The 2019 MLS season is behind us. Atlanta United capped off an amazing first two years as an expansion club. But such as things are in sports, the page turns quickly looking ahead to the next season. The MLS free agency period kicked off this week and a number of experienced vets across the league are now available to make moves.
Players have to be at least 28 years old and have been in MLS for at least eight seasons to be considered for free agency. And before you balk at teams signing senior players, keep in mind that two such players anchored the Atlanta United defensive half of the field for the past two seasons — Jeff Larentowicz and Michael Parkhurst, the club's captain.
In total 34 players are eligible in this player pool. Here are five that MLS clubs should move on before Christmas.
MLS Free Agency
5. Rodney Wallace
Still only 30, Wallace struggled with NYCFC in 2018 and needs a change of scenery. MLS is full of stories seeing players struggle in one city to then thrive again in a new system. Rodney clearly has the talent to win in MLS as an attacking winger either in a counter-attack system or a possession-based offense. The Costa Rica international has tallied 24 goals and 29 assists in his MLS career thus far.
4. Brek Shea
The Vancouver Whitecaps declined the option on the former Stoke City man. A lot of that had to do with the over-the-top contract the club gave Brek in the first place. But the 28-year-old winger, sometimes fullback, still appeared 53 times in two seasons for the Whitecaps, producing seven goals and four assists. Rumors have him linked with a move back to Orlando, but sides such as San Jose, Colorado and Chicago could definitely use Brek when he plays up to his potential.
3. Benny Feilhaber
The controversial USMNT vet is out of contract after one season with the debuting LAFC. He featured 34 times for the club, netting three goals and providing six assists. For a side that finished just five points out of first in the Western Conference, LAFC would be wise to re-sign Feilhaber, even if just for depth as the No. 3 center midfielder. If not, expect numerous clubs to make a play for Benny, who can disrupt opposition attacks and provide plenty of attacking flair (56 career MLS assists).
2. Osvaldo Alonso
Last season the Seattle Sounders captain was left available in the LAFC expansion draft. He felt disrespected but eventually, the two sides fixed the relationship and Alonso had a great year in the middle of the Sounders lineup. Out of contract, the midfielder has spent all 10 seasons in Seattle with 277 appearances. With his form back up in 2018, Seattle should have plenty of competition to sign Osvaldo.
Champions! Unforgettable night! Much love ATL pic.twitter.com/y1wzZGHV7z— Michael Parkhurst (@MFparkhurst) December 9, 2018
1. Michael Parkhurst
Parkhurst had his option declined by Atlanta United following the MLS Cup championship. However, the club is expected to offer him a new contract after negotiations this week. Other clubs will have a chance to beat that offer, but the Five Stripes captain will be hard to pull away considering the side will be one of the favorites in 2019. Nine seasons and 281 appearances, almost every club would welcome Parkhurst as a starter or for depth.