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Major League Soccer : 2018 MLS season preview

Toronto captures MLS Cup

Toronto enjoyed a dream season last year during which they earned the first domestic treble in Major League Soccer history. Eleven years after joining the league and 364 days after a heartbreaking loss in their first trip to the MLS championship game, Toronto beat the Seattle Sounders 2-0 C in the 2017 MLS Cup final to become the first Canadian champion in league history. In addition to avenging a loss to the Sounders in the MLS Cup final in 2016, they won the league's Supporters Shield as well as the Canadian Championship. Toronto FC also set the all-time MLS regular-season record for points with 69, scoring a league-best 74 goals in 34 games with a dominating +37 goal differential.

2018 MLS season

Just 12 weeks after Toronto FC raised their first ever MLS Cup, Major League Soccer returns for its 23rd season. And with the addition of a 23rd team,Los Angeles F.C., and more high-profile off-season acquisitions across different teams, it's fair to call the 2018 MLS season the league's biggest yet. With the league growing at a rapid rate in recent years, new teams entering MLS always draw comparisons to the 1998 Chicago Fire that won the title in just its first year of existence. But since 2007, only one expansion team has reached the playoffs in their inaugural season, Seattle in 2009.

teamtitles20132014201520162017
LA Galaxy51/4title1/81/4-
D.C. United4-1/41/41/8-
Houston21/2---1/2
Kansas City2title1/81/81/81/8
San Jose2----1/8
Portland11/2-title-1/4
Salt Lake1final1/4-1/8-
Columbus1-1/4final-1/2
Seattle11/41/21/4titlefinal
Toronto1--1/8finaltitle
Colorado11/8--1/2-
Chicago1----1/8
NY Red Bulls-1/41/21/21/41/4
New England-1/4final1/8--
Dallas--1/41/21/4-
Vancouver--1/81/4-1/4
Montreal-1/8-1/41/2-
NY City----1/41/4
Atlanta-----1/8
Philadelphia----1/8-
Orlando------
Minnesota------
Los Angeles------

The overall number of titles for each club in Major League Soccer since 1996 and their success in the last five seasons. Conference finalists (1/2), Conference semi-finalists (1/4), wild-card round (1/8), not qualified for the MLS Playoffs (-).

Montreal appoint Garde as new coach

The Montreal Impact have appointed Frenchman Remi Garde as the fifth head coach in their MLS history. Garde, 51, most recently managed Aston Villa in the English Premier League. He took over the struggling club in November 2015 but left them by mutual consent after 20 games in charge in March 2016. Prior to his time in England, Garde served as manager of Ligue 1 giants Lyon. After losing the Eastern Conference final to Toronto FC in 2016, the Impact failed to even make the playoffs in 2017 with an 11-17-6 record, finishing ninth in the conference. Following the conclusion of the campaign, the team parted ways with club legend Mauro Biello after three years.

Portland Timbers name Savarese new head coach

Giovanni Savarese has been named coach of the Portland Timbers. Savarese, 46, has been coach of the North American Soccer League's New York Cosmos since 2012. He led the team to three Soccer Bowl championships in five seasons. The Venezuelan forward played for 18 seasons in Europe and in the United States, including stints with Major League Soccer's MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls), New England Revolution and San Jose Earthquakes. Savarese becomes the third full-time head coach of the Timbers' MLS era, succeeding Caleb Porter, who departed Portland shortly after the conclusion of their 2017 campaign.

This page is introduction to the 2018 Major League Soccer season. Latest news, statistics, results and predictions you can find on our main MLS page.

New England Revolution hires Friedel as coach

The former USA, Blackburn and Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel has been named as the new head coach of the New England Revolution. Friedel, who also had spells at Liverpool and Tottenham in a Premier League career spanning almost two decades, had been coaching the United States' under-19 team prior to accepting the challenge with the Major League Soccer team. He also played in MLS for Columbus Crew. The Revolution have appeared in five MLS Cup finals but have never won the title. They fired their previous coach, Jay heaps, in September after failing to make the MLS playoffs for a second year in a row.

Hudson named Colorado Rapids head coach

The Colorado Rapids filled their head coaching vacancy in November by hiring Anthony Hudson, who began his coaching career at age 27 in suburban D.C. and, eight years later, almost guided New Zealand to a World Cup berth. The 36-year-old replaces Steve Cooke, who served as the interim coach after Pablo Mastroeni was fired in August. The Rapids were MLS's second-best team in the 2016 regular season but plunged to 10th place in the 11-team Western Conference this year with a 9-19-6 record and 33 points.

