Your Wednesday Kickoff: Free Agency Matchmaker and All the Details on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+
New York City gets its very first dedicated football stadium.
2021 MLS Cup champions New York City FC have formed a partnership with Mayor Eric Adams, Councilman Francisco Moya, unions and the Queens Development Group that will bring a new mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood to the community of Willets Point in Queens. Proposed plans include a dedicated 25,000 seat stadium that will be entirely privately funded, as well as 2,500 units of 100% affordable housing. The site will be built with union labor and has a target start date of 2027.
At 1 p.m. ET today, clubs can sign players, other than their own, who are eligible for free agency. See the full list of eligible players here.
The MLS Season Pass arrives February 1, 2023 on Apple TV+. Subscribers will be able to watch all clubs, without restrictions or blackouts.
The unprecedented subscription service is available to fans in more than 100 countries and regions and will feature live streams and replays of every MLS regular season game, every MLS playoff game and the MLS Cup, and every League Cup game.
The expanded and accessible programming will also include English and Spanish broadcast crews plus one club’s home radio for every game, hundreds of live MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT games, an exclusive live broadcast for fans never miss an exciting goal or save, and game replays, highlights and other original programming.
Learn more about MLS Season Pass pricing and other details here.
*Leagues Cup is not available on the Apple TV app in Mexico.
Free Agency opens its doors today. And it’s fair to say that we’re looking at the best crop of players available until the next one comes along. With league rules allowing more players to test free agency and the quality of the league improving overall, having a handful of high caliber players available to negotiate with will likely be the norm in the future. It might not be quite as linear in the end, but for now we can look at this current group of players and say there are more than a few players who could have a huge and instant impact. for any MLS team.
So let’s take a look at some of the most notable players and try to find them a new home within the league. Or at least make some sweet suggestions. Let’s face it, most of these guys would make any team better, and it can be hard to pinpoint exactly how much budget wiggle room a team has on their roster at any given time. We will do our best though. And if we are successful, we will politely ask for a small finder’s fee. You can repay student loans with TAM, right?
Alexander Callens/Aaron Long – Centre-back
I grouped them. We’re talking about two of the best centre-backs in the league in almost every way. Both are 30 years old. And the two will order something resembling a max TAM or DP deal if they stay in MLS.
Again, any team could use a Callens or a Long. So we’re more worried about who has the leeway or the motivation to make room. Can I suggest a team like FC Cincinnati? Cincy struggled defensively last season and should have a sense of urgency about them while Brandon Vazquez, Lucho Acosta and Brenner are in the building. The biggest hurdle would be that they already have three DPs, but if that changes (Brenner leaves? Obinna Nwobodo doesn’t count as a DP anymore?), or if they find a deal that fits their budget, they would instantly jump in major forward at fullback and become an undisputed favorite in the East.
Just a thought. I imagine 80% of teams in the league will send at least one of these two a nice handwritten note about how they would like to see them in [insert team colors here]. Worth looking into, isn’t it?
Sean Johnson – Goalie
Johnson made $550,000 last season. I highly doubt he’s looking for a pay cut in free agency. You are going to pay more for a goalkeeper here. But Johnson has proven he has the ability to be worth more than that price when he’s at his best. His shot-stopping numbers suggest he may not have been at his best the past two seasons, but he’s still as confident as you’re going to find him at goalkeeping this offseason – with the potential to be much, much more than that.
If CF Montreal has the cap room, I can’t underestimate how huge it would be for them to have a sure thing in the goalie position. Honestly, even an average goalkeeper for the whole of 2022 could have been enough to earn them a shield of supporters. We sometimes talk about historically bad numbers for goalkeepers. Yes, the focus will rightly be on replacing Djordje Mihailovic and Victor Wanyama. But if they can steer Johnson away from a handful of potential suitors, it’s hard to think of a team that would benefit more.
