With the MLS preseason in full swing, it’s time to look forward to the regular season’s start on March 3rd. Preseason favorite, Toronto FC, will play the first game of the year against the Columbus Crew. Here’s a look at the five preseason favorites to capture the MLS Cup.
Fresh off the clubs’ first MLS Cup win in 2017, Toronto FC looks to repeat this season. They enter 2018 as the overwhelming favorites in the league – FC set an MLS record with 69 points last year. With a weak opening schedule, it’s logical to predict at least a 5-0 start for the squad as they look to duplicate their 20-win output from last season.
Many soccer experts believe the Sounders are the only real competition for FC. While the team was strong throughout last season, they only finished with an unimpressive 14-9-11 record. But the postseason was where this squad really caught fire, steamrolling both Vancouver and Houston. Can Seattle redeem themselves after a 2-0 loss to FC in the MLS Cup?
Houston seems to be a bit overlooked as far as the oddsmakers are concerned. Dynamo made a surprise run all the way to the Conference Finals last season with convincing wins over Sporting Kansas City and Portland Timbers. Houston was one of the busiest teams in the off-season, but will their moves put them over the top?
New York City FC
New York City FC finished last season with the second-best record overall, but they were upset in the Conference Semifinals by the Columbus Crew. A season ripe with such hope, ended in disappointment; something that will not be lost on the team’s returning players this year.
The Timbers have remained a contender since entering the league in 2009. Just six years into their existence, they captured an MLS Cup. The team came close last year, with eyes on the prize again in 2018. New head coach Giovanni Savarese has been tasked with getting Portland over the hump.