Familiar faces in new places: Garza, Opara & the biggest MLS names with new homes in 2019

Greg Garza MLS Atlanta United 06032017
Anne-Marie Sorvin
Several key contributors changes teams this offseason, and Goal takes a look at the best of the bunch heading into the 2019 campaign

The offseason was fast and furious for teams across MLS, much as it always is, and a number of familiar faces will call new clubs home as the 2019 season gets set to kick off.

From free agents to blockbuster trades, this MLS offseason saw several big moves with some big names finding new addresses in the process.

There's also the introduction of a new expansion team to take into account as FC Cincinnati spent the last few months wheeling and dealing to prepare for their first MLS campaign.

Some players will be looking to prove they still have plenty left to offer after being deemed surplus to requirements at their old clubs. Others will be looking to prove themselves with a fresh start in a new city and a better situation.

Here is Goal's list of 15 familiar MLS faces who this year will strive to make an impact after changing teams this offseason. 

  1. Ike Opara, Minnesota United

    Ike Opara, Minnesota United

    The 2017 MLS Defender of the Year was traded to the Loons after pushing for a pay raise with Sporting KC. The 2018 season wasn't quite as strong as the year prior, but Opara remains one of the premier defenders in MLS when healthy, giving the Loons a much-needed backline leader after two years of difficulties.
  2. Brek Shea, Atlanta United
    Michael Sullivan

    Brek Shea, Atlanta United

    Once an MLS MVP candidate, it's been a trying few years for Shea, who has played for two clubs and in a number of different positions since returning from his try at Europe. In Atlanta, Shea will provide defensive depth and, only on a one-year deal, is a low-risk, high-reward signing for the reigning MLS Cup champions. 
  3. Kendall Waston, FC Cincinnati
    Winslow Townson

    Kendall Waston, FC Cincinnati

    The Costa Rican star was as vital to the Vancouver Whitecaps' identity as any player on the roster, but the club called time on his tenure this year with a trade to the first-year club. Cincy spent the offseason building from the back forward, signing a number of proven defenders, and it will be Waston's job to be the leader of that group heading into the season. 
  4. Kei Kamara, Colorado Rapids
    Anne-Marie Sorvin

    Kei Kamara, Colorado Rapids

    Another former Whitecap on the list as Kamara moves to the Rapids as the club searches for a player that can actually score goals. They have that in Kamara, who has been as consistent as they come throughout his MLS career. This will be a different challenge, though, as he looks to lead a Rapids team that was last in the league in scoring with just 36 goals last season. 
  5. Laurent Ciman, Toronto FC
    Katharine Lotze

    Laurent Ciman, Toronto FC

    The Belgian's Toronto FC move isn't off to the best start following the club's 4-0 Concacaf Champions League shellacking, but the former Montreal Impact and LAFC defender is a proven commodity in this league. TFC couldn't overcome the injury bug last season and, with the move for Ciman, they should have plenty of veteran centerback experience to push for a bounce-back year.
  6. Marlon Hairston, Houston Dynamo
    Ron Chenoy

    Marlon Hairston, Houston Dynamo

    Hairston proved himself as one of the more verastile players in MLS during his time in Colorado, but, after falling down the pecking order last term, he was traded to the Dynamo this offseason. Having played right back in recent times for the Rapids, Hairston can play in the midfield or out wide for the more attack-minded Dynamo. 
  7. Juninho, LA Galaxy

    Juninho, LA Galaxy

    A familiar face that is actually now back in a familiar place, Juninho returns to the LA Galaxy following following four seasons away from the club, including a stint with the Chicago Fire. The midfielder was an integral part of two Supporters' Shields and three MLS Cup titles, providing a link to the past that has gotten away from winning trophies in recent years. 
  8. Osvaldo Alonso, Minnesota United
    Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

    Osvaldo Alonso, Minnesota United

    The heart of the Seattle Sounders midifeld for years, Alonso joins the Loons as the club looks to rebuild its midfield. He'll be a vital veteran presence for the third-year club, who have never had a true destroyer anywhere near as good as Alonso. His health is a factor and he's getting up there in age, but Alonso will certainly be one of Minnesota's most important pieces this season. 
  9. Greg Garza, FC Cincinatti

    Greg Garza, FC Cincinatti

    The veteran left back helped guide Atlanta United to an MLS Cup in 2018 before being traded to FC Cincy this offseason. It's never easy to find MLS-quality fullbacks, and Garza is a proven quality that provides title-winning experience to a new locker room in Cincinnati. 
  10. Benny Feilhaber, Colorado Rapids

    Benny Feilhaber, Colorado Rapids

    Following one season with Los Angeles FC, Feilhaber joins the Rapids as the club hunts for creativity. Feilhaber adapted well to a deeper role with LAFC last season, and could be either played deep or as a No. 10 for the new-look Rapids. 
  11. Kelyn Rowe, Sporting KC
    Patrick Gorski

    Kelyn Rowe, Sporting KC

    After falling out of favor with the New England Revolution, Rowe has seemingly found a promising new start with Sporting KC. Widely seen as one of the more creative midfielders in MLS, Rowe was used less often last season in New England and, when used, played as a fullback. He'll relish a new opportunity under Peter Vermes, a coach that should get the best out of him going forward. 
  12. Maxi Urruti, Montreal Impact
    Jerome Miron

    Maxi Urruti, Montreal Impact

    Having been a contributor for both FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers in recent years, Urruti was shipped to the Impact in one of the first moves of the offseason. The Argentinian forward was handed a new TAM-level contract upon arriving in Montreal, showing the club's faith in his ability to lead the line. 
  13. Edgar Castillo, New England Revolution

    Edgar Castillo, New England Revolution

    After one year in Colorado, the former U.S. national team defender heads to the Revs via trade. He featured 28 times for the Rapids last season and, given his experiences with the U.S. and Liga MX, should provide good experience to a Revs team rebuilding under Brad Friedel.
  14. Joao Moutinho, Orlando City

    Joao Moutinho, Orlando City

    Less than a year after being selected first overall in the MLS Draft, Moutinho was traded to Orlando City as the Lions look to rebuild a backline. The move for Moutinho, and the push to get Danilo Acosta from RSL, showed that Orlando was looking to get younger and find cornerstones in defense that could contribute for years to come. 
  15. Keegan Rosenberry, Colorado Rapids
    Derik Hamilton

    Keegan Rosenberry, Colorado Rapids

    Rosenberry will also be a part of the Rapids' rebuild following a trade from the Philadelphia Union. Following a standout rookie campaign that earned him a U.S. national team call-up, Rosenberry has had his ups and downs, but he should be a solid upgrade for a Rapids team that was in need of fresh faces.