6 players traded as MLS kicks off hectic first week of offseason

Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The Seattle Sounders had been MLS champions for all of 11 hours before the first trades of the 2016-17 offseason became official on Sunday.

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With a pair of expansion teams, Atlanta United and Minnesota United, set to debut in 2017, the next three months will be full of trades, signings and draft after draft after draft involving all of the league’s 22 teams.

A handful of notable names found new homes during a three-hour trade window Sunday morning, hours after the Sounders lifted MLS Cup at BMO Field in Toronto — long before the new champions had even arrived back in the Emerald City to a hero’s welcome. The rundown…

  • GK Sean Johnson was traded from the Chicago Fire, to Atlanta
  • Johnson was then traded from Atlanta, to New York City FC
  • DF Michael Parkhurst was traded from Columbus Crew SC, to Atlanta
  • FW Romario Williams was traded from Montreal Impact, to Atlanta
  • MF Harrison Heath was traded from Orlando City SC, to Atlanta

The double-trade of Johnson is reportedly a byproduct of Atlanta closing in on the signing of U.S. national team and Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who is increasingly expected to make his way to MLS in January. The deal for Johnson was reportedly agreed earlier this week with every intention of Johnson suiting up for his hometown team next season, presumably prior to a deal for Guzan progressing nearer to completion.

[ MORE: Sounders win MLS Cup 2016 in PKs | Three things we learned ]

As for the rest of the week, the expansion draft is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, at which point Atlanta and Minnesota will each select five unprotected players from the existing 20 teams’ rosters as they continue filling out their own squads ahead of First Kick in March. Lists of protected players are expected to be announced on Monday. Players can then once again be traded upon completion of the expansion draft. Shortly after the expansion draft, free agents can begin negotiating with all 22 teams.

The waiver draft and the re-entry draft (stage 1) will take place on Thursday and Friday, respectively, with lists of players eligibile for each roster-building mechanism scheduled to be released the day beforehand.

Stay tuned over the coming days, weeks and months, for many familiar faces will change teams this winter, and rosters will look wildly different when the 2017 season kicks off in three short months.