Holy moly folks. Buckle up, the offseason is here. Today is the official start to the MLS offseason as the trade window has re-opened and several teams are taking full advantage of it before it closes up later this week before the first stage of the Re-Entry Draft.
A lot of trades were reported on yesterday so I’ll break them down one-by-one here. I’d imagine this is only the beginning.
RSL cleaning house
We knew this would probably happen this winter in Salt Lake City but Real Salt Lake is dumping some salaries to rebuild and retool their roster.
Yesterday evening Soccer By Ives reported that RSL is in discussion with two teams on two big trades. The first is a doozy.
RSL is set to trade centerback Jamison Olave and forward Fabian Espindola to the New York Red Bulls for a large amount of allocation money, pending league approval. Where New York has this allocation money is beside me but I’m sure they’ve been saving some up over the years in some form or fashion. The allocation money system is a mysterious thing anyways.
That isn’t all.
RSL are also set to trade Canadian midfielder Will Johnson to the Portland Timbers for allocation money.
What it means for RSL: The big salary dump is huge. They get about $1 million off the books right off the bat. Not to mention the allocation that is coming in both ways (said to be around $500k). They lose three key players from their last four seasons but in a way they were moves that needed to be made.
Olave is a surprise in some ways as he was the cornerstone of the defense over the last couple of seasons. But injuries have slowed down his dominance over the last season or so. Maybe we’re seeing a smart move by RSL in trading Olave while he isn’t 100% and hoping that New York is just a sucker for it.
What the move means for NY: Some will wonder why and how this works for New York but it just will. There is already a mass exodus out of Harrison as we speak. More players are leaving or are not coming back for next season. Marcus Holgersson is one, Joel Lindpere may to be another. I’ve also been hearing that Kenny Cooper is set to be moved this week as well. It all lines up for moves like this.
This also is a dangerous move for the Red Bulls to make. Consider this for a moment, the Red Bulls are still without a head coach and are making some serious roster moves here. Olave is great and Espindola is a feisty striker that locals will enjoy watching but how will they fit with a new coach?
What the move means for Portland: I love this land for the Timbers and Caleb Porter. Johnson is a tireless worker and is someone that will fit his style of play. Porter can use him on the wing or in the middle, it won’t matter. It is a good pickup.
Portland deals Kimura to NY
Kosuke Kimura could be another traded player tomorrow as well that is going to the Big Apple. The Oregonian reported last night that a deal was in place to trade him from Portland to New York. Portland is expected to get some allocation in return for Kimura.
This deal is…well…sort of a good one for both sides. Kimura never caught on in Portland after getting traded there from Colorado earlier this season. New York could be a good spot for him if he comes in at a decent price for the Red Bulls. He is going to be out of contract so it will be interesting to see if this actually goes through or not.
Harrington set to go to Portland
Just as Portland deal a defender, they are set to pick one up. Hat tip again to the Oregonian again for this nugget. Sporting Kansas City is sending Michael Harrington to Portland in exchange for allocation money. So in a way the Timbers dump Kimura and get a younger and arguable better player in Harrington.
Harrington was a regular two years ago for SKC but really hasn’t seen a ton of the field over the last season and a half.
I like this move as well for the Timbers as they re-tool their roster.