MLS Transfer Window so Far: Lloris to LAFC, Robinson to Cincinnati

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With the January transfer window in full swing, some MLS Clubs have taken no time to make big-time moves ahead of the 2024 MLS Regular Season. Notably, with two of the biggest signings so far in LAFC signing one of the most successful goalkeepers in his generation as well as FC Cincinnati signing one of the top MLS free agents and USMNT defenders in today’s era. 

That’s right! Both Hugo Lloris and Miles Robinson have made shocking decisions, well less shocking for Lloris and more for Robinson, these past couple of days; with both players leaving the Clubs that helped them start it all, flourishing them to the players they are today.

Other Clubs have also been finalizing deals of their own with the Colorado Rapids signing USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen from Manchester City and USMNT midfielder Djordje Mihailovic from AZ Alkmaar. As well as Orlando City SC signing two-time MLS Cup winner Nico Lodeiro from the Seattle Sounders and Atlanta United looking to sign MLS legend Dax McCarty from Nashville SC.

A Farewell Transfer for Lloris

After captaining Tottenham Hotspur and guarding its net for 11 years, the 37-year-old Lloris leaves English football for good. He’ll still suit up though for another year, but this time in American soccer.

Lloris has signed a contract with 2022 MLS Cup winner LAFC until 2024, with options to extend until 2025 and 2026.

With a big swing transfer signing like such, it’s a no-brainer that the legendary Frenchman would be the Los Angeles-based team’s starting goalkeeper. And it wouldn’t be much of a challenge for Lloris to compete for the position either way, as the team’s former starting goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau has already signed with the Portland Timbers as a free agent. 

Prior to starting this new chapter in the MLS, Lloris made his professional debut with OGC Nice at age 19 before making a total of 447 appearances for Tottenham in all competitions, with 361 appearances in the Premier League while registering a total of 151 clean sheets for the North London squad. 

At the international level, Lloris has represented France since the U-18 level, climbing up the ranks and, most recently, captaining the senior squad in all competitions, leading France to two consecutive World Cup finals, winning the 2018 World Cup and placing second in the 2022 World Cup.

Fresh Start for Robinson

USMNT center back Robinson heads into Ohio fresh minded and ready to work after returning from injury this past 2023 season. Considered as the top MLS free agent available after the expiration of his contract with Atlanta United, FC Cincinnati took advantage and signed him down, marking one of the most important transfer deals of the 2024 season so far. 

The Five Stripes, of course, made an offer to try to keep the defender in Atlanta; however, Robinson was looking for something much more lucrative in number which was something that couldn’t be held up by Atlanta.   

Nevertheless, with this move, Cincinnati will for sure be one the favorites once again to win the MLS Cup this year with an already strong core in Luciano Acosta, Obinna Nwobodo, Aaron Boupendza Miazga and Robinson’s center back partner Matt Miazga.

Before joining the Orange and Blue, Robinson played the beginning years of his career in Atlanta from 2017 to 2023, registering three goals, two assists, and 32 clean sheets in 123 matches. The No. 2 Overall Pick (2017 MLS SuperDraft has already appeared twice on the MLS Best XI presented by Continental Tire in 2019 and 2021, while also being an MLS Defender of the Year finalist in both those seasons.

At the international stage, the 26-year-old has represented the USMNT 27 times, scoring three goals and winning one Nations League and Gold Cup title.

Big Move to the East

Orlando City SC has officially signed Uruguayan midfielder and two-time MLS Cup winner Lodeiro until 2024, with an option to extend to 2025.

There’s no question why The Lions didn’t hesitate to sign the former Sounder as they looked to bring a great compliment to his fellow Uruguayan teammate Facundo Torres and make the Northern-Floridan contenders for the MLS Cup once again.

Also, despite his age, the 34-year-old brings in an amazing work rate, being one of the highest at his position. It’s something you don’t see everyday! Meaning that bringing in this kind of transfer would add even more to what the attacking core Orlando already has.

Prior to signing with Orlando, Lodeiro first joined MLS in 2016 from South American powerhouse Boca Juniors, where he dominated and impacted not only the Seattle Sounders but the league as a whole in his first eight seasons. With Seattle, the midfielder made 231 appearances, scored 58 goals, and dished out 95 assists across all competitions, helping The Sounders add to their trophy cabin by winning the MLS Cup in 2016 and 2019 and the Concacaf Champions League title in 2022.

On the international level, Loderio has represented Uruguay in two FIFA World Cups and was also a member of the squad that won the Copa America in 2011. So far, He has appeared for the senior team a total of 60 times.

From Football to Soccer

It’s crazy to think where the beautiful sport could take someone and I know Steffen is forever grateful for the time he spent in England as he comes to America with great hopes of returning to English football.

After four seasons with Manchester City FC, making 21 appearances and recording eight clean sheets across all competitions, Steffen has signed with the Colorado Rapids to a three-year contract, with a Club option for another year.

From the Club’s standpoint, the transfer is a buy-in into the future as Colorado definitely have their minds on making him part of their long-term project after naming Chris Armas as head coach and, now, remaining active with the signing of Mihailovic.

Now from the player’s standpoint, it’s also great as Steffen is no stranger to the American league. After starring and winning the MLS goalkeeper of the year in 2018, the 28-year-old looks to come back to the field even hungrier and to prove himself again after suffering a knee injury in the first half of his last season in Europe.

Almost a Closed Deal for McCarty

Moves and talks are still being made by Atlanta United as the team is nearing a deal to sign midfielder and two-time Supporters’ Shield winner McCarty from the free agency market after four years with Nashville SC, per Tom Bogert.

At 36 years old, McCarty has had a long MLS career, playing in over five clubs (FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls, D.C. United, Chicago Fire FC, and Nashville SC) while making a total of 466 appearances. Overall, the midfielder has scored 25 goals and registered 72 assists.

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