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Major League Soccer Week in Review

USA Altidore
Wikipedia via Flickr: Diego Valenzuela

Jozy Altidore signs with Toronto FC – Just one season after the much hyped arrival of Jermaine Defoe, Toronto FC has decided to flip the English international for a younger, and potentially more productive American. Jozy Altidore heads to the Canadian club on a five-year contract worth about $30 million.

After a brilliant season with AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands, Altidore has struggled to find the back on the net since joining Sunderland of the Premier League. Altidore will look to regain the form that saw him become one of the most wanted prospects in the world, and Toronto will hope he is able to stay on the pitch more than Defoe and that his chemistry with USMNT teammate Michael Bradley will pay dividends.

MVP award names after league legend Landon Donovan – MLS commissioner Don Garber announced on Thursday that the league MVP award would be named after USMNT and league legend Landon Donovan. Donovan is the all-time league leader in goals (144), assists (136), and MLS Cup titles (six).

Donovan is widely regarded as the best play in league history. Commissioner Garber was delighted to make the announcement and said the decision was made before 2014 season was over to name the trophy after the player, but waited until after the season was over to make the announcement public.  Donovan and the LA Galaxy won the 2014 MLS Cup in December.

Teams look for next star in MLS Draft – The 2015 MLS Draft took place on Thursday, January 15th. Orlando City selected Connecticut Huskers and Canadian international Cyle Larin with the #1 overall pick. Larin declined to join the league in 2014 in favor of returning to college. New York City FC selected Oregon State standout Khiry Shelton with the #2 overall pick. Shelton was actively chased by NYCFC before the draft and the club declined a large allocation trade in order to secure his signature.

Head coach Jason Kreis was relieved to draft the player and believes the player has the raw abilities to become a force in MLS. Montreal selected Romario Williams of UCF, San Jose picked Fatai Alashe of Michigan State and Portland choose Nick Besler of Notre Dame to round out the top five picks. A total of 42 players were selected over two rounds. Orlando City and NYCFC selected the first two picks due to them being expansion teams.

Columbus Crew SC acquire Chris Klute from Rapids – Chris Klute joins the revamped Crew after a draft day trade that sent him, along with the #19 overall pick, to the Colorado Rapids. Klute was named Colorado’s Defensive Player of the Year and led the team in assists in 2013 and is gaining traction in his bid to join the USMNT.

It is a bit shocking to see a rising prospect change teams at this point in his career. It is thought that Colorado manager Pablo Mastroeni has other plans in place which made Klute expendable. The Crew have been making adjustments to their franchise over the past year and getting a player like Klute at this stage of his career is a great move.