The lengthy list of European and South American talent embarking to MLS continued this offseason with plenty of top players moving across the Atlantic Ocean this winter.
D.C. United, Charlotte FC, Houston Dynamo, and Austin FC were among the teams to have busy winters on the international player market, adding talented players to the mix in hopes of improving their chances heading into the 2023 season. Other clubs made roster pick-ups from abroad including the Chicago Fire, Portland Timbers, and New York Red Bulls all looking for the next major splash in the league.
Mateusz Klich, Enzo Copetti, and Ashley Westwood headlined the top offseason acquisitions this winter.
Here is a closer look at some of the top newcomers to watch in the 2023 MLS season:
Mateusz Klich, D.C. United
D.C. United needed a new and creative spark to run the show in 2023 and Mateusz Klich’s arrival should help greatly in that aspect.
Klich makes the move to MLS after a lengthy spell with Leeds United, where he totaled 24 goals and 21 assists in 195 appearances. The Polish international not only helped Leeds United earn promotion back to England’s top flight, but also avoid relegation in back-to-back years.
The 32-year-old will bring added experience to a D.C. United desperately seeking leadership, and hopefully he can hit the ground running for Wayne Rooney’s sake.
Enzo Copetti, Charlotte FC
Enzo Copetti is in the prime of his professional career and the Argentinian will hope to continue his stellar production in MLS.
Copetti, 27, joins Charlotte FC after a productive period with Racing Club, where he tallied 31 goals in 96 appearances. The dynamic forward will fit right into Christian Lattanzio’s squad, where Karol Swiderski, Kamil Jozwiak, and Andre Shinyashiki all aim to lead the second-year club into the playoffs.
Amine Bassi, Houston Dynamo
The Houston Dynamo will need someone to compliment Carlos Ferreira for Ben Olsen’s squad to have any chance of the playoffs this season, and Amine Bassi could be that guy.
Bassi had mainly played in France before moving to MLS this winter, providing the 25-year-old with a strong opportunity to become a star player for the Dynamo. Bassi’s versatility as an attacking midfielder will be greatly needed as the Dynamo fights to become a playoff contender and end a lengthy playoff drought.
Sergii Kryvtsov, Inter Miami
Inter Miami bid farewell to several veterans this winter, but filled a gap in their backline with Sergii Kryvtsov moving to the club.
Kryvtsov, 31, brings ample experience to Phil Neville’s squad, after playing majority of his club career for Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk. The veteran centerback won 17 domestic trophies in his native Ukraine while also earning 31 caps for his country.
Kryvtsov’s arrival will fill the gap left by Damion Lowe’s move to Philadelphia.
Ashley Westwood, Charlotte FC
Charlotte FC not only added attacking talent this winter, but also veteran help in its midfield as well.
32-year-old Ashley Westwood joined the Eastern Conference club from English second-tier club Burnley, making the move outside of England for the first time in his career. Westwood totaled over 340 appearances between Burnley and Aston Villa, before falling in the pecking order with the Clarets.
Westwood should fit right into Lattanzio’s midfield just in front of the backline.
Dante Vanzeir, New York Red Bulls
Dante Vanzeir moved his way up within the Belgian professional leagues and now leaves Europe with a lot to prove in MLS.
The 24-year-old scored 48 goals and added 21 assists in 91 appearances for Union St. Gilloise, helping the Belgian side earn promotion in 2020-21. Venzeir now heads into a Red Bulls attacking front which has also added Elias Manoel and Cory Burke on permanent deals.
With Patryk Klimala now gone, Vanzeir will try and fill the void left by the Polish international.
Evander, Portland Timbers
The Portland Timbers are still trying to replace club legend Diego Valeri and Evander is one player that Giovanni Savarese will hope can fill Valeri’s shoes in 2023.
The 24-year-old attacking midfielder signed as a Designated Player from Danish club Midtjylland after delivering stellar production in the Superliagen. Evander totaled 50 goals and 38 assists in 167 appearances in Denmark, featuring in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions.
Evander’s rapid production in Denmark is impressive and lofty goals will be set for the Brazilian to succeed for the Timbers.
Andreas Maxso, Colorado Rapids
The Colorado Rapids added key defensive help this winter with Andreas Maxso coming to MLS after consecutive impressive seasons in Denmark.
Maxso, 28, logged over 100 appearances apiece at Nordsjaelland and Brondby, scoring 10 goals and adding seven assists. A smooth passer out of the back, Maxso will join fellow veteran defenders Danny Wilson and Lalas Abubakar in Robin Fraser’s squad.
Maren Haile-Selassie, Chicago Fire
The Chicago Fire already has one star Swiss international and will hope to get the best out of a former Swiss youth national team attacker this season.
Maren Haile-Selassie arrived on loan from FC Lugano, where he came through the ranks at the club. The 23-year-old mainly played as a left midfielder at Lugano, where he totaled seven goals and five assists in 40 appearances.
Haile-Selassie is a creative attacking player that could be used in a number of different roles to team up with Xherdan Shaqiri.
Leo Vasianen, Austin FC
Austin FC lost Ruben Gabrielsen in its backline, but replaced the Norwegian with Finnish international Leo Vaisanen.
Vaisanen, 25, logged over 90 appearances for Swedish side Elfsborg, which was the latest stop in his European career. His career featured stops in Sweden, Netherlands, and his native Finland, while Vaisanen has also earned 23 caps for the Finnish national team.
Austin FC will hope Vaisanen can fit right in with hopes of making another deep run in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Average age of these players is 27. Oldest is 32. In the meantime, there is still a huge number of fans in the US who are under an impression that MLS is a retirement league. Just refuse to adjust to reality of times.