MLS – West vs East

The new MLS season gets under way this weekend, for the American readers of this site – I thought I would do a preview of what is to come this year.

The MLS’ Western Conference is usually said to be better than that of the Eastern Conference. Sides from the West have won seven of eight MLS Cup Finals, with the eighth in the hands of a team that no longer resides in the East (Sporting KC). If you take New York Red Bulls out of the equation the West has five of seven Supporters’ Shields.

However, this season you just get the feeling things are about to change. LA Galaxy lost coach Bruce Arena to the national team, Galaxy are also not as feared as they once were. Seattle won the MLS Cup, this year both Seattle and FC Dallas look a class above the rest. When you look at the two conferences this season Eastern looks to be the better.

Which teams look the more likely to be potential champions?

Toronto will surely be one of the contenders this season, if they keep the likes of Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore among others then they have a huge chance. Don’t forget that Toronto made the final of the MLS Cup last time around.  In the end losing out to Seattle Sounders on penalties.

Then we have, New York City FC. Although they lost Frank Lampard the club still provide a lot of quality in the likes of Pirlo and Villa. New York City also have a good manager in Patrick Vieira who now has a full season worth of MLS experience to his name. Onto the New York Red Bulls who sold Dax McCarty to Chicago Fire, the Red Bulls shouldn’t fear as Sean Davis is my tip to have a great season.

You would be foolish to discount the newcomers, Atlanta United who have a fantastic manager in Tata Martino, the club have a number of elit players still in the prime of their careers. Watch out for young midfielder Andrew Carleton, who has a bright future – I even heard some people compare him Christian Pulisic, which is a very big compliment indeed.

Philadelphia manager Earnie Stewart has the team in great shape, they have a great chance this season. It is a real possibility that a team from the East could go all the way. However, Seattle look too strong, they are my pick for the season. I am looking forward to watching Romain Alessandrini to see how well he adapts to the MLS. No doubting he is a fantastic player, I hope we will see the best of him in the upcoming season.

Make no mistake, there are teams from the East who can go a long way this year, although I think they will just fall short. I think Seattle will win the MLS Cup for the second year on the spin.