New MLS season set for excitement

Ivan Zigarevich, Staff Writer

This year the MLS is shaping out to be one of the most exciting soccer seasons that the United States will see. The MLS this year will feature even more stars, teams, and excitement than in their previous years. The most exciting part of this coming season is the addition of two brand new teams. That is a difficult task to overcome for any league, especially considering the United States has one of the lowest paying leagues in the world. This only magnifies the work that was put in by these two organizations and the league. These two teams will make the league more competitive because they feature both veteran talent, and new young talent.

The first team that was inducted was the Vancouver Whitecaps, who were able to obtain Jay DeMerit and Joe Cannon both of whom were featured in the United States national team this past World Cup. They also were able to draft the first round draft pick, seventeen-year-old Mexican striker Omar Salgado. Due to United States and Major League Soccer laws, however, Omar will not be allowed to play till September 10th when he turns 18.

The next team to come into the picture is the Portland Timbers, who acquired two of Major League Soccer’s most well known strikers, Eddie Johnson, who has been a national team star, and Kenny Cooper, who has made a name for himself at FC Dallas and is just starting to get into the national team squads. Both strikers are more than just veterans; they are superstars, leaders, and intimidating for the rest of the league to see together as a pair. The Portland Timbers did not have much luck in the super draft because all their draft picks were cut before the end of their pre season.

The new teams are not all the excitement because some teams have changed quite a bit. For example, the Kansas City Wizards, who have been in the league since the inaugural season, did not have their own stadium yet, so after years of work decided to simply change the name and the management so that they could build their own stadium. The team formerly known as Kansas City Wizards is now known as Kansas City Sporting. A new stadium might not sound like much, but in the MLS a new stadium has energized many new teams. The most notable is Real Salt Lake, who won the MLS cup the same year they moved into their own stadium, the Rio Tinto, which is one of the biggest stadiums just for soccer. This new change in management did not change the squad much except one big change when they added Omar Bravo, the Mexican striker legend who will prove to be another threat up top in the league. Kansas City Sporting also has had a lot of the MLS spotlight this preseason due to the NFL lockout. Star wide receiver Chad Ochocinco decided to try out for Kansas City Sporting. The latest report states that Chad is progressing well and even earned a spot in the Sporting next reserve team match. Although coaching staff thinks it will be sometime before Chad will be ready and able to perform in a real match, the management seems to enjoy him because of the publicity and the fact that after Chad joined, the first game tickets sold out. At the training ground there has been a consistent large crowd to watch Chad’s performance.

A couple more exciting things have happened to some veteran teams like DC United and the LA Galaxy. For DC United, it was the addition of World Cup striker Charlie Davies, who has proven himself on the national stage, but has not had an all-star season performance since his career started. Coaching staff at DC United expects Davies to be one of the top forwards in the MLS this coming season. For the LA Galaxy, it was to simply build their already all-star squad who fell short last year. The Galaxy strengthens their defense by obtaining one of the best defensive leaders in the league, Frankie Hejduk. Frankie won the league title three years ago with the Columbus Crew. Also the Galaxy obtained Juan Pablo Angel, who has been one of the top forwards in the MLS for years. The world known David Beckham and Landon Donovan must take this new talent and mix it with theirs to create a team that should be the top runner for the league title. This is David Beckham’s last year on his contract and if he cannot at least produce one league title, it might go down as one of the worst investments the MLS has ever made.

The last team that has caused a spark would be the New York Red Bulls, who for the past two seasons were able to acquire two world super stars, Theiry Henry and Rafeal Marquez. Also they obtain Dwayne DeRosario and John Rooney, who is the 20-year-old younger brother of world class forward Wayne Rooney. This MLS season is shaping out to be amazing because of the talent entering the league. Unfortunately some good players have left the league this year like Edson Buddle and Freddie Ljungberg, but after all these additions, more world class players should be attracted to the MLS.