Bulls a much needed three points early in the season. Another club that snagged a crucial win was Atlanta United. The defending champions, who struggled mightily out of the gate, have won two straight and three of their last four. Josef Martinez and Ezequiel Barco carried the five stripes to a big 3-0 over Sporting Kansas City. Their performances earned them team of the week honors. With Atlanta seeming to have found its stride, it will be a team to watch moving forward as it looks to defend their championship. While it is still early in the season, Atlanta now finds itself just a single point out of a playoff spot.
The other club in last seasons MLS Cup, the Portland Timbers, have won three straight and have climbed back into the playoff picture early in the season. The recent run of play for the Timbers is crucial, as they will be returning home on June 1 for their first home match of the season. Starting the season with 12 straight road matches is tough, but if Portland can manage to hover around the middle of the pack, things could look great in the Pacific Northwest this season. New DP signing Fernandez should be available for the Timbers this week, giving them a much needed attacking boost and a new attraction for when the renovated Providence Park opens up.
Even with a scoreless draw in Los Angeles on Saturday night, Carlos Vela still remains atop the MLS scoring charts with 11, just two ahead of cross-town rival Ibrahimovic. The race for the MLS Golden Boot looks to be between the top two players in Los Angeles, but expect others to continue to keep their name in the conversation.
Below is the schedule for MLS clubs in action this week.
Atlanta United vs. Toronto FC – 7 p.m.
Columbus Crew SC vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m.
Chicago Fire vs. New England Revolution – 8 p.m.
New York Red Bulls vs. Montreal Impact – 8 p.m.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Portland Timbers – 10 p.m.
FC Cincinnati vs. Montreal Impact – 1 p.m.
FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls – 2 p.m.
Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 3 p.m.
LA Galaxy vs. New York City FC – 4 p.m. (ESPN)
Columbus Crew SC vs. Los Angeles FC – 7:30 p.m.
New England Revolution vs. San Jose Quakes – 7:30 p.m.
Chicago Fire vs. Minnesota United – 8 p.m.
Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake – 9 p.m.
Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo – 10 p.m.
Atlanta United vs. Orlando City SC – 2:30 p.m. (Fox)
D.C. United vs. Sporting Kansas City – 7 p.m. (FS1)
As always, stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk for all things FC Cincinnati when they return to the friendly confines of Nippert Stadium to face the Montreal Impact with a chance to right the ship.