With America’s Major League Soccer starting this weekend I thought it would be a good idea to preview each teams season.
Atlanta United F.C.: This is Atlanta’s first year in the MLS and typically expansion teams shouldn’t expect success. However, this team has done everything right so far in the offseason, singing young designated players, veteran MLS players, and an exciting European coach. The question for this team will be how all the players gel.
Chicago Fire S.C.: Chicago has had an exciting offseason after a few disappointing seasons in a row. They have strengthened their central midfield by picking up veterans Dax McCarty and Juninho. Similar to Atlanta, Chicago’s success will be determined by how their new pickups gel and how coach Veljko Puanović’s tactics help his team to succeed.
Colorado Rapids: The Rapids surprised people last season by squeaking out 1-0 victories and rallying around midfield talisman Jermaine Jones. However, this season, Jones has left for the LA Galaxy and they haven’t brought in players to make them competitive. Expect the Rapids to struggle this season.
Columbus Crew: Last season the Crew had locker room issues which prevented them from ever getting truly focused on their season. The summer pickup of Ola Kamara improved them and with a full season of Kamara and with the defensive acquisitions they have made this offseason the Crew will be capable of surprising some people this season.
D.C. United- For the most part of last season United struggled. However, at the end of last season they started finding some success. They haven’t made any huge acquisitions this offseason but they have picked up a top rookie in Ian Harkes. United should have a solid season but a strong playoff push will require some luck.
F.C. Dallas- Dallas were one of the best in the league last year and this offseason they have only gotten better. They have made key acquisitions almost everywhere on the field. The one question mark for Dallas is how Mauro Diaz, their top playmaker, recovers from his ACL injury at the end of last season. If he recovers fully, expect Dallas to be a favorite come playoffs.
Houston Dynamo- The Dynamo struggled last season and have made a number of improvements this offseason. They have also picked up a new, better, coach. However, there still isn’t enough talent in this team for a long playoff run.
LA Galaxy- The Galaxy completely overhauled their team this offseason in an effort to move younger and faster. They have made a number of impressive acquisitions this offseason and have focused on supporting Gio Dos Santos. They should be a favorite to life the cup at the end of the season. The big question is how will Curt Onalfo do in his first year of coaching.
Minnesota United- Similar to Atlanta, this is the Loons first year in the league. However, different than Atlanta, their offseason has been questionable. They have brought up a number of players from their old team in the NASL and will be relying on them to step up in the MLS. Expect the Loons to struggle in their first year.
Montreal Impact- The Impact have had a quiet season. They lost their star player Didier Drogba and replaced with him with an unknown commodity. They have an aging midfield that will struggle to stay fit over the long MLS season. I don’t find it likely the Impact will have the longevity for a good season.
New York City F.C.- In only their third year of existence NYCFC should be one of the top teams in the league this year. Their offense featuring the reigning MVP of the league, David Villa should be a good one. However, like last year, their defense is a question mark and their haven’t been significant upgrades over the offseason.
New York Red Bulls- The Red Bulls have had an interesting offseason that saw them ship away their sporting director and club captain. Through all the turmoil, this team should still be a successful one. I’m not sure if it’s an MLS cup winning squad, but they should still be dangerous in the playoffs.
Orlando City F.C.- Orlando hasn’t had a particularly impressive offseason. They have made a few minor improvements. As such, you should expect a bit better results for a poor team last year. There is one bright spot however, they will be opening their new stadium this season.
Philadelphia Union- After finding success last season after a few seasons of disappointment, the Union look set to return to their losing ways. They haven’t made any key acquisitions this offseason and look set to rely on an aging Oguchi Onyewu to lead their defense.
Portland Timbers- The Timbers this year will be scoring plenty of goals. This is not a concern with the additions of Sebastian Blanco and David Guzman. However, the defense remains a problem harking back to last season. Their success will be determined by the success of their defense.
Real Salt Lake- This offseason Salt Lake lost their key playmaker, Javier Morales and haven’t really replaced him. His replacement is a relative unknown and the defense remains a question mark. Expect Real Salt Lake to struggle this season.
San Jose Earthquakes- The Earthquakes have made a number of interesting acquisitions this offseason that should make them a tough task for any team to beat. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean success. Dom Kinnear will have this team working hard but it remains to be seen if they can turn hard work into wins.
Seattle Sounders F.C.- Seattle is the defending champion of the league and has only added squad depth. With rumors of Kisuke Honda also joining, the Seattle Sounders could be a scary team in the league. However, question marks surround their key man, Clint Dempsey’s health.
Sporting Kansas City- Sporting K.C. haven’t made any significant improvements on a squad that has had limited success in recent years. They continue to rely on an aging core of players that has provided regular season success with playoff disappointment. Expect the same this season.
Toronto F.C.- Toronto were MLS Cup finalists last season and have only made improvements to the squad. As long as star Sebastian Giovinco can stay healthy throughout the season, this team should expect big things come December and playoff time.
Vancouver Whitecaps F.C.- The Vancouver Whitecaps made an impressive signing in Fredy Montero who will fill the striker role that the Whitecaps have been trying to fill for a few consecutive seasons. However, they haven’t improved a leaky defense from last year. Expect that to be their downfall this season.
There you have it. A preview for each MLS team’s 2017 season.