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MLS 2019 Preview: What’s new in Major League Soccer

25 February 2019 | Major League Soccer | Articles
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MLS 2019 Preview: What’s new in Major League Soccer

The 2019 Major League Soccer season kicks off on March 2nd as the 24th season of the North American league gets underway. The biggest news going into the season is expansion franchise FC Cincinnati has joined the league. They will mix it up with the league’s big boys and try to knock off reigning MLS Supporters’ Shield winners the New York Red Bulls and MLS Cup winners Atlanta United.

So, what’s new in MLS and what should fans expect this term?

Expansion team

MLS does not have promotion and relegation, rather it is a league of set teams that compete each season with a playoff system that determines its champion. This year, as in several of the most recent seasons, MLS welcomes an expansion team to the league. FC Cincinnati will bring the league’s total of teams to 24 with 12 teams in each conference (Eastern and Western).

FCC are the successor to the original club of the same name that played in the second division United Soccer League. The original team was founded in 2016 and has had management in place for some time. Although the team’s initial playing squad isn’t anything special, it did sign former Portland Timbers striker Fanendo Adi. He is a proven goal scorer.

Three more expansion teams are set to join MLS in the coming seasons. Inter Miami, Nashville, and Austin FC will all join bringing the number of teams to 27. The problem with so many clubs, and something being ignored by MLS, is the dilution of quality talent.

Coaching changes

Four coaching changes were made during the offseason with two big name coaches joining MLS. Former Crystal Palace coach Frank De Boer will take over the MLS Cup champions Atlanta.  Former Atlanta coach Gerardo Martino used his success to land the Mexico national team job. The Five Stripes could struggle.

LA Galaxy hired former MLS star and former Boca Juniors coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto. His signing is a tremendous coup for the league. Other managerial moves include the Columbus Crew hiring ex-Portland boss Caleb Porter, Vancouver Whitecaps adding Marc Dos Santos, and FC Dallas hiring Luchi Gonzalez.

Player transfers

The big news on the playing front during the offseason was the departure of three major players. The Vancouver Whitecaps sold teen sensation Alphonso Davies to Bayern Munich for $22 million. Meanwhile, MLS Cup winners Atlanta United sold Miguel Almiron to Newcastle United for around $25m. Toronto FC also sold their best player, Sebastian Giovinco, to Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal.

On the signings front, Orlando City added former Manchester United winger Nani. Striker Fredy Montero signed with Vancouver from Sporting Lisbon. The Philadelphia Union added Mexican star Marco Fabian.

The 2019 MLS season is set to be another long journey of North American soccer. It should be an exciting season as MLS turns 24.

Eastern Conference
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Philadelphia Union 24 13 7 3 3 23 12 11
2. DC United 24 14 7 3 4 18 13 5
3. Montreal Impact 21 14 6 3 5 15 19 -4
4. Atlanta United 20 12 6 2 4 13 9 4
5. New York Red Bulls 18 13 5 3 5 19 16 3
6. New York City FC 18 11 4 6 1 15 12 3
7. Toronto FC 17 12 5 2 5 22 20 2
8. Chicago Fire 16 13 4 4 5 20 17 3
9. Columbus Crew 16 14 5 1 8 12 19 -7
10. Orlando City SC 15 13 4 3 6 19 20 -1
11. N.E Revolution 12 14 3 3 8 14 31 -17
12. FC Cincinnati 11 13 3 2 8 11 23 -12
Western Conference
OVERALL TABLE PTS GP W D L GF GA +/-
1. Los Angeles FC 31 14 9 4 1 32 9 23
2. Seattle Sounders 26 13 7 5 1 22 14 8
3. Houston Dynamo 23 11 7 2 2 20 12 8
4. Los Angeles Galaxy 22 13 7 1 5 18 17 1
5. Minnesota United 18 12 5 3 4 20 18 2
6. FC Dallas 18 13 5 3 5 17 17 0
7. Real Salt Lake 16 12 5 1 6 18 20 -2
8. Whitecaps FC 14 14 3 5 6 14 18 -4
9. San Jose Earthquakes 14 12 4 2 6 18 23 -5
10. Sporting Kansas City 11 11 2 5 4 20 20 0
11. Portland Timbers 11 11 3 2 6 14 22 -8
12. Colorado Rapids 5 12 1 2 9 17 30 -13

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