Tyler Miller – Goalie
If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper option in a goalie with proven starting experience, Miller is probably the way to go. He lost the starting gig this season in Minnesota after Dayne St. Clair took over after his injury and instantly made one of the greatest shot saves in MLS history (I’m not kidding) . Miller has been solid when given the chance, and it’s hard to imagine you’d have to break the bank the same way you would Johnson.
Atlanta United are looking for little more than a replacement for Brad Guzan after Guzan tore his Achilles last season. They have openly stated that they would like to find a goalkeeper to come and challenge Guzan for the starting position. It’s not hard to imagine Miller coming in and being that guy for the right price.
Derrick Etienne Jr. – Winger
There are a few bigger names (Jonathan Osorio and Gyasi Zardes for two), but Etienne will have plenty of people chasing him after a season of nine goals and six assists. The 25-year-old showed up for a crew offense that often left a lot to be desired, while earning just $175,000. He’ll obviously fetch more from any team, but MLS’s proven value on the wing for even around double his 2022 salary is more than worth it for most clubs.
It will be a bit of a risk for whoever takes it given that his 2022 season has far surpassed his other performances in the league, but someone will probably take the chance. Perhaps a team like Charlotte, who have struggled to achieve consistent attacking performances, could have the margin and the will to see if Etienne can continue to improve? Maybe that’s the kind of move Colorado jumps on? Maybe the Galaxy will move on to another winger? Someone will buy here.
Ryan Hollingshead – Full-back
Another player where literally anyone would want and should take him under all possible circumstances. Hollingshead was one of the top five defenders in the league in 2022 and almost every year before that. It is awesome. More people need to appreciate Ryan Hollingshead.
On top of that, he only earned $393,000 last season, well below what most people would value him at. You might have to bump that number up high enough to get him, considering he’s coming off an MLS Cup win and another standout individual season. Honestly though (yes, he’s a cop), LAFC should do whatever it takes to keep him, and I won’t be surprised if they do. Their other right-back, Franco Escobar, is also out of contract. It is reductive to say take the money you gave to Escobar and return it to Hollingshead, but also to take the money you gave to Escobar and return it to Hollingshead. There’s so much time here before someone else steps in.
Toronto FC defender Criscito announces his retirement: Toronto FC defender Domenico Criscito has announced his retirement from professional football. The news comes around six months after the Italy international arrived in Toronto from former Serie A club Genoa, when he joined compatriots Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi as part of the overhaul of the TFC mid-season roster. In total, he played 16 games for the Reds, scoring a goal that earned him MLS Goal of the Week honors against the New England Revolution in Week 26.
NYCFC signs home defender Gray to long-term extension: New York City FC has signed defender Tayvon Gray to a new contract for the 2025 season. The move comes a day after NYCFC announced the departure of longtime starting right-back Anton Tinnerholm, paving the way for Gray , originally from the Bronx, to take over this role permanently.
Arena, Beasley and Kyle will join MLS World Cup coverage: Three analysts with impressive World Cup experience join Major League Soccer’s coverage of the FIFA 2022 World Cup. DaMarcus Beasley, Bruce Arena and Kaylyn Kyle will each bring their expertise to the flagship event which kicks off this Sunday in the Middle East. Beasley, a regular guest and contributor for MLSsoccer.com, will act as an MLS ambassador at the tournament as well as a studio contributor for FOX Sports’ digital coverage. Arena and Kyle will provide player ratings for each United States and Canada game, respectively.
FC Dallas signs academy striker Scott on a local contract: FC Dallas have signed academy product Tarik Scott to a local contract on a three-year deal with options for 2026 and 2027. The 17-year-old striker makes the move to the first team after joined the FCD youth system as a 5-year-old player. old in 2011.
Other clubs announce roster changes: LAFC, NYCFC, CF Montreal, Philadelphia, Sporting KC and FC Cincinnati have announced their year-end roster changes. See the full list of decisions here.