With the dead period that typically accompanies the holiday period during every Major League Soccer offseason now in the rearview mirror, MLS’s 20 front offices are beginning to reemerge from hibernation and make moves ahead of the 2016 season.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]
A pair of hugely important player signings were reported and announced on Monday, as the Supporters’ Shield-winning New York Red Bulls have reportedly inked club captain and midfield stalwart Dax McCarty to a brand new contract, while the Vancouver Whitecaps completed the permanent transfer of Uruguayan midfielder Cristian Techera.
The popular assumption was that the Red Bulls would do everything necessary to retain McCarty, whose contract was set to expire at the end of 2016, for the long-term after the 28-year-old enjoyed arguably the best season of his career in 2015. With the Red Bulls winning the Shield last season, McCarty was chosen an MLS Best XI player in 2015. McCarty would have been eligible for MLS’s limited version of free agency at the end of the 2016 season.
Orlando City SC had often been linked to McCarty, who was born in Winter Park, Fla., 25 minutes outside of Orlando, since well before the Lions entered the league in 2015, but those rumors may now be put to rest once and for all.
Clear on the other side of the North American continent, the Whitecaps announced they made Techera’s transfer to the Pacific Northwest permanent after a successful loan spell in 2015. Targeted allocation money was used to pay the transfer fee for Techera’s move from River Plate Montevideo.
Techera scored seven goals and set up five others (22 appearances, 17 starts) during his first season in MLS. Typically playing on the right wing, Techera formed one of the league’s most lethal outside duos, opposite Kekuta Manneh, for a Whitecaps side that finished second in the Western Conference in 2015.