As the new MLS season unfolds, we have looked at some of the most promising teams in the league this year. While each has its unique strengths, all four have the potential to be strong competitors. So let’s look closer at these teams and examine what makes them stand out in the MLS landscape.
Los Angeles Football Club
Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) enters the 2023 MLS season as the reigning champions, having clinched the title in 2022. The team finished first in the Western Conference with an impressive 68 points, 11 points clear of second-placed Austin FC. LAFC also won the MLS Cup, defeating the Philadelphia Union in the final.
The team’s success last season was largely due to their attacking trio of Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi, and José Cifuentes. While Rossi has since departed, Vela and Cifuentes remain and will look to continue their impressive form. Vela finished second in the league with 14 goals last season, while Cifuentes contributed with six goals and four assists from midfield.
LAFC’s squad is filled with quality and depth, particularly in midfield where they have Eduard Atuesta, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Francisco Ginella, and José Cifuentes among their options. The defense is anchored by the center-back partnership of Jesús Murillo and Eddie Segura, while Tristan Blackmon and Diego Palacios provide energy and width from fullback positions.
LAFC has started the new season well, winning their first two games against Portland Timbers and New England Revolution. While they will miss Rossi’s attacking presence, the team has quality throughout the squad and should be able to cope with his departure. LAFC will look to defend their title and become the first team since the 2011 LA Galaxy to win back-to-back MLS Cups.
In addition to their success on the field, LAFC has excelled in youth development, with several talented players coming through their academy system. Bryce Duke and Tony Leone are two of the standout prospects, and both have already seen playing time for the first team.
Overall, LAFC looks set to be one of the strongest teams in the league this season, with quality throughout the squad and a hunger to defend their title. If they can continue their impressive form from last season and stay healthy, they will be a serious contender for the MLS Cup once again.
LAFC Squad (2023)
- McCarthy John
- Chiellini Giorgio
- Duenas Erik
- Hollingshead Ryan
- Long Aaron
- Maldonado Denil
- Murillo Jesus
- Palacios Diego
- Palencia Sergi
- Acosta Kellyn
- Cifuentes Charcopa Jose Adoni
- Sanchez Ilie
- Tillman Timothy
- Biuk Stipe
- Bouanga Denis
- Opoku Kwadwo
- Vela Carlos
Key Stats and Facts about LAFC
- LAFC won the 2022 MLS Cup after defeating the Philadelphia Union in a penalty shootout.
- LAFC had a potent attack that scored 70 goals throughout the season, led by Carlos Vela with 19 goals and 9 assists.
- LAFC’s defense was solid, conceding only 38 goals in the regular season of 2022.
- LAFC has a talented squad, including Eduard Atuesta, Mark-Anthony Kaye, and Francisco Ginella in midfield, and Jesus Murillo and Eddie Segura in defense.
- LAFC has a strong youth development system that has produced talented players like Bryce Duke and Tony Leone.
- LAFC will need to address their lack of depth up front beyond their star attackers Carlos Vela, Corey Baird, and Kwadwo Opoku.
The Philadelphia Union had an outstanding season last year, finishing first in the Eastern Conference and playing in the MLS Cup final against LAFC, which they ultimately lost in penalty kicks. Despite falling short, the Union have reloaded for the upcoming season and look poised to contend once again.
The Union’s midfield received a boost with the addition of attacking midfielder Daniel Gazdag from Hungarian side Budapest Honvéd FC. Gazdag is a creative player who should add flair and goals to the Union’s midfield.
Defensively, the Union will rely on a center-back pairing of Jack Elliott and Jakob Glesnes, who were both named to the MLS Best XI last season. The fullback positions are also well-covered, with Olivier Mbaizo and Kai Wagner both solid options.
In goal, the Union will have Andre Blake, one of the best shot-stoppers in the league. Blake is a three-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and should provide stability and leadership to the Union’s defense.
The Union also added depth to their midfield with the acquisitions of Alejandro Bedoya and Jamiro Monteiro. Bedoya is a veteran midfielder with extensive MLS experience, while Monteiro is a dynamic player who can contribute both defensively and offensively.
One potential concern for the Union is their depth, as injuries or international call-ups could leave them short-handed. However, the Union have a talented and dynamic squad that should be able to compete with the best teams in the league.
Overall, the Union have reloaded and look poised to make another deep playoff run in the upcoming season. With a talented midfield, a reliable defense, and a new coach who emphasizes aggressive play, the Union could be serious contenders for the MLS Cup in 2023.
Philadelphia Union Squad (2023)
- Bendik Joe
- Blake Andre
- Elliott Jack
- Glesnes Jakob
- Lowe Damion
- Mbaizo Olivier
- Wagner Kai
- Bedoya Alejandro
- Flach Leon
- Gazdag Daniel
- Martinez Jose
- McGlynn Jack
- Perea Andres
- Sullivan Quinn
- Carranza Julian
- Donovan Chris
- Torres Joaquin
- Uhre Mikael
- Curtin Jim
Key Stats and Facts about Philadelphia Union
- The Philadelphia Union finished first in the Eastern Conference last season and played in the MLS Cup final against LAFC, which they lost in penalty kicks.
