2020 MLS Preview

Predictions by Stephen Mulvoy

New York City FC; 65 points

There is a lot to be optimistic about these days in the Big Apple. New York City FC might finally be getting a stadium of their own, and they are coming off their best season in their history. They returned Maxi Morales to the fold and got some critical international signings. New coach Ronny Deila should rely on his stars to get first place over Toronto FC.

Toronto FC; 63 points

After coming up two goals short of a second championship, TFC return their core players for another shot. Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley are not getting younger though, so they might need to start looking for supplements in their development squad.

Atlanta United FC; 62 points

Atlanta United still have Josef and Pity Martinez to attempt to lead them back to MLS prominence after coming up short in the East Final, but increased competition in the East will make this a tall task.

New England Revolution; 57 points

Bruce Arena worked his magic really well to turn the Revolution’s season around last May, and new signings Adam Buksa and Alex Buttner will do their best to maintain the momentum from the second half of last year.

Philadelphia Union; 55 points

Now that the Union have their first-ever playoff win, which they got in dramatic fashion, their fan base is looking for the next step. It will be up to Alejandro Bedoya and Kacper Przybylko to stay healthy for full year to help get them further into the playoffs.

Columbus Crew SC; 49 points

The Crew made a meaningful move last year to get back to the playoffs although falling short, and Fanendo Adi is a key piece to get over the line.

DC United; 47 points

DC United will make it with Bill Hamid posting several shutouts for Ola Kamara to deposit goals.

New York Red Bulls; 44 points

The Red Bulls’ collapse in the playoffs may have a trickle-down effect to this year as Bradley Wright-Phillips and Luis Robles have moved on and their replacements aren’t capable of helping the team back to postseason play

Orlando City SC; 42 points

The Lions of Orlando are close to getting above the playoff line with Nani still in the mix and new coach Oscar Pareja. That said, the roster cohesion to produce isn’t there for the club yet, and they will miss out again.

Chicago Fire FC; 40 points

Accompanying the Fire’s new badge and move back to Soldier Field is CJ Sapong to help the rebuilding team gain their way back to respectability under new ownership.

Montreal Impact; 37 points

Thierry Henry makes his return to MLS as boss of the Impact, and with Ignacio Piatti gone, any chance for a playoff spot went with him as team chemistry will be a big issue.

FC Cincinnati; 34 points

Cincinnati has nowhere to go but up after their dismal inaugural season, but they will take baby steps. Allan Cruz and Jurgen Locadia are key pieces to help FCC trend in the right direction.

Inter Miami FC; 29 points

Taking even more baby steps will be newcomers Inter Miami FC. Only Julian Carranza can do any good production for the team. MLS last did business in Miami with the Fusion’s dispersal draft on January 11, 2002, and the new guys have a long way to go.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Los Angeles FC; 68 points

It is almost unrealistic and unfair to ask LAFC to go on the kind of rampage they did last year, so they should use their deflating loss to Seattle in the West Final to motivate them to get where they want to be. Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi are back, and everyone should be frightened of the club.

Seattle Sounders FC; 60 points

The defending champions will have the burden of competing in CONCACAF Champions League so that may weigh them down and Nioclas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris have to make sure the club will balance their responsibilities

Portland Timbers; 58 points

Diego Valeri will return for the Timbers and Diego Chara, along with other pieces the team picked up, will help him lead the club back to the top portion of the West.

Sporting Kansas City; 57 points

A determined Sporting KC club that watched the playoffs from home for the first time in almost a decade should bounce back and return to their usual spot on the top part of the West as their expensive acquisition in Alan Pulido is the key cog to get Sporting back on track.

Minnesota United FC; 55 points

The Loons made a tremendous step forward last year and their acquisition with a defensive mindset will help a lot although they still need some offensive help.

Real Salt Lake; 50 points

With Nick Rimando hanging up his gloves, Salt Lake will need Zac MacMath to make a difference and someone to step up and score goals for the playoffs.

LA Galaxy; 50 points

LA Galaxy brought in Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez to replace Zlatan Ibrohimovic’s star power. It’s no secret the Galaxy would love to get even with LAFC for last’s year’s playoff defeat.

Houston Dynamo; 45 points

New coach Tab Ramos will have a chance to put his stamp on the Dynamo, but the club’s lack of success in recent years and inconsistency within their system, despite Alberth Ellis’s efforts, leads to not much optimism for this year.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC; 42 points

The Whitecaps are on the right road to get back to the playoffs with newcomer Lucas Cavallini to provide goal-scoring ability. They are about another year away before development can be considered unfolding.

San Jose Earthquakes; 41 points

This is a club that needs to be strong from start to finish for respectability, and the Earthquakes cannot get a handle on that. Staying with the same personnel from last year is not a good way to assure their fans, things will be better.

FC Dallas; 41 points

It is believed in these corners that FC Dallas is due for a regression after their playoff classic with Seattle. They will continue to be very competitive with several new veterans brought in, but competition above them will be too good.

Colorado Rapids; 40 points

Colorado coach Robin Fraser will have a full season to guide the Rapids and a lack of big-name guys on the roster will do him no good.

Nashville SC; 30 points

It will be interesting to see how Nashville SC will make their stamp in the Music City and Walker Zimmerman will do his part to market the team as a competitive team for the future.

MLS PLAYOFFS

First Round:

EAST

#7 DC over #2 TFC 2-0
#6 CLB over #3 ATL 1-0
#4 NE over #5 PHI 1-1, (3-1 PKs)

WEST

#2 SEA over #7 LA 3-2
#3 POR over #6 RSL 1-0
#4 SKC over #5 MIN 2-1

Conference Semifinals:

EAST

#1 NYCFC over #4 NE 3-0
#7 DC over #6 CLB 2-1

WEST

#1 LAFC over #4 SKC 2-2 (2-0 PKs)
#2 SEA over #3 POR 2-1

Conference Finals:

#1 NYCFC over #7 DC 4-1
#1 LAFC over #2 SEA 2-2 (4-3 PKs)

2020 MLS Cup:

Los Angeles FC 4
New York City FC 1

Soccer Ball designed by Richard Biver

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