MLS Season Preview 2018

We are finally here, the moment I have personally been waiting for since Toronto won the MLS Cup in early December.

So without further words I will jump right onto my take for each MLS team and what I expect and look forward to seeing this year.

Eastern Conference

Atlanta United
A team that caught everyones attention last year. Especially when they got their new home stadium half way through the season and kicked on even more there after.
I expect them to be performing slightly below what they did last year in the regular season, not by much but I feel like some teams will know about them now and be more able to deal with them a bit better. Having said that they have huge talent and if they click like last year with Barco added in (when he is back in 4-6 weeks) it will be the team to watch for goals output. Hoping for a better show in the playoffs this year as well. Martinez for top scorer is something I would imagine is very likely if he remains fit, but I have backed him to be Atlanta top scorer at 1.90. Lovely.

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Chicago Fire
Nikolic won us some money last year with top scorer landing at 3.25.
I worry for Chicago Fire this year, the lack of depth in the team causes me great concern and I can see them losing a lot of points if Schweinsteiger or Niko pick up an injury. The loss of David Accam to Union is huge for me and leaves them a bit short of that option of rapid pace for the counter.


Columbus Crew
A team that lost their two best players last year for goal points, Ola Kamara and Justin Maram. But this is Crew and they have their own style of playing, they will be hoping Zardes can get in the box ala Ola style and put away some chances that they will create. A poucher is a player they rely on and I think Zardes has the quality to kick on this year and get towards the 20 goal target if he stays fit. I think they will miss Maram big time, a player that is such a good creator and goal getter. But if they can all click together they will certainly make the playoffs again.

DC United
A team that really struggled last year. That defence last year was about as bad as you get for an MLS team. I see improvements this year but nothing to write home about.
They get a new stadium in July which should boost them towards the back end of the season as they will be mainly playing away games until then. If confidence isn’t sucked out of them by then they could be a team worth looking into for some value.
I like the additions of Asad and Mattocks but the loss of Bill Hamad in goal should scare DC fans as he was a mountain last year, without him the defensive record would have been even more laughable.

Montreal Impact
Ex Aston Villa manager Remi Garde takes over and will want to make his own style of play and pushing on some of the younger players. I personally think they will suffer this year. If Piatti is injured it could be a terrible year. He really is that good, a player the league should just enjoy as he isn’t getting any younger. A player in my top 5 players I love to watch in MLS and someone who can win games single handedly.
They are always good to concede a goal or two but lets see how they look defensively with Garde in charge. They won’t make the playoffs.


New England Revs
A team that for me is one of the worst this year. Nothing against goalies but Brad Friedel has obviously had a great playing career but his experience as a manager has just started. I can see them perhaps being better slightly defensively but they will miss Kei Kamara who is a great outlet. He hasn’t been replaced with equal or better quality so I see big problems here in getting goals. Still issues with one of their better players Nguyen who is not looking like he will be involved at all. I can see them on the back end of a spanking or two this year, especially on the road.

New York City FC
I have a feeling that I want to share with you. I think this team are going to have a great year. Their pressing style pressure Patrick Viera has them using and the possession football is finally going to click this year. The defence and attack is arguably the strongest in MLS. They are a team I enjoy watching and I look forward to seeing how they play over the first part of the season. I tipped them to win the MLS cup as they are one of three teams that have really strong quality throughout the squad. But they need to get a new stadium asap as that narrow Jankees stadium is a travesty.


New York Red Bulls
It could be a good move for the future but losing Sacha Kljestan is certainly not great for this year. All the good stuff came through him last year and BWP will miss his passes.
If the new signing Kaku can have an impact then it might counter balance the loss a bit so I look forward to seeing his transition from Argentina to MLS. Should have an ok season still and make the playoffs in the lower positions.

Orlando City
I thought it was going to click last year with their offensive talents. But they were awful at the back and the front guys under performed too.
Dwyer now has the Assist King Sacha Kljestan behind him and Larin has moved onto Turkey. I believe this is a good move for Dwer as he is 100% a guy that needs the supply, if he gets this he could also be looking at a 20 goal season.
Oh yeh, one of my favourite players also joined Orlando. Justin Maram is another guy who can assist and score goals. I am really excited to see this team play and if they click as a unit they could go a long way into the playoffs. Those big home games are must wins this year and when ‘The Wall’ gets behind them they have one of the best sets of fans in MLS.


Philadelphia Union
They needed extra quality and quite frankly it was the move of the window and quite the shock. David Accam joins from Chicago Fire and he now makes a front 3 that will cause problems for every team in MLS. Accam, Sapong and Picault are players all with pace and dribbling talent. If they can counter teams this year they could cause some upsets. I see them more as under dogs due to the youth they have but as we all know sometimes youth can win if they have some quality players around them. Which they do.