- The Union’s midfield received a boost with the addition of Daniel Gazdag from Hungarian side Budapest Honvéd FC.
- Defensively, the Union will rely on a center-back pairing of Jack Elliott and Jakob Glesnes, who were both named to the MLS Best XI last season.
- In goal, the Union will have Andre Blake, a three-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and one of the best shot-stoppers in the league.
- The Union added depth to their midfield with the acquisitions of Alejandro Bedoya and Jamiro Monteiro.
- One potential concern for the Union is their depth, as injuries or international call-ups could leave them short-handed.
New England Revolution
The New England Revolution is a team with a lot of potential heading into the 2023 MLS season. While they had a rough 2022 campaign, the team has made significant changes in the offseason to address their weaknesses and build on their strengths.
One of the main issues for the Revolution last season was a lack of solidity and ball-winning in central midfield. This has been addressed by adding Latif Blessing and by developing a pair of kids from the academy. The team also added veteran center back Dave Romney, which should help shore up the defense.
Another issue for the Revolution last season was injuries to their attacking players, which prevented the team from clicking despite the efforts of star midfielder Carles Gil. However, the team has added a bunch of wingers and center forwards, which should provide the depth needed to cope with injuries and ensure that Gil has the support he needs to create chances.
One concern for the Revolution heading into the new season is how Blessing will perform in his new role as a No. 8. While he was a great No. 10 for LAFC, he will need to adjust his mindset as he will be deeper in the structure and a lost challenge could instantly turn into a counterattack. If he struggles, it will be up to the academy prospects or veteran Tommy McNamara to step up.
Another potential issue for the Revolution is the reliance on their star players. While Gil and goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic are up for the challenge, it may be tough to consistently win games if both DP forwards Giacomo Vrioni and Gustavo Bou are on the field at the same time. The team will need to find a way to maximize their talents without relying too heavily on them.
Looking at the Revolution’s first-choice XI, it seems that they will line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Petrovic will be in goal with Brandon Bye, Andrew Farrell, Dave Romney, and DeJuan Jones forming the backline. The midfield will consist of Noel Buck and Matt Polster, with Emmanuel Boateng, Carles Gil, and Arnor Ingvi Traustason playing in attacking roles. Vrioni will be up front as the lone striker.
Overall, the Revolution has a good foundation and a lot of potential. If the team can address their weaknesses and continue to build on their strengths, they could surprise a lot of people this season. With veteran coach Bruce Arena at the helm, anything is possible.
New England Revolution Squad (2023)
- Petrovic Djordje
- Gonzalez Omar
- Jones Dejuan
- Kessler Henry
- Makoun Christian
- Polster Matt
- Romney David
- Borrero Dylan
- Buck Noel
- Bye Brandon
- Gil Carles
- Rivera Damian
- Blessing Latif
- Boateng Emmanuel
- Bou Gustavo
- Rennicks Justin
- Vrioni Giacomo
- Wood Bobby
- Arena Bruce
Key Stats and Facts about FC Cincinnati
- The New England Revolution had a rough 2022 MLS season, but they have made significant changes in the offseason to address their weaknesses and build on their strengths.
- The team lacked solidity and ball-winning in central midfield and rickety central defense, which has been addressed by adding Latif Blessing and developing a pair of academy prospects, and veteran center back Dave Romney.
- Injuries to attacking players prevented the team from clicking last season despite Carles Gil’s efforts. The team has added wingers and center forwards to provide the depth needed to cope with injuries and support Gil in creating chances.
- There are concerns about Blessing’s ability to perform in his new role as a No. 8, and the team’s reliance on their star players, Gil and goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic.
- The Revolution’s first-choice XI is likely to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Petrovic in goal, Farrell, Romney, Bye, and Jones in defense, Buck and Polster in midfield, Boateng, Gil, and Traustason in attacking roles, and Vrioni as the lone striker.
- With veteran coach Bruce Arena leading the team, the Revolution has a good foundation and a lot of potential to surprise people this season if they can address their weaknesses and build on their strengths
St. Louis City SC
St. Louis City SC enters the 2023 MLS season as the newest expansion team in the league. While it’s never easy for an expansion team to hit the ground running, St. Louis has a few things going for them that could make them a surprise package this season.
One of the advantages that St. Louis has is their ability to make further additions to their squad if needed. With an open DP slot and U22 Initiative slots available, they have the flexibility to make changes to the team if things don’t go as planned.
The other strength that St. Louis has is a clear and executable game model. The team is expected to play high energy soccer, which is similar to the style that the New York Red Bulls have employed for years. While it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing style of soccer, it has proven to be effective for the Red Bulls, who have made the playoffs for 13 consecutive years.
