Which surprise performer from the CONCACAF Gold Cup could bag a move to the MLS in the secondary transfer window?

MLS transfer targets from the CONCACAF Gold Cup
Photo by H. Michael Karshis // CC BY 2.0

The Major League Soccer (MLS) secondary transfer window is now open, giving teams the chance to reinforce their rosters for the remainder of the grueling campaign. One of the forms of scouting for MLS teams this summer has been the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which was eventually won by Mexico in a nail-biting 1-0 win over the United States. It was a hugely successful tournament, giving some of the Central American nations a chance to showcase their skills on the world stage.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a shortlist of some of the stars from the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup that could be lined up for moves to MLS franchises in the coming weeks. The list includes some players that might not have considered playing in the U.S. several years ago, but the profile of the MLS is expanding all the time. Overseas coverage of the MLS has been ramped up by recent partnerships with global sports broadcasters like Sky Sports, and the upcoming arrival of Fox Bet this fall will almost certainly offer more avenues for overseas MLS fans to keep on top of the action. Here are the possible up-and-coming talents who could make the move:

1. Tyler Boyd – the ideal counter-attacker

There is a special talent right under the noses of MLS teams that could be a great addition to any offense. Tyler Boyd, who recently switched his allegiance to the U.S. national soccer team, is in the final year of his contract with Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes, but the 24-year-old is already a target of Turkish giants, Besiktas, following a successful short-term loan with fellow Turkish outfit, Ankaragucu. Besiktas could offer Boyd a chance to play European football, which may tip the scales in their favor. However, if Boyd wants to be prominent for U.S. national team selection, a move to the MLS would equally make sense.

2. Zeiko Lewis – appears to have matured during his time in Iceland

25-year-old Bermudian front man Zeiko Lewis really caught the eye at the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup. Although Bermuda didn’t manage to get out of their group, managing only one win against Nicaragua, Lewis demonstrated once again that he is a man for the big stage. He used his physical presence to create chances for others and is certainly a man in form, having banged in five goals in 13 USL appearances so far for the Charleston Battery. His season on loan with HK Kopavogur in Iceland’s top division appears to have done him a world of good and could be ready for a return to the MLS after flopping with the Red Bulls when signed during the 2017 Super Draft signed during the 2017 Super Draft.

3. Duckens Nazon – the perfect battering ram

Duckens Nazon
Photo by Warrenfish, //CC BY-SA 4.0

Two goals and two assists for striker Duckens Nazon in Haiti’s brave Gold Cup run.

Haiti were one of the biggest success stories from the Gold Cup. Their heart-warming run towards the last four of the competition enchanted the watching world. Their dramatic 3-2 quarter-final win over Canada set up a clash with overwhelming favorites Mexico. However, Haiti showed their mettle once again and was only just inched out by a single Mexican goal. Like Zeiko Lewis, Haitian striker Duckens Nazon demonstrated his aerial prowess and that his skill with both feet. Nazon is currently plying his trade with Belgian outfit Sint-Truiden, but a move to the right MLS team could appeal to him. Especially having seen Paraguayan Miguel Almiron secure a life-changing move to English Premier League side Newcastle United, who tore up the MLS for Atlanta United.

4. Elias Aguilar – all eyes will be on Jeju United’s form

Midfield playmaker, Elias Aguilar remains a lynchpin for Costa Rica. He played a crucial role in his side’s qualification for the knock-out stages of the Gold Cup, only to lose on penalties in the second round against eventual winners Mexico. Aguilar is currently playing his club football in the Far East for South Korean side Jeju United. Aguilar was named in the K-League’s 2018 Team of the Year after a loan spell with fellow Korean side Incheon United.

Whether Aguilar sees South Korea as his long-term footballing home remains to be seen. Jeju United currently find themselves in the relegation zone of the K-League and relegation in the coming weeks could see Aguilar made available for a move to the MLS for the first time.

This quartet is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the talent on display at this summer’s Gold Cup. It was encouraging to see that the strength in depth and quality of some of the Central American sides is improving all the time.

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