Category: MLS

MLS Season Preview 2018

MLS Season Preview 2018

Yet another entertaining MLS campaign is ahead of us. MLS clubs’ wealthy owners were very active in the transfer window, but Toronto FC are once again considered main favourites to win the trophy. Despite the fact that several football legends will not be playing in Major League Soccer anymore, a number of interesting games are on the horizon in the upcoming season.

Over the years Toronto have established themselves as one of the dominant force in Major League Soccer. The Reds impressed in the 2017 MLS season, with the team beating Seattle Sounders in the title game. The club management did well to keep hold of attacking duo Sebastian Giovinco – Jozy Altidore in the winter and, no doubt, they will be the men to watch in Greg Vanney’s team in the 2018 MLS campaign. Seeing that Toronto chiefs signed the likes of Auro, Caleb Patterson-Sewell and Gregory van der Wiel, it is no surprise the Canadian outfit are considered No. 1 favourites to win the MLS trophy.

Seattle Sounders failed to defend their MLS Cup title last term as Toronto proved to be a big catch for Brian Schmetzer’s troops in the play-off final. Experienced attacker Clint Dempsey is still part of the team, with Waylon Francis, Handwalla Bwana, Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Calle Brown and several other footballers joining the CenturyLink field. Seattle owners obviously have big ambitions for the 2018 MLS campaign, but it remains to be seen if they are capable of regaining the domestic trophy.

Atlanta United played above expectations in their MLS debut season, with the team making it to the play-offs without any difficulties. The Five Stripes want to continue with fine performances in the Major League Soccer and the fact that former Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino is still in charge of the club is certainly giving fans a reason for optimism ahead of the opening match of the season against Houston Dynamo. Speaking of new recruits, Argentine rising star Ezequiel Barco is undisputedly the club’s biggest signing.

New York City are on a quest to win their first ever MLS trophy. The club chiefs obviously have faith in coach Patrick Vieira and the good news for the fans is that last season’s top scorer David Villa has a contract with the club until December 31, 2018. New York City bosses made a number of changes to the squad in the winter, but new signings Cedric Hountondji, Brad Stuver, Ismael Tajouri, Anton Tinnerholm, Saad Abdul-Salaam and Jesus Medina are widely expected to help the team improve their game. Medina impressed in the 2017 Paraguayan Division Professional last term, thus opposition defenders should have him at bay.

Superstars Ricardo Kaka and Andrea Pirlo, who retired from football, will be sorely missed in the 2018 season, but the time has come for some new names to start building successful football careers in MLS.

The likes of Portland Timbers, FC Dallas, Chicago Fire and Houston Dynamo are among favourites to win the MLS Cup title as well, whereas LA Galaxy could be the dark horses of the 2018 MLS campaign. The StubHub Center outfit are eager to make amends for the unsuccessful 2017 season, but winter signings David Bingham, Rolf Feltscher, Servando Carrasco, Brian Sylvestre, Tomas Hillard-Arce, Perry Kitchen, Chris Pontius, Emrah Klimenta and Ola Kamara may fail to adapt to the new surroundings.

Taking everything into account, Toronto and Seattle Sounders remain the teams to beat in the Major League Soccer, but they will have to prove their worth on the field. The two sides faced each other in each of the last two MLS Cup finals and it remains to be seen if the history is going to repeat itself. You should bear in mind that both teams are after their second MLS title.

MLS 2017: Toronto FC wins the title

MLS 2017: Toronto FC wins the title

Thanks to a 2-0 win over Seattle Sounders in the MLS Cup final Toronto put icing on the cake on a very successful season. The Reds totally deserved to win their first ever MLS trophy as they were impressive in both, the regular season and the play-offs.

Toronto suffered a heartbreaking loss to Seattle Sounders on penalties in the 2016 MLS Cup final and, as a result, they were determined to go all the away in the Major League Soccer in the 2017 season. The Reds were scoring goals for fun in the regular part of the season and they finished the process in top position in the Eastern Conference, no less than 12 points clear of Patrick Vieira’s New York City.

The Canadian outfit set up a meeting with New York Red Bulls in the MLS Cup quarter-finals and they eliminated the Metros on away goal rule. Sebastian Giovinco’s goal helped Toronto record a 2-1 win over New York RB at Red Bull Arena, whilst Bradley Wright-Phillips scored the winner for Jesse Marsch’s men in the return leg (1-0).

Greg Vanney’s men were desperate to bounce back from a shocking defeat, but they played out a goalless draw with Columbus Crew at MAPFRE Stadium in the MLS Cup semis, first leg. Duo Sebastian Giovinco – Jozy Altidore returned to the starting line-up in the return leg and, as a result, the Reds defeated Columbus at their BMO Field and booked their place in the final of the Major League Soccer second time in a row. Toronto proved their worth in the title game and thanks to Jozy Altidore’s and Victor Vazquez’s goals they won the title. Sebastian Giovinco enjoyed yet another season to remember and, taking everything into account, the Reds’s victory is well deserved.

Speaking of Seattle Sounders, they made a slow start to the season, but, as expected, they managed to get back on course. The title holders were improving their game week by week and despite being level on points with Portland Timbers they eventually finished the regular season in second place in the Western Conference. Clint Demspey, who was named the 2017 MLS Comeback Player of the Year, played a very important role in Brian Schmetzer’s team throughout the season and it has to be noted that the veteran scored 15 goals in the process. Seattle Sounders failed to defend their trophy, but it is more than obvious that they are one of the best teams in the Major League Soccer.

