2014 MLS Season: 10 Teams to Watch In 2014
10 MLS Teams to Watch In 2014
In 2013, the New York Red Bulls were the best team on paper. Realistically though, Sporting Kansas City was the best team in the league. DC United was technically the worst team on paper … and realistically as well. It is funny how one offseason can change the entire dynamic of one team. One minute you are the worst team in the league, and the next, you are among the elite class. That is why fans love soccer so much, because any team can win on any given day.
Soccer is truly one of the best sports in the world not only as one you can play, but watching as well. One minute you can be on top of the world, while the next you are the goat and the fans are yelling for you head. It can almost be compared to the Hunger Games; your team has to fight to survive, otherwise the biggest, faster and stronger teams will come along and wipe you out.
As almost any MLS fan would tell you, 2013 was one crazy season. The amount of drama that occurred during one season was some of the most entertaining in all of sports in 2013. Chicago Fire forward Mike Magee took the league by storm, scoring 21 goals in 32 games. League newcomer Diego Valeri posted a resounding 13 assists in his first season for the Portland Timbers. Sporting Kansas City surprised the league as the team dominated the regular season and ultimately concurred all foes on their way to a MLS Cup victory.
Overall, last season was truly one of the best in league history. The memories that came out of the season were tremendous and every team gave fans something to cheer for. With the league announcing the additions of two more teams starting in 2015, MLS has nowhere but up to go. Numerous storylines continue to pour out of the league and it will make for another fun filled season. Because of all the news and exciting happens, it is important that you pay close attention to 10 specific teams during the 2014 season
Baxter Colburn is an MLS writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Baxstar20, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google
10. New England Revolution
Powered by the attacking play of Diego Fagundez, the New England Revolution will be looking to make a second consecutive trip back to the Eastern Conference playoffs. With the addition of several new players this offseason, the Revolution will be primed to make another run for a conference title and show the league just how dangerous the team can be.
9. Colorado Rapids
One of the more anticipated teams in 2014, the Colorado Rapids are gearing up for a shot at a Western Conference Championship. The idea of the Rapids beating out teams like the LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders or Portland Timbers for a championship does seem a bit ridiculous. However, if there was any team in the Western Conference that could challenge the norm, Colorado would be that team. Powered by talent players like Deshorn Brown, Shane O’Neill, Clint Irwin, Drew Moor, Dillon Powers and Gabriel Torres, the Rapids will be exceptionally hard to beat in 2014.
8. LA Galaxy
Robbie Keane officially signed a new multi-year deal today, making his presence on the Galaxy roster incredibly important in 2014. With the pairing of Landon Donovan and Keane, the Galaxy can rest peacefully, know goals will continue to come. Coach Bruce Arena made several smart signings in the offseason, bringing in talented players like Samuel, Rob Friend and Stefan Ishizaki. It is no secret that the Galaxy are putting all their eggs in their basket this season, by bolstering their offense. Ultimately, the team will rely on the offense and Omar Gonzalez and AJ Delagarza to secure the defense.
7. Philadelphia Union
With newly acquired midfielder Maurice Edu, the Philadelphia Union are primed for success in 2014. The Union were another team that was exceptionally busy during the 2014 offseason, bringing in players like Cristian Maldana, Andrew Blake, Vincent Nogueira and Austin Berry. Offensively, the team will look for Jack McInerney to produce a majority of the team’s goals this season, along with Connor Casey and Sebastien Le Toux. The players are certainly there for the club to be successful, but it will truly come down to how healthy players can stay and if the club can survive a brutal Eastern Conference grouping of opponents.
6. Real Salt Lake
After a team losses in any championship game, fans are always curious on how that team will produce the following season. If I was a Real Salt Lake fan, it might be a littler nerve-racking. With the departure of Jason Kreis as head coach, another factor inserts itself, how will the team respond to a new coach? Preseason did show RSL fans numerous positive actions from both players and coaches, so fans do have something to look forward to this season. A majority of the success will come from how well Nick Rimando plays in goal and if Alvaro Saborio can keep his scoring touch alive all season long.
5. Portland Timbers
After having such an incredible regular season, the Portland Timbers made a disappointing exit from the 2013 Western Conference playoffs courtesy of Real Salt Lake. Since that devastating playoff loss, Coach Caleb Porter has been working day and night to build the best possible squad. Portland already been picked as a MLS Cup favorite, but if the team crumbles under pressure like it did last season, the Timbers could be looking at another early exit.
4. Toronto FC
The team will all the money, aka Toronto FC. If you are like me, you were probably shocked when you found out all of the deals TFC made happen during the off-season. Now that the team has incredibly bolstered their team as a whole, fans and critics will be watching extra close to see how well the team performs in 2014. Even though these players are valuable to the team, it still does not fill all the holes. It certainly is a start, but the team still has miles to go in order to be a top-flight club.
3. DC United
Another club who has been cashing in on re-doing their squad has been DC United. After finishing at the very bottom of the league, the boys of DC will be looking for bigger and brighter things in 2014. With the additions of Eddie Johnson, Sean Franklin, Steve Birnbaum and Fabian Espindola, DC is certainly headed in the right direction. Obviously the team will be looking to make a sudden turn around just like Portland did last season. It will be interesting to see just how well the team does, and how quickly the chemistry develops.
2. Sporting Kansas City
As defending MLS Cup champions, Sporting Kansas City will have a huge task ahead of them in 2014. SKC has a majority of their championship squad coming back, the only large piece that will be missing is goalie Jimmy Nielsen. It is true that Nielsen was a huge part of the team’s run, but with all of the other weapons available, it is safe to say the Sporting KC could see another return to the MLS Cup in 2014.
1. Seattle Sounders
The number of teams on this list that are actually MLS Cup contenders is rather large, but the Seattle Sounders are looking for more than a MLS Cup in 2014. Not only is the team looking for Clint Dempsey to finally wake up and score some goals, but the team is looking to finally assert themselves as the top team in all of MLS. This is no small feat, but if the club can finally win a MLS Cup, critics would finally stop hating on the Emerald City and finally give it the respect it deserves.