- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 7, 2014
- 0 Comments
- 2014 MLS Season, 2014 Week 1
The season is finally here. I feel like I blinked a couple times between last December and now. The offseason was a wild one in MLS to say the very least with big name players like Michael Bradley coming back, expansion talk and the sale of Chivas USA.
But now we get to focus on what matters, the games themselves.
Where did we leave off – Alright, the season is back and it feels like we left off somewhere with most of these teams. The first game up is a good one with Sporting KC hosting Seattle. Both teams have made some moves but it feels like both managed to get deeper to start the new season. Time will certainly tell about that but I definitely see both teams as a favorite in their respective conferences.
Then you have games like LA and RSL. One team improved in my opinion while the other regressed due to some coaching changes. Yeah, I still like RSL and what they bring to the table as a unit (the whole team is a start thing is nice) but you have to expect some degree of regression on their part. They didn’t have it last year when we all expected them to and I see it going on this season.
Parity continues – If anything, going into this new season the parity game seems to be at an all-time high. I honestly don’t know what to make of either conference to start out with but I know, I know they’ll be be interesting races. Heck no one really knows what to make of these races. SBNation polled their blog writers and most were totally split on teams. It happens. That is why I love this league.
Development of players improving – This will continue to be a topic around the league for years to come. But the USL PRO deal has really improved how things will go for younger players. There are still a collective group of teams that are without a partner in the USL PRO but that will all change by the end of this year/start of next year as we should see every team with a partner or their own USL PRO team. I honestly can’t wait to see where this takes our game in this country. Baseball and hockey have great development systems, you could say the same about basketball and football with the college game as well. Now MLS does too.
Week 1 Predictions:
Sporting KC at Seattle Sounders FC – Great match to kickoff the season. Two good teams. A great stadium with a super loud crowd. What more could you ask for as a fan of this league? I love what SKC brings to the table though, they have the momentum still from last year and they know they need a good start with the CCL looming in the not-so-distant future. Seattle will be tough but SKC always has an ability to rise in these games and their defense will continue to be that reason.
WVH Prediction: SKC 2, Seattle 1
Columbus Crew at DC United – Two teams that went through a ton of change in the offseason. Columbus with a new manager in Gregg Berhalter. DC with all the player turnover after last year’s disastrous season. This one really could go either way for me but I feel in the end, United do enough to start out the season in a better way than the whole of 2013.
WVH Prediction: DCU 2, Columbus 1
New York Red Bulls at Vancouver Whitecaps – Interesting matchup for the defending Supporters’ Shield winners to start the season. A long road trip to Vancouver against a Caps team that is really intriguing. Carl Robinson takes over for Vancouver and he has is work cut out for him with all of that talent. The big question for me is can Ketuka Manneh or Darren Mattocks finally step up to be the guy in the attack now that Camilio is gone? I’m not totally sold yet on them and I think New York has the pieces in place to win this one from the start.
WVH Prediction: NY 1, Vancouver 0
New England Revolution at Houston Dynamo – This could be one of the more underrated matches of the weekend. Two solid teams with plenty to prove here this season. Both had some nice moves in the offseason but I still have my doubts about each time in the loaded Eastern Conference. Still, Houston at home is always a tough one to bet against. Dominic Kinnear will have his team ready for this one.
WVH Prediction: Houston 1, NE 0
Montreal Impact at FC Dallas – Two teams that saw coaching changes in the offseason face-off tomorrow. Oscar Pareja has really rejuvenated the Dallas area since his return and I do like the signings his club made this winter. The question will be can they all come together from the start? Montreal will be lacking some key players in this one like Marco Di Vaio and potentially captain Patrice Bernier. Those losses are too much to overcome on the road for me.
WVH Prediction: FC Dallas 3, Montreal 1
Real Salt Lake at LA Galaxy – Another strong game to watch out of the gate here. Both teams still have loads of talent from both ends of the field. The key will come down to whether or not there has been enough done on RSL’s part this winter to improve. I think depth speaking they still have a ways to go here. LA on the other hand only got better this offseason and I think some of those new signings (like Samuel) will shine through.
WVH Prediction: LA 1, RSL 0
Philadelphia Union at Portland Timbers – Tough start for the Union to open the season. Portland made some solid moves this winter and looks to be hungrier than ever under Caleb Porter. I think they get off to a hot start in this one as the Union appear to be a team still in transition with all of these moves that were made.
WVH Prediction: Portland 3, Philadelphia 1
Chicago Fire at Chivas USA – Can the Goats get off to a good start in their final season as Chivas? Eh, I’m not banking on anything special yet here. Then again the same goes for Chicago. Out of all the matches this weekend, this one screams draw to me.
WVH Prediction: Chivas 1, Chicago 1