10 MLS Players Who Could Be on the Move in 2015
The 2015 MLS season hasn't kicked off as of yet and there are already rumors surrounding many of the league's players. Among these are Jermaine Jones, who has indicated that he wants to go back to Europe, per Doug McIntyre of ESPN. MVP Robbie Keane has also hinted at leaving the LA Galaxy, as noted on MLS' official website.
Players who are rumored to be leaving MLS will be highlighted in this slideshow. The likelihood of each departure will also be analyzed, whether it's a contractual issue or interest from other clubs.
Here are 10 MLS players who could be leaving the league in 2015.
Matias Laba is one of the best defensive midfielders in MLS. He averaged just under five tackles per game and completed about 85 percent of his passes last season, per WhoScored.
The Whitecaps player was acquired last year from Toronto FC and made an instant impact on route to the team's second playoff appearance. However, thanks to his standout play in 2014, Laba has garnered attention from Marseille and Palermo, according to MLS Transfers.
The Argentine midfielder is only just 23 years old, so if Laba has another great season in 2015, one of those European teams could end up making an offer the Whitecaps will have to seriously consider.
Before Amobi Okugo was traded to Orlando City SC by the Philadelphia Union, the American was hopeful of moving to Europe, per Dave Zeitlin on MLS' website. The 23-year-old may have to hold off since he only recently joined Orlando, but he may still end up overseas.
Okugo will be 24 in March, and he can play as a holding midfielder or a center back. He's rapidly improved since he was drafted in 2010, and the ability to excel in two positions will entice a lot of teams.
It looks as if Okugo will stay short-term, but a lot can change by next winter, especially if both the player and Orlando make an impact in the playoffs in 2015.
Tim Cahill's future with the New York Red Bulls has been up in the air since June, when Sydney FC was interested in acquiring the Australian international, per Australian outlets The Daily Telegraph and Fox Sports (h/t MLS Soccer). Cahill also didn't have a distinct role in ex-head coach Mike Petke's system, which made him expendable.
That same discussion is still ongoing. According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post, the Red Bulls aren't sure if Cahill is even going to be a part of its plans in 2015.
The 35-year-old being linked to the A-League, per Fairfax Media (h/t The Sydney Morning Herald) and England, per the Australian Associated Press (h/t Liverpool Echo's Phil Kirkbride), has increased the odds of a departure from Red Bull Arena sometime in the near future.
Dillon Powers was named MLS Rookie of the Year in 2013 after a stellar debut campaign. The Colorado Rapids midfielder had five goals and six assists in 30 appearances and has kept his spot in the starting lineup ever since.
Powers has already made 60 appearances for the Rapids after two seasons. He also improved on his assist numbers from 2013 by recording nine last year.
The 23-year-old can take set pieces and operate as a playmaker if necessary. He's been deployed in an advanced midfield role and has deputized out wide.
That sort of versatility is enticing to other teams, especially when a player demonstrates he can play well in all of those positions.
Greg Seltzer of MLS Soccer published a report on his blog No Short Corners saying that Serie A clubs Atalanta and Palermo are interested in Powers. The American recently acquired an Italian passport, so that adds even more fuel to the fire.
Diego Fagundez had a quiet 2014 compared to his impressive 2013 season for the New England Revolution. He had 13 goals and seven assists, but followed that up with just five goals and four assists last year.
Fagundez has sparked interest in Italy, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.
The Revolution attacker's decline in 2014 may have scared off some potential suitors, but they're still likely to maintain their interest.
Fagundez became cap-tied to Uruguay following his appearance in the South American U20 Championships. His inclusion in the Uruguayan squad will certainly alert European teams. In fact, they may already be scouting him.
If Fagundez can repeat his 2013 campaign, he could be sold by the end of the year.
FC Dallas manager Oscar Pareja has already made an impact after one year with his new team. One of their most exciting players, Fabian Castillo, had all of the tools to be a great player, but struggled with his composure and decision-making in the box.
Castillo has solved those issues under Pareja. The 22-year-old set a career-high in goals last season with 10, converting on 13.5 percent of his shots, per MLS Soccer.
The Colombian has been linked with Club America in Mexico, according to FOX Sports' Eric Gomez (h/t SB Nation). MLS Transfers reported that French side Nice were also sniffing around, but the club has to offer at least $6 million.
Castillo's speed, technique and scoring ability warrants a high fee, so if he can build on his spectacular 2014, another team will try to sign him, whether it's in Mexico or Europe.
Hamid was also a part of the last U.S. men's national team squad of 2014. He started against Ireland and told ESPN's Doug McIntyre that he's "watched the game at least 50 times." That sort of commitment and attention to detail is what will make Hamid better as a goalkeeper.
The 24-year-old is garnering interest from English and Italian clubs, according to Steven Goff of the Washington Post (h/t MLS Soccer), so Hamid's work isn't going unnoticed.
Depending on how D.C. performs in 2015, the club could be powerless to resist a bid for their goalkeeper.
The New England Revolution may have to cope with losing two of their brightest talents this year. Defender A.J. Soares has been one of the most underrated center backs since he was drafted in 2011. His positioning and aerial prowess make him an attractive target for many European teams.
Soares had European aspirations in December, per reporters Kyle McCarthy and Jimmy Conrad (h/t Jake Catanese of SB Nation). However, Ives Galarcep of Goal says the defender is nearing a move to Hellas Verona in Serie A.
If Soares leaves for Verona before the season, it's a big blow to the Revs' defense, but it's also a great addition for the Gialloblu.
Following the LA Galaxy's MLS Cup win, league MVP Robbie Keane hinted at a departure from the team, per MLS Soccer's Scott French.
"I definitely need to recharge the batteries and see what the next chapter is for me, whether it's here or it's somewhere else," Keane said.
"I'm not saying I'm going to leave, but what I'm saying is I need to consider what I want to do, you know? Sometimes change is good for everybody."
Keane has scored 53 goals in 84 MLS appearances. However, he's 34 and is significantly slower than he was in his prime. Nonetheless, the Irishman could contribute for a lot of clubs in Europe should he decide to take on a new challenge.
The New England Revolution looked like a powerhouse once Jermaine Jones was signed. The U.S. international was influential in the Revs' run to the MLS Cup final last season, but it looks like he wants to go back to Europe.
According to Doug McIntyre of ESPN, Jones may not re-sign with New England and could end up playing overseas again.
McIntyre did follow up that tweet with another saying that the Revs brass will work on an extension. It would be crucial if Jones stayed past the 2015 season, because he gives them balance in midfield which lacked at times before he arrived.
However, this ordeal may not end soon, so Revs fans should be patient and prepare for a departure, just in case.
Are there any rumors surrounding other MLS players not mentioned in the above slideshow? Let us know in the comments below.
Peter Galindo covers MLS and U.S. soccer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @pgalindo16.