Now that the first matchday has come and gone, we were given the chance to assess the frailties and strengths of the clubs in America’s top flight. With the highest scoring opening day in MLS history, it seems as though this will be an exciting season with lots of attacking play. Here are two high scoring teams that we think will do well this season.
Best Bet - LA Galaxy
Galaxy will hope to improve upon their disappointing Knockout Round exit last season with the help of three fantastic signings. Over the winter break, coach Bruce Arena strengthened the team with a variety of signings, the best of which included defenders Jelle Van Damme and Ashley Cole and midfielder Nigel de Jong. These European veterans join superstars Steven Gerrard and Roy Keane to form a formidable team. However, this means Galaxy have a very old squad, which can come with its own problems. The 4 -1 result over the weekend might look good on paper, but the defense seemed to struggle and were lucky not to conceded 3 or even 4 goals. The bright spots for the Galaxy included the young American international Sebastian Lletget and substitute Mike Magee who scored two goals and provided an assist. De Jong and Cole also did well in their full MLS debuts. Galaxy look to be the best team in the Western Conference, and could put together a good run.
Western Conference Finish: 1st
Playoff Finish: Semi-final
Other Best Bets: FC Dallas, Portland Timbers, Toronto FC
Exciting Underdog - NYCFC
After moving 10 players in and 10 players out, some might call NYCFC a brand new team, again. A disappointing season saw them missing out on a playoff spot by 12 points and it was clear that NYCFC needed a change. The management at the club did exactly that, bringing in a brand new coach with Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira. NYCFC were able to keep all of the core players that were key for them last season and replaced players that did not perform at the expectations that the board and fans had for them. After their first match, a 4-3 win over Chicago Fire, it is clear that their defence is going to be a clear problem for them if they want to finish in a playoff spot. This appears to be a very top-heavy side with the win over Chicago tying the highest scoring game for the NYCFC attack all last season when they tied Toronto 4-4. Despite all the defensive troubles, this offense could very well carry them into the playoffs.
Eastern Conference Finish: 4th
Playoff Finish: Quarter-final
Other Exciting Underdogs: Orlando City, Real Salt Lake