With the MLS Cup final around the corner, Major League Soccer's offseason kicks into high gear. Let's take a look at what's coming down the pipe for clubs.
December 9 - Half-Day Trade Window, followed by a blackout period
December 11 (2pm) - FC Cincinnati Expansion draft
December 11 (3pm) - Free Agency Begins
December 12 (4pm) - MLS Waiver Draft
December 14 (3pm) - MLS Re-Entry Draft, Stage 1
December 20 (2pm) - MLS Re-Entry Draft, Stage 2
January 3-9 - MLS College Combine
January 11 - MLS SuperDraft
First, let's look at the half-day trade window. This mechanism allows teams to move players for a four-hour period between 9:00AM and 1:00PM on December 9, the day after the MLS Cup final. That's a quick turnaround, but in truth many of the deals that take place are likely planned out far in advance of the actual window.
In 2017, there were a number of moves in the half-day window that had big consequences for the 2018 season. Vancouver Whitecaps acquired Kei Kamara from New England and the striker went on to be their leading scorer (and a close friend/mentor to superteen Alphonso Davies, now of Bayern Munich).
MLS newcomers LAFC sent General Allocation Money, Targeted Allocation Money, and the first position in the MLS Allocation Draft to FC Dallas for Walker Zimmerman who ended up being the anchor of the back line.
DC United made two big moves, one up front and one in back. Darren Mattocks rolled in from Portland for an international roster spot and Frederic Brillant was brought down I95 from NYCFC to solidify the defense. Further south, Atlanta United used the window to shift Kenwyne Jones to Sporting KC just to get the retiring striker off the books.
In sum, teams use this window to accomplish many goals.
Philadelphia Union's most consequential half-day window was in 2014 when they sent Amobi Okugo to Orlando City and brought in CJ Sapong from Kansas City. Sapong, of course, went on to set the single season goals record for the Union.
Following the half-day window, teams will not be allowed to make moves until free agency begins at 3:00PM on December 11th.
Keep checking PhiladelphiaUnion.com for more info on the MLS offseason in the coming days.