However, there are a couple of concerns for St. Louis heading into the new season. The first is the performance of goalkeeper and captain Roman Bürki. While Bürki is expected to be strong with his feet, he has struggled as a shot-stopper in recent years in the Bundesliga. Given that his primary job is to keep the ball out of the net, this could be a major issue for St. Louis.
The second concern is the lack of proven attacking talent on the team. While there are some promising players on the roster, few of them have experience at an MLS level. This could be a major disadvantage for St. Louis, as they will likely face teams with more established attacking talent.
Looking at St. Louis’s first-choice XI, it appears that they will line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Bürki will be in goal, with Sam Vines, Tim Parker, Jack Hiebert, and Jake Nerwinski forming the backline. The midfield will consist of Rodrigo Löwen and Sean Davis, with Yoann Blom, Kévin Alm, and Niko Ostrák playing in attacking roles. Brazilian forward Klauss will lead the line as the lone striker.
Overall, St. Louis has the potential to be a surprise team this season, but they will need to address their concerns and work hard to compete against more established teams in the league. With head coach Bradley Carnell’s experience at the Red Bulls, the team has a solid foundation to build on. If they can execute their game plan effectively and get the best out of their players, they could exceed expectations this season.
Louis City SC Squad (2023)
- Roman Burki
- Lucas Allen Bartlett
- Kyle Hiebert
- John Nelson
- Jakob Nerwinski
- Tim Parker
- Akil Watts
- Joshua Yaro
- Njabulo Blom
- Aziel Jackson
- Eduard Lowen
- Tomas Ostrak
- Miguel Perez
- Celio Pompeu
- Samuel Adeniran
- Rasmus Alm
- Nicholas Gioacchini
- Klauss Joao
- Jared Stroud
- Indiana Vassilev
- Bradley Carnell
Key Stats and Facts about St. Louis City SC
- St. Louis City SC is an expansion team entering the 2023 MLS season.
- The team has kept some open roster spots and U22 Initiative slots to potentially acquire more players if needed.
- The team’s captain and goalkeeper Roman Bürki has not been a good shot-stopper in recent years, and most of the attacking talent is unproven in MLS.
- The team’s first-choice XI is expected to play in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Bürki in goal, Nelson, Parker, Hiebert, and Nerwinski in defense, Löwen and Blom in midfield, and Alm, Ostrák, Stroud, and Klauss in attacking roles.
- St. Louis City SC may face a talent deficit against other teams, but their commitment to pressing could still make them an effective team.
- It remains to be seen how successful St. Louis City SC will be in their inaugural season in MLS, but their potential for growth and success in the future is there.
FC Cincinnati is looking to improve their record since joining MLS in 2019 and has made several significant changes during the offseason, including hiring Pat Noonan as their new head coach. Noonan, a former assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s National Team, is highly regarded in MLS circles for his ability to develop young talent and build cohesive teams.
Cincinnati’s current lineup includes several promising players who could make a significant impact this season. Brenner, who scored 11 goals in his debut season in 2022, is one of the most exciting young talents in the league and is expected to continue improving this year. Alvaro Barreal, an Argentine winger, also had a solid season last year and could make a significant contribution to the team’s offense.
FC Cincinnati’s defense struggled last season, but they will be looking for improvement in the current season. Center back Nick Hagglund and defender Alvas Powell return to the team, while new addition Matt Miazga could provide much-needed experience in the backline. Celentano Roman returns in goal and will look to build on his impressive debut season in 2022.
In midfield, Luciano Acosta, a former standout for D.C. United could be a significant addition to the team’s attack, while Obinna Nwobodo, a Nigerian midfielder, has shown potential in preseason matches. Yuya Kubo and Sergio Santos are expected to contribute up front, providing depth to the attack alongside Brenner and Barreal.
Despite the changes made during the offseason, FC Cincinnati still has some potential concerns heading into the 2023 season. One significant worry is the team’s depth. While they have some promising young players, they still lack the same level of depth as some of the other teams in the league. Injuries or suspensions to key players could be challenging to overcome without adequate replacements.
Another concern is Noonan’s lack of head coaching experience. While he has shown promise as an assistant coach, the transition to the top job can be challenging, and it remains to be seen how he will handle the responsibilities and pressure of the role.
FC Cincinnati has reasons for optimism heading into the 2023 season, with a new coach and several promising players joining the current lineup. Brenner, Barreal, Hagglund, Powell, Miazga, Acosta, and Nwobodo are expected to make a significant impact, but there are still concerns about the team’s depth and Noonan’s lack of head coaching experience. If the team can address these issues and come together on the pitch, they could surprise some people this season.
