MLS the Daily Kickoff

By Anonymous (not verified), November 16, 2022
MLS Soccer
Good afternoon, y'all. Your pal Sam here. Let's soccer.



MLS Kickoff Story
MLS Season Pass is coming Feb. 1, 2023 on Apple TV+. Subscribers will be able to watch every club, no restrictions or blackouts.The unprecedented subscription service is available to fans in over 100 countries and regions and will feature live broadcasts and replays of every MLS regular season match, every MLS playoff and MLS Cup match, and every League Cup match.*The expansive and accessible programming lineup will also include both English and Spanish broadcast crews as well as a club's home radio broadcast for each match, hundreds of live MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT matches, an exclusive live match whip-around show so fans never miss an exciting goal or save, and game replays, highlights and other original programming.Learn more about pricing and other details for MLS Season Pass here.*Leagues Cup not available on Apple TV app in Mexico.


MLS Kickoff Story
Free Agency opens today. And it's fair to say that we're looking at the single best crop of available players until the next one rolls around. With the league rules allowing for more players to test free agency and the quality of the league improving as a whole, having a handful of high-caliber players available to negotiate with will likely be the norm going forward. It may not be quite this linear in the end, but for now we can look at this current group of players and say that there are more than a few players who could make a considerable and instant impact for any MLS team.So let's take a look at a few of the most notable players and try to find them a new home within the league. Or at least make some gentle suggestions. Let's be real, most of these guys would make any team better, and it can be difficult to figure out exactly how much room a team has budget-wise on their roster at any time. We'll do our best though. And if we get one right, we'll politely request a small finder's fee. You can pay off student loans with TAM, right?Alexander Callens/Aaron Long - Center backI grouped them together. We're talking about two of the best center backs in the league by nearly any measure. Both are 30 years old. And both are going to command something resembling a max TAM or DP deal if they stay in MLS.Again, any team could use a Callens or Long. So we're more worried about who has either the room to make a move or the motivation to make room. Might I suggest a team like FC Cincinnati? Cincy struggled defensively last season and should have a sense of urgency about them while Brandon Vazquez, Lucho Acosta and Brenner are in the building. The biggest obstacle would be that they have three DPs as of now, but if that changes (Brenner leaves? Obinna Nwobodo doesn't count as a DP anymore?), or they find an agreement that fits within their budget, they would instantly take a major leap forward at the back and become a clear favorite in the East.Just a thought. I'd imagine 80% of teams in the league will at least send one of these two a nice handwritten note about how they'd love to see them in [insert team colors here]. It's worth looking into, right?Sean Johnson - GoalkeeperJohnson pulled in $550k last season. I highly doubt he's looking for a pay cut in free agency. You're going to be paying on the higher end for a goalkeeper here. But Johnson has proven he has the ability to be more than worth that price tag when he's at his best. His shot-stopping numbers suggest that maybe he hasn't quite been at his best the last couple of seasons, but he's still as sure a thing as you're going to find at the goalkeeping position this offseason – with the potential to be much, much more than that.If CF Montréal have the cap room, I can't understate how huge it would be for them to have a sure thing at goalkeeper. Honestly, even average goalkeeping for the entirety of 2022 might have been enough to earn them a Supporters' Shield. We're talking historically bad goalkeeping numbers at times. Yeah, most of the focus will rightfully be on replacing Djordje Mihailovic and Victor Wanyama. But if they can swipe Johnson away from a handful of potential suitors, it's hard to think of a team who would benefit more.Tyler Miller - GoalkeeperIf you're looking for a slightly cheaper option at goalkeeper with proven starting experience, Miller is probably the move. He lost out on the starting gig this season in Minnesota after Dayne St. Clair took over post-injury and instantly turned in one of the single greatest stretches of shot-stopping in MLS history (I'm not kidding). Miller has been solid when given the opportunity though, and it's hard to imagine you would have to break the bank in quite the same way you would for Johnson.Atlanta United are looking for a little more than a backup for Brad Guzan after Guzan tore his Achilles last season. They've openly stated that they'd like to find a keeper to come in and challenge Guzan for the starting job. It's not hard to envision Miller coming and being that guy for the right price.Derrick Etienne Jr. - WingerThere are some bigger names out there (Jonathan Osorio and Gyasi Zardes for two), but Etienne will have plenty of folks chasing after him after a breakout nine-goal, six-assist season. The 25-year-old showed out for a Crew attack that often left a lot to be desired, all while making just $175k. He'll obviously be looking for more from whatever team gets him, but proven MLS value on the wing for even somewhere around double his 2022 salary is more than worth it for most clubs.It will be a bit of a risk for whoever picks him up considering his 2022 season far outpaced his other performances in the league, but someone will likely take that chance. Maybe a team like Charlotte, who struggled to get consistent attacking performances out wide, could have the room and willingness to see if Etienne can continue rising? Maybe this is the kind of move Colorado jumps on? Maybe the Galaxy move on to yet another winger? Someone will buy in here.Ryan Hollingshead - FullbackAnother player where literally anyone would and should take him under any possible circumstance. Hollingshead was a top-five fullback in the league in 2022 and for pretty much every year before that. He's awesome. More people need to appreciate Ryan Hollingshead.On top of that, he made just $393k last season, well under what most folks would value him at. You might have to bump that number up pretty high to get him considering he's coming off an MLS Cup win and another outstanding individual season. Honestly though (yes this is a cop out), LAFC should do whatever it takes to keep him around, and I won't be surprised if they do. Their other right back, Franco Escobar is also out of contract. It's reductive to say take the money you gave Escobar and just hand it to Hollingshead, but also, take the money you gave Escobar and just hand it to Hollingshead. There's only so much time here before someone else jumps in.


  • Toronto FC defender Criscito announces retirement: Toronto FC defender Domenico Criscito has announced his retirement from professional soccer. The news comes roughly six months after the Italian international's arrival to Toronto from ex-Serie A side Genoa, when he joined countrymen Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi as part of TFC's midseason roster makeover. In total, he featured in 16 matches for the Reds, scoring one goal that garnered him MLS Goal of the Week honors against the New England Revolution in Week 26.
  • NYCFC sign homegrown defender Gray to long-term extension: New York City FC have signed defender Tayvon Gray to a new contract through the 2025 season. The move comes a day after NYCFC announced the departure of longtime starting right back Anton Tinnerholm, paving the way for Gray, a Bronx native, to permanently take over that role.
  • Arena, Beasley & Kyle to join MLS World Cup coverage: Three analysts with impressive World Cup experience are joining Major League Soccer's coverage of the FIFA 2022 World Cup. DaMarcus Beasley, Bruce Arena and Kaylyn Kyle will each lend their expertise to the marquee event that starts this Sunday in the Middle East. Beasley, a regular guest and contributor for, will act as an MLS ambassador at the tournament as well as a studio contributor for FOX Sports' digital coverage. Arena and Kyle will provide Player Ratings for every United States and Canada match, respectively.
  • FC Dallas sign academy forward Scott to homegrown contract: FC Dallas have signed academy product Tarik Scott to a homegrown contract in a three-year deal with options for 2026 and 2027. The 17-year-old forward makes the jump to the first team after joining FCD's youth system as a 5-year-old in 2011.
  • More clubs announce roster moves: LAFC, NYCFC, CF Montréal, Philadelphia, Sporting KC and FC Cincinnati announced their end-of-year roster moves. See the full list of decisions here.