As the transfer deadline for the biggest leagues in the world approaches many MLS clubs are losing key player. While Seattle's biggest loss was not to a "major league" it is not alone. The balance of power throughout MLS is shifting.
With the Transfer Deadline for the largest leagues less than 24 hours away many MLS teams are losing their best players to leagues in Europe and South America. The deadline here is later, so there is some time to recover, but as of now the talent drain on MLS is significant. It is not just LA Galaxy losing David Beckham on a free and having to replace the man who got a rule named after him. There are also some huge sales of young players.
D.C. United Sell Andy Najar
The wide mid and right back has a future with the Honduras National Team, was one of the most successful HomeGrown Players in MLS history and is now on his way to Belgium (Anderlecht). United got significant money to help replace him, but there are still questions as to how they will do so. This deal is huge. It means that an HGP went from an MLS Academy to a significant European league in just three seasons.
Brek Shea sold from FC Dallas to Stoke City
Another young winger who this time used to play full back. Shea spent five seasons in the league, but like Najar never went to college signing as a teen. Dallas is losing one of their wide threats, an occasional United States player and the only player who played for FCD prior to Hyndman. They got even more money than DC. They have even more needs. He joins Stoke City with former Texas Derby rival Geoff Cameron.
Norwich City obtains Kei Kamara on loan through May
Sporting Kansas City added the most talent from around the league through various drafts and trades. Not only did they lose midfield general Roger Espinoza on a Free they will now start the season without Kei Kamara, he of 31 goals and 18 assists in his just over three seasons with the former Wizards. He is not just their most consistent offensive player, he is also the face of the team.
Alvaro Fernandez loaned to al-Rayyan of Qatar
This has been discussed a little, but the former Sounder is not with the Chicago Fire until the Summer Window, if he comes back at all. No, they did not open a DP slot with the deal. He was not as effective in red as he was with Seattle in 2011, but his talent is still there.
Freddy Adu will be gone
As a boy he was the face of US soccer, now he's a man that no team wants for very long. When your coach writes a letter to the fans that he doesn't want you around even if the contract could get reworked things are wrong. The Philadelphia Union are hoping for actual addition by subtraction ridding themselves of the enigmatic talent. The Union also lost their best centerback via a loan to Colombia.
And tomorrow? Who knows what else could happen. Many MLS players joined teams around first and second tier European leagues on training and/or trial over the offseason. Osvaldo Alonso was one of those. If those teams fall short of their intentions on Transfer Deadline Day (handy spot for almost all of the movement) do they go back to MLS and try to get those players?
It is a new world. MLS is not just selling a player or two a year anymore. The league is selling and getting decent money for young talents that grew within the American game. It is shifting the balance of power and few teams are better on paper at this time than they were when the season ended. Oddly, one of those that is better is Portland.
It may not be the MLS deadline, but this one is shaking things up. Expect Thursday to shift it a little bit more. And then expect (maybe hope?) that the Seattle Sounders can find a team that didn't get the money on the big deadline day but still needs to sell.