The 23rd season of Major League Soccer opens today with five games, including the defending Champion Toronto FC hosting the Columbus Crew. The first nationally televised game is tomorrows opener for expansion team LA FC, led by Bob Bradley and assisted by Mike Sorber (Aquinas/SLU). Sorber rejoined Bradley, for whom he played at the Chicago Fire 20 years ago and went on to coach with on the US MNT, as seen in the featured photo above. You can read more about Sorbs at the BrotherlyGame.com
I’m looking forward to watching, and cheering for, LA FC as their West Coast games best match my free time to see games, 9pm or later after a game or day of working. Sporting KC, the Chicago Fire and Minnesota United will also be on my radar along with games for the St. Louis players in MLS – Will Bruin at Seattle with significant new responsibilities with the loss of Jordan Morris; Connor Sparrow at Real Salt Lake; Mark Segbers at New England Revolution; I’ll have the complete list next week.
Who will you root for? Here are short previews for each of the teams.
They say one should temper expectations with expansion teams – even Atlanta in 2017 finished 4th in the East – but that’s not the mentality manager Bob Bradley is taking into the season. He’s gone to the world market for top-end talent in Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi and blended it with proven MLS contributors like Benny Feilhaber, Walker Zimmerman, Laurent Ciman and Steven Beitashour. The first 13 on the roster looks like it could compete with anyone. Like most expansion clubs who need to build from scratch, if Bradley needs to dig deeper, he could be in trouble. —Bobby Warshaw
To wrap things up, how about this article from across the pond looking at MLS, pro/rel and FIFA. The possibility of a European Super League, competing with Champions League and invite only rather than advancing by winning, has been a significant conversation. That would upend UEFA and FIFA, sucking major media dollars away and obviously be at odds with the pro/rel model that MLS continues to ignore. The article looks at how FIFA may have to step in with MLS or else! Heck, we may even get Compensation Payments finally so that when Josh Sargent signs with Werder Bremen, SLSG Academy earns compensation that can go into their development programs.
If Fifa allow the USSF to run their own closed shop, ignoring the sporting merit criteria, then how can Fifa stop a lucrative trans-national super league from setting up? https://t.co/t9qCZJCwae
— soccerSTL (@SoccerSTL) March 3, 2018