While the Major League Soccer offseason is far from over, many players have been sold, traded, signed and released since the season ended in early December. Here are the top five most important moves so far:
1. Los Angeles Galaxy sell Juninho, Omar Gonzalez to Liga MX
It marked the end of an era for the LA Galaxy.
After years of trophies and success, the core of the team that made the Galaxy so good over the past five to ten years is (mostly) gone. David Beckham and Landon Donovan had already left, but now almost all of the holdovers from the period of achievement in southern California are gone. Starting center-back and World Cup veteran Omar Gonzalez, 27, was sold to Pachuca in Mexico, while midfielder Juninho, also 27, was sent to Tijuana.
The moves signify a changing of the guard. It's Gyasi Zardes, Sebastian Lletget and Giovani dos Santos who will lead the team into the second half of the decade, instead of Donovan or Juninho or Marcelo Sarvas. Robbie Keane is still there, and Steven Gerrard will stay, but for the most part, it's a different look for Bruce Arena's team.
Jeff Larentowicz was brought in presumably to replace Juninho in central midfield and former Arsenal and Chelsea defender Ashley Cole was reportedly signed to help out the backline. It remains to be seen what other moves will be made, because the Galaxy still have plenty of cash, but whatever it is, it will contribute to LA's new look.
2. Houston Dynamo trade Brad Davis to Sporting KC
Brad Davis has been playing with the Dynamo since 2006, going to six All-Star games and winning two MLS Cups. He is third in MLS history in career regular season assists. Davis scored the clinching penalty kick in the 2013 Gold Cup final for the United States and played in the 2014 World Cup.
Needless to say, the former Houston skipper is pretty accomplished. But that's not necessarily why the Dynamo trading him to SKC is such big news.
Davis has represented the city for a decade, and was a huge reason for Houston's success. This is shown by the letter he wrote to the supporters explaining his decision to leave and thanking everyone for their help and unwavering support. It had to be a tough decision to let him go for the Dynamo, but it was a good one.
3. Toronto FC acquire three players
Toronto FC's task this offseason was giving Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco some help. They have passed that test with flying colors.
The Canadian side signed defender Drew Moor in free-agency, traded for center midfielder Will Johnson from Portland and acquired right-back Steven Beitashour from Vancouver. Moor and Beitashour will likely start on a backline that needed repair after a season in which they allowed 12 shots per game, while Johnson will provide depth in central midfield.
There is still more to do, like acquiring a speedy winger, but what Toronto have done so far has made them serious contenders in the Eastern Conference.
4. Dynamo trade for Cristian Maidana, Andrew Wenger
Arguably the Dynamo's biggest need for this offseason was a goal-creating playmaker, particularly a younger one. They filled the requirement by trading for MLS's second leading assist-getter Cristian Maidana from the Philadelphia Union.
Maidana is somewhat of a raw talent and hasn't really stuck anywhere–the Dynamo are his ninth club–but will provide plenty of service to Will Bruin and Giles Barnes. Wenger will start off getting playing time in spurts, but if he can impress, Davis's spot in the starting XI could be his.
Houston's next step will be to continue to get younger and possibly add a defender or two.
5. Colorado Rapids trade for Marco Pappa
This transaction may have flown under the radar a bit, but Marco Pappa will be a nice acquisition for the Rapids. Pappa had played with the Sounders for the past two seasons and had success with them, starting 41 games for Seattle and scoring nine goals.
The challenge for the Guatemala-international will be keeping up his production without the benefits of Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey. As for Colorado, they add talent to a rebuilding roster and will look to acquire more in the coming weeks.