MLS 27 Season Preview – The Eastern Conference, pt. one

We are already very close to the start of the new season, the twenty-seventh, in the history of Major League Soccer. The opening day is scheduled for the last weekend of February, and exactly one week before the start of the season we will find out what situation the twenty-eight franchises are in with a small guide. The various categories under analysis are for the most part quite self-evident in their meaning. Some clarification is needed for a couple of them: the card meter indicates how confident the coach is to sit on that bench again next year and overall how strong his position is in the organization, not what his chances are. exemption during the season. The value of the ticket counter indicates how much fun and exciting football is expected by those evaluating the franchise, and can serve as a useful bignami in deciding whether or not to tune in to a particular team’s match if it appears in their feed. In this first episode we will deal with the Eastern Conference, and more precisely with the teams from the South and Midwest. Let’s start.

atlanta united

Trainer: Gonzalo Pineda. Thirty nine years. 7V-3P-4S in 14 sets. In office since 2021.

licensometer: 6

It is worth the price of the ticket counter.: 8

Goalkeeper Holder: Brad Guzan. Thirty seven years. 158 appearances and 60 clean sheets. In pink since 2017

funniest player: Luis Araujo. Twenty five years. 16 games, 4 goals and 3 assists. In pink from 2021.

barometer player: Jose Martinez. 132 appearances. 102 goals 13 assists. In pink since 2017

performance fork: Supporters’ Shield Winners / Out of Playoffs. Will the third technical project in four years be the right one to start over? Atlanta has changed a lot, but the potential of their attack is meaningless.

Possible funniest plot twist: The Jackson Conway Explosion

Main additions of the offseason: Osvaldo Alonso (C, free agent), Ronald Hernandez (D, Aberdeen), Bobby Shuttleworth (P, free agent), Thiago Almada (A, Velez, DP)

Most urgent needs: Right winger – Machop Chol looks a bit like Luiz Araujo’s understudy – potentially an Under-22 Initiative – depends on Erik Lopez’s future.

charlotte fc

Trainer: Miguel Angel Ramirez. Thirty seven years. 11V-5P-8S in 24 games with Internacional. In office since 2022.

licensometer: one

It is worth the price of the ticket counter.: 7

Goalkeeper Holder: Kristian Kahlina. Twenty nine years. 36 games and 13 clean sheets with Ludogorets. In pink from 2022

funniest player: Allan Franco. Twenty-three years. 47 games and 3 goals with Atlético Mineiro. In pink from 2022

barometer player: Adam Armor. Nineteen years. 20 appearances and 4 assists for the Charlotte Independence. In pink from 2022

performance fork: Eastern Conference playoffs / last standings. According to his coach, the situation is not the best, to put it mildly, but it would not be the first time that a franchise has found the right place only at the end of the season. And then with expansion teams, it’s okay to have lower expectations.

Possible funniest plot twist: Take advantage of the DP slot for a blast at the Insigne

Main additions of the offseason: (Limiting only to post-Expansion Draft period, otherwise we’d have to name the whole team) Harrison Afful (D, free agent), Chris Hegardt (C, Homegrown from Seattle), Ben Bender (C, #1 pick SuperDraft), Karol Swiderski (A, PAOK, DP)

Most urgent needs: At least one left and right winger – only Yordy Reyna and Orrin McKinzie Gaines – one central midfielder – preferably right foot – two DPs and one Under 22 Initiative – Jordy Alcivar, currently Designated Player, is under contract that can become Under Initiative 22.

chicago fire

Trainer: Ezra Hendrickson. fifty years In his debut as head coach. In office since 2022.

licensometer: 4

It is worth the price of the ticket counter.: 6

Goalkeeper Holder: Gabriel Slonina. Seventeen years. 16 appearances and 4 clean sheets. Grown in the nursery.

funniest player: Gabriel Slonina.

barometer player: Kacper Przybilko. Twenty eight years. 40 goals and 14 assists in 96 appearances for the Philadelphia Union. In pink from 2022.

performance fork: Field factor in the first round of the playoffs / out of the playoffs. The Fire have started spending big and showing ambition. In the East, the race for the postseason is very tough, but never before this year does the franchise seem to be in a good position for a great future.

Possible funniest plot twist: Jhon Jader Duran is already a Best XI player

Main additions of the offseason: Rafael Czichos (D, Cologne), Kacper Przybylko (A, Philadelphia Union), Xherdan Shaqiri (A, Lyon, DP), Jairo Torres (A, Atlas, DP)

Most urgent needs: A full-time left winger – there are adaptable options, like Shaqiri, but they are not convincing – a midfielder – depth is good, but the mid level can be raised – a gap for the U22 Initiative.

