There were so many moves this offseason ahead of the 2021 season, many causing great excitement. Because of that, most MLS fans, particularly those active on social media and websites, know all about Alexandre Pato joining Orlando City and Tomas Pochettino being expansion side Austin FC’s star attraction. We will give those brighter stars a break and share the spotlight with three other signings that may have slipped through the cracks, in no particular order.
From Valenciennes (French Ligue 2)
To Los Angeles Galaxy
The Galaxy had a lot of areas on their roster to improve on after a disappointing 2020 season, and they’ll hope 21 year old Kevin Cabral can help get the best out of Javier Hernández. Galaxy signed him to a 5 year deal, joining as a Youth Designated Player. While it’s understandable to be skeptical of signing a player from a second division especially if it’s not the EFL Championship, sometimes that’s where there’s the most gems waiting to be unearthed and polished. FC Cincinnati held Cabral’s discovery rights, but a trade including $250,000 General Allocation Money and a 2022 SuperDraft first round pick ensured they got a player expected to help fill the void left by Cristian Pavón who returned to parent club Boca Juniors after the Argentine’s loan ended.
From Stoke City (English Championship/Second Division)
To New York Red Bulls (on loan)
Kyle Duncan has made the right back spot for the Red Bulls his own, getting his first senior USMNT appearance in 2020 along the way. However, he will get some serious competition from Tom Edwards. It’s unclear how long the Red Bulls will be able to keep Edwards’s services as his last loan spell at League One (Third Division) side Fleetwood Town was just three months long. During that time, he made 12 appearances so it’s not like he wasn’t getting playing time there. Stoke City are currently midtable in their division with a mix of veterans and young players, and some of their young defenders such as Edwards, Harry Souttar, and Nathan Collins have potential. If Edwards doesn’t start ahead of Duncan, NYRB will have a great backup option for fixture congestion or other situations.
Arnor Ingvi Traustason
From Malmo FF (Swedish Allsvenskan)
To New England Revolution
With 5 goals and 36 appearances representing Iceland, 27 year old Arnor Ingvi Traustason is certainly the most experienced of these three signings. Some believe New England Revolution punched above their own weight with their playoff success in the 2020 MLS season, but a good way to sustain that success is to make this kind of signing. He will more likely play as a central midfielder rather than a winger, given the Revs’ options further up the field including Gustavo Bou, Carles Gil, Adam Buksa, and young Tajon Buchanan. Although he’ll likely be paired with a more defensive midfielder, Traustason won’t be a defensive liability while offering a spark as well.
What other new MLS signings do you think deserve to be talked about more? Let me know on Twitter @IvanOrnelas2.