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Toronto’s Lorenzo Insigne deal is massive, but highlights MLS restrictions and inefficiencies – The Athletic

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There have been several high-profile outgoing transfers, multiple head coach hires and an announcement of a new owner, but no piece of MLS news so far in 2022 has come close to being as noteworthy as Toronto FC signing Lorenzo Insigne. While the move has the potential to be transformational for both Toronto and MLS, it also serves as yet another indicator of the drawbacks of the MLS model of roster building.

Let’s start with the good news. Insigne, who will arrive at TFC in July on a free transfer following the expiration of his contract with Napoli, is coming to the league near the height of his considerable powers. The 30-year-old Italian international helped lead his country to the European Championship title last summer, recorded 19 goals and seven assists in 35 Serie A matches last season and has four goals and five assists in 17 league appearances during the current campaign. As long as he’s fit and motivated, he should be an absolute force in MLS for the bulk of his mammoth four-year, $60 million guaranteed contract. TFC also expects that he’ll significantly boost enthusiasm for the club in the greater Toronto area, something that feels a bit necessary after the misery the club endured in a brutal 2021. Acquiring him is a huge swing by TFC and new head coach and sporting director Bob Bradley, a resounding statement that the club isn’t here just to win, but to win everything.

Signing Insigne is a feather in the cap for MLS, too. He won’t generate the same amount of mainstream media attention or sell as many tickets as previous designated players like David Beckham, Thierry Henry or Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his place in the Italy national team might be secure regardless of his club situation, but his decision to join TFC in a World Cup year is a signal to other international stars that the league is an acceptable place to spend at least part of their primes.





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Midfielder Celeste Boureille departs Thorns FC

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Celeste Boureille has informed Thorns FC of her impending move to a European-based club, the club confirmed today, with an announcement regarding her next destination expected in the near future

Boureille, 27, was out of contract with the Thorns after the 2021 National Women’s Soccer League season and had announced her departure from the team on Monday via social media.

She joined the Thorns as an undrafted free agent before the 2016 season and went on to make 66 regular-season appearances with the club over her six seasons. She was part of NWSL Shield winning teams in 2016 and 2021 and was member of the Thorns’ NWSL Championship team in 2017.

“My time as a Thorn has been an amazingly rewarding experience and I have loved every second of it,” Boureille said on Twitter. “Thank you to the entire Portland organization for giving me this unforgettable opportunity since day one as a Pro.”





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Charlotte FC eye more DPs beyond “special player” Karol Świderski

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Krneta assured that more additions are on the way, too, particularly of the DP variety (as many as two more). Ecuador international midfielder Jordy Alcívar is currently a Young DP, though that classification could change come roster compliance day.

“We’re looking for more,” Krneta said. “There will be more DPs, we have options and this is why we build the club and the roster in a way that we can cherry-pick, if you like, at the end of the roster-building who we want. … These very good players, it’s not easy to get these players over the line. There’s always an issue or two. But hopefully soon we’ll add one or two more players.”

As key signings are finalized, Świderski is relishing the opportunity – and natural pressure – that awaits him in Charlotte.

“America, this was my dream also,” Świderski said. “I’m so happy to be here.”





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Atlanta United Adds Sixth Preseason Opponent 

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ATLANTA – Atlanta United today announced the club has added a sixth preseason match against Tepatitlán FC to be played Sunday, Feb. 13 while the team is in Mexico. It will be the second match Atlanta plays that day after taking on Chivas Guadalajara. Both matches will be played at Chivas’ Verde Valle training facility and are closed to the public.

The club also announced it will stream each of its remaining preseason matches live on ATLUTD.com/live, including all three matches in Mexico. Atlanta is scheduled to open its 2022 MLS Regular Season on Sunday, Feb. 27 against Sporting Kansas City at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (3 p.m., FS1/FOX Deportes). Tickets for the Home Opener are now available.

After playing Georgia Storm on Jan. 25, the club will continue its preseason with its second match against Georgia Revolution on Jan. 30 (12:00 p.m.) at the Turner Soccer Complex on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens. The match, presented by Piedmont Healthcare, sold out to Season Ticket Members earlier on Wednesday and the club also announced that a portion of the ticket proceeds will be donated to the Piedmont Healthcare Foundation.

Atlanta will then travel to Guadalajara and train daily at Club Atlas Colomos in Zapopan, Mexico. It’s first match at Colomos will be against Celaya FC and will be open to media. Atlanta will then play two matches Feb. 13, playing Tepatitlán FC after its match against Chivas. Tepatitlán FC is currently in Mexico’s second division and will join Celaya as the second Liga de Expansión MX opponent for Atlanta this preseason. Tepatitlán won the league’ Clausura – winning the Guardianes 2021 by defeating Atlético Morelia in the tournament final. A week later it won the 2020-21 season by defeating Apertura champions Tampico Madero in penalties.

After returning from Mexico, Atlanta will play its final preseason match at Birmingham Legion FC on Feb. 20 at Protective Stadium. Ticket information for the match will be announced in the coming weeks.





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