'Pity', Nani and the top newcomers in MLS in 2019

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Several big stars have made the move to North America this season, and Goal takes a look at the top 15 new faces entering the league

In some ways, it feels like the MLS offseason was all about who left the league.

The MLS transfer fee was shattered with Alphonso Davies' move to Bayern Munich. Tyler Adams is starring with RB Leipzig. Miguel Almiron's highly-publicized move to Newcastle is off to an ideal start and, after several MVP-caliber seasons with Toronto FC, Sebastian Giovinco is now plying his trade in Saudi Arabia.

But there's been no shortage of big-name stars brought into replace them while there's also been an influx on young international talent coming into the league.

From South American stars and former Manchester United regulars to up-and-coming internationals and former U.S. national team hopefuls, its been a busy offseason across MLS.

Let's take a look at the top 15 newcomers set to enter the league in 2019:

  1. Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

    Gonzalo 'Pity' Martinez | Atlanta United

    How do you replace Miguel Almiron? By bringing in one of South America's best players, of course. That's what Atlanta is getting in Martinez, who became a legitimate star at River Plate en route to a Copa Libertadores title. He comes to MLS with an even better pedigree than Almiron entered with two years ago and, while it may take some time to adjust, its a safe bet that 'Pity' will fit in just fine with Atlanta's attacking unit. 
  2. Nani | Orlando City

    The former Manchester United winger showed he still has some game left at Sporitng CP, prompting Orlando to make him their biggest addition since Kaka ahead of their expansion season. His ability to beat players off the dribble will be vital to this Lions team after Orlando show little of anything throughout a dreadful 2018 campaign. 
  3. Carles Gil | New England Revolution

    In need of a creator in the attack, the Revs turned to Spanish midfielder Gil, who has experience playing for the likes of Valencia, Aston Villa and Deportivo La Coruna. At 26, Gil is an in-their-prime DP signing in need of a fresh start, a formula that's worked before, and he'll need to work in a big way if the Revs hope to contend entering Brad Friedel's second year.
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    Marco Fabian | Philadelphia Union

    Borek Dockal proved a fantastic short-term move, but the Union finally have their No. 10. Fabian has been a key contributor to Mexico for years, although injuries have slowed down his progress in recent times. If Fabian can stay healthy, and if the Union's young core develops around him, the playoffs are certainly a possibility once again. 
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    Allan Cruz | FC Cincinnati

    The man known as "Tico Kante", Cruz has earned six caps for the Costa Rica national team while drawing comparisons to the Chelsea star. The midfielder drew plenty of interest before eventually signing on with Cincy and, given the typical struggles of expansion teams, his presence in the middle should be a building block for years to come. 
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    Leonardo Jara | D.C. United

    The Argentine right back joined D.C. United on a season-long loan and should immediately become a go-to starter in defense. He made 51 appearances in two seasons with Boca Juniors, starting the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final before coming off the bench in the second. For a D.C. team that is in win-now mode with Wayne Rooney involved, Jara provides a strong short-term answer and some much-needed defensive talent. 
  7. Alexandru Mitrita | NYCFC

    Mitrita isn't a direct replacement for David Villa, but he also doesn't have to be. The Romanian international enters MLS with big expectations following a hefty transfer fee, and preseason returns show he can get the goals. He's earned comparisons to Sebastian Giovinco and, if he can contribute even a fraction of what the Italian did, NYCFC should have a dynamic, versatile forward to lead their lineup for several years. 
  8. Cristian Espinoza | San Jose Earthquakes

    Brought in on a loan deal from Villarreal, Espinoza originally joined the Spanish side for an $8 million transfer fee in 2016. The Argentine since been sent out on loan to clubs like Boca Juniors, Valladolid and Alaves and will look to develop even further under countryman Matias Almeyda. Espinoza can play anywhere across the front three, which should help the Earthquakes in the quest to jump out of the MLS basement. 
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    Caleb Stanko | FC Cincinatti

    The American has come close to the national team, having earned his first USMNT cap in 2016, but has never truly broken through for either club or country. The 25-year-old midfielder joins from German side SC Freiburg and has also spent time on loan with FC Vaduz but the move to MLS feels like a true new beginning for a player that will look to rejoin the national team pool going forward. 
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    Hwang In-beom | Vancouver Whitecaps

    The South Korean international was coveted by several European teams, but ended up in Vancouver after shining in his country's gold medal run at the 2018 Asia Games. He's earned 12 caps for his country and, although MLS will be a step up from the club soccer he's used to, In-beom will be a key piece for a Whitecaps team that has been rebuilt under Marc dos Santos. 
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    Bryan Acosta | FC Dallas

    The Honduran international comes to Dallas by way of Tenerife, having made 47 appearances across two seasons for the Spanish second-division side. The 25-year-old midfielder has also earned 38 caps for his national team, and was part of the squad that was a step away from the World Cup before falling to Australia in a playoff. Acosta offers plenty of experience as FC Dallas looks to move forward under new head coach Luchi Gonzalez. 
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    Keaton Parks | NYCFC

    After breaking through with Portuguese powerhouse Benfica, Parks found himself on the precipice of the U.S. national team, earning a cap last summer against Bolivia. Questions remain over his best position, though, as he can play as a No. 6, 8 or even as a 10. For an NYCFC team that lost Yangel Herrera, Parks should step in and contribute right away in a season that will be key for his development. 
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    Marcos Lopez | San Jose Earthquakes

    At just 19 years old, Lopez has already earned a senior cap for Peru after breaking through at Sporting Cristal in his home country. The defender chipped in five goals in 23 appearances for the Peruvian powerhouse during his two-year stay after coming up with San Martin de Porres. He's the type of left back that should contribute in both the attack and defense, and one that should be a key contributor under new coach Almeyda. 
  14. ANDERS KJAERBYE

    Jan Gregus | Minnesota United

    The Slovakian international, who has earned 21 caps, boasts Champions League experience and won a domestic double with FC Copenhagen in 2016-17. Gregus will look to partner with MLS veteran Ozzie Alonso in the center of the field for the Loons as the club hopes to finally plug all the holes that have been apparent in a leaky defense since their expansion year. 
  15. Andreas Schlichter

    Terrence Boyd | Toronto FC

    Boyd is a familiar face to U.S. national team fans having earned semi-frequent call-ups from 2012-16, but injury issues have plagued his career for some time. He bounced around Germany for several seasons, playing for Borussia Dortmund II, RB Leipzig and, most recently, Darmstadt, but his best years came with Rapid Wien from 2012-14. Toronto is betting heavily on Boyd and Jozy Altidore, two injury-prone forwards, but Boyd should provide another viable goalscorer to a team now without Sebastian Giovinco.