FC Cincinnati Squad (2023)
- Celentano Roman
- Arias Santiago
- Gaddis Raymon
- Hagglund Nick
- Miazga Matt
- Murphy Ian
- Powell Alvas
- Acosta Luciano
- Angulo Marco
- Moreno Junior
- Mosquera Yerson
- Nwobodo Obinna
- Badji Dominique
- Barreal Alvaro
- Kubo Yuya
- Ordonez Arquimides
- Santos Sergio
- Vazquez Brandon
- Noonan Pat
Key Stats and Facts about FC Cincinnati
- Brenner scored 11 goals in 30 appearances during his debut season in MLS in 2022.
- Alvaro Barreal scored four goals and provided four assists in 24 appearances for FC Cincinnati in 2022.
- Nick Hagglund played 23 games and scored two goals for FC Cincinnati in 2022.
- Matt Miazga, a new addition to the team, has made 121 appearances in the top five European leagues, including 76 in the English Premier League.
- Celentano Roman made 16 appearances and kept three clean sheets in his debut season for FC Cincinnati in 2022.
- Luciano Acosta, a new addition to the team, scored 24 goals and provided 35 assists in 129 appearances for D.C. United between 2017-2020.
- Obinna Nwobodo, another new addition to the team, played for Enugu Rangers in the Nigerian Professional Football League before joining FC Cincinnati.
- FC Cincinnati finished the 2022 season with a record of 12 wins, 9 losses and 13 draws, finishing fifth in the Eastern Conference
Austin FC had a successful debut season in 2022, finishing second in the Western Conference and winning two playoff games. With a talented and cohesive squad, they are looking to build on that success in 2023.
One of the key factors in Austin’s success last season was their balanced attack. With multiple players contributing goals, they were difficult to defend against. In 2023, Austin has upgraded their No. 9 position with the addition of Gyasi Zardes, who was added to the lineup. Zardes has a proven track record of scoring goals in MLS, and should provide even more diversity to Austin’s attack.
Another important aspect of Austin’s success last season was their solid defense. Led by goalkeeper Brad Stuver and center back Ruben Gabrielsen, they allowed just 28 goals in 34 regular season games. However, Gabrielsen has since departed for Europe, leaving a hole in the center of the defense. Austin will be relying on Finnish international Leo Väisänen, who was added to the lineup, to step up and fill that void.
While Austin’s success in 2022 was impressive, there are concerns about regression to the mean. They overperformed their underlying numbers and will need to tighten up defensively to continue their success. Additionally, their lack of depth may become an issue if they make a prolonged run in the CONCACAF Champions League.
But overall, there is a lot to like about Austin FC. They have a clear and executable system under head coach Josh Wolff, and their players work from the same script. They also have a top-five goalkeeper in Stuver.
In addition to their upgrades at the No. 9 position, Austin has added some depth in a few spots, including midfielders Jhojan Manuel Valencia Jimenez and Owen Wolff, who were added to the lineup. However, they still may not have the same depth as some of the top teams in the league. With a strong starting XI and a talented coaching staff led by Nico Estevez, they have the potential to make another deep playoff run in 2023.
One thing that sets Austin FC apart from other expansion teams is their clear identity and vision for the future. They are not simply trying to buy their way to success, but are building a sustainable and successful team from the ground up. With a strong fan base and a beautiful new stadium, Austin FC is poised to be a major player in MLS for years to come.
Austin FC Squad (2023)
- Brad Stuver
- Julio Cascante
- Kipp Keller
- Zan Kolmanic
- Nick Lima
- Adam Lundqvist
- Leo Vaisanen
- Daniel Pereira
- Alexander Ring
- Jhojan Manuel Valencia Jimenez
- Owen Wolff
- Sebastian Driussi
- Diego Fagundez
- Ethan Finlay
- Jon Gallagher
- Emiliano Rigoni
- Maximiliano Urruti
- Gyasi Zardes
- Estevez Nico
Key Stats and Facts about Austin FC
- Austin FC finished second in the Western Conference and won two playoff games in their debut season in 2022.
- Gyasi Zardes was added to the lineup to upgrade the team’s No. 9 position.
- Finnish international Leo Väisänen was added to the lineup to fill the hole in the center of the defense left by Ruben Gabrielsen’s departure.
- Austin’s balanced attack and solid defense were key factors in their success last season.
- There are concerns about regression to the mean and lack of depth for Austin FC.
- The team has a clear and executable system under head coach Josh Wolff.
- Gabby Pereira is an MVP-caliber No. 10 for the team.
- Jhojan Manuel Valencia Jimenez and Owen Wolff were added to the lineup to provide depth in midfield.
- Austin FC is building a sustainable and successful team from the ground up, with a strong fan base and a beautiful new stadium.