Toronto FC
They won it all last year and go down as the greatest MLS team of all time. They have the god that is Giovinco playing who is the best MLS player of all time and still hitting his peak in terms of experience and fitness. Let’s also add in that he is the best free kick taker in the world at the moment it makes Toronto FC a seriously dangerous team. Vazquez and Bradley pulling the strings in midfield with Gio and Altidore up top it just provides so many opportunities for creating chances. They will probably win the whole thing again but I have some hope on a couple of the break through teams.


Western Conference

Colorado Rapids
As an Everton fan I could have told you this and it pains me to say it as I love the guy. But Tim Howard is pretty much done here and he will be starting for the Rapids. Rapids recruitment this year was different from the South American approach. Instead they took off to UK and just bought players from there. If those 3 British players (Championship quality) can perform they could get some results here and there. I expect a tight ship at the back but also a lack of potent fire power.

FC Dallas

A team I don’t understand to be honest. They should be good and it should also be hard for teams to come to Dallas and get results but…the opposite happened last year. They were awful and leaked goals at the back. They had no game plan and players didn’t seem to want to be out there playing. With the improvement of MLS this year I would say they can get a playoff place but my god they will have to work for it. A talented squad sure, but this is the year they have to start gelling. Waiting on Dallas this year in terms of betting as I have no idea what Dallas will show up.

Houston Dynamo
A team that went all out counter attack last year. It worked mostly at home. I see them having an ok year and pushing a playoff place. They kept the squad pretty much tight and recognisable so I see this as a benefit. Tight at the back with some attacking quality so a team that should do well at home and pick up some odd points away.

LA Galaxy
They imploded last year. It was shocking to witness but they didn’t invest in the right players. This year they shape up much better and hopefully have a better year. Kamara up top is the poucher they needed however I will be shocked if he scores more than last year for Crew. Talented players like Dos Santos x 2, Kamara, Lletget Boateng and a top 5 MLS player Alessandrini should be enough to improve last years performances and fire them back up the Western Conference.


Los Angeles FC
A new team to MLS that went big and bought Carlos Vela. A really unknown team of course but I feel like they bought well. Some top attacking threat who they keep adding to even this week. Two experienced CB’s signing is a good sign too.  I expect them to sit between how new comers Atlanta and Minnesota did last year. Flashes of promise and woeful performances. I personally would like them to have a good year as it will certainly shake things up in LA. I am a sucker for branding also. Loving the gold and Black.


Minnesota United
Probably the worst team in MLS this year. Maybe by a distance. The only hope for them is if 2 or 3 of their players are seriously firing this year. I can’t see that happening and feel like it could be a bit grim for them.

Portland Timbers
One of the best home supporters in MLS and a stadium that is seriously rocking when they get behind their team. Valeri is around again who is one of my favourite players to watch, the guy is a magician and scored 20+ goals from midfield last year. Tough to ask that again but he will no doubt have his own highlight video come December.
Can see them having a very good season, probably an automatic playoff place so a top 2 team easily in the West for me. Some added quality this winter excites me as it is a team I always like to watch. Shame about the Western time zone though for us in Europe…


Real Salt Lake
A really exciting team that kicked on the last half of the year. I can see them doing big things this year and causing teams a lot of problems. Really nice and important additions  during the off season makes for an interesting season. They started off so badly last year that their second half turn around wasn’t enough. Expect them to make the playoffs this year and perhaps even push the top 2 teams.

San Jose Earthquakes
It’s all gone kinda Swedish in San Jose, they knew the way to get there at least. They have good stability from last year and the short lived playoff experience. I can see them doing well, they have a very strong midfield and should spread the goals about a bit. New Swede Erikkson will be one to watch having made the move over during the off season. He will need to find form from the get go and chip in with some important goals.

Seattle Sounders
Well they are good every year. Made two MLS Cup Finals in 2 years. Not a huge change there with staff which is a good thing. But they will miss Jordan Morris all season who will be missed, they haven’t got that same pace option now. I predict a tougher year for them as the West has a bit more quality this year. They will be tight at the back and the midfielders Dempsey and Lodeiro will chip in with the goals. Bruin will need to have a good year playing up top alone but if he gets injured there could be big trouble for Seattle.

Sporting Kansas City
A team that has been performing well and are famous for being tight at the back. A good defensive unit and well organised.
Not much has been said about Johnny Russell From Derby but I have him down as one of the best signings this year. I believe he will add goals and assists and have a good output this year. Rubio up top doesn’t quite do it for me, if Sporting Kansas added in a quality front man (they miss Dwyer) then I could see this team doing really well.
They should play out some tight games and make the playoffs.


Vancouver Whitecaps
A strange team last year who did very well in getting results. They went on an insane run of games undefeated. It might be another interesting year for them as they have signed Kamara from Revs who is a really good player. If they can get some supply into the box to him I can see them beating a lot of teams. He’s got the lot when it comes to MLS attacking talent.


WRITTEN BY havingajonny, MLS Tipster.

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