MLS Weekend Preview: 6 Storylines To Follow In Week 1

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6 Storylines To Follow This Weekend In MLS

Robert Leifhert-USA TODAY Sports

It is finally here. MLS 2014 has finally arrived and boy, has it taken its sweet time getting here. After all of the trades, transfers, drama and preseason happenings, it certainly is time for this new season to get underway.

MLS knows how to throw one heck of a party, so why not start off the new season with Sporting Kansas City versus the Seattle Sounders? This game is a perfect way to start off a brand new season. Both teams are looking to find that first goal and ultimately their first win of the season.

Critics are calling this offseason one of the craziest in league history, if not the craziest. From drama at the MLS SuperDraft, to numerous offseason trades, to David Beckham declaring that he is bringing a team back in Miami, this offseason had everything and more for fans. With all of the drama, does this MLS season have what it takes to live up to all the hype?

Sporting KC will be starting their road to title defending with an incredible first match against the Sounders. It has been stated that whichever team loses this game could see a downward spiral the rest of the season. Personally, I think the win or lose, SKC will be in the hunt for a return trip to the playoffs. One game will not define their season, regardless of what critics are saying.

Fans will be watching to see how newcomers Jermaine Defoe and Michael Bradley adjust to life in MLS. Toronto FC was one of the biggest spenders this offseason and will be hoping their purchases pay off.

The New England Revolution will be hoping their wunderkind, Diego Fagundez, will be able to produce the same results as last season. New England is going to be a dominate force in the Eastern Conference, but will need Fagundez to make them a true threat.

With all of these stories leading up to week one, which stories should you paying the most attention to? Take a look at the slideshow and you will be able to see exactly what to follow.

Be sure to check back in Rant Soccer for a weekly preview of what storylines you should be following for the week’s action.

Baxter Colburn is an MLS writer for Follow him on Twitter @Baxstar20, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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6. Does DC United's Big Offseason Pay Off?

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Will all of the money that DC United spent this offseason, especially after signing forward Eddie Johnson to a DP contract, fans are expecting huge results. DC will get their season started again an underrated Columbus Crew team that could surprise a lot of people this season. If United wants to make a statement right away, this is the game to do it. These two teams have played a total of 56 times in the regular season, with DC leading the series with a record of 25-23-8. Coach Ben Olsen will be looking for his newly acquired players to step up and make an immediate impact.

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5. Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy Is A Must-Watch

Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone will be watching the Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle Sounders game in the early afternoon, but once that is finished, what game should you watch? Simple, Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy. Two powerhouse teams in the Western Conference getting a shot at each other right away will make for a fantastic opening game. Yes RSL is battling with some injuries to key players like Robbie Findley and Devon Sandoval, while Chris Schuler is questionable. LA could use these key injuries to their advantage, especially if Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan get hot early. A potential Western Conference championship clash makes this game all that more exciting to watch. You will not want to miss it.

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4. New England vs. Houston Has A Lot Of History

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

If this was any other matchup, it would be brushed under the rug, but for both Houston Dynamo and Revolution fans, this game has a lot of history attached to it. Back in 2006 and 2007, the Revolution and Dynamo faced off in consecutive MLS Cup finals. Both games went in Houston’s favor, forever leaving a bitter taste in the mouth of New England players and fans. Interestingly enough, those were also the Dynamo’s first two years in the league, so that was more salt being poured in the Revolution’s wounds. Outside of the playoffs, New England has owned the regular season series with a record of 7-4-6. This will be the first real test for the Revs to showcase their new signings and bring Fagundez back into the league spotlight.

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3. Portland Begins Quest For Regaining Dominance

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers shocked the league last season with their incredible dominance in the Western Conference. Unfortunately, their collapse in the Western Conference finals against Real Salt Lake was both embarrassing and shocking to everyone. Portland opens their 2014 season with a matchup against the Philadelphia Union, a team that is working on rebuilding their midfield, so Portland could use that to their advantage by striking early and playing down the sidelines. The Timbers will want to start off their season on a high note, and a win against a formidable opponent would help accomplish just that.

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2. Chivas USA Starts Their Final Season

Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Not much is really expected of the goats this season, but considering this is the team’s final year being known as Chivas USA, some surprises may occur. Opening their season against an opponent like the Chicago Fire will be an incredible challenge. Chicago will be bringing their A-game of Mike Magee, Sean Johnson and Benji Joya to make sure Chivas does not start their season off on the right foot. Chivas has played the Fire a total of 16 times in the regular season and has an overall record of 5-8-3 against them.

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1. Sporting Kansas City Begins Title Defense

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

It is almost like Christmas has come early this year. Seeing two top-flight clubs play on opening day brings a smile to your face. After one of the most ridiculous MLS Cup finals in league history, SKC is gunning to capture their second straight title. With only the loss of their beloved goalkeeper, Sporting KC has everything and more to make a return trip to the MLS Cup finals. Seattle will be looking for closure after another disappointing playoff performance last season, and starting off by defeating SKC would give them at needed confidence boost. These two teams have only met a total of eight times, and Seattle has dominated the meetings with a record of 6-1-1. If history has anything to say about this game, it is that Seattle is certainly an early favorite to knock off the defending champions.

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