MLS moves: Galaxy add Van Damme, Casey to Crew, Atlanta signs first player

Photo by Laurie Dieffembacq/Belga Photo/EuroFootball/Getty Images
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Atlanta United might not start play until 2017, but the nascent MLS side has its first player.

It all starts from the back for Atlanta, which announced on Tuesday it had signed longtime Panathinaikos goalkeeper Alexander Tambakis.

The 23-year-old Greek will spend this season on loan with Atlanta affiliate Charleston Battery in the USL, after making one senior appearance between 2006 and 2011 with Panathinaikos.

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The Crew have added man mountain Conor Casey to their Eastern Conference title defense. The longtime Philadelphia Union man is 34, and has played for Toronto FC and Colorado since returning from the Bundesliga in 2007.

Los Angeles has gone outside the States to land its next defender, 30-times capped Belgian back Jelle Van Damme. The last name will fit in with in Tinsel Town, and his acumen fits the bill, too.

Van Damme has UEFA Champions League experience from his time with Ajax and Anderlecht, and he’s made more than 200 appearances at Standard Liege, his home since 2011. If he’s half as successful as former SL teammate Laurent Ciman, the Galaxy have made a shrewd pickup.