Well, the postseason ended in just about the worst possible way last night, but now we need to put all of that behind us as the true offseason begins. Things will get going in Major League Soccer with a brief, but likely busy transfer window this morning, lasting from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. in preparation for the upcoming expansion draft.
The Portland Timbers have yet to release their year-end list of re-signings, declined options, and players out of contract, which they will need to do today, all but assuring some news in the Pacific Northwest.
Of course, we have all been doing some prognosticating over what we will see over the coming weeks, so until things get going feel free to check out our best guesses as to who will be sticking around for 2017 here and who the Timbers could protect for the upcoming expansion draft here.
Throughout the morning we’ll update this post with major moves around MLS and a first look at any Timbers new that breaks on Sunday Bloody Sunday.
1:50 p.m. — Minnesota United have finally made a move!
10:10 a.m. — The Colorado Rapids have won the prize for “Most MLS Trade of the Window” with this one.
9:00 a.m. — The half-day trade window is officially closed. Although the league will not approve any more trades until the window reopens after the expansion draft, there may be some further announcements that trickle out over the course of the next few days because MLS permits teams to announce completed deals at their leisure.
Next up in the parade of offseason deadlines is the disclosure of teams’ expansion draft protected lists and the list of eligible MLS free agents.
8:20 a.m. — Things are starting to warm up now, albeit in somewhat awkward fashion.
The awkward thing about this is that, um, Atlanta United never officially announced they’d acquired Johnson, although the transaction had been reported by independent outlets. So, basically, Atlanta silently traded for Johnson, and then publicly traded a player they never acknowledged receiving to another team in a completely separate transaction.
Awkwardness aside, the rumored endgame for Atlanta is that they’ll sign Brad Guzan to be their starting goalkeeper, an opportunity that apparently arose after they’d agreed to the Johnson trade.
UPDATE — Minutes after NYCFC announces they’ve acquired Sean Johnson from Atlanta United, Chicago Fire announce they’ve traded Johnson to Atlanta.
You do you, MLS.
8:10 a.m. — Now here’s something, although it’s not necessarily trade window-related. LA Galaxy looks poised to hire Curt Onalfo, who has been leading LA Galaxy II with notable success for the past three years.
Not the splash that some expected (hoped?) Galaxy would make, but LAG insiders rave about the job Onalfo did with Los Dos.
8:05 a.m. — Good news: Something else happened! Bad news: It’s all the stuff that we expected to happen.
Atlanta United trades draft picks to acquire F Romario Williams (Montreal), MF Harrison Heath (Orlando), MF Kevin Kratz (Philly). #MLS— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) December 11, 2016
6:40 a.m. — Four Four Two USA’s Paul Tenorio runs down the expected activity for Atlanta United this morning, who many expect to be the busiest team during the half-day window.
What we know: ATL will be acquiring Michael Parkhurst, Romario Williams and Harrison Heath. They will also receive and trade Sean Johnson.— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) December 11, 2016
UPDATE to the UPDATE: Official: Parkhurst to Atlanta United for an undisclosed amount of general allocation money.
Columbus Crew SC announces trade of defender Michael Parkhurst to Atlanta United for general allocation money. #mls— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) December 11, 2016
6:20 a.m. — The first move to be confirmed this morning has already been rumored for a couple days: Montreal’s Romario Williams to Atlanta United in exchange for a draft pick.
Can confirm this. Hearing a 2018 draft pick headed to Montreal in return for Williams, who scarcely played for Impact. https://t.co/AHzHkKxUmT— Sam Stejskal (@samstejskal) December 11, 2016
This isn’t necessarily a major move, but it’s the type of deal that can happen a lot today because it could very well be geared toward saving other players in the expansion draft.
6:00 a.m. — The MLS three-hour trade window is officially open! Godspeed.
5:40 a.m. — Let’s start with a Timbers rumor that broke late last night.
Source: Saprissa midfielder David Guzman has signed with the Portland Timbers. 2 year deal. #PTFC— MLS Transfers (@MLSTransfers) December 11, 2016
Take this very much as rumor, but it passes at least the initial sniff test for plausibility. Guzman is a 26-year-old defensive midfielder for the Timbers’ former CCL foe, Deportivo Saprissa. Guzman has been working his way into the Ticos’ setup over the last couple years, but hasn’t yet broken through into Oscar Ramirez’s first XI. We know the Timbers are targeting a defensive midfielder, and if they were going to sign a non-DP six, it would likely be somebody who looks a lot like Guzman.