New York Red Bulls
The New York Red Bulls are heading into the 2023 MLS season with some optimism. The team finished fourth in the Eastern Conference last season on 56 points, despite some significant issues with their attack and midfield. However, they’ve made some notable moves in the offseason, with RB Global finally providing the resources needed to address their underwhelming attack. The addition of record signing Dante Vanzeir and Elias Manoel, who was added to the lineup, should provide much-needed firepower up front. Plus, the return of 10 out of 11 starters from last season’s team bodes well for the team’s continuity.
However, there are concerns about head coach Gerhard Struber’s plan to deploy a 4-2-2-2 formation, which has not worked for any of the previous coaches who have attempted it at RBNY. Additionally, the team has generally performed worse when playing with four at the back than with three or five. The loss of Aaron Long in central defense is also a significant blow, with the unproven depth behind him and Sean Nealis leaving the team vulnerable. The addition of Andrés Reyes, who was added to the lineup, is a step in the right direction, but his injury-prone history raises concerns about his ability to stay healthy throughout the season.
The Red Bulls have made some moves to address these concerns, but they still need to add another center back to shore up their defense. However, there is reason for optimism, particularly with the midfielders gaining more experience and Luquinhas, who was added to the lineup, settling in. The team has a solid foundation to build on, and if they can execute Struber’s system effectively, they have the potential to be a playoff contender.
One of the biggest strengths of the Red Bulls is their high-pressing, energetic style of play, which is a hallmark of the “Red Bull Energy Drink Soccer” style they’ve pioneered. If they can continue to implement this style successfully, it could give them an edge over some of their opponents. However, they will need to find the right balance between pressing and defensive solidity, particularly if they hope to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Overall, the Red Bulls have reason for optimism heading into the 2023 MLS season, but they will need to address some significant concerns if they hope to compete for a championship. If they can find the right balance between attack and defense and execute Struber’s system effectively, they have the potential to be a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference.
New York Red Bulls Squad (2023)
- Duncan Kyle
- Nealis Dylan
- Nealis Sean
- Reyes Andres
- Tolkin John
- Amaya Franuel
- Casseres Cristian
- Edelman Daniel
- Fernandez Omir
- Morgan Lewis
- Stroud Peter
- Barlow Tom
- Burke Cory
- Elias Manoel
- Harper Cameron
- Vanzeir Dante
- Struber Gerhard
Key Stats and Facts about New York Red Bulls
- The New York Red Bulls finished fourth in the Eastern Conference last season with 53 points.
- Dante Vanzeir and Elias Manoel are new additions to the team’s attack.
- 10 out of 11 starters from last season’s team are returning, which bodes well for the team’s continuity.
- Head coach Gerhard Struber plans to deploy a 4-2-2-2 formation, which has not worked for any of the previous coaches who have attempted it at RBNY.
- The team has generally performed worse when playing with four at the back than with three or five.
- The loss of Aaron Long in central defense is a significant blow to the team’s defense.
- The addition of Andrés Reyes is a step in the right direction for the defense, but his injury-prone history raises concerns.
- The Red Bulls need to add another center back to shore up their defense.
- Luquinhas is a new addition to the team’s midfield.
- The Red Bulls have a high-pressing, energetic style of play that is a hallmark of the “Red Bull Energy Drink Soccer” style they’ve pioneered.
- The team has the potential to be a playoff contender if they can execute Struber’s system effectively and find the right balance between attack and defense.
Seattle Sounders FC
The Seattle Sounders have been one of the most consistent teams in MLS since joining the league in 2009. They’ve made the playoffs every season and have won two MLS Cups and four U.S. Open Cups. Last season, they finished 11th in the Western Conference with 41 points.
Heading into the 2023 season however, the return of superstar striker Raúl Ruidíaz is a huge reason for optimism. Despite missing a significant portion of the 2022 season due to injury, Ruidíaz still managed to score 10 goals in just 16 appearances. With a full offseason to recover and prepare, he should be one of the league’s top scorers once again.
Young players like Danny Leyva, Ethan Dobbelaere, and Josh Atencio also offer promise for the Sounders. Leyva has been impressive in preseason and could have a breakout season in midfield. Head coach Brian Schmetzer is known for giving young players a chance, and the talent in Seattle’s academy suggests more youngsters could get opportunities this season.
Seattle made some key additions in the offseason, bringing in veteran defender Joevin Jones and midfielder Ola Kamara. Jones played for the team from 2014-2017 and won two MLS Cups. He’ll add depth to Seattle’s backline and can play multiple positions. Kamara brings a wealth of experience and goal scoring ability, having scored 14 goals for D.C. United last season.
However, there are concerns heading into the season. The departure of goalkeeper Stefan Frei is a big loss, and replacing him won’t be easy. Seattle brought in veteran goalkeeper Brad Guzan to help fill the void, but it remains to be seen if he can provide the same level of consistency and leadership as Frei did. The team’s lack of depth, especially in defense, is also a concern.
Overall, Seattle is one of the top teams in MLS heading into the 2023 season. They have a talented roster, a proven coach, and a winning culture. If Ruidíaz stays healthy and the young players continue to develop, the Sounders could be in for another deep playoff run and potentially even a third MLS Cup title.