Newcomers Atlanta United were producing splendid displays in their debut season in MLS, whereas Kaka’s Orlando City are considered the biggest disappointment of the 2017 campaign. The Lions were struggling at the back in the 2017 MLS season and, as a result, they failed to book their place in the play-offs. Nemanja Nikolic finished the season as the league’s top scorer (24) and, no doubt, the Serbian-born player will be on Premier League clubs’ radar in the January transfer window.

MLS 2017 Season Preview

MLS 2017 Season Preview

The 22nd MLS season is underway. Seattle Sounders are on a quest to defend their trophy, but they are on a very difficult quest. A number of young and talented players will participate in the Major League Soccer this term, but a number of clubs managed to keep hold of their veteran stars. Title-chasing teams seem to be evenly matched, meaning that an entertaining race for the MLS Cup is on the cards.

Title race

New York Red Bulls did remarkably well to win the Eastern Conference last season, but they eventually suffered a dip in form in the MLS Cup play-offs and, as a result, they failed to win the trophy. The Metros kicked off the new MLS campaign with a 2-1 win and it is more than obvious that they are determined to regain the domestic title. Coach Jesse March, who joined the club in January, 2015, has faith in his men and seeing that his squad is a mix of experience and youth, it is no surprise the Red Bulls are regarded as main favourites to win the MLS Cup. New York are after their first ever MLS Cup trophy and they are definitely capable of going all the way in the USA major league this season.

As I have already mentioned, Seattle Sounders face an uphill task in the 2017 MLS campaign. The reigning champions aim to defend the trophy they won last season, but that is easier said than done. Brian Schmetzer’s men were struggling in warm-up games and, to make things even worse for the fans, they suffered a 2-1 loss to Houston Dynamo in the opening match of the season. Anyhow, seeing that the likes of USA star Clint Dempsey and Uruguay international Nicolas Lodeiro are still part of the team, it is no surprise a number of football predictions suggest that the Sounders are going to defend their trophy.

David Beckham’s era at LA Galaxy came to an end in 2012 and it is no surprise that it has been six years since the StubHub Center clinched their last MLS Cup trophy. LA Galaxy finished the last season in third place in the Western Conference, but they eventually failed to beat Colorado Rapids in the conference semi-finals. Giovani dos Santos is eager to help Curt Onalfo’s team bring glory days back to Los Angeles given the quality of fellow title-chasing teams, I would not be surprised if they fail to regain the trophy.

Over the years Toronto FC have established themselves as a top-table side in Eastern Conference. The Reds made it to the MLS Cup final last season, but they were more than unfortunate to suffer a loss to Seattle Sounders (on penalties) in the title game. Anyhow, Toronto proved their worth in the 2016 MLS campaign and they are likely to play an important role in the forthcoming season. Coach Greg Vanney has a number of high-profile players to choose from and, speaking of the title race, the Reds should not be written off just yet.

Players to watch

New York City coach Patrick Vieira did well to keep hold of the likes of Andrea Pirlo and David Villa. Despite the fact that they are nearing the end of their playing days, I believe that will be the key to City’s success in the 2017 season.

Last season’s runners-up Toronto have a very strong squad as well, with the likes of Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley all being part of the Canadian outfit. Altidore scored 15 goals in the 2016 season, meaning that the opposition defenders should have him at bay this term.

Michael Bradley is regarded as one of the best USA players of all time and he is likely to play an important role in the middle of the park. Sebastian Giovinco scored 21 goals, while providing 16 assists for his teammates last season and, no doubt, he is one of the most significant stars in the MLS.

Orlando City star Kaka and aforementioned footballers Giovani dos Santos and Michael Bradley will be the men to watch in the 2017 season as well, but many people believe that youngsters will mark the upcoming season.

Newcomers Atlanta United signed the likes of Josef Martinez, Hector Villalba and Miguel Almiron (none older than 23), whereas 22-year-old Slovakia midfielder Albert Rusnak joined Real Salt Lake. Dallas signed a deal with Cristian Colman of Paraguay, who was born in 1994 and it has to be noted that the average age of all MLS designated footballers has never been younger (27.6 this term).

Coaches to watch

Chicago Fire coach Veljko Paunovic helped Serbia U20 team win the 2015 FIFA World Cup in New Zealand, but the Men in Red were struggling under the former Atletico Madrid ace last season. Veljko and his men are eager to make amends for the unsuccessful campaign and it is more than obvious that the club chiefs have faith in the charismatic tactician.

As expected, Tata Martino took over the reins at Atlanta United. The former Barcelona boss has big ambitions with the Bobby Dodd Stadium outfit for their inaugural season, but his main goal is to build a team that will be keep on making progress as days go by.

Brian Schmetzer, who replaced Sigi Schmid as Seattle Sounders coach 2016 midseason, proved his worth in the MLS Cup play-offs. The 54-year-old tactician helped the Sounders clinch their first ever MLS Cup trophy and, no doubt, he will be one of the coaches to watch in the 2017 season.

Former Arsenal superstar Patrick Vieira is still in charge of New York City. The French coach is satisfied with the way the club worked in the transfer window as they added a number of players to the squad. The new signings will certainly need time to adapt to the new surroundings, but, one thing is for sure, Vieira knows everything about football and MLS needs him.’s tips

Toronto to win the title

New York Red Bulls to reach the MLS Cup conference final

Sebastian Giovinco to be the top scorer

Find all our MLS predictions here!