#teampointsg.dif.win-draw-loss
Eastern Conference
1Toronto z693720-9-5 (34)
2NY City x571316-9-9 (34)
3Chicago x551416-7-11 (34)
4Atlanta x553015-10-9 (34)
5Columbus x54416-6-12 (34)
6New York x50614-8-12 (34)
7New England45-813-6-15 (34)
8Philadel.42311-9-14 (34)
9Montreal39-611-6-17 (34)
10Orlando39-1910-9-15 (34)
11D.C. Utd.32-299-5-20 (34)
Western Conference
1Portland z531015-8-11 (34)
2Seattle x531314-11-9 (34)
3Vancouver x52115-7-12 (34)
4Houston x501213-11-10 (34)
5Kansas x491112-13-9 (34)
6San Jose x46-2113-7-14 (34)
7Dallas46011-13-10 (34)
8Real45-613-6-15 (34)
9Minnesota36-2310-6-18 (34)
10Colorado33-209-6-19 (34)
11LA Galaxy32-228-8-18 (34)

The 2017 MLS regular season standings. z - Conference winners, x - clinched playoff spot.

San Jose Earthquakes hire Stahre as new head coach

The San Jose Earthquakes have hired Mikael Stahre as the club's new head coach, with Chris Leitch and Alex Covelo, who spent the final four months of the 2017 season as head coach and assistant coach, returning to their former roles with the club. Stahre comes to San Jose from the Swedish top-flight, having managed Hacken to a top-four finish in his only season with the club. The 42-year-old won a Swedish title with AIK in 2009 and has over a decade of experience as a head coach across Sweden, China and Greece.

Bradley returns to MLS to coach Los Angeles FC

Former United States coach Bob Bradley has been named the inaugural manager of the Los Angeles Football Club, the Major League Soccer expansion team that will start playing this season. It marks his return to MLS after previously coaching Chicago Fire, MetroStars and Chivas USA. During his first stint in MLS, he won a league title and two U.S. Open Cups with Chicago and left Chivas in 2006 to take over the U.S. team. Bradley, who was dismissed from his U.S. role in 2011, had stints coaching Egypt and teams in Norway and France. He became the first American to manage an English Premier League club after being hired by Swansea City. But he was fired by the Welsh side in December 2016, less than three months after taking charge.

Toronto FC remains the team to beat

Toronto FC, last season's champions, have emerged as a strong favourite on the odds to win the 2018 MLS Cup. They return with the bulk of last year's squad intact yet with more weapons added to their armory. Notable additions include Dutch international defender Gregory van der Wiel and Spanish midfielder Ager Aketxe from Athletic Bilbao.

teamoddsteamodds
Toronto4.3Real Salt Lake26
New York City9Sporting Kansas City26
Seattle Sounders9Montreal Impact34
Atlanta United10Vancouver Whitecaps34
Portland Timbers10Los Angeles FC41
FC Dallas17San Jose Earthquakes51
Houston Dynamo26Colorado Rapids67
Chicago Fire26DC United67
Columbus Crew26Minnesota United67
LA Galaxy26New England Revolution67
New York Red Bulls26Philadelphia Union67
Orlando City26

The preseason odds for the outright winner of the 2018 MLS

Major League Soccer finals (MLS Cup) in last five seasons

2017   Toronto - Seattle Sounders   2:0
2016   Seattle Sounders - Toronto   5:4 (penalties after 0:0)
2015   Portland Timbers - Columbus Crew   2:1
2014   Los Angeles Galaxy - New England   2:1   (aet)
2013   Sporting KC - Real SL   7:6 (penalties after 1:1)

Key players
(transfer market value in m€)

Atlanta United

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan (1); Defense: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez (2.3), Greg Garza (0.8), Michael Parkhurst (0.7), Sal Zizzo (0.6); Midfield: Miguel Almiron (8), Ezequiel Barco (6.5), Hector Villalba (3.5), Darlington Nagbe (1.8); Forward: Josef Martinez (5), Romario Williams (0.5).

Chicago Fire

Goalkeeper Richard Sanchez (0.2); Defense: Matt Polster (0.8), Johan Kappelhof (0.8), Brandon Vincent (0.8), Jonathan Campbell (0.5); Midfield: Bastian Schweinsteiger (3), Dax McCarty (1.8), Michael de Leeuw (1.5), Aleksandar Katai (1); Forward: Nemanja Nikolics (4.5), Luis Solignac (0.8).