F.C. Cincinnati

Trainer: Pat Noonan. Fourty one years. In his debut as head coach. In office since 2022.

licensometer: 6.5

It is worth the price of the ticket counter.: 7

Goalkeeper Holder: Alec Kann. Thirty-one years. 30 appearances and 5 clean sheets at Atlanta United. In pink from 2022.

funniest player: Isaac Atanga. Twenty one years. 1 goal and 2 assists in 22 appearances. In pink from 2021.

barometer player: Brenner. Twenty one years. 8 goals and 1 assist in 33 games. In pink from 2021.

performance fork: Field factor in the first round of the playoffs / last in the Eastern Conference. Are we really ready to believe in an finally brilliant season for the franchise? The writer thinks so. MLS is a copycat league, and Cincy has entrusted hands and feet to the most interesting model to come out of the league in recent years, the Philadelphia Union. The wooden spoon may no longer be a concern.

Possible funniest plot twist: Ray Gaddis wins Comeback Player of the Year title

Main additions of the offseason: Alec Kann (P, Atlanta United), Alvas Powell (D, free agent), Ray Gaddis (D, out of retirement), John Nelson (D, Dallas), Roman Celentano (P, #2 SuperDraft pick)

Most urgent needs: Two central midfielders – the pupil is currently one of the most outspoken at the men’s level, and Medunjanin has fewer and fewer guarantees to last a full season -, a starting centre-back.

Columbus Crew

Trainer: Caleb Porter. Forty-six years. 43V-22P-38S in 103 sets. In office since 2019.

licensometer: 6

It is worth the price of the ticket counter.: 7

Goalkeeper Holder: Eloy room. Thirty three years. 65 appearances and 18 clean sheets. In pink since 2019.

funniest player: Lucas Zelarayán. Twenty nine years. 21 goals and 10 assists in 58 games. In the pink of 2020.

barometer player: Darlington Nagbe. Thirty-one years. 4 goals and 3 assists in 57 games. In the pink of 2020.

performance fork: Supporters’ Shield Winners / Out of Playoffs. The fork is so wide only because the experience from last season is still very much alive. But realistically, barring sensational injury crises like the ones in 2021, the team seems to have enough certainty for a playoff spot.

Possible funniest plot twist: Zardes becomes top scorer and takes the place of 9 of the USMNT

Main additions of the offseason: Yaw Yeboah (A, Wisla Krakow), Milos Degenek (D, free agent), James Igbekeme (C, on loan from Real Zaragoza)

Most urgent needs: Fill the last two slots of the U22 Initiative, or reduce Gyasi Zardes’ salary hit via TAM and get a third DP. Where, though, is unclear: The team is deep and competitive at every position, perhaps the most complete in MLS.

intermiami

Trainer: PhilNeville. Forty-five years. 12V-5P-17S in 34 sets. On the bench since 2021.

licensometer: 6

It is worth the price of the ticket counter.: 4

Goalkeeper Holder: Nick Marsmann. Thirty-one years. 21 appearances and 6 clean sheets. In pink from 2021.

funniest player: Emerson Rodriguez. Twenty one years. 55 appearances. 8 goals and 8 assists for the Millionaires. In pink from 2022

barometer player: Gregory. Twenty seven years old. 29 appearances and 3 assists. In pink from 2021

performance fork: Classification to the playoffs / last place in the Eastern Conference. Whatever happens, it’s a miracle that the deductible is in this position. Chris Henderson has done a resounding job of getting the team’s salary situation in order, and the roster doesn’t seem to have paid as much for cost cutting. In fact, he will be less talented but he also seems more functional.

Possible funniest plot twist: Bryce Duke Breakout Season

Main additions of the offseason: Bryce Duke (C, LAFC), Emerson Rodriguez (A, Millionaires, U22), Leandro Campana (A, on loan from Wolverhampton), DeAndre Yedlin (D, free agent), Robert Taylor (D, Brann)

Most urgent needs: A central defender, assuming Neville continues down the path of the three-man defense, a tall midfielder, ideally a number 6, a DP, because Pizarro, despite the loan in Monterrey, still has a place, and a Sub Initiative -22. only in the event that the third Designated Player is a Young DP.

orlando city

Trainer: Oscar Couple. Fifty three years. 28V-20P-17S in 65 sets. On the bench since 2020.

licensometer: 3

It is worth the price of the ticket counter.: 7

Goalkeeper Holder: Pedro Gallese. Thirty-one years. 47 appearances and 11 clean sheets. In the pink of 2020.

funniest player: Facundo Torres. Twenty one years. 71 appearances. 16 goals and 15 assists with Peñarol. In pink from 2022

barometer player: Ercan Kara. Twenty six years. 84 appearances. 37 goals and 16 assists for Rapid Vienna. In pink from 2022

performance fork: Field factor in the first round of the playoffs / qualification for the playoffs. Oscar Pareja knows this league inside out, he could probably qualify for the playoffs on autopilot. And the heavy investments made in the offseason to replace Nani and Dike should make his job even easier.

Possible funniest plot twist: Did we find a way to send Rodrigo Schlegel back into goal?

Main additions of the offseason: César Araujo (C, Wanderers), Facundo Torres (A, Peñarol, DP), Ercan Kara (A, Rapid Vienna, DP)

Most urgent needs: A left back – only Moutinho remains – from the Sub-22 Initiative – a gap opened by the presence of Torres as Young DP.

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