Your Thursday Kickoff: A holiday wishlist for the Eastern Conference


Seattle Sounders re-sign club legend Montero

The Seattle Sounders have re-signed veteran striker Freddy Montero. Montero returns to Seattle on a one-year contract for the 2023 season, after the 2022 season, which saw the 35-year-old score eight goals in all competitions, including three crucial goals in Seattle’s historic run to the 2022 CONCACAF Champions League title.

Quiet day etc. You all know the drill at this point oh my god I’m begging the teams on a personal level to start doing more interesting things than re-signing club legends we all knew they would re-sign. Someone trade their DP for an international venue or something!

Anyway, until then, let’s get into the holiday spirit and take a look at what each Eastern Conference team has on their wish list this holiday season.

Toronto FC: A second chance at a centre-back

Was Carlos Salcedo the worst signing in 2022? There is a legitimate argument for that. Although we should probably note that, at the very least, Toronto didn’t have to pay a transfer fee to bring him in. But still, the DP defender has only played 16 games on the worst defense in the league during a less than perfect first half of the season. It didn’t improve defensively after he left.

In 2023, they will head into the year trying to solve their defensive problems enough to allow Lorenzo Insigne, Federico Bernardeschi and Jonathan Osorio to carry the rest of the burden in attack. With an open DP point, they can experience the central DP thing again. At the very least, they have a lot of work to sort out their back line.

Philadelphia Union: Uh… I don’t know… more depth?

Maybe it’s just something deeper, right? I can’t pick another area that they really need to improve on right now. They are set to compete for the CCL title, League Cup, and more. They’ve kind of already addressed a bit of depth by bringing in Andres Perea through a trade. Perhaps the desire is for no one to touch anything. Even if they lose Kai Wagner or someone else, they’ve likely already identified five possible replacements that they can connect right away. The car is driving itself at this point.

Orlando City: Substitute Nani / Mueller

Orlando should be busy this season (any day now!) but their biggest decision will revolve around what they do in an open DP venue. It feels like the dynamic winger must be the one moving in there. Orlando was… so… cringing… all the time… last season. Having someone who can expand the field the way Nani and Chris Mueller did would go a long way towards rectifying that. It will at least make them more interesting.

New York Red Bulls: For any of these strikers to work

Same thing like every year lately, right? This time it appears they have really tried to remedy the problem by bringing in Corey Burke and bringing back Elías Manuel. Neither of them feel like an ideal solution at the moment, but I think they’ll take half of the solution at this point. This could be what finally takes them from a consistent playoff team to their first MLS Cu-hahaahaha, no, no, it won’t, they’re goddamn. The true desire is to end their terrible curse.

New York City: Thales Mag Joe

Thales Magno took a big step forward last season - at least for part of it. Then he moved from the wing to the old role of Tati Castellanos and things got muddled. I imagine he will be back on the wing this year, and while he has shown impressive ability on the ball, his movement off the ball has been lacking. For him to make the next big leap, his off-the-ball numbers need to improve. As Matt Doyle pointed out in this year’s 22 Under 22 series, at Second Spectrum, Magno is in the top percentage (as in, bottom 1%) of off-the-ball offenses per leak at the level of the last two years, ahead of only Luis Araujo.

New England Revolution: Dylan Borrero is healthy

The 20-year-old quarterback came to New England in May and immediately showed flashes of ridiculous potential. He seemed as dynamic as they got the ball and like the kind of player who could help guide New England back to the playoffs in a transfer-filled year. Then he was injured after only his seventh start and we didn’t see him again on the field until the end of the season. The Revs want to see it well going for 2023, and I do too. If he can start New England’s offense, Djorje Petrovic will take care of any other issues defensively.

Nashville Carolina: You don’t have to give us anything, we’ll give you something

Hey, hey, don’t wish us here at Nashville SC, but, hey, you seem like the DP striker kind of person. Can we interest you in DP Forward? His name is Ake and we promise he’ll fit in perfectly with whatever you’re trying to make. He is the best. We love it so much that we’re actually just trying to share it with more people. All you have to do is pay… um… his entire $1.49 million contract and maybe a small transfer fee. Well, no problem, we’ll be fun, we’ll download it soon, ok bye.

CF Montreal: Let’s start our 43-part wish list by saying…

It’s a lot. I like a lot. Let’s just move on…

Inter Miami: Argentina win

Looking like the greatest player of all time, totally achieved by winning every possible international championship, he will likely come to Miami if they have nothing to accomplish but prove they can do it on a rainy night in Fort Lauderdale.

DC United: No. A good yoga instructor

This team is getting bigger by the day, and I don’t think it’s going to slow down anytime soon. MO under Wayne Rooney seems to be getting seasoned talent from Europe now and benefit from some brand recognition while they can. All of these guys are going to have to stay healthy and survive the MLS summer. Stretching and proper breathing can play a big role.

Columbus Crew: Some wings, please

If Wilfried Nancy is going to go with three defenses at Columbus, he will need to replace Pedro Santos. And maybe just add a few more pieces to fit the overall system. Basically, they’ve already got their biggest and best gift; They just need the right accessories to make it really cool.

FC Cincinnati: Everyone back off for a moment

All of these teams are trying to get Brandon Vazquez or Brenner to leave. Can’t you leave Sensei happy for a few years?

Chicago Fire FC: For a timeout call on Jhon Duran

If they can get a one-year timeout and prevent other teams from pouncing on him with the kinds of offers Chicago just can’t refuse, that would be great. A full year with one of the hottest young players in the league could finally get them back into the playoffs. It would also give his conversion value a chance to rise.

That and some kind of way to correct a backline that continually defines some of the most loose lines in sports history would be fine too, but you can only ask for so much, you know?

Charlotte: The Lessons of Sebastian Driussi by Carol Swiderski

Enzo Copetti is definitely on his way to becoming DP no. 9 And that seems to mean that Charlotte is intent on turning Karol Swedderski into a hybrid Type 10 player, a second striker type. Doubt is not the right word, but we don’t have much evidence of the validity of the idea yet. Perhaps Swiderski could turn out to be East’s answer to Sebastian Driussi. Crazier things have happened than an extremely talented offense that leapt forward when used properly in his second year in MLS.

Atlanta United: Everybody turn up their sale

You can go get Ake Loba from Nashville or you can come to the Atlanta United midfield and go home today with Marcelino Moreno, Matheus Rossetto, Emerson Hyndman and Franco Ibarra for almost no money.

* The money should really be thrown away, there is no guarantee that the midfielders bought will be good but they can really use roster flexibility, allocate money and roster flexibility and allocate money to buy good midfielders. There will be no refunds.