Colorado Rapids

Goalkeeper Tim Howard (1); Defense: Tommy Smith (1.5), Edgar Castillo (1.5), Axel Sjoberg (0.8), Eric Miller (0.8); Midfield: Shkelzen Gashi (1.5), Stefan Aigner (1), Johan Blomberg (0.8), Marlon Hairston (0.8); Forward: Joe Mason (2.5), Dominique Badji (0.9).

Columbus Crew

Goalkeeper Zack Steffen (0.7); Defense: Milton Valenzuela (1), Jonathan Mensah (0.8), Harrison Afful (0.7), Josh Williams (0.7); Midfield: Pedro Santos (3), Wil Trapp (1), Artur (0.8), Mohammed Abu (0.8); Forward: Gyasi Zardes (1.5), Adam Jahn (0.5).

D.C. United

Goalkeeper David Ousted (0.7); Defense: Steve Birnbaum (1.3), Taylor Kemp (0.6), Kofi Opare (0.6); Midfield: Yamil Asad (2.5), Luciano Acosta (1.3), Paul Arriola (1.2), Nick DeLeon (0.8), Zoltan Stieber (0.7); Forward: Darren Mattocks (0.8), Patrick Mullins (0.8).

Dallas

Goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez (0.8); Defense: Matt Hedges (1.8), Reto Ziegler (1), Ryan Hollingshead (0.8); Midfield: Kellyn Acosta (1.8), Carlos Gruezo (1.5), Mauro Diaz (1), Roland Lamah (1), Michael Barrios (0.9); Forward: Maximiliano Urruti (1.3), Tesho Akindele (0.9).

Houston Dynamo

Goalkeeper Chris Seitz (0.5); Defense: A. J. DeLaGarza (0.8), Philippe Senderos (0.6), Leonardo (0.6); Midfield: Darwin Ceren (0.8), Juan David Cabezas (0.7), Eric Alexander (0.6), Arturo Alvarez (0.6); Forward: Tomas Martinez (1), Mauro Manotas (0.9), Alberth Elis (0.9).

Los Angeles Galaxy

Goalkeeper David Bingham (0.5); Defense: Jorgen Skjelvik (0.7), Dave Romney (0.6), Daniel Steres (0.6); Midfield: Jonathan dos Santos (6), Romain Alessandrini (4), Joao Pedro (1.5), Chris Pontius (0.9), Emmanuel Boateng (0.8); Forward: Giovani dos Santos (3.8), Ola Kamara (2).

Los Angeles

Goalkeeper Luis Lopez (0.3); Defense: Laurent Ciman (1.3), Walker Zimmerman (1), Omar Gaber (0.8), Steven Beitashour (0.7); Midfield: Carlos Vela (10), Benny Feilhaber (0.8), Latif Blessing (0.5), Calum Mallace (0.3); Forward: Diego Rossi (0.8), Marcos Urena (0.7).

Minnesota United

Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth (0.7); Defense: Francisco Calvo (0.8), Jerome Thiesson (0.8), Brent Kallman (0.6); Midfield: Ethan Finlay (1.3), Kevin Molino (1), Sam Cronin (0.8), Sam Nicholson (0.7), Miguel Ibarra (0.6); Forward: Christian Ramirez (0.9), Abu Danladi (0.6).

Montreal Impact

Goalkeeper Evan Bush (0.6); Defense: Chris Duvall (0.8), Jukka Raitala (0.7), Victor Cabrera (0.5), Zakaria Diallo (0.5); Midfield: Saphir Taider (4), Ignacio Piatti (2.5), Jeisson Vargas (1.2), Dominic Oduro (0.6); Forward: Anthony Jackson-Hamel (0.8), Matteo Mancosu (0.8).

New England Revolution

Goalkeeper Cody Cropper (0.7); Defense: Andrew Farrell (0.9), Antonio Delamea Mlinar (0.8), Chris Tierney (0.8); Midfield: Lee Nguyen (1.5), Diego Fagundez (1), Kelyn Rowe (1), Scott Caldwell (0.8); Forward: Cristian Penilla (1.3), Krisztian Nemeth (1), Juan Agudelo (1).

New York City

Goalkeeper Sean Johnson (0.9); Defense: Anton Tinnerholm (1.8), Cedric Hountondji (1), Maxime Chanot (1); Midfield: Maxi Moralez (3), Ebenezer Ofori (1.5), Rodney Wallace (1), Ismael Tajouri (1), Yangel Herrera (0.9); Forward: David Villa (2), Jo Inge Berget (1.4).

New York Red Bulls

Goalkeeper Luis Robles (1.3); Defense: Kemar Lawrence (1.3), Aaron Long (0.8), Connor Lade (0.8); Midfield: Alejandro Romero Gamarra (3.5), Daniel Royer (1.5), Marc Rzatkowski (1), Felipe Martins (0.9), Carlos Rivas (0.8); Forward: Bradley Wright-Phillips (1.8), Amando Moreno (0.3).

Orlando City

Goalkeeper Joe Bendik (0.9); Defense: Lamine Sane (2.8), Jonathan Spector (0.9), Donny Toia (0.8); Midfield: Justin Meram (2.5), Sacha Kljestan (1.8), Yoshimar Yotun (0.9), Will Johnson (0.8), Dillon Powers (0.8); Forward: Dom Dwyer (1.8), Stefano Pinho (0.6).

Philadelphia Union

Goalkeeper Andre Blake (0.8); Defense: Keegan Rosenberry (0.8), Richie Marquez (0.7), Jack Elliott (0.7); Midfield: David Accam (2.5), Alejandro Bedoya (2), Borek Dockal (1.6), Haris Medunjanin (1.5), Ilsinho (1.3); Forward: C.J. Sapong (1.8), Fafa Picault (0.6).

Portland Timbers

Goalkeeper Jake Gleeson (0.7); Defense: Larrys Mabiala (1.5), Liam Ridgewell (1), Alvas Powell (0.8), Vytautas Andriuskevicius (0.7); Midfield: Diego Valeri (4.5), Sebastian Blanco (4), Andy Polo (1), David Guzman (0.8); Forward: Samuel Armenteros (2), Fanendo Adi (2).

Real Salt Lake City

Goalkeeper Nick Rimando (0.3); Defense: Justen Glad (0.6), Marcelo Silva (0.6), Tony Beltran (0.6), Albert Rusnak (1.5), Damir Kreilach (1.3), Joao Plata (1.3), Jefferson Savarino (1), Luke Mulholland (0.8); Forward: Yura Movsisyan (2), Alfredo Ortuno (1).

San Jose Earthquakes

Goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell (0.4); Defense: Nick Lima (0.7), Francois Affolter (0.5), Jimmy Ockford (0.3); Midfield: Valeri Qazaishvili (2.5), Florian Jungwirth (1.5), Jahmir Hyka (1.5), Anibal Godoy (0.8); Forward: Magnus Eriksson (1.1), Chris Wondolowski (0.8), Danny Hoesen (0.8).

Seattle Sounders

Goalkeeper Stefan Frei (1); Defense: Kelvin Leerdam (1.5), Roman Torres (0.7), Kee-hee Kim (0.6), Waylon Francis (0.6); Midfield: Nicolas Lodeiro (5.5), Victor Rodriguez (1.3), Cristian Roldan (1); Forward: Clint Dempsey (2), Will Bruin (0.9), Jordan Morris (0.9).

Sporting Kansas City

Goalkeeper Tim Melia (1); Defense: Emiliano Amor (1.3), Ike Opara (1), Matt Besler (1); Midfield: Felipe Gutierrez (2.5), Gerso (1.8), Johnny Russell (1.5), Yohan Croizet (1.2), Roger Espinoza (0.9); Forward: Diego Rubio (0.6), Daniel Salloi (0.5).

Toronto

Goalkeeper Alex Bono (0.8); Defense: Gregory van der Wiel (1), Justin Morrow (0.8), Eriq Zavaleta (0.8), Chris Mavinga (0.7); Midfield: Michael Bradley (3), Victor Vazquez (2), Ager Aketxe (2), Marky Delgado (0.8); Forward: Sebastian Giovinco (8), Jozy Altidore (4).

Vancouver Whitecaps

Goalkeeper Brian Rowe (0.4); Defense: Kendall Waston (0.9), Tim Parker (0.8), Efrain Juarez (0.8); Midfield: Cristian Techera (0.8), Brek Shea (0.8), Tony Tchani (0.7), Alphonso Davies (0.7); Forward: Yordy Reyna (0.9), Kei Kamara (0.8), Nicolas Mezquida (0.7).

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