Whether it was the ongoing financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the delay to the start of the season due to negotiations over the collective bargaining agreement or challenges in bringing players in from overseas, the newcomers joining Major League Soccer for the 2021 season lack some of the panache of previous years.
The bigger moves seemed to involve MLS players going to Europe rather than big names coming to North America.
That said, there are still teams that made offseason additions who can be immediate impact players.
Here’s a look at some worth watching in 2021:
Of course, Austin should be at the top of this list with the expansion side set to kick off Saturday against Los Angeles FC.
And the two designated players for Austin have a chance to be immediate stars.
Forward Cecilio Dominguez signed as Austin’s first DP last summer after the Paraguayan international made his move from Independiente in. The 26-year-old had eight goals and six assists in 43 appearances for Independiente, but he’s only a few years removed from popping up on the international scene with 21 goals in 74 appearances with Club America in LigaMX.
Dominguez will be joined by midfielder Tomas Pochettino, who signed as Austin’s second DP after moving from’s Atletico Talleres. Pochettino, 25, will be asked to control the middle of the field and be a distributor to Dominguez and others in the Austin attack.
, where he’s also made eight appearances for the under-23 national team and may be getting a callup for the Olympics this summer.
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