Since 2016, Major League Soccer clubs have a new source of strengthening their rosters: the league’s free agent pool. Over the last two seasons, some franchises were able to find good options available and incorporate them to their rosters.
The most prolific case was probably center back Drew Moor, who left the Colorado Rapids to become a centerpiece of Toronto FC’s defensive system. Orlando City SC has also benefited from the new rule, signing midfielder Will Johnson in 2017.
With a new class of free agents available as the season comes to an end, here are three options the Lions could explore when building their rosters for 2018:
The veteran fullback is at the last year of his deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps, the team he has been playing with since 2011. At 33, Harvey is definitely not a long-term solution for Orlando’s left back spot, but he can helpful. At his best, he’s a cheap upgrade over Donny Toia. At his worst, he’s probably capable of bringing some competition to Toia.
Versatility and experience are what the Lions can get from Evans. With over 250 MLS matches and 27 games for the United States Men’s National Team under his belt, the long-time Seattle Sounders 32-year-old utility man is capable of filling spots on defense and midfield in a very efficient way. It’s hard to envision him as starter at this stage of his career, as his six starts in 2017 show, but he is known as a great locker room leader and can play an important role coming off the bench as well.
Consistency has not been Chris Pontius’ thing. After a breakout season in 2016, when he recorded 12 goals and six assists for the Philadelphia Union that earned him a call to the USMNT, the winger returned to a pedestrian level this season, with two goals and six assists. He would be much welcomed to strengthen Orlando’s depth at the attacking midfielder spots, though, as he plays on both sides and in the center. Pontius has also proven to be reliable, having played at least 30 games in the past two seasons.