MLS preview: The top contenders to win it all with LAFC leading the way; Inter Miami could with Lionel Messi

There are only a few nights left until Major League Soccer returns on Saturday. While the road to the MLS Cup will be longer thanks to playoff format changes this seasonteams will do everything possible to prevent Steve Cherundolo Los Angeles FC line-up from repeating this year. MLS is one of the most unpredictable leagues in the world, with six different teams winning each of the last six MLS Cups, but who can claim to be the best this year?

The list below is in no particular order, but I would support any team from the group below to win the MLS Cup at the end of the season:

Columbus Crew

If games had ended in the 60th minute, Crew would have been one of the best teams in the league, but losing 24 points from winning positions is why Caleb Porter was out after leading the team to MLS Cup victory in 2020. He was replaced by Wilfred. Nancy The Montreal team will maintain a similar 3-5-2 formation this season, but they will be well-prepared under Nancy, who will inherit a team with the same level of talent as the Montreal team he left behind, but with deeper pockets. to earn an influence in the transfer window.

Led by Cucho Hernandez, who scored nine goals in 16 games as a summer visitor, and Lucas Zelarayan, gang offense can compete with anyone in the league. A loss peter saints into direct current United it’s a hit and they haven’t added much depth yet, but Christian Ramirez could be a nice addition to what they’re doing well. Even though Jimmy Medranda will likely open the season at cornerback, the crew is a team that I see finding balance and Nancy also knows how to use her cornerback. If things don’t work out early on, buying power is critical and they have an opportunity to make it to the MLS Cup after missing the playoffs last season.


That the defending champions are repeat favorites speaks volumes about how much talent the LAFC has at its disposal. With the loss of Gareth Bale, Lateef Blessing and Christian Arango, the team has lost some of its attacking power, but in return they will find balance. There’s such a thing as having too many strikers and that’s something the LAFC has hit at times trying to accommodate Carlos Vela, Denis Buanga, Arango and Bale. Not to mention they have a ready replacement coming off the bench at Kwado Opoka. José Cifuentes and Kellin Acosta will also play an important role in the development of the team.

They will still have the Koncacafe Champions League, but it will be a shock if LAFC finishes below second place in the Western Conference. Since the first round is now a best-of-three streak, it’s also unlikely that they will rebound due to being rusty from last week. LAFC will be a team with a goal on their back, but given their purchasing power, if new additions are required, they will push them to try for a place in the finals again.

Philadelphia Union

Returning their entire backbone from a team that was within penalties of winning the MLS Cup last season, Union are easily favorites to win the Eastern Conference, and for good reason, as Jim Curtin’s team boasts one of the best offensive records in league and the best. defensive record. Daniel Gazdag came close to winning the golden boot with 24 goals last season and is also an MVP candidate. The only thing that can ruin the Union is the summer transfer window.

Every time the window is open, left-back Kai Wagner is linked with a European move that has yet to materialize, but the more passes he picks up while playing great defensively, the harder it will be for the Union to keep him. Jack McGlynn could be in a similar situation, but Ernst Tanner has shown the ability to replace players that the team is losing, so even in the worst case, he should be supported to reset the team.

Inter Miami

Okay, that’s 100% hope, but there’s a little rumor that won’t go away regarding Inter Miami, and that’s one links them to Lionel Messi. Having already added Josef Martinez to support Leonardo Campana, Phil Neville will have a good attack at his disposal even after the departure of Alejandro Pozuelo. But it’s not about the current lineup. It’s about potential.

Whatever the case, Miami would have been better off if they had made it to the playoffs, but with Messi, they immediately became MLS Cup contenders. Messi would be the most talented player to ever enter the league and still one of the best players currently playing in it. If he had come to Miami, it wouldn’t have been until the summer, but that would have been enough time to lift the team above the playoff line and turn them into contenders.

Seattle Sounders

Despite winning the CONCACAF Champions League last season, the Sounders missed out on the playoffs due to a string of injuries and poor performances. But now healthy and with a boost in reserve striker at Heber, Brian Schmetzer’s team will once again compete against the cream of the crop in the west. Joao Paulo is one of the best midfielders in the league and he will be back and Abert Rusnak is now also integrated into the team.

The Sounders will have to play fewer games as they failed to qualify for the Champions League, helping to secure a higher seed in the Western Conference. This is a team that won’t last long as the Sounders are one of the most talented teams in the league on paper.


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