The 10 biggest signings in MLS ahead of the 2022 season
As MLS prepares for the start of the 2022 season this weekend, AS USA looks at some of the most exciting new recruits in the league.
Ahead of the 2022 MLS campaign, which begins on 26 February, AS USA’s Diego Gorostieta profiles the league’s 10 most exciting pre-season signings:
Xherdan Shaqiri - Chicago Fire
Already dubbed the 'Lake Michigan Messi', Shaqiri arrives in the US following a sterling career in European football, and his signing represents a major coup for MLS. For the Chicago Fire fans, the recruitment of a two-time UEFA Champions League winner, one of the most talented players Switzerland has ever produced, is hugely exciting.
Lorenzo Insigne - Toronto FC
Insigne, a European champion with Italy, is also among the players whose arrival in MLS has generated the greatest excitement. Although Toronto FC must wait until July before seeing the 30-year-old forward pull on their shirt, he is nonetheless expected to be a major contender, together with Shaqiri, for this season’s MVP award.
Douglas Costa - LA Galaxy
A player with top-level experience at clubs such as Bayern Munich and Juventus, Costa appears destined to be one of the outstanding performers in the league - injuries permitting. Together with Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández, the Brazilian will form one of the most anticipated attacking duos in MLS, as the LA Galaxy look to win their first league title since 2014.
Thiago Almada - Atlanta United
One of Argentinian football’s brightest prospects, Almada has joined the ‘Five Stripes’ tasked with establishing himself as a player who makes the difference in attack, adding to the quality already brought by Josef Martínez. Together, Almada and Martínez are expected to create one of the league’s most lethal forward partnerships.
Carlos Salcedo - Toronto FC
Salcedo returns to MLS after seven years away, having accrued the kind of experience that should enable him to become the leader the Toronto backline needs. Given the centre-back’s prior knowledge of the US game, and his desire to earn a place in Mexico’s squad for the World Cup in Qatar, big things are expected of the 28-year-old.
Leonardo Campana - Inter Miami
Campana, 21, could prove one of the surprise packages of the 2022 MLS season, having joined Inter Miami on loan from Premier League club Wolves in search of first-team experience. The Ecuadorian forward stands to benefit greatly from playing alongside Gonzalo Higuaín, a seasoned performer who has an abundance of know-how to pass on to his up-and-coming colleague.
Facundo Torres - Orlando City
After excelling at Peñarol, Torres generated great excitement in MLS when he was announced as a new signing at Orlando City. The Uruguayan midfielder scored 16 goals and supplied 15 assists in 71 appearances for the five-time South American champions, and will be expected to emulate such figures in the US.
Sebastián Ferreira - Houston Dynamo
Having been made the most expensive signing in Houston Dynamo’s history, Ferreira will be out to bounce back in CONCACAF soccer after an unsuccessful spell at Liga MX club Morelia earlier in his career. The Paraguayan forward is expected to respond with goals as the Dynamo look to take the 2022 MLS by storm.
Deandre Yedlin - Inter Miami
Yedlin returns to the US after eight years in European soccer, and the right-back is likely to be a key figure in an Inter Miami team that owner David Beckham, sporting director Chris Henderson and head coach Phil Neville have revamped ahead of the 2022 campaign.
Thiago Martins - New York City FC
Martins has left Japanese club Yokohama F Marinos to join the reigning MLS champions, who have high hopes for the Brazilian. A product of the Palmeiras youth system, the 26-year-old is tasked with being the defensive leader NYCFC need - and franchise bosses are confident he will be just that.