We’re nearing the halfway point (!) of the 2022 Bongda3s.com season. The Secondary Transfer Window opens in a couple of weeks (July 7) and lasts through Aug. 4. The standings have absolutely taken shape.
Urgency is dialed all the way up for teams falling behind in the Audi Bongda3s.com Cup Playoffs race, just in time for additions to come. Lorenzo Insigne (Toronto FC), Hector Herrera (Houston Dynamo) and Giorgio Chiellini (LAFC) are already announced and waiting to debut once the window opens.
All teams will work to improve, but there are five I’m watching in particular with anticipation.
One note: The Columbus Crew’s search for a DP No. 9 may have been enough to put them in here on its own given what I’d heard about the swings they were taking, but the search party is over. As previously reported by MLSsoccer.com, Columbus are signing Colombian international Cucho Hernandez from Watford on a club-record fee.
Anyway, off we go.
• Club-record signing Edison Flores is on his way out. D.C. United have been in talks with back-to-back Liga MX champions Atlas FC about his transfer which, according to The Washington Post, is just awaiting a medical. This would open a DP spot for the underperforming Peruvian international, who has just 3g/8a in 41 Bongda3s.com appearances.
• Homegrown attacker Griffin Yow has been the subject of talks from recently-promoted Belgian club Westerlo, who are also signing USMNT right back and FC Dallas product Bryan Reynolds on loan from Roma. At last check, nothing was agreed upon yet, but that’s one to keep an eye on.
• German attacking midfielder Sonny Kittel is finalizing a move to D.C. United from Hamburg. Kittel is expected to be a DP if/when the deal gets over the line. The 29-year-old has absolutely lit up the German second tier, with 49g/52a in 158 apps over the last five seasons between Hamburg and FC Ingolstadt.
• When Flores departs, United will have room for another DP. The Athletic’s Pablo Maurer reports Venezia forward Thomas Henry is among the targets. The 27-year-old had 9g/3a in 33 Serie A games this year.
D.C. United will have a decision to make at the end of the season regarding Ecuador international striker Michael Estrada, who is not currently taking up a DP spot, but his $5 million purchase option would certainly make him a DP if his loan from Liga MX's Toluca is made permanent.
A lot of moving parts for United, who have 14 points after 14 games. They are six points below the Eastern Conference's playoff line.
Speaking of a lot of moving parts, Sporting KC aren’t giving up on their 2022 season just yet despite a really slow start and the fact that two DPs (Alan Pulido, Gadi Kinda) won’t play a single minute this year after undergoing knee surgery.
SKC are finalizing the signings of German midfielder Erik Thommy and Nigerian center forward William Agada, per a source, as first reported by ESPN’s Taylor Twellman. The club are hopeful they’ll be available for selection the first match after the transfer window officially opens.
Thommy, 27, has 9g/14a in 96 career Bundesliga appearances. He’s currently with VfB Stuttgart and can play as an attacking midfielder or winger. Agade, 22, had five goals with Hapoel Jerusalem F.C. last season in the Israeli Premier League.
SKC still could use another defensive midfielder, among other things, so they could still yet have moves to make. Homegrown winger and Hungary international Daniel Salloi is out of contract at the end of the season, so that’s another storyline to watch.
About seven months later, the New England Revolution already look much different than their record-setting, Supporters' Shield-winning 2021 side.
Canadian international winger/wingback Tajon Buchanan was transferred to Club Brugge (Belgian First Division A) in the winter. Then Polish international striker Adam Buksa left for RC Lens (Ligue 1) earlier this month, and US men's national team goalkeeper Matt Turner just said his farewell and is off to Arsenal (Premier League).
Gustavo Bou had been hurt, but he’s back and scoring goals. Reigning MVP Carles Gil is still a delight, but offseason additions of Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Lletget and Omar Gonzalez have underwhelmed to varying degrees.
Though goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic and winger Dylan Borrero are off to promising starts, there’s still work to do in the transfer market. New England have an open DP spot they plan to use ASAP. Should they go for a Young DP, they’ll be able to add two more U22 Initiative signings behind Borrero.
Charlotte are aiming to add a Young DP this summer, one who predominantly plays as a No. 10. Those players are not cheap and, with the club’s extensive scouting department, expectations are high for what they come up with.
“I don’t want to commit to whether it’ll happen in the summer, which is our aim, or January simply because the business of transfers is unpredictable,” sporting director Zoran Krneta told media on a virtual press conference in May. “We’re looking to add an attacking midfielder as a third DP, that’s our aim. But it’s something we’re careful about how we go about. We have targets, we’re talking to targets.”
Internally, this window is the plan.
Charlotte also have one more U22 Initiative slot open and have yet to trigger a big trade with allocation money, though they have committed a sizable amount to acquiring international slots and buying down transfer fees/contracts. Still, a lot of moves are in play for this group.
Their success has largely come without talisman Damir Kreilach, who is out for another few months after undergoing back surgery. Their success also came before Jefferson Savarino was re-acquired as the club’s second DP, completing the RSL-Atletico Mineiro loop, and before Anderson Julio returned from Liga MX's Atlético San Luis on transfer after spending 2021 on loan. Homegrown goalkeeper David Ochoa has been hurt and, erm, unavailable.
Head coach Pablo Mastroeni has had to shuffle the lineup and tactics. Nothing has stopped them from obtaining points, not even midfielder Albert Rusnak leaving in free agency during the offseason for Seattle.
Now, new ownership has been in place for six months. They have promised to spend more than previous owners (which isn’t a difficult bar to clear). There’s a DP spot open and up to three U22 Initiative slots (depending on their cap gymnastics with US youth international Diego Luna and whether or not he’s classified as U22 Initiative).
It’ll be really disappointing if a couple of high-impact additions aren’t brought in over the next six weeks.