With the talk of Julian de Guzman signing to Toronto FC with the closed transfer window some may wonder how. It is quite simple, the window only applies to those transferring to US/Can clubs while under contract outside of those two nations.
So yes, an MLS club could add out-of-contract Henri Camara as an aging striker, or a Roberto Carlos who is out of contract from Turkey and is getting looks by Notts County. Roberto Carlos probably fits as a Left Midfielder in MLS. Both are in the ageing retiree realm that seems to be the focus of teams with bad DP decisions, but maybe an enterprising MLS GM could drag them over here for a bit less.
Terry Cooke is still an option as well for help in that Right Midfielder role and remains available. We should find out if he's still in camp this week.
MLS clubs can also trade talent in the more traditional American sports fashion, but any playoff club would want those deals to be done by the Sept 15th roster deadline. Only players under contract by that day are available in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Lastly, hidden inside the MLS rules is a little process called Discovery. Discovery claims must be placed by the 15th of Sept as well.
What is Discovery?
Each team has the opportunity to make six Discovery signings per season (expansion teams have 10 Discovery signings in their initial season). The last day for Discovery player signings is September 15, 2009 - coinciding with the roster freeze date and trade deadline. The six Discovery signings can be used to fill senior roster spots only. If multiple teams claim the same player using a Discovery, the team that filed the claim first will have first rights to the player. Discovery claims expire following each season. If the League and player are unable to reach an agreement during the season, the team that first filed the Discovery retains the right of first refusal in the event the player is later signed by the League.
Seattle had 10 players on claim as they were in their expansion year. Seattle used discovery claims for all of the USL Sounders that were brought on, as well as Alonso. It is unknown if they laid claim to any other player. Next year Seattle will only have 6 claims, and will not have first Discovery Rights to any player outside the "we found him first" rule.