The buildup to the 2024 Major League Soccer season sees teams continue to make changes to their rosters ahead of a what will without a doubt be a busy campaign.
A couple of Eastern Conference clubs have tied down key figured to new long-term deals, while a veteran defender signs with his hometown club.
Here’s all the latest MLS transfer news you may have missed.
Orlando City have re-signed Uruguay international winger Facundo Torres to a fresh contract extension, keeping him at Exploria Stadium through the 2026 MLS season with an option for 2027.
Torres was key to Orlando lifting the US Open Cup in 2022, and the 23-year-old has registered 27 goals and 13 assists in 79 appearances in all competitions since joining two years ago.
“Facu has proven himself to be such an important part of our team these last couple of years,” Orlando general manager and executive vice president of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi said in a release.
“He’s fulfilled our expectations that we set out for him at the start, showing great potential for even further growth. We’re really pleased to have him signed with us for even longer, as we strive for bigger objectives.”
Philadelphia Union have re-signed full-back Kai Wagner to a three-year deal through the 2026 MLS campaign with an option for 2027.
Wagner was heavily linked with a move back to Europe, but the 26-year-old has opted to remain in MLS with the Union.
“Kai has proven himself year after year as one of the best left backs in the league, and an integral part of our team success,” Philadelphia sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a release.
“With his consistent defending and aggressive attacking style of play, he has greatly contributed to the new milestones the team has achieved every year, and we have full confidence his continued dedication and passion for this club will continue to help us reach new heights. We’re looking forward to having Kai in Philadelphia for years to come.”
Since signing for the Union back in February 2019, Wagner has gone on to total seven goals and a whopping 32 assists in 170 appearances (seventh-most in club history). His 32 assists are second in Philadelphia history behind Sebastian Le Toux’s 46.
“I’ve been here for almost five years now and continue to grow professionally and personally. I feel highly valued here and have a great bond with the club. My family and I also feel extremely at home here,” said Wagner.
“Despite other exciting options in Europe, I decided to extend my contract with the Philadelphia Union because in the end my heart also played a part in my decision.”
Wagner is still serving a three-game suspension for directing a racial slur at New England Revolution forward Bobby Wood in the Union’s 3-1 victory in the first round of last year’s playoffs. Wagner missed game two and the Union’s loss to FC Cincinnati and will miss the first game of the 2024 regular season.
Atlanta United have loaned out defensive midfielder Franco Ibarra to Argentinian side Rosario Central for the 2024 season.
Ibarra was a key cog in Atlanta boss Gonzalo Pineda’s midfield through the first half of the 2023 campaign, but the Five Stripes had too many U22 players on their books — and Ibarra was the odd one out who joined Toronto FC on loan for the remainder of the season.
Since joining in February 2021, Argentinos Juniors, Ibarra has managed 59 appearances for Atlanta and suited up eight times while on loan for TFC last term.
FC Dallas have signed free agent center-back Omar Gonzalez to a one-year contract through the 2024 season with an option for 2025.
The 35-year-old spent the last two seasons with New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference, managing 37 appearances and scoring once in all competitions.
“Omar brings valuable veteran experience to FC Dallas and will be a great addition to our defensive system,” Dallas technical director Andre Zanotta said in a release.
“We’re excited that he’s coming home to Dallas where his leadership in the locker room will be a tremendous asset for us.”
The Dallas native returns home with over 450 club appearances to his name having won three MLS Cups, two Supporters’ Shields and one Concacaf Champions League.
Gonzalez represented the US men’s national team 52 times from 2010-2019, lifting two Gold Cups in 2013 and 2017.
Vancouver Whitecaps have signed free agent forward Fabrice ‘Fafa’ Picault to a one-year contract through 2024 with an option for 2025.
Picault joins the Vancouver attack that already boasts Ryan Gauld and Brian White after a little over a year with Nashville SC, where he tallied nine goals and two assists in 39 appearances.
“We are thrilled to welcome Fafa to Vancouver,” Whitecaps sporting director Axel Schuster said in a release.
“Fafa has been a consistently strong attacking player throughout his time in MLS. Not only that, but he brings tremendous character to our team. His experience and ability to bring a different dimension to our attack will be invaluable as we navigate our biggest season in MLS yet.”
Picault made the move to MLS back in February 2017 to sign with Philadelphia before suiting up with Dallas, Houston Dynamo and Nashville.