MLS transfer roundup: Whitecaps sign Berhalter, Sounders agree contract extensions

Chris Smith
Ruidiaz is one of three big contract extensions agreed by the Sounders.
Ruidiaz is one of three big contract extensions agreed by the Sounders. / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 MLS season is just weeks away and things are getting busy in the transfer market.

With the European window shut, outgoing moves for homegrown talents should start to slow down again for a few more months. But the business in MLS is only just getting started.

Xherdan Shaqiri's imminent switch from Lyon to the Chicago Fire and Douglas Costa's reported transfer from Juventus to the LA Galaxy will certainly steal the headlines. Jozy Altidore looks set to join the New England Revolution, and that's also sure to keep everyone talking. But they're not done yet and represent the tip of the iceberg.

Friday was another busy day of deals and contract negotiations across the league, here's what you might have missed...

1. FC Dallas agree Paul Arriola contract extension

FC Dallas spent $2m in General Allocation Money (GAM) to acquire USMNT winger Paul Arriola from DC United last month - a record amount of GAM. All that was left was to agree their own contract with him.

That was all done and dusted on Friday as Arriola signed a deal in Frisco through 2025, with a club option for 2026.

With 35 direct goal involvements in 89 MLS regular-season games and the versatility to play anywhere across the right flank, Arriola is definitely the sort of guy Dallas will want to keep around for years to come.

2. DC United re-sign Jon Kempin

Bill Hamid remains the undisputed No.1 at DC United, but the Black and Red still need to make sure he's backed up.

They ticked that box on Friday with the re-signing of 28-year-old Jon Kempin, who has 32 regular-season games under his belt across spells with DCU, Sporting Kansas City, the LA Galaxy, and Columbus Crew.

“We are happy that we’ve re-signed Jon for the upcoming season,” general manager Lucy Rushton said in a press release. “He has embraced the culture at the club and was an important member of our squad last season. We’re looking forward to his continued hard work and commitment to the team in 2022.”

3. Sebastian Berhalter joins Vancouver Whitecaps

While his father is busy overseeing the USMNT's World Cup qualification bid, Sebastian Berhalter has completed a move from the Columbus Crew to the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The 'Caps have paid $50k in GAM upfront for the 20-year-old midfielder, with up to $50k more to be paid if certain performance markers are met. The Crew will also receive a percentage of any fee should Berhalter be sold outside MLS.

“Sebastian is a young player we’ve identified within the league who adds depth to our defensive midfield position as he brings high intensity in the press, strong work ethic and rates highly in defensive contributions,” Whitecaps sporting director Axel Schuster said in a press release.

“He will be added to our supplemental roster as we will continue to keep the door open for a more senior player at this position.”

4. Seattle Sounders agree trio of important contract extensions

Given their existing talent level, it's perhaps more important the Sounders focus on locking down what they have rather than looking for new signings in the immediate future.

On Friday, three of their most important pieces put pen to paper on new contracts. Lethal striker Raul Ruidiaz has signed through 2024, key midfielder and 2021 MVP finalist Joao Paulo remains through 2023 with another year on option, and center-back Xavier Arreaga has re-signed for 2023 with options for another two seasons.

“Raúl, João Paulo, and Xavier have proven they are important pieces of the club’s success, and we’re pleased to have signed each of them to a contract extension,” general manager and president of soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a release.

“With 28 players under contract, we feel that we’re in a great position ahead of upcoming Concacaf Champions League action and the MLS regular season.”

Slovakian forward Albert Rusnak is easily the biggest piece of incoming business the Sounders have conducted so far. With some cornerstone pieces having their futures secured, perhaps now they'll turn their attention to bolstering Brian Schmetzer's roster even further.

5. Houston Dynamo sign Brooklyn Raines as homegrown player

The Dynamo have been busier than most rebuilding this offseason under new GM Pat Onstad. On Friday, they turned their attention to youth with the acquisition of 16-year-old midfielder Brooklyn Raines after securing his homegrown territory rights from Real Salt Lake.

Raines - a US youth international - joins Houston on a multi-year deal, with $50k GAM sent to RSL.

“We want Houston Dynamo FC to be a destination for the top young talent in the country and the signing of Brooklyn Raines is a step in the right direction,” Onstad said.

“Brooklyn has drawn interest from around the world and we are proud that he chose to continue his development in Houston. He is a high potential player and we look forward to him advancing through our player development pathway.”