It was a busy winter for MLS transactions and plenty of big MLS names were on the move.
Players fans have been plenty used to seeing in one uniform will be plying their trade in another city with another club this season. From members of the U.S. Men’s National Team to former MVP candidates, it was a busy offseason of trades and sales throughout MLS.
Here’s a look at the ten biggest names to switch clubs this offseason.
Sacha Kljestan (Orlando City)
Clearly one of the biggest moves of the offseason, Sacha Kljestan’s switch from the New York Red Bulls, where he put up MVP caliber numbers over the last few years, to Orlando City significantly changes the look of the Eastern Conference playoff race. His very presence could turn Orlando City into a contender for postseason play.
Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta United)
Nagbe had been with the Portland Timbers since he was drafted out of Akron in 2011. In his seven years at the club, he developed a reputation for versatility in the midfield. He was strong on the ball and showed excellent off-ball movement as well. He now moves on to an Atlanta United side with plenty of attacking talent around him. Between Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron, and any of the other talented midfielders and forwards, Nagbe should have no problems developing a chemistry at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Justin Meram (Orlando City)
Meram had an excellent season for the Columbus Crew last season. He scored a career high 13 goals in a full season’s worth of action. As the Crew remade their team this winter, they shipped him off to Orlando City, where he joins a revamped roster that figures to be one of the more improved teams in MLS this year. If he can replicate last year’s goal scoring numbers while developing a strong rapport with Kljestan, the Lions will be in pretty good shape.
Benny Feilhaber (LAFC)
Feilhaber was a key piece at Sporting Kansas City in the past, although last year he took a bit of a step back. He was a regular in their starting XI for five seasons and provided plenty of memorable moments at Children’s Mercy Park. He’s now tasked with anchoring the midfield of an expansion side that’s not quite put together yet in LAFC. He’s going to need to improve his production from last season if he wants to lead them to a playoff spot in his debut season.
David Accam (Philadelphia Union)
Accam was an important scoring option for the Chicago Fire last season and had been for the last three years. Now, he moves on to a rebuilding Philadelphia Union side looking to get a little younger. He doesn’t exactly fit that mold, but he can provide goal scoring and a bit of speed to a team that could certainly use it.
Walker Zimmerman (LAFC)
One of the leading center backs in MLS is going west to the new kids on the block to anchor their defense. LAFC are going to rely on him to be the centerpiece of their back line. He was an emerging player at FC Dallas over the past few years and is still only 24-years-old. Already LAFC’s best defender, Zimmerman has the potential to become their leading man at the back for years to come.
Kei Kamara ( Vancouver Whitecaps)
Kamara has bounced around over the past couple seasons. After he was the centerpiece of a Columbus attack, he moved on to the New England Revolution, where he could never quite replicate the success he had in Ohio. He now moves on to a quite talented Vancouver Whitecaps team that could be capable of bringing back his glory days of 2015 when he scored 22 goals.
Yamil Asad (D.C. United)
Asad has only been in MLS for one season, but he is still a pretty big name. He got lost in the Atlanta United setup with Martinez and Almiron surrounding him, but he will now play for D.C. United, where he should stand out as a key member of the team. His task will be much tougher with them, but he still has plenty of young talent around him to work with. Improving on his seven goal, 13 assists season is not to much to ask of him.
David Bingham (LA Galaxy)
Bingham had turned himself into one of the stronger keepers in MLS over the past three years with San Jose. He struggled with injuries last year as his save numbers dropped and goals against average rose. He was deemed disposable by the Earthquakes and sent down the Pacific Coast Highway to the LA Galaxy, He heads to a team that’s shown a lot of instability between the sticks recently and figures to take over and hang onto the starting gig while providing a steady force on the last line of defense that the team has sorely needed.
Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew)
More than perhaps any other player, Gyasi Zardes was a player in need of change. The Galaxy had no room for him up front, decided to give him a shot as a full back, and thus his numbers fell of the face of the earth. He now comes to Columbus with the ability to go forward once again and put up the goal scoring numbers we all remember seeing back in 2014 when he put 16 goals in as the Galaxy won MLS Cup.