Tuesday , 11 December 2018

Twenty storylines to watch during the 20th season of Major League Soccer

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Twenty storylines to watch during the 20th season of Major League Soccer

Twenty storylines to watch during the 20th season of Major League Soccer

MLS 20 for 20 mod art
 

After months of handwringing, Major League Soccer and its Players Union finally hashed out a new collective bargaining agreement on Wednesday, meaning the league’s 2015 season will start on time. On Friday night, the Chicago Fire will kick things off against the defending champion Los Angeles Galaxy in Carson, Calif.

[Major League Soccer: Create your own starting XI – Play Fantasy MLS]

So, with the CBA finally squared away for five more seasons, here are the 20 storylines we’re watching ahead of MLS’s 20th season, in no particular order:

[Major League Soccer: Scoreboard and Schedule | Standings | Teams]

1. The New York Red Bull reboot

Perhaps the Red Bulls picked the worst possible year to go cheap, now that they’ll have, for the first time, a cross-town rival in star-powered expansion team New York City FC. Thierry Henry has retired and Tim Cahill left for China. So for the first time in memory, this team has no marquee player. That said, the new management has assembled a capable side and seems to have a plan. The pursuit of a first MLS Cup continues.

2. The post-Landon Donovan L.A. Galaxy

Nobody meant as much to MLS as the freshly retired Donovan. And so, by extension, nobody meant so much to the Galaxy, either. After three championships in four years, the Galaxy hope to stay competitive without the league’s all-time leader in goals and assists – who holds the same records for the U.S. national team. Luckily, Robbie Keane is still the league’s best striker – and the reigning league MVP.

3. Steven Gerrard

With Donovan gone, the Galaxy’s third designated player slot – Keane and Omar Gonzalez occupy the others – will go to the Liverpool legend as soon as he finishes up his Merseyside career. Gerrard is expected to join the club during the July transfer window. But how much does he have left to give?

4. Toronto FC’s reshuffle

So the Jermain Defoe experiment, after being wildly successful, turned into something of a disaster. He began by scoring 11 times in his first 13 starts but then his season unraveled due to injuries and his growing disinterest. This winter, TFC managed to swap him with Sunderland for Jozy Altidore and added Sebastian Giovinco from Juventus. With Benoit Cheyrou added to help out Michael Bradley in midfield, the Reds finally have the makings of their first playoff team. And perhaps more.


Twenty storylines to watch during the 20th season of Major League Soccer