Wednesday, December 31, 2014

10 Things to Watch in MLS in 2015

1) What will the league be like without Landon Donovan? The league hasn't had a season without Captain America since 2000, back when Carlos Valderrama, Preki and Roy Lassiter still patrolled MLS fields.

2) Can Seattle win the triple? Last year the Sounders claimed the U.S. Open Cup and the Supporter's Shield. With Donovan gone from the Galaxy, Seattle's stiffest competition in the West, is this the opportunity the Sounders were waiting for?

3) Was Lee Nguyen a fluke? Nguyen came out of nowhere last year to score 18 goals for the Revolution after scoring just 9 goals over his first two MLS seasons. At 27 (now 28), Nguyen hardly seemed poised to be a breakout candidate, but there he was leading the Revs all the way to the MLS Cup Finals. Can he repeat this performance or is he a one-hit wonder?

4) Will New York City FC become a major rival to the New York Red Bulls? NYCFC will bring veterans David Villa and Frank Lampard to MLS this year. Will they be able to compete with the Red Bulls and Bradley Wright-Phillips?

5) Can Brek Shea reestablish himself as a top player? After a disappointing spell in England, Shea returns to MLS with expansion club Orlando City. Shea, who last played in MLS in 2012 with FC Dallas, is still just 24 years old.

6) Can Gyasi Zardes become an elite international striker? Zardes burst onto the scene in 2014 to complement Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan in LA scoring 16 goals on the year. With Donovan gone, and Keane set to turn 35 this summer, can Zardes handle the additional workload?

7) Will Bradley Wright-Phillips duplicate his 2014 success? BWP scored 27 goals last year and nearly missed breaking the all-time record held by Lassiter and Chris Wondolowski. His running mate Thierry Henry is gone, will he still be able to lead the Red Bull offense?

8) Can Montreal or DC United move on in the Champions League? No MLS team has won the tournament in its new format, can either of these Eastern Conference teams change that?

9) Will Michael Bradley and Toronto FC ever make the postseason? Bradley had just 2 goals and 4 assists in 25 matches in 2014. Robbie Findley will join him this year, but still no word on Jermain Defoe.

10) Will Sporting KC return to form? Sporting stumbled down the stretch last season falling behind DC United, New England, Columbus and New York in the East and making a disappointing early exit in the Champions League. Will they bounce back?

Hope everyone has a happy new year and we all look forward to an exciting 2015!!

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