5 Teams Who Have a Solid Chance to Win MLS Title This Year
The new MLS season is rapidly approaching as it is only a month or so away. What this means is that American club soccer is back, but this time will bring more action as well as more favorites for the title.
Every single team has the chance to play well as they each have their own set of special players, but it is up to them to stay healthy, listen to their coaches and play as well as possible both at home and on the road. Keeping this in mind will give them the boost they need.
Last season did not bring us any favorites when it came to on-field action, but on paper, one or two teams took the honors in our mind's eye. However, the game was and never will be played on paper. In fact, the game reaches a higher level of competition each year it is played as new players are brought in from overseas in addition to the youth programs improving constantly.
This year should be a bit tougher for each of the teams as none are expected to be truly dominant over the other. There are always those teams at the bottom of the standing who will be unable to hit their stride in due time, but even they will spring surprises here and then.
This year will bring the debut of new and former players alike who will be looking to lead their new teams to plenty of victories. The key for them is to adapt to the pace and style of the league and add a bit of their own flair to the mix. If they do this, they will make a difference.
Here is a look at five teams who will look to go all the way and can actually do so:
5. Chicago Fire
This is a team that has an impressive fan base and is about to be playing under a new head coach in Frank Yallop. This man knows his soccer and is ready to take the reigns of a club that has the potential to win the league title.
With a veteran such as a Mike Magee ready to build on his success from last year, this team has the pieces needed to build a championship-caliber squad. However, he will need help form his teammates who have to be up to the challenge.
4. Portland Timbers
Losing in the Conference Finals is always a hardship to let go of. However, a new season can mean a new beginning and that is exactly what this squad needs.
Coach Caleb Porter made this team the best in the West during his first campaign. Now, if he takes everything he learned in stride and build on that success, this team can go all the way with ease. In fact, with the players he has and the ones he added, he can utilize their speed and skill to even more success with the 4-2-3-1 that he brilliantly instilled into the players last year.
This is a team that is hungrier than ever before which means that they will want to win without a shadow of a doubt. If they stay healthy and learn from their mistakes, the MLS Final will be beckoning.
3. New York Red Bulls
After being the No. 1 overall team in the regular season to lift the Supporter's Shield, this bunch really let their fans and MLS fans in general after losing out to the Houston Dynamo in the Conference Semi-finals.
Defense turned out to be the issue yet again as a lack of discipline let them down in their own third. With a few pieces being reinforced, this part of their game should improve.
As for the attack, Thierry Henry is getting older, but his class is still there. If he can show up in the big games, this team should have no issues winning come playoff time. However, it is not only up to him as second-year coach Mike Petke has to instill more concentration and motivation into his players.
If the team focuses and never takes a game off, they will undoubtedly win the East again and perhaps make it to the Conference Finals. After that, anything is possible.
2. DC United
After winning the U.S. Open Cup last season, this team showed that it has what it takes to win. However, not even making an appearance in the postseason left fans with worrisome minds and hearts alike.
Now, with the additions of Eddie Johnson and Fabian Espindola to bolster their front line, they should fell a bit more at ease as coach Ben Olsen does have a better idea of what it takes to win throughout a long season.
The pieces are there for this club now with the new additions. All that needs to be done is to put them in the right place and make sure they pay dividends. With many titles already to their name from years past, the time to add more for today's fans has finally come.
1. Toronto FC
This is a team that has quietly played some impressive games in seasons past. However, being unable to be a true contender, they made some much-needed changes by adding some of the world's most well-known players.
Michael Bradley was playing in Italy's Serie A for AS Roma, the capital club. Since he had a lack of playing time, and this MLS club were willing to give him a hefty sum of money before a World Cup tournament, he simply said yes. Now, he is expected to spearhead this club's midfield to lead them to the highest of heights in the league.
Another man who we know quite well from Tottenham Hotspur and the English national team is none other than 31-year-old striker Jermain Defoe who is departing the Premier League for the first time in his illustrious career. The man comes in with the hopes of scoring many goals to make this team a serious contender.
One or two players will not be enough, but if they can motivate the rest of their team mates to play at the same high level, they will win big, plain and simple.