Seattle Sounders FC Squad (2023)
- Frei Stefan
- Arreaga Xavier
- Gomez Andrade Yeimar
- Ragen Jackson
- Atencio Joshua
- Joao Paulo
- Leyva Danny
- Lodeiro Nicolas
- Roldan Cristian
- Rowe Kelyn
- Rusnak Albert
- Teves Dylan
- Vargas Obed
- Chu Leo
- Montero Fredy
- Morris Jordan
- Roldan Alexander
- Ruidiaz Raul
- Schmetzer Brian
Key Stats and Facts about Seattle Sounders
- The Seattle Sounders have made the playoffs every season since joining MLS in 2009.
- They have won two MLS Cups and four U.S. Open Cups.
- Raúl Ruidíaz scored 10 goals in just 16 appearances despite missing a significant portion of the 2022 season due to injury.
- Danny Leyva, Ethan Dobbelaere, and Josh Atencio are promising young players for the Sounders.
- Joevin Jones and Ola Kamara are key additions to the Sounders’ roster for the 2023 season.
- Stefan Frei, a long-time goalkeeper for the Sounders, left the team to join Charlotte FC for the 2023 season.
- Brad Guzan was brought in to help fill the void left by Frei.
- The Sounders lack depth, especially in defense.
Orlando City SC
Orlando City SC enters the 2023 MLS season with high hopes after a successful 2022 campaign. The Lions finished seventh in the Eastern Conference with 48 point.
Looking at their roster this year though, it’s easy to see why expectations are high. They have a solid defensive core led by center back Rodrigo Schlegel and goalkeeper Pedro Gallese. The midfield features talented players like Mauricio Pereyra, Cesar Araujo, and Wilder Jose Cartagena Mendoza, while the attack is spearheaded by Gaston Gonzalez and Ramiro Enrique, who were added to the lineup.
But despite their talented roster, there are some concerns about Orlando’s chances for success in 2023. One major issue is their lack of depth, especially in defense. Outside of Schlegel, the Lions have a number of unproven players at center back and left back. If injuries hit, Orlando could be in trouble.
Another issue is their lack of creativity in midfield. While Pereyra, Araujo, and Cartagena Mendoza are solid players, they aren’t known for their ability to create chances. This could put more pressure on the attacking players to carry the load on offense, which could be a recipe for disaster if they struggle to find the back of the net.
However, Orlando has made some moves to address these concerns. They added attacking midfielder Dagur Dan Thorhallsson to provide some much-needed creativity in midfield.
Overall, Orlando City SC has the talent to compete for a playoff spot and make a deep run in the postseason. But in order to do so, they will need to stay healthy and get contributions from players beyond their star attackers. If they can do that, the Lions could be one of the most dangerous teams in the Eastern Conference.
Orlando City SC Squad (2023)
- Gallese Pedro
- Halliday Michael
- Jansson Robin
- Rafael Santos
- Salim Abdi
- Schlegel Rodrigo
- Araujo Cesar
- Cartagena Mendoza Wilder Jose
- Pereyra Mauricio
- Petrasso Luca
- Thorhallsson Dagur Dan
- Angulo Cortes Ivan Dario
- Enrique Ramiro
- Gonzalez Gaston
- Kara Ercan
- Lynn Jack
- McGuire Duncan
- Ojeda Martin
- Smith Kyle
- Torres Facundo
- Pareja Oscar
Key Stats and Facts about Orlando City SC
- Rodrigo Schlegel is a key player in Orlando’s defense.
- Pedro Gallese is the starting goalkeeper for Orlando City SC.
- Mauricio Pereyra, Cesar Araujo, and Wilder Jose Cartagena Mendoza are midfielders for Orlando.
- Gaston Gonzalez and Ramiro Enrique are forwards for Orlando who were added to the lineup provided.
- Orlando has concerns about depth in defense and lack of creativity in midfield.
- Orlando signed Bruno Tabata to add creativity in midfield, but Robin Jansson was mistakenly included in the article as a new signing.
- Dagur Dan Thorhallsson is a new addition to Orlando’s midfield to provide more creativity.
- Orlando has the potential to compete for a playoff spot and make a deep run in the postseason if they stay healthy and get contributions from players beyond their star attackers.
FC Dallas had a solid 2022 season, finishing third in the Western Conference with 53 points. However, they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Portland Timbers. As they head into the 2023 season, there are reasons for both optimism and concern.
One of the team’s strengths is the control of possession and positional play system implemented by head coach Nico Estevez in his first year with the club. This system helped FC Dallas prevent cheap transition goals and generated scoring chances for forwards Jesús Ferreira, Paul Arriola, and Alan Velasco. With most of their players still on the right side of the age curve, there is potential for this young team to take a solid step forward in the upcoming season.
However, there are also concerns. While Ferreira had an impressive 18-goal season, there was a significant drop-off in scoring contributions from the rest of the team. No one else on the team scored more than three goals, and backup No. 9 Franco Jara has since departed the team. There is a lack of dynamic play through midfield, and there are concerns about the team’s ability to compensate if Ferreira regresses as a goal scorer.
Another concern is the departure of veteran center back Matt Hedges, who was not re-signed in free agency. While Hedges was on a high salary and will be 33 years old early in the 2023 season, teams that have let proven domestic center backs walk in the past have tended to regret it. Ferreira, who played as a No. 9 in 2022 and scored 18 goals, is not a traditional center forward and is ideally suited to play the role of an attacking midfielder underneath a more traditional center forward. While Jesús Jiménez is capable of playing that role, it remains to be seen if he can provide the necessary support for Ferreira.
FC Dallas also has concerns about their lack of high-level wingers for a team that is determined to play a 4-2-3-1 formation. Although they have two designated players in Arriola and Ferreira, they have not made any significant moves in the transfer market to add another top-level winger to the squad.
Overall, FC Dallas has potential, but they will need to address their concerns in midfield and on the wing to make a deep run in the playoffs in 2023. Estevez will need to find ways to get the most out of the talent on the roster and potentially make some moves to add to the team’s depth.
FC Dallas Squad (2023)
- Maarten Paes
- Antonio Martinez Jose
- Marco Farfan
- Geovane Jesus
- Sebastian Ibeagha
- Sam Junqua
- Tafari Nkosi
- Edwin Cerrillo
- Jesus Jimenez
- Sebastian Lletget
- Paxton Pomykal
- Facundo Quignon
- Emmanuel Twumasi
- Paul Arriola
- Jesus Ferreira
- Jose Mulato
- Tsiki Ntsabeleng
- Jader Obrian
- Alan Velasco
- Nico Estevez
Key Stats and Facts about FC Dallas
- FC Dallas finished third in the Western Conference in 2022 with 50 points and a +11 goal differential.
- Head coach Nico Estevez implemented a possession-based system that generated scoring chances for Jesús Ferreira, Paul Arriola, and Alan Velasco.
- However, there are concerns about the team’s scoring depth and lack of dynamic play through midfield, as well as the departure of veteran center back Matt Hedges.
- Despite having two designated player spots filled, there are questions about the team’s ability to maximize the talent on the roster and potentially make moves to add to their depth.
- Overall, FC Dallas has potential, but Estevez will need to find ways to get the most out of the talent on the roster and potentially make some moves to add to the team’s depth if they hope to make a deep run in the playoffs in 2023.
New York City FC
New York City FC enters the 2023 season with hopes of building on a promising campaign last year. The team finished in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference with 55 points and made it to the Conference semifinals, where they lost to Nashville SC.
One of the major positives for NYCFC is the presence of head coach Nick Cushing, who has done an excellent job since taking over the team November 10, 2022. Under his leadership, the team has developed a strong identity based on quick, incisive passing and intelligent movement off the ball. This has helped them generate a lot of scoring chances, and they will hope to continue this trend in the upcoming season.
Another strength for NYCFC is their defense. The team allowed just 34 goals last season, which was the second-best mark in the Eastern Conference. Much of this success can be attributed to the strong play of center backs Maxime Chanot and Thiago Martins, as well as the reliable goalkeeping of Luis Barraza. This experienced trio will look to anchor the team’s defense once again in 2023.
There are, however, some concerns for NYCFC. One major issue is their lack of depth in midfield. While the team has some talented players like Santiago Rodriguez and James Sands, they lack quality depth beyond their first-choice starters. This could be a problem if the team suffers injuries or needs to rotate their squad to deal with fixture congestion.
Another potential issue is the team’s lack of a proven goal scorer. While NYCFC has some talented attacking players like Gabriel Pereira and Matias Pellegrini, neither player has been able to consistently put the ball in the back of the net. The team will need someone to step up and provide consistent scoring if they hope to make a deep playoff run.
Additionally, there are some concerns about the team’s depth in defense. While Chanot and Martins have formed a solid partnership at center back, the team lacks quality depth at this position. If either player were to suffer an injury or suspension, NYCFC could be in trouble.
Overall, New York City FC enters the 2023 season with reasons for optimism but also some potential issues to address. The team has a strong identity under head coach Nick Cushing, and their defense should once again be a strength. However, they will need to find a way to generate more scoring and improve their depth in midfield and defense if they hope to compete with the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
New York City FC Squad (2023)
- Luis Barraza
- Maxime Chanot
- Brian Ezequiel Cufre
- Tayvon Gray
- Mitja Ilenic
- Alfredo Morales
- Kevin O’Toole
- Thiago Martins
- Stephen Turnbull
- Justin Haak
- Keaton Alexander Parks
- Santiago Rodriguez
- James Sands
- Gabriel Pereira
- Andres Jasson
- Matias Pellegrini
- Talles Magno
- Thiago Andrade
- Nicholas Cushing
Key Stats and Facts about New York City FC
- New York City FC looks to build on a promising campaign in 2022, finishing 4th in the Eastern Conference with 47 points and making it to the Conference semifinals.
- Head coach Nick Cushing has done an excellent job since taking over the team in November 2022, developing a strong identity based on quick, incisive passing and intelligent movement off the ball.
- The team’s defense was a strength in 2022, allowing just 34 goals, which was the second-best mark in the Eastern Conference.
- However, the team lacks depth in midfield and could be in trouble if injuries or fixture congestion arise.
- Additionally, NYCFC lacks a proven goalscorer and will need someone to step up and provide consistent scoring to make a deep playoff run.
- While Callens and Ibeagha have formed a solid partnership at center back, the team lacks quality depth at this position.
- Overall, the team has reasons for optimism but needs to generate more scoring and improve their depth in midfield and defense to compete with the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
LA Galaxy is one of the most storied and successful franchises in Major League Soccer, having won five MLS Cup titles and boasting a strong following of dedicated fans. In the 2022 season, the Galaxy finished fourth in the Western Conference with 50 points, but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by Sporting Kansas City.
Looking ahead to the 2023 season, there are reasons for optimism for the Galaxy faithful. The team has made significant changes to the roster, including the hiring of new head coach Greg Vanney and the addition of several new players.
One of the biggest changes for the Galaxy is the arrival of Vanney, who returns to the team where he won three MLS Cups as a player and coached Toronto FC to the title in 2017. Vanney’s tactical acumen and experience with building winning teams will be invaluable as he looks to implement his vision for the Galaxy.
In addition to the coaching change, the Galaxy have also made several key acquisitions in the offseason. Argentine winger Ignacio Piatti and Colombian forward Roger Martínez were both signed as Designated Players, and the team also added veteran center back Laurent Ciman and promising young winger Alex Muyl.
Piatti, in particular, should provide a major boost to the Galaxy’s attack. The 37-year-old has had an impressive career, including five seasons with the Montreal Impact where he scored 66 goals and recorded 34 assists. He is known for his dribbling ability, vision, and clinical finishing, and should complement the Galaxy’s other attacking weapons such as Chicharito and Kevin Cabral.
However, there are also some concerns for the Galaxy heading into the new season. One area of potential weakness is the defense, which struggled at times in 2022. While Ciman’s addition should help, there are still questions about the team’s ability to prevent goals. The team’s goalkeeper situation is also somewhat unsettled, with Jonathan Bond and Jonathan Klinsmann both seeing time in goal last season.
Another issue for the Galaxy is depth, particularly in the midfield. The team has a solid starting midfield, but there are questions about the quality and experience of their backups. If injuries or suspensions hit, the team may struggle to maintain its form.
Overall, the Galaxy have made significant changes to the roster and coaching staff, and there are reasons for optimism as they head into the new season. The additions of Piatti, Martínez, and Ciman should strengthen the team in key areas, and the return of dos Santos will provide a boost to the midfield. However, there are also concerns about the defense and the team’s depth, which could be tested over the course of a long and grueling MLS season. With Vanney at the helm, though, there is reason to believe that the Galaxy can once again compete for the MLS Cup title.
LA Galaxy Squad (2023)
- Jonathan Bond
- Jonathan Klinsmann
- Martin Caceres
- Kelvin Leerdam
- Chris Mavinga
- Jalen Neal
- Oriol Rosell
- Eriq Zavaleta
- Daniel Aguirre
- Efrain Alvarez
- Marco Delgado
- Raheem Edwards
- Riqui Puig
- Memo Rodriguez
- Tyler Boyd
- Gaston Brugman
- Dejan Joveljic
- Preston Judd
- Greg Vanney
Key Stats and Facts about LA Galaxy
- LA Galaxy made significant changes to the roster and coaching staff for the 2023 season.
- Greg Vanney returns to the Galaxy as head coach and brings experience and tactical acumen.
- Ignacio Piatti and Roger Martínez were signed as Designated Players to boost the attack.
- There are concerns about the defense and goalkeeper situation.
- Depth in the midfield is also a potential issue.
- There are reasons for optimism, but the team will need to address these concerns if they hope to compete for the MLS Cup.
The MLS is home to some of the most exciting and competitive football teams in the world, and with the 2023 in full effect, fans are eager to see how their favorite teams will fare. One team that stands out as a potential contender is Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC). Having won the 2022 MLS Cup, they look ready to rack up another title.
Overall, the 2023 MLS season promises to be an exciting one, with several teams vying for the MLS Cup title. While each team has strengths and weaknesses, the race for the championship will ultimately come down to which team can overcome their challenges and perform at their best on the field.