MLS transfer roundup: Colorado Rapids sign international goalkeeper, Charlotte FC part ways with Reyna
By Chris Smith
With the 2023 MLS season just a week away, the heat is being turned up on clubs in the transfer market.
A flurry of moves have gone through over the last couple of days, so read on to find out what you might have missed:
1. Colorado Rapids sign Serbia international goalkeeper Marko Ilić
The Colorado Rapids have added depth at the goalkeeper position with the acquisition of Serbia international Marko Ilić on loan from Belgian Pro League side KV Kortrijk through July 2023 with a purchase option.
The 25-year-old will compete with Will Yarbrough for the No.1 spot.
“Marko is an athletic goalkeeper who is not only a good shot-stopper, but also good with his feet, a strong passer who can help us build out from the back,” Pádraig Smith, Colorado’s executive vice president and general manager, said in a club press release.
“We’re delighted to reinforce what is already a top goalkeeping group with his addition and look forward to welcoming Marko to the club.”
2. Sporting KC sign defender Robert Castellanos
After allowing Nicolas Isimat-Mirin to leave and losing Kortne Ford to a season-ending injury, Sporting KC were looking a little short at center-back.
Peter Vermes has started the process of adding depth in that position with the signing of 24-year-old Robert Castellanos, who most recently played for Finnish Premier League club Kuopion Palloseura. It's the American defender's second spell in MLS having previously represented Nashville SC in 2021.
3. Jhohan Romaña leaves Austin FC on loan for Paraguay's Club Olimpia
Colombian center-back Jhohan Romana has departed Austin FC on loan for Paraguayan giants Club Olimpia.
The 24-year-old's loan runs through the 2023 MLS season, with Olimpia holding the option to make the transfer permanent.
Romana arrived from Paraguayan side Club Guarani ahead of Austin's inaugural 2021 campaign but only managed 35 appearances across two seasons combined, stuck behind first-choice duo Ruben Gabrielsen and Julio Cascante.
Gabrielsen returned to Norway this offseason but was replaced by Finland international Leo Väisänen and Egyptian-American Amro Tarek, making it clear the door was closed for Romana.
4. Japanese goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka joins Vancouver Whitecaps
The Vancouver Whitecaps are the latest MLS club to strengthen at goalkeeper, signing Yohei Takaoka from reigning J1 League champions Yokohama F. Marinos.
VWFC have used Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) to acquire the 26-year-old, who signs a deal through the 2024 MLS season with an option on 2025.
Takaoka is the second player to arrive in MLS from City Football Group club Yokohama F. Marinos alongside Brazilian defender Thiago Martins, who joined NYCFC last year.
"We were looking to add some experience to our goalkeeper group this offseason and when we learned Yohei was an option, we acted quickly," Axel Schuster, Whitecaps FC sporting director, said in a release.
"He arrives with a winning mentality, has played for championships, and was in the J1 League's Best XI last year. We’re very pleased to welcome Yohei to our club and city."
5. Yordy Reyna leaves Charlotte FC via offseason buyout
Charlotte FC have exercised their offseason buyout on Peru international winger Yordy Reyna.
The 29-year-old was among CLTFC's highest-paid players but will no longer count against the club's 2023 salary budget. In total, Reyna - who has previously represented the Vancouver Whitecaps and DC United in MLS - hit four goals and six assists in 21 appearances for Charlotte across all competitions.
6. Houston Dynamo FC sign defender Tate Schmitt
The Houston Dynamo have made their 12th signing this offseason under new head coach Ben Olsen, acquiring former Real Salt Lake defender Tate Schmitt.
Schmitt has signed a one-year deal with options on 2024 and 2025 after seeing his contract option at RSL declined at the end of last season.
"We're excited to add Tate to our roster after a strong showing this preseason," Dynamo general manager Pat Onstad said in a club press release. "He adds valuable depth to our fullback position and we look forward to seeing him compete for minutes this season."