10 best offseason moves ahead of the 2017 MLS season

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

The major players in Major League Soccer orchestrated some exciting and interesting deals in the offseason, but with the 2017 campaign just days away, it's time to take a look back at some of the best moves made during the winter break.

Here are the top 10 moves from the offseason.

10. Brad Guzan to Atlanta United

Expansion outfit Atlanta United needed to make big moves, and while a trio of young Designated Player signings were well received, bringing on Brad Guzan was a big move that gave the club an immediate veteran presence at the back.

9. Ian Harkes to D.C. United

Ian Harkes faced a tough decision: Stay at home and join D.C. United, or fight for a place in England. The Hermann Trophy winner opted to sign for his boyhood club and D.C. United plucked the best rookie available, for free.

8. Jonathan Mensah to Columbus Crew SC

Columbus Crew SC had but one pressing need in the offseason in filling the void at center-back left after Michael Parkhurst's departure from the club, and Gregg Berhalter's side filled that spot brilliantly with DP signing Jonathan Mensah.

7. Javier Morales to FC Dallas

Call him old and washed up at your own peril, for FC Dallas is betting that MLS veteran Javier Morales still has enough left in his legs to make up for Mauro Diaz's injury-caused absence this season. The best part? He joined for free.

6. Victor Vazquez to Toronto FC

Toronto FC fans have been clamoring for a true No. 10 for the better part of the last five years and the Reds added exactly that in signing Victor Vazquez using Targeted Allocation Money. Could he be the missing piece of the TFC puzzle?

5. A.J. DeLaGarza to Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo needed reinforcements across the park, such has been the state of disarray the club has found itself in recent years, and $175,000 in allocation money got them just that in A.J. DeLaGarza from the LA Galaxy.

4. Sean Johnson to NYCFC

A three-team swap deal saw Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson end up at New York City FC by way of Atlanta. Whatever the process for his addition, NYCFC now has a firm No. 1 shot-stopper with U.S. national team experience.

3. Giles Barnes to Orlando City

Orlando City and the Vancouver Whitecaps swapped players earlier this week, with Giles Barnes heading to Florida in exchange for Brek Shea. The Lions came out on top in crafting the prospect of a Barnes-Cyle Larin partnership.

2. Kevin Molino to Minnesota United

Adrian Heath had his heart set on a reunion with Kevin Molino and was willing to pay a pretty penny to make it happen for Minnesota United. It's why Heath orchestrated the largest trade in MLS history, sending $650,000 in allocation money to his former team Orlando for Molino and goalkeeper Patrick McLain.

1. Dax McCarty to Chicago Fire

The biggest move in the offseason might also carry the most ramifications for the two parties involved, as the New York Red Bulls shipped off captain Dax McCarty to the Chicago Fire in exchange for $400,000 in allocation money.

Now, it's pretty clear why Fire fans were pleased with this deal, and why, conversely, Red Bulls supporters were not. McCarty has ranked among the league's best central midfielders and brings with him both experience and skill, which was utterly lacking in Chicago's middle.

But the Red Bulls lost a captain, a natural starter, and a key component in the team's attacking and defensive shape, and the explanation many came up with was down to younger prospects like Sean Davis coming through the ranks.

Whatever Jesse Marsch's side was thinking, the 2017 season will soon expose a fatal flaw or a brilliant masterstroke for the Red Bulls. As for Chicago? They won the offseason with one $400,000 trade.

(Photos courtesy: Action Images)

10 best offseason moves ahead of the 2017